I was sitting today at lunchtime in the mountains overlooking the town of Merano in Italy’s Alto Adige and eating some smoked ham and drinking a glass of crisp white wine. And I began to think about 2005 Bordeaux futures and the world of wine.
Today Château Le Pin – Pomerol’s ultra-collectible, tiny-production, pure Merlot – released a few thousand bottles worth of 2005 futures on the Bordeaux market at 450 euros from its cellar, and the wine was bought up in minutes.
There is apparently a limit for prices for 2005 futures in Bordeaux. Yquem closed its 2005 en primeur sales this afternoon at 3 p.m. in Europe following a less-than-enthusiastic response from the marketplace, according to sources in Bordeaux.
“Yes, it is crazy,” I said to a source in Bordeaux when I heard that the insanity continued today there with Cheval-Blanc and Yquem offered to the trade at 400 euros a bottle. That means the wines are going to be offered to the U.
Call it a shooting star, or whatever. But Ausone, the tiny superstar from St.-Emilion, came out today to the Bordeaux trade for 500 euros a bottle, and, yes…believe it or not, the wine trade couldn’t get enough of it.
Today Latour and Margaux (two potential 100-pointers in my mind) put their 2005 futures on the market for 350 euros ex-chateau to the Bordeaux wine trade. They were quickly trading at 410 to 420 euros to clients around the world.
I am speechless. Lafite and Mouton released their 2005 futures to the Bordeaux wine trade in the last 24 hours for 300 euros a bottle, and the global wine trade can’t get enough. In fact, I have been told that many are reordering! This means that Lafite and Mouton 2005 will be about $650 a bottle to American consumers – or more.
Had some friends over for dinner; a number were Tuscan winemakers, along with the head of Cuban cigar imports in Italy. The latter is a very keen wine drinker. In fact, he used to write about wine for a number of Italian wine publications years ago.
Why won’t the first growths release their prices? The whole world is waiting. We all know it’s going to be expensive. So just get it over with…. I would guess that they are going to be between 220 and 240 euros a bottle from the châteaus to the Bordeaux wine trade, and American consumers are not going to see much change from a $500 bill.
All was quiet on the Western Front. (At least at 5 pm today in mainland Europe.) No more big names were released on the market from Bordeaux. Everyone is still waiting for the rest of the first growths – Latour, Margaux, Lafite and Mouton – to come out with their prices.
Most people agree that two reasons exist to buy Bordeaux futures. The first reason is to save money. Basically, the future should cost less than when the wine is finally sold in bottle. The second reason is to secure early the specific wine that you want, which can be important for limited-production or super-popular wines.
I wrote yesterday that wine merchants were sending in their bids to negociants in Bordeaux for the second release of Haut-Brion. But they are wasting their time, or playing games with you, me and everybody else interested in Bordeaux.
One of the big problems with 2005 futures could be the following as pointed out in a comment in my blog by Karl Mark of Geneva, Illinois: "I seem to think that the US retailers will be the ones who take a hit on the 2005 Bordeaux.
Just spoke to a couple of Bordeaux traders and they said that they were not sure how to price their 2005 Haut-Brion. Apparently the chateau only released a small quantity of the 2005 on the market yesterday, and the lion’s share is going to be sold in a new bid system, whereby merchants send their bids to negociants.
The American-owned first growth Haut-Brion opened the 2005 futures market today by more than doubling its price from the year before and selling its wine for 200 Euros to the Bordeaux trade. And apparently the world can’t get enough.
Do you know the story about the goose that laid the golden egg? Well, Bordeaux appears to be killing the goose through greed. The goose, of course, is the consumer, and I just don’t think that the market will bear horrendous price increases for 2005 futures.
It had to happen. Château Malescot-St.-Exupéry, the Margaux wine estate, released its 2005 on the market today at more than double last year’s price. It went from about $18 a bottle from the chateau for the 2004 to about $38 for the 2005.
I was tasting some 2003 Chianti Classicos today, and I started to think how confusing the appellation really is. You can’t tell what you have in the bottle, from a cheap red with little or no character to a superstar pure Sangiovese with the class and aging potential of any great Italian red.
About a month ago, I did a tasting of three dozen vintages of Lynch-Bages in Los Angeles, and the owner of the estate, Jean-Michel Cazes, also brought along a number of older vintages of his cru bourgeois estate, Les Ormes-de-Pez.
Spoke to a few heavy-hitter wine merchants about the 2005 Bordeaux, and they seemed a little concerned. They said that they had not had the unbridled demand that they had expected for Bordeaux’s newest vintage, especially compared to 2000.
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