Leading Bordeaux wine estates cut the price of their 2017 vintage mostly between 5 percent and 20 percent reative to release prices for the higher-quality 2016 wines, following a year in which some vineyards suffered the worst frost in a quarter-century while others escaped damage entirely and benefited from generally benign growing conditions.
Top Medoc producers Chateau Margaux and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, as well as Chateau Haut-Brion in Pessac-Leognan, all cut their ex-negociant Bordeaux prices by 17 percent to 348 euros ($404) a bottle for their reds, while Chateau Lafite-Rothschild reduced its price by 8 percent to 420 euros, according to data from London-based online wine market Liv-ex. An earlier version of this article appeared on Bloomberg.com.
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac. Photo: Guy Collins
The 2017 vintage was overshadowed by frost in late April last year, which particularly hit areas such as Saint Emilion and Pomerol on the right bank and Pessac-Leognan and Margaux on the left bank. While some estates suffered loss of production and vine damage, many top growers from more northerly regions along the Gironde 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.
Significant damage was sustained by many vineyards in less favored positions, particularly those further from the river, while in Saint-Emilion areas there was a patchwork of affected areas right next to vines that escaped entirely. The plunging overnight temperatures made it the worst frost in the region since 1991.
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion cut its red wine price by 29 percent, while Pontet-Canet in Pauillac and nearby Pichon-Lalande and Lynch-Bages reduced prices by 26 percent, 25 percent and 22 percent respectively, according to Liv-ex data. Those cutting prices by 20 percent included Chateau Palmer in Margaux and Leoville Las Cases in Saint-Julien, as well as Figeac in Saint Emilion and La Conseillante in Pomerol.
Some of the leading Pessac-Leognan estates were able to announce smaller reductions, with Chateau Haut Bailly cutting prices 14 percent and Smith Haut Lafitte 12.5 percent. Angelus and Pavie in Saint Emilion, as well as Montrose in Saint Estephe, lowered prices by 6 percent.
Some were able to keep their prices unchanged, including Riessec and Suduiraut in Sauternes and Evangile in Pomerol, according to Liv-ex data, while Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion also maintained the prices of their sought-after white wines.
Among second wines, Mouton was able to push up the price of Petit Mouton by 9 percent and Margaux the price of Pavillon Rouge by 16 percent, partly reflecting demand in the international market for wines which are inherently more accessible, earlier drinking and cheaper than the estates' main wines while still offering the cachet of a top label.