Bordeaux vintners releasing their 2017 wines over the past week broadly followed the general pattern of price reductions relative to the more consistent 2016 vintage, even if some estates opted to hold levels stable.
Chateau Duhart-Milon, an estate in Pauillac run by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) that also owns Chateau Lafite Rothschild, put its wine on sale at 48 euros ($57) ex-Bordeaux negociant, 13 percent lower than its 2016 release price, according to the London-based online wine market Liv-ex. A version of this article appeared earlier on Bloomberg.com.
Two other estates in the same group, Chateau Evangile in Pomerol and Chateau Rieussec in Sauternes, kept their prices unchanged from 2016 at 180 euros and 42 euros respectively.
The 2017 vintage was overshadowed by frost in late April last year, which particularly hit areas such as Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Pessac-Leognan and Margaux. While some of the estates suffered loss of production and vine damage, many of the top growers from more northerly regions along the Gironde estuary such as Pauillac, Saint-Estephe and Saint-Julien escaped the freeze and went on to reap the benefits of good growing conditions during the summer and harvest.
Stainless steel tanks at Chateau Beychevelle’s new winery in Saint Julien, Bordeaux. Photo: Guy Collins
Chateau Beychevelle, a Saint-Julien estate that recently opened a new winery, brought its 2017 wines to market at 52.80 euros a bottle, down 6.7 percent from 2016, according to Liv-ex, while Chateau Suduiraut in Sauternes held its price unchanged at 45.60 euros.
Chateau d’Armailhac in Pauillac, run by Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A., which also owns neighboring Chateau Mouton Rothschild, priced its vintage at 31.20 euros a bottle, down 3.7 percent from 2016, according to Liv-ex, while another of the group’s estates, Chateau Clerc Milon, left its price unchanged at 50.40 euros.
“Beychevelle sold out almost instantly,” Liv-ex said in its Talking Trade blog. “Early reports suggest that Duhart-Milon, Clerc Milon and Armailhac have also been well received.”
Several top estates have yet to set prices, gauging the response of international buyers to the presentation of the vintage in Bordeaux three weeks ago.
The “en primeur” futures system, by which wine is sold to merchants and customers while still maturing in barrels, has been under some pressure in recent years due to volatile prices and a run of mediocre or poor vintages between 2011 and 2013. Yet market sentiment has improved with better vintages since 2014, and most growers still say the system works well in focusing the global wine trade on Bordeaux during the peak sales season.