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category: 期酒

7 四月 2015Bordeaux En Primeur 2014: worth considering

James Read

by James Read

We had the pleasure of making our annual trip to Bordeaux to try the 2014s last week and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of many of the red wines. In our view, it is a very good vintage, certainly the best since 2010, and if priced correctly could be a vintage to buy now for future drinking.

However, if the wines are priced too highly by the chateaux, there will be no reason to buy them now as comparable vintages which are nearing their drinking windows (such as 2008 and 2006) are still available on the market. The 2014s must be priced below the current market values of these wines to show value. Alas, we won't know this until the wines are released so in the meantime, we thought we would give you a picture of the vintage to help you make your buying decisions when the time comes. 

Overall quality of the vintage
Overall assessments on the quality level of a Bordeaux vintage are helpful in extreme vintages like 2005 or 2009 (which were great) or like 2013 (which was not very good at all except for the very top wines), but vintages like 2014 are harder to judge as a whole as the quality is less homogeneous. There were undoubtedly some very good wines (our favourite and best value wines are listed below) where the fruit, acid and tannin were all in balance and they will make for fantastic drinking in the medium to long term. However, there were also some wines which lacked ripeness and therefore had too much acid and tannin, making them harder to taste now and harder to enjoy in the future.

As a rough guide, the quality of the vintage as a whole is similar to 2001, 2006 and 2008 (which were better than 2002 or 2013 but not as good as the excellent 2005, 2009 and 2010).

We tend to describe vintage quality in terms of the red wines as the vast majority of Bordeaux we sell en primeur is red. However, it is worth noting that the dry whites in 2014 are excellent, combining lovely, ripe Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon fruit with mouth-watering acidity. We didn't try a bad wine.  

The vintage for Sauternes was also successful. It has not hit the quality heights of the stupendous 2001 but it is a very good vintage which displays ripe, sweet fruit with balancing acidity and some botrytis in the best wines giving them a certain level of complexity only found in the better vintages.  

Chateau Lynch Moussas, venue of the St Estephe and Pauillac tasting

Unusual weather conditions 
2014 was a very trying vintage for the vigneron as it was cooler than usual in July and August, when it was meant to be warm, and warm in September and October, when it was meant to be cooler. This extended the ripening period and allowed for the grapes from the successful vineyards to ripen physiologically and phenolically, giving good potential alcohol levels, balanced yet refreshing acidity levels, mature tannins and ripe fruit flavours. These grapes have made some very good wines indeed. However, some vineyards failed to ripen the grapes enough to make a totally balanced wine and the acidity and tannins really stood out when we tasted them last week. 

As a rule, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc fared better than Merlot as they benefited more from the extended growing season though as above, it is hard to make a general judgment as some Merlot-based wines were excellent.

The campaign has started already
The first wines are being released as we write this so please do let us know at your earliest convenience if there are any wines in which you are particularly interested so we can notify you immediately of its release. We expect the campaign to start properly in the next few weeks and carry through to May/June.

Why buy En Primeur from Ditton Wine Traders?
As always, we will offer the wines as and when they are released by the chateaux and will give our best, honest advice on whether they present good value or not. We are hoping the chateaux see this vintage as an opportunity to bring back their core buyers and as a result, we are hoping for some fair prices. Watch this space.

Finally, buying En Primeur from Ditton Wine Traders ensures that you pay the correct price: we will match the best price on the market (compared to reliable, comparable merchants).

In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to a successful Bordeaux primeur campaign.   

Our Favourite Wines (in alphabetical order)
Cheval Blanc
Ducru Beaucaillou
Eglise Clinet
Haut Brion
Lynch Bages
Mouton Rothschild
Pontet Canet
Vieux Chateau Certan

Our Best Value Wines estimated to be under £500 per case (in alphabetical order)
Calon Segur
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge
Duo de Conseillante
Grand Puy Lacoste
Gruaud Larose
Haut Bages Liberal
Haut Bailly
Leoville Barton
Malescot St Exupery
Phelan Segur
Rauzan Segla


 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒

3 四月 2014Bordeaux 2013: Why buy En Primeur?

