Friday, May 28, 2010

Bordeaux 2009 - the calm before the storm

An event like Vinexpo Hong Kong (25-27 May)... they should do that every year during the futures campaign: what a bliss, this whole week without 2009 releases... finally time for other things!

I have the feeling that - later - we will be talking about pre-Vinexpo releases (part 1 of the campaign), and post-Vinexpo releases (part 2). Like last year we talked about the 2008s released before, and the ones released after Parker's verdict.

What I (and many others) fear is that the prices will get out of hand. If the expensive wines increase with the same percentage as the more affordable ones [have done until now - i.e. at an average increase of 27% compared to 2008] I think we should be quite happy. But the more likely scenario is: the more expensive the wine, the bigger the relative price raise. As we saw happen in 2005:

- Ausone 2005 * 400% above 2004
- Margaux 2005 * 330% above 2004
- Latour 2005 * 285% above 2004
- Larcis-Ducasse 2005 * 295% above 2004
- Troplong-Mondot 2005 * 290% above 2004
- Mouton-Rothschild 2005 * 265% above 2004
- Léoville-Las-Cases 2005 * 255% above 2004
- Lafite-Rothschild 2005 * 250% above 2004
- Cheval-Blanc 2005 * 225% above 2004
- Ducru-Beaucaillou 2005 * 185% above 2004
- Cos-d'Estournel 2005 * 175% above 2004
- Pavie 2005 * 170% above 2004
- Angélus 2005 * 155% above 2004
- Haut-Brion 2005 * 150% above 2004
- Léoville-Poyferré 2005 * 125% above 2004
- Vieux-Château-Certan 2005 * 125% above 2004
- Pape-Clément 2005 * 115% above 2004
- La Mission Haut-Brion 2005 * 105% above 2004
- Figeac 2005 * 100% above 2004
- Rauzan-Ségla 2005 * 100% above 2004
- Lynch-Bages 2005 * 100% above 2004
- Haut-Bailly 2005 * 95% above 2004
- Montrose 2005 * 95% above 2004
- Léoville-Barton 2005 * 85% above 2004
- Canon 2005 * 85% above 2004
- Brane-Cantenac 2005 * 70% above 2004
- Giscours 2005 * 65% above 2004
- Domaine de Chevalier 2005 * 50% above 2004
- Malescot-St-Exupéry 2005 * 40% above 2004
- Sociando-Mallet 2005 * 25% above 2004

The correlation is not perfect, there are more factors determining price (e.g. the 'Parker-effect' for Larcis-Ducasse), and the list is still quite short, but it seems clear that price and pedigree largely determine potential price raise.

And that's why there are speculations today about the premier crus to get even more expensive than they were in 2005... Lafite, Latour, Margaux... they are not just great wines, but luxury brands hunted by the same people how want to drive an Aston Martin and wear Patek Philippe.

The ordinary wine geek will probably only taste these wines upon invitation; so really, it pays to hang out with the new super riches. Too bad only, many of them buyers are from Asia, new millionaires who simply want to impress their (business) peers with the biggest names - c'est tout. We can only hope the Lafite that they pour will not be mixed with cola.

Another price-pushing factor for the premier crus is speculation. Individuals or funds who buy these wines as an investment simply push demand further beyond availability...

Anyway, it might be wise to just forget about the premier cru's; it's a different league - they're out of sight. Like I never think about buying an Aston Martin. Luckily there are lovely alternatives, e.g. the wines that I suggested in my April blog postings. You can also visit Bordoverview to get an idea about which wines might be interesting buys.

The lull before the storm. The first part of this posting was written last Friday. Now it is Sunday evening. As from tomorrow it will probably be a madhouse. For the 'dynamics' of the post-Vinexpo 2009 campaign price will clearly be the determining factor. And perhaps I should add: as always.

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