Allegrini 2018

Bordeaux 2019, the crisis is driving prices down: for big en primeur, cuts between -10 and -30%

Lafite-Rothschild at 575 euros per bottle (-15%), Mouton-Rothschild at 402 euros (-31%): a very good vintage, affected by the global context
The decreasing prices of Bordeaux 2019

For obvious reasons, the week of the en primeur, organized by the Union des Grands Crus, in which every year Bordeaux and its most prestigious Châteaux welcome thousands of wine professionals (wine merchants, journalists, opinion leaders) from all over the world, called to taste and judge the latest vintage in the cellar, the Bordeaux producers have sent the 2019 barrel samples around the world. According to initial reviews - from guru James Suckling to Lisa Perotti-Brown, the author of The Wine Advocate Robert Parker, and Jane Anson of the British magazine Decanter - it is not at the same level as 2018, because it had a slightly more complex seasonal trend, with hailstorms in spring and heat in summer, but it is still a very good vintage, which in many cases confirmed the excellent levels reached in 2018.
What changes is the context. The global crisis, first of all, the health crisis, obviously linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, still far from being overcome, and then the economic crisis, which we will drag on for months, adds to the already critical position of Bordeaux on the international chessboard of fine wines, where, after decades of leadership, it has been losing positions year after year. In China, the second-largest market for Bordeaux labels, sales fell by 22% in value and 31% in volume in 2018, with Hong Kong, the world’s first destination, holding up (+3% in value but -4% in volume), while in the USA, the third-largest market for Bordeaux wines, growth was more marked: +21% in value, compared to -1% in volume. Another figure to reflect on concerns the market share of fine wines on the Liv-Ex, which in April reached 41%, the lowest figure in the 20 years of the English platform.
And then, there is the formula of en primeur, that is futures on wine still in the barrel, from which we started from, which has shown signs of tiredness for a long time, followed by a certain difficulty, for some vintages, to gain value in time, which is the very basis of the success, or not, of the formula. And yet, in such a complex picture, 2019 in Bordeaux could be a real opportunity, because prices, as anticipated (here also by WineNews) are falling, and as the Châteaux announce their exit prices, a drop of between 10 and 30% is emerging. With peaks like those of Château Palmer, at 226 euros per bottle at the retailer, 33% lower than last year.
However, in recent days, the first two Premiers Crus have also entered the market: Lafite-Rothschild, which can be purchased at 575 euros per bottle, 15% less than the 2018 vintage, and Mouton-Rothschild, at 402 euros per bottle, 31% less than last year. The same price drop as Cheval Blanc, at 509 euros per bottle, while Angélus was 322 euros per bottle (-9%). Prices which - always referring to those of the retailer, from which wine lover and collectors must necessarily pass - also fell significantly for Cos d’Estournel (155 euros per bottle, -23%, despite the already excellent feedback from critics), Léoville-Poyferré (70 euros, -26%), Pontet-Canet (83 euros, -30%), Lynch Bages (94 euros, -26%) and Valandraud (127 euros, -30%), to mention a few of the most interesting labels.
As a consequence, the prices of second wines are also falling, from Carruades de Lafite Rothschild (212 euros, -18%) to le Petit Mouton de Mouton-Rothschild (197 euros, -17%), from le Petit Cheval (169 euros, -16%) to the Carillon d’Angélus (85 euros, -23%), from Altr Ego de Palmer (62 euros, the same price as a year ago) to Les Pagodes de Cos (44 euros, -12%), from Echo de Lynch Bages (34 euros, -19%) to Virginie de Valandraud (33 euros, -20%).

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