>> Tuesday, April 05, 2011
The week of the primeur tastings in Bordeaux is approaching fast. Next week it starts (first week of April - current week when this is published on the blog). Wine merchants and journalists will, during one week, taste and spit hundreds of Bordeaux wines of the new vintage 2010.
The wines that are being tasted are far from ready; they have barely finished their malolactic fermentation and will spend another 15 or 18 months or so in oak barrels before being bottled. But the big and famous châteaux in Bordeaux sell an impressive quantity of their production en primeur. Next week wine merchants are supposed to get an idea of the quality of the vintage and of the different chateaux so that they later on can decide what to buy. Prices will be released in May or June and starting now there will be, as always, a lot of speculations.
Pricing is a bit complicated. Often the chateaux release a certain amount of cases at a certain price and after a few weeks another batch is released, maybe at a higher price. And what determines the price? Well, to some extent points given by important wine journalists are taken into account. But more important, the chateaux probably know what they can expect from the market. We have seen some staggering increases in price during the last years but this is mostly from the most famous chateaux. A lot of very good chateaux (even some Grand Cru Classé) keep their pricing quite stable.