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Investors put off by high en primeur prices rediscover back vintages

Published:  22 June, 2011

Bordeaux wine investors are rediscovering previous vintages after being put off by the double-digit price rises of the 2010 harvest, according to Bordeaux Index.

Bordeux Index managing director, Gary Boom says with the higher 2010 prices creating relative value for older wines, there's been a noticeable shift towards consumers buying back vintages - a trend that Asian drinkers have begun to adopt.

They now realise they can drink the same quality offered by first growths by carefully buying selected second to fifth growth wines.

Among the most sought after back vintages last month were Lynch Bages (2000 & 2008); Leoville Lascases (1996 & 2000); Ducru Beaucaillou (2003); Pichon Lalande (2000 & 2003); Pichon Baron (2000 & 2005); and Leoville Poyferre (2003).

Boom adds, the quality of the first growths from the '80s, '90s and the start of the millennium is the same as some of the second to fifth growths being produced today - châteaux that fall into this category are clearly benefitting from the time and money they've invested improving their product.

"Prices are definitely higher than last year, with rises in the area of 15% becoming the norm. That's higher than we - and most people - expected."

Boom said, globally, Asia remains the market's key dynamic and its growing demand means Asian buyers now account for around 50% of total sales.

"Up until recently, a key characteristic was that Chinese consumers in particular were only interested in 10 to 15 wines - brands like Lafite, Carruades, Lynch and Beychevelle," observed Gary Boom.

"The Chinese market is definitely wiser and more sophisticated. It's become increasing aware of less prestigious châteaux - or even Domaines from Burgundy and Italy."