The Bordeaux wine marketing machine so often seems to be down for the count but unseemingly it bounces back.
Well when I say that, it’s the Grand Cru Classe levels of Bordeaux which continue to sell well despite the bumpy ride from the GFC and a highly charged market.
That’s in some countries, particularly China and Hong Kong whereas in the US Bordeaux has been dumped on the local market at half cost due to lack of demand. It got so bad that one major wholesaler chose to vacate the Bordeaux category after two decades of participation.
And to save the day some Chateaux held their prices by buying back a raft of recent vintages from their US distributors, and re-directing the stock to East Asia.
The real issue is that enthusiastic buyers paid too much for the 2007 Bordeaux in general, for mediocre wines with too many market intermediaries adding to the “spin”.
And so when the better 2008 came along, in a saturated market the spin merchants ran short of higher prices, though many Chateaux owners had this in mind, though never revealed.
Now there is more hype that 2009 is fantastic with parallels drawn to other great years of decades gone by. Most probably the promoters of the hype are the beneficiaries of such sales because my considered opinion is not to get too carried away.
With a new vintage the real assessments only come out 5 and 10 years on to confirm or deny of holding up or simply being a disappointment.
Despite such levelling debate the Hong Kong auction scene has gone into the stratosphere with pricing for gems such as 1982 Petrus and 1990 Lafite of late, virtually raising the interest in all classed (meaning highly priced Bordeaux wine) into the bargain.
The 2009 primeur campaign (meaning pay for it now and receive the wine in 2012) is hotting up with most of the noise coming from Asia.
Yesterday UK’s Decanter magazine launched its Chinese version of the coverage which will be emailed from its Taiwan-base. http://www.decanter.com/news/296393.html
And my colleague Jeannie Cho Lee MW has been hot on this one, with special treatment visiting Chateaux in advance for 2009 tastings with advice that visitor numbers will run from 600-1200 people per day per property for the primeur week (early April).
Jeannie further advises that Thibault Pontallier, son of Margaux’s winemaker Paul will live in Hong Kong to manage the East Asian sales. Now that’s an endorsement of the drinking future for cabernet in the East.
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