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First Growth buyers look to other 'hot' Bordeaux wines

Published:  10 April, 2012

Other "hot" wines from the Bordeaux 2011 vintage are being sought out as buyers await First Growth pricing, according to wine retailer Slurp.

The online merchant said it has already seen a demand for Pontet Canet, Montrose and Lynch Bages from its Bordeaux 2011 site that hosts new electronic 'wish list' technology, which it claims is more advanced than other merchant's current systems.

"By getting out early we caught a good number of early worms," said Dr Jeremy Howard, chief executive officer.

With rumours circulating of early release dates, Howard said it definitely seemed like people had been reading about possible price reductions and it saw a good amount of demand on the first day.

"Demand was mostly for the current 'hot' wines like Pontet Canet, Montrose, Lynch Bages etc.

"We didn't see much for First Growths yet but what was really pleasing was the amount of demand we have already recorded for Sauternes.

"There is definitely a sense that this could be a much better year for Sauternes - with good prices and excellent quality combining."

Howard added, final demand for other First Growths will however be very price dependent.

"For the last two years people have been able to buy En Primeur wines more cheaply in September than they could in the campaign in May or June.

"There is quite a lot of scepticism out there about the whole process - and we are going to need to see a proper discount to the physical market this year or a lot of people are just going to wait - safe in the knowledge that the wines will be the same price or cheaper in two years' time."

Jack Hibberd, head of data and research at the LivEx fine wine exchange, said from its analysis, 2011 vintage prices will have to be much lower to make it a "no- brainer" to buy, and need also to be cheaper than the current price of a comparable vintage.

"People are comparing the vintage to 2009 or 2010 prices, but those prices are not relevant, you need to look at ones such as 08 or 01.

"Pricing needs to take into account there are a lot better comparable vintages out there and unless the 2011s are priced right, the older vintages will be seen as better value."

As far as rumours of early release prices go, Stephen Browett, chairman of Farr Vintners, said: "I can't see any early release prices happening yet.

"Any serious château will not release its prices until Robert Parker goes out to Bordeaux at the end of the month."