2013 Bordeaux Primeurs – Keep Calm and Carry On

by Charles Lea

2013 Bordeaux Primeurs – Keep Calm and Carry On

In recent vintages the Bordeaux primeurs campaign has been an unruly affair, stretching out until the beginning of the summer holidays with no one wanting to be the first to jump. This year it seems to be the opposite, with the premature and unhelpfully high-priced release from Pontet Canet, and today we have had a number of new releases too, none of which is really about to set the market alight.

Unfortunately Pontet Canet sold out (to the négociant trade in Bordeaux, the first hurdle), but is not showing much sign of selling on to the next level, the importers and merchants around the globe, let alone the end consumer. Unfortunately again, the Bordeaux Château owners are rather inclined to see this as rather a coup for Alfred Tesseron (owner of Pontet Canet, and an admiration of this act of silly timing is likely to be the most common reaction. It also puts some others in a real bind. Last year Jean-Charles Cazes pegged Lynch Bages to Pontet Canet’s price, but the result – there is much, much more Lynch than Pontet – was that Lynch was dumped everywhere as margins were slashed to get it to go through the system. What price can he accept this year and still save face? This is a shame as Lynch also showed better than Pontet at the primeur tastings last week.

Rather than playing the game and getting all over-excited, we would advise our customers to relax, enjoy Easter and calmly wait for a bit before deciding whether to take the plunge (or just a tickle) this year.

It is not that there will be nothing worth buying, it is just that there is really no rush for the moment. Certainly you do not need to sign up for ‘pre-orders’ to guarantee that you get a particular wine, but which may see you pay the wrong price for it. There is a lot of Bordeaux out there, much of it priced comparably to this year’s releases but from better vintages, some of which are well on the way to being drinkable. If you buy Bordeaux every year for the cellar, there are some good reasons to buy some of this year’s crop and put it away and forget about it. Inflation will see to it that when you come to enjoy them (and that will be quite soon for many of these wines, so they will not rack up huge storage bills) they will seem pretty reasonably priced – assuming release prices are where we hope.

For the record wines released so far include (prices per dozen in bond, six-bottle cases always available if you prefer)

Pontet Canet £675

Pichon Longueville Baron £600

Gazin £420

Smith Haut Lafitte £425

Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc £600 (this was good – it’s the only one here there might be a slight need to move in on)

Suduiraut £465

If you would like to order we’d be delighted to hear from you – please email sales@leaandsandeman.co.uk as I am in Verona for Vinitaly. It’s a tough life.