Bordeaux en primeur 2013

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.

Beychevelle 38.40
Du Tertre 18.60
Echo de Lynch Bages 19.8
Fleur de Board 15.50
Gazin 38
Gloria 19.80
Guiraud 28
Lynch Bages 50
Lynch Moussas 18.90
Montrose 57.60
Pichon Baron 54
Pontet Canet 60
Rauzan Segla 33
Smith Haut Lafitte 38.40
Suduiraut 42

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post Sean. I think one of the strange aspects of the en primeur week is very few of the tastings are done blind- so there is an inherent bias to the "named" chateaux. As a merchant I love finding small producers with good value wines outside of the "top tier". Especially in the good years there is some value in the smaller producers. In 2013 it seems that the Bordeaux whites are of good quality and as you know the reds are patchy and wines to enjoy young. Of course with the prices one has to add the cost of shipping/storage plus 42 percent (!) in taxes then a margin to get to the oz prices. It would be good to see some price drops, especially in the reds!

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  2. It's a good point re not blind tasting and also how the EP system tends to exclude the smaller producers. Happily, at least that means we can still drink some affordable Bordeaux from those prepared to go over there and fish them out like your good selves :) I certainly share your amazement at our super high wine taxes, but am increasingly accepting that it's just a cost of living here and hoping against the odds that it doesn't dampen the market for imports too much. That said, I remain hopeful that someone locally twigs that by lowering wine taxes they might actually get more tax revenue(!) or gets curious as to why Hong Kong is suddenly the centre of the fine wine world in Asia ...

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