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

It was no pretty picture that had been painted before we headed out to Bordeaux to try the much maligned 2013 vintage earlier this week. The press have not been scared to jump on the usual band-wagon before any wine had even been tasted, reporting that 2013 was a tricky growing season for Bordeaux. A fact that, rather unusually, the majority of the Chateaux owners have not been afraid to admit to also.


'With this type of vintage, nature reminds you that she's the boss in the end, you know you won't make the vintage of the Century’ said Olivier Berrouet, head of winemaking and vineyards at Petrus.

While consultant Stephane Derenoncourt told Decanter.com 'It was a war against nature, and it's very difficult to win.'

Tasting at a Negociant

We must remember though, that at the time they were released, 2002 & 2007 were considered poor vintages. Now however, many respected critics are praising those vintages as a joy to drink. It could be another 10 years before the 2005’s are fulfilling their promise, while it is vintages like 2013 that will sooner rather than later provide pleasure. If 2013’s are released somewhere lower than 2011 & 2012, and the wine made our list (or your preferred critic’s list), then it will certainly be worth looking at. We should not judge a wine by its vintage, and that is an important thing to remember.

Even a poor vintage does not have to mean it will be a poor En Primeur campaign. Especially if the pricing is correct.


Where wine merchants have in recent years boasted up to 90% of their turnover coming from Bordeaux, a more recent picture shows that this figure is dropping fast, due to what is seen as insignificant price decreases on release. Rather than making money on the vintages of the century (2009 & 2010), those who were prepared to put their money in to a product that wouldn’t be physically available for a further 2 years, have actually lost money.

The ‘average vintages’ of 2011 & 2012 didn’t help much either, as pricing was cut, but not by nearly enough.

It would seem a pretty simple problem to solve right? Cut prices enough and the wine will sell. And when better a time to do that than in the average vintages, especially where quantities are lower and it will cost less to do so.


The 3 key reasons for buying En Primeur:

  • To obtain a better price for investing your money in a product that is not physically available another 2 years.
  • To obtain future allocations. (Particularly useful in vintages such as this, where demand will not be as great).
  • To get the formats you like (Halves; Magnums & Double Magnums etc.). 

The new barrel room (Chai) at Montrose

The truth is that for the private customer, En Primeur is an exciting time in the calendar – as it gives the consumer an opportunity to purchase the wines they want at a cut price, in return for their early investment. We, the UK wine trade, would love to be involved in the trading of Bordeaux. Traditionally the strongest & most revered of all wine producing regions, it is with great hope that the Chateaux in Bordeaux price this campaign to work.

A couple of releases already have hinted that the campaign may not go the way we would like, but it’s too early to call yet, and we remain hopeful of some prices that will make sense to the consumer to come back to Bordeaux En Primeur.

One thing that does need to be understood however is that as long as there are cheaper vintages readily available in bottle, more expensive Primeurs will not sell.

One of our favourites: Calon Segur

But, let’s not write off the 2013 Bordeaux campaign just yet. It’s difficult to call a particular region, or a left/ right bank vintage, every appellation has produced some lovely wines, just not very many of them. Some of the Chateaux may well surprise us with their pricing – there were some very good wines produced, and if you’re not bothered about which vintage is on the label, and you’re more concerned with the quality in the bottle – provided the prices are right, these would be our top picks:



Calon Segur (& it’s cheaper stable mate, Capbern Gasqueton)

Cos d’Estournel

Pape Clement


Domaine de Chevalier

Leoville Las-Cases*

Pavillon Rouge de Margaux

l’Eglise Clinet*

Grand Puy Lacoste

* Top 3

Very Good

Mouton Rothschild

Pontet Canet

Sociando Mallet

Leoville Barton

Langoa Barton


Rauzan Segla

Chapelle d’Ausone

Saint Pierre


Domaine de Chevalier

Haut Batailley





Petit l’Eglise


Of course, we haven’t tasted all of the wines that Bordeaux has to offer, and the above only applies to the top 150 or so Chateaux in Bordeaux. The remaining 90% of Chateaux will have found the vintage very difficult without the expensive harvesting teams and sorting equipment.

