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Market frustrated at pricing of Bordeaux 2018

Published:  28 June, 2019

Traders have found the release of Bordeaux’s 2018 vintage “perplexing” and “frustrating”, according to a report from Liv-Ex.

The market view of the vintage, Liv-Ex reports, is that it exceeds 2017 in quality, but does not match 2016, 2010 and 2009.

But the vintage has been widely hailed by critics, with James Suckling in particular believing it could prove “an all-time great vintage”.

However, the critics have been less uniform in their judgement of specific wines. According to Liv-Ex’s fair value measure, which compares release price with the individual critic’s ratings, over half of the 82 major releases represented fair value or better on the ratings of Suckling and Lisa Perotti-Brown, while less than a third of them did so on those of Antinio Galloni.

The expectation among Liv-ex members was that the release would be priced at a 4.85% discount on 2016.

On average, however, the vintage was released at the same price level as the highly regarded 2016, with the average discount on current 2016 prices a modest 2.6%.

The wines that saw the highest demand were priced markedly lower than the current sale price of their 2016 counterparts. Lafleur was released at a 45% discount to its current 2016 price, and Canon at a 25% discount.

En primeur sales by volume were up 50%, and sales by value were up 60% on 2017. However, compared to 2016, sales volumes were down 40% and sales by value 12%.

Volumes released to market this year were down 20% overall, with some producers holding back significant quantities of wine. Rauzan Segla volumes were down 40% on 2017, for example, and Mouton Rothschild down 37%.

The high pricing of the 2018 vintage, relative to its perceived quality among traders, means that very few releases have developed a secondary market. With 2009 and 2010, over thirty wines were being traded soon after release.

Founded in 2000, Liv-Ex is a global online marketplace for the wine trade, with over 400 members worldwide.