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Much criticism against Bordeaux primeur prices

>> Friday, July 23, 2010

When the prices for the Bordeaux primeurs of the 2009 vintage started to be announced earlier this spring it led to quite a lot of criticism both from the trade and in the press. Are they over-priced? It is interesting to note that sales of Bordeaux fell dramatically in 2009 and most of the classed growths have released their primeurs with substantial, sometimes very substantial price increases. The reason behind this discrepancy is probably that the famous chateau, those who sell their wines as primeurs, live in their own world (or operate i a separate market segment), a world that is not really seeing much crisis. At least not yet.

Those who have lost ground are the Bordeaux producers selling their wines at more affordable prices. One thing they suffer from is the image many consumers have of Bordeaux wines as being very exclusive and very expensive – which is correct for the perhaps 2% (guessing) of the wines that sell as primeurs, and which have almost a monopoly on the attention from the press when it comes to articles on Bordeaux wines.

Read more about the reactions to Primeur Pricing on e.g. : ”Bordeaux 2009: high prices risk 'alienating' US market”, or on The New Bordeaux “Anti-2009 pricing sentiment", or “Is Bdx 09 pricing aimed at shifting unsold 08s and 07s” (an interesting idea: are the producers on purpose overpricing the 09s so that they instead will be able to sell unsold 08s and 07s left in the cellar?), or ”Are 2009 Bordeaux First Growths overpriced?” (a reasonable question with a price of €450 per bottle). As a consumer we can in any case find joy and solace in the fact that there are plenty of very good wines far below these prices, say in the range of €10-25 (from Bordeaux or from other regions), that in a blind tasting would show very well, but without the text Grand Cru Classé on the label.

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