If you would like to be kept informed on any particular Chateaux during the campaign, please do let us know. Our regular updates will be going out throghout the course of the campaign: If you would prefer not to receive these, please do let us know.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资价值

26 三月 2014En Primeur 2013: Kick off

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

An odd start to the 2013 En Primeur releases from Bordeaux, with one of their stars releasing well ahead of the rest.

We're due to head out there next week, along with the rest of the UK wine trade, to taste the wines. So, why couldn't they wait?

Pontet Canet have released their wine at the same price as last year, and told us that we cannot sell it for under £675 per case. No one's tasted it yet either.

We're offering the 2012 at £660 per case, and the 2007 at £500 per case. We have tasted the 2012 and loved it – in fact, we felt it was one of the best wines of the vintage, in our humble opinion, and also that of Neal Martin. The 2007 remains a great value Pontet Canet that's ready to be drunk now.

The 2013 could be stellar, it could be a 100 pointer, after all, Pontet Canet's bio-dynamic & meticulous vineyard management makes it very difficult for them to produce a bad wine. But, no one's tasted it yet – so our advice would be to hang on (at least until there's some idea as to the quality), and if you'd like some brilliant Pontet Canet, for now, take the 2012, or the 2007 which is ready to drink...

Pontet Canet 2013 – £675/ case (12x75) EP
£70 per bottle inc. duty & VAT

No tasting notes available

Pontet Canet 2012 – £660/ case (12x75) EP
£68.46 per bottle inc. duty & VAT
What is a primeur report without one of Pauillac’s most dynamic estate? I made the trip through the rain to taste their 2012. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 30% Merlot, the latter was cropped from 4th October and the Cabernet Sauvignon from 11th October, finishing six days later. The 50% of the crop once aged in new oak and one-year old barrels are now matured in concrete vats whilst 35% of the crop is aged in clay amphora quarried from their own vineyard. There is certainly great purity and terroir expression on the nose: blackberry, briary and background scents of fresh raspberry and cold stone. The definition is very impressive. The palate is interesting – quite different from the previous vintages. I love the tannins here – very fine but lending the Pontet-Canet great backbone It is utterly harmonious but I feel more understated, perhaps more controlled than recent vintages. The finish is much more introspective – a Pauillac politely informing you to go away and wait before bottling before making any judgement! This is a divine Pontet Canet – very succinct.
94-96 Points, Neal Martin
91-94 Points, Robert Parker

Pontet Canet 2007 – £500/ case (12x75) IB
£52.46 per bottle, inc duty & VAT
Tasted at Bordeaux Index’s Pontet-Canet dinner at The Ledbury. The 2007 continues to be a great Pauillac considering the vintage. Here the nose closed at first back opens up nicely with blackberry and graphite, less of the Margaux element that I noticed a few months ago. The palate has volume so atypical for the vintage with soft caressing tannins and a very harmonious blackcurrant, mulberry and vanilla tinged finish.
93 Points, Neal Martin
91-94 Points, Robert Parker

Offered subject to remaining unsold.

2013 shipping spring 2016;
2012 shipping spring 2015;
2007 shipping 3-4 weeks.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资价值

18 三月 2014Fear not: This is not Bordeaux 2009 & 2010

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

Pricing in Bordeaux is often one of the most delicate of subjects. Especially now more than ever before, as prices continue to plummet, burning those that sought to invest in the ‘life-changing’ vintages of 2009 & 2010.


