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Mouton Rothschild, Margaux Announce 2010 Price Increases As Cos d’Estournel Reduces

June 28, 2011

Bordeaux’s 2010 futures campaign looks to be in crescendo this week, as first-growth châteaus Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild finally released their prices, along with several other prominent players, according to the latest report in Wine Spectator. Châteaus Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Haut-Brion have yet to offer their wines.

The trend of campaign, which has seen most chateaus posting price increases of 10 to 20 percent over the ‘09s (which at the time was the most expensive futures campaign in history), continued with Margaux and Mouton, as both wines offered ex-négociant at 600 euros per bottle (or about $860), up from 550 euros for the ‘09s. Major négociant houses reported solid sales for the first growth wines. (The ex-négociant price includes the negociant’s markup. By the time the wine goes through an importer, distributor and retailer for American consumers, the price will rise even further.)

“There is solid buying interest in Margaux, as well as for Pavillon Rouge (the estate’s second wine),” said Mathieu Chadronnier, general director of CVBG, one of Bordeaux’s major négociant houses. “For Mouton, the interest is clearly there as well.”

Less expected were decreases taken by two prominent second growths, Château Cos-d’Estournel in St.-Estèphe (198 euros, down from 215) and Château Ducru-Beaucaillou in St.-Julien (150 euros, down from 180 for the 2009). While both came out with lower prices, buying interest did not seem to increase despite the wines’ potentially classic quality.

Other prominent châteaus releasing prices this week included Pomerol’s Vieux-Château-Certan at 180 euros (its 2009 came out at 156 euros) and La Conseillante at 150 euros (up from 138). Margaux’s Château Palmer released its 2010 at 215 euros, flat compared to the estate’s 2009 price.

While buying interest in Asia and other markets has produced a surge in global demand, the U.S. market is showing less interest, due to economic difficulties and fatigue with Bordeaux after the much-hyped 2009 vintage. “With the prices now, it just doesn’t make sense to tie up capital in wines that won’t be here for a while,” said Tom Gannon, wine director at Rothmann’s Steakhouse in New York. Bordeaux is Gannon’s second-best selling category behind Napa Cabernet. But, “there’s no reason for us to buy futures. It’s easier to plumb collectors’ cellars for back vintages or take in stock of off years that are drinking well now.”

Others were even more blunt. “Customer interest is near nil, on all accounts,” said Daniel Posner, owner of Grapes The Wine Company, an independent wine retailer in White Plains, N.Y.

While prominent châteaus were taking marginal increases or even some decreases for the grand vins, there were also several noticeable price jumps for the estates’ second wines, which are garnering more attention from value-seekers. Ducru-Beaucaillou’s second wine, Croix de Beaucaillou, was being offered at 33.60 euros ex-négociant, up from 25.80 for the 2009, while Petit Mouton (the second wine of Mouton-Rothschild) nearly doubled, from 60 euros to 108 euros for the 2010. Chadronnier said interest has been big for the second wines, which seem far more attainable to buyers than their big brother first wines.

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