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Bordeaux negociants discount badly-priced 2013 wines

Published:  28 April, 2014

Buyers are showing a continued lack of confidence in Bordeaux's 2013 en primeur campaign while badly priced wines are being discounted, said Bordeaux negociants Monday. 

Bordeaux's 2013 en primeur campaign, which is about three quarters complete, has been dogged by doubts over both the quality of the wines and nature of the prices. While doubts over quality have mainly been allayed, with merchants admitting that although the wines are not great, many are good, pricing has remained a sore point.

"Buyers are being very cautious and there is a general feeling that prices are not right," said negociant and producer John Kolasa. Kolasa, who manages negociant house Ulysse Cazabonne, also runs the Chanel owned estates Rauzan Ségla and Canon.

Asked if Bordeaux's negociants were discounting wines - a practice rarely admitted to and very much frowned upon - to trade buyers, Kolasa said there was talk of it. "Our customers are telling us they are getting discounts, so although I have no proof of that, it's definitely coming up in conversations."

Other negociants, who preferred not to be named, said well-priced wines were selling, but confirmed that discounts were being given where, as one said, "prices have not met market expectations."

Asked if negociants were being pressured to take stock by producers, most said yes, but one merchant said some châteaux were being a "more sensitive to market difficulties" this year.

For his part, Kolasa said that he'd had to refuse some offers. "There is always a bit of pressure [from producers] to buy, but we are turning down offers. I can't jeopardise my company to keep an allocation," he said.