With the 2015 Bordeaux vintage already being talked up, and in the context of disappointing en primeur seasons in recent years, the Financial Times this week asked several experts to explain what they expect to see from the Bordelais next year.
Considering that in the past decade, all vintages have depreciated in value barring those of 2005 and 2008, and with flagging investor demand, Chadwick Delaney, managing director of Justerini & Brooks said he hopes estates will lower prices.
“If the Bordelais price the 2015s properly they have a chance to recreate demand, and we’d have an active primeur campaign again for the first time since 2010,” Delaney said as quoted by the Financial Times. “People would start talking about Bordeaux in a positive way again. But it depends on the estates,” he says, adding: “Prices for the 2014s were mostly not correct.”
This year’s campaign was marked by investor discontent over prices, which were some 10 percent higher on average than last year. Charles Lea, founder of British wine merchant Lea & Sandeman, said in May that “another opportunity to get the en primeur market working again has been stifled by too many releases at prices that are really the retail prices for mature wines.”
With the 2015s looking very promising, prices will ‘undoubtedly’ rise again, FT noted.
Buyers, however, will be increasingly harder to come by, according to négociant and château-owner Jean-Christophe Mau.
“China isn’t there. Russia isn’t there. The British market will be there but not at the price of 2010. The US is complicated and just takes a few names. The French market is very price conscious,” Mau said.
Still, looking past the high prices, experts agreed that consumers will still want the Bordeaux 2014s in their cellar.
“I applaud châteaux that price their wine so it sells to the consumer because consuming is what wine is all about,” Fine & Rare’s head of fine wine Joss Fowler said in June.
In the meantime, merchants who traditionally relied on Bordeaux have been adapting to a world in which Bordeaux forms a shrinking part of their turnover. “Bordeaux has been a declining part of our turnover for four consecutive years, while we’ve seen growth in Burgundy, Italy and Champagne,” says Delaney.