The 2013 Bordeaux en primeur tastings have now concluded, and en primeur prices are slowly being released by the Bordeaux chateaux. The 2013 vintage by all reports is a poor one, so it will be an opportunity, I hope, for Bordeaux release prices to fall. Whether they fall in Australia is traditionally an independent question. Which is a polite way of saying that mostly prices don’t fall at all.
It’s interesting to note the general concern that the en primeur system is too slanted in favour of “the chateaux” at this time, with prices too high and consumer gains on recent en primeur releases not realised. I have written before that consumers should tread warily when buying en primeur. There is also a newish concern that wine writers are allowing themselves to be “used” by the Bordeaux chateaux to price Bordeaux releases by their hitherto enthusiastic releases of ratings based on the en primeur tastings in Bordeaux. I noted that Tim Atkin MW recently announced via twitter that he was not releasing scores until prices are available.
The Bordeaux chateaux are no doubt keen to ensure they capture the lion’s share of the value of their wines, rather than the secondary market doing so. I am not quite sure to be honest which way I fall on the issue yet. I view it as something of a privilege to be able to review wines; that consumers and producers alike may benefit doesn’t trouble me overly.
Liv-ex is a fantastic resource for seeing en primeur price releases. I am yet to see any Australian merchants offering their pricing, perhaps because the vintage’s reputation has preceded it. Until then, here’s what the release prices of some of the wines released so far are. Despite the offshore complaints, I suspect many Australian readers would be moderately pleased to be able to secure Bordeaux at anything remotely near these prices even in a poor vintage.