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Published:  23 July, 2008

As part of its January sale, Farr Vintners is offering hundreds of cases of 1997 Bordeaux at prices well below their opening en primeur values, with some top wines - such as La Conseillante, Loville-Las Cases and Lafleur - at less than half their original price. Lafleur has been reduced by 1,000 a case, to 650 in bond. According to Farr director Stephen Browett, We advised our customers that 1997 Bordeaux was over-priced when released en primeur, and consequently sold very little of it. However, other merchants were less sensible and we have recently bought several parcels (over 800 cases) of 1997 Bordeaux that we can offer at huge discounts off the original release prices. Customers can now buy these wines with the knowledge that they are drinking very well (it's honestly turned out to be quite a good vintage) and that the original buyers have stored them all this time and lost a load of money selling them for someone else to enjoy drinking now.' The high 1997 opening offer prices continued the upward spiral which started with the 1995 and 1996 vintages. Although the quality of the 1997 wines was generally good, in an approachable, lighter style, they did not merit prices which were often as high or higher than those for the more concentrated and structured 1995 and 1996 vintages. As Tom Hudson of Farr explained to Harpers, however, Bordeaux ngociants were holding the rest of the trade to ransom, threatening that they couldn't guarantee allocations in the vintages running up to the Millennium'. The badwill' engendered by the high 1997 prices has continued to be a factor in every en primeur campaign since, most recently in the severe warnings from UK merchants before the release of the 2001 prices. Farr is also offering up to 25% off stock of older wines which have levels that are slightly less than perfect (e.g. top shoulder) and/or labels that are scratched, stained, soiled or torn'. As such, they are said to represent great bargains to the drinker, rather than the bottle-fondler'.See