The Liv-Ex Fine Wine 50 Index showing the last 6 months


The prices will come around again, and those prepared to hold long enough will certainly see an upside. Prior to the unprecedented number of 100 point scores Parker gave out in the 2009 vintage, the best priced 100 pointer you could have picked up, in red Bordeaux, would have been Pavie 2000, which at the time the 2009 Bordeaux scores were released, was trading at around £4,000 per case of 12 bottles. It now trades slightly over this at £4,500, which isn’t too bad considering it has since also been promoted to the same status as Ausone and Cheval Blanc.

So, relatively speaking, that 100 point Second Growth at £2,000 looks pretty well priced. Or, it will do, at some point.

Until then though, what should we be looking at? We’ve been to Italy with Super-Tuscans, and we’ve pushed Burgundy prices through to the next level too. Champagne? Perhaps, but again, prices are on the up, and the wines don’t really satisfy a palate hell bent on some good old Cabernet.


It’s an old idea, nothing original about it. But, the secret is in identifying the specifics.

Older Bordeaux.



We all want to drink that 2009 Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse. It scores 100 points. The only other Beausejour with the same score and drinking now, the 1990, will cost you about £800 per bottle on the table. The 2009 around £320 per bottle.

But, do we really need a Parker 100 pointer? I know we’d like one, but is it necessary for our enjoyment of a bottle. Arguably, we’re still being fickle in seeking the label anyway – do we really need the perfect score too? Isn’t 9 out of 10 good enough? (One can convert 90 points to 9 out of 10 right?)

For the price of one bottle of the 2009, you could have an entire case of the 2004. The Beausejour Duffau 2004 still scores an impressive 90 points from Parker.

At £39 per bottle on the table for the 2004, compared to £320 per bottle for the younger, less approachable 2009 – is there any doubt as to which we should be snapping up as soon as possible, before everyone missing their Bordeaux fix cottons on?

Other such examples are listed below, and we advise you to fill your boots. And then buy more boots, and fill those too.

All prices below are inclusive of duty & VAT, and available in cases of 12 bottles.

Beausejour Duffau

2009 – £320/ bottle – 100 Points

2004 – £39/ bottle – 90 Points

Cos d’Estournel

2009 – £215/ bottle – 100 Points

2006 – £85/ bottle – 94 Points

Vieux Chateau Certan

2009 – £210/ bottle – 99 Points

2004 – £90/ bottle – 93+ Points


2009 – £250/ bottle – 100 Points

2001 – £72/ bottle – 90 Points

Haut Bailly

2009 – £100/ bottle – 98+ Points

2008 – £58/ bottle – 96 Points


If you’d like to secure any of the above, or discuss others, please do get in touch –

We can be reached on 020 8 339 9112, or info@dittonwinetraders.co.uk


 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资价值

19 十一月 2013木桐酒庄酒标新闻:盖•德•胡蒙

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

With a recent history of being able to start a market rally with their wine label releases, especially after the Chateau announced Chinaman Xu Lei would design their 2008 label, today’s news of Mouton Rothschild’s ‘art-work’ for the 2011 vintage has fallen somewhat short in terms of excitement generated.



French painter & sculptor, Guy de Rougemont, joins the list of artists to design the label for the Chateau, a tradition started in 1945.

The last Frenchman to produce a label for the château was Bernar Venet, who designed the 2007 label. Last year’s artist, Jeff Koons, has been more heavily involved with the design around bottles and labels in recent months, producing the ‘balloons’ design for Dom Perignon earlier this year.

A member of the Academy des Beaux Arts, Guy de Rougemont’s work encompasses “the clarity of vines in sunshine to the darkness of the cellars – all the stages of the birth of a great wine,” according to the Chateau.


His previous works & achievements have included the courtyard at the front of the Musée d’Orsay, as well as much admired modern furniture designs.

‘Guy de Rougemont is an old friend of mine,’ Chateau owner Baroness de Rothschild told decanter.com. ‘We first met when I was 18 years old, and I have followed his career ever since.’

One of the stars of the 2011 vintage, and a wine Parker has described as “significantly more powerful, rich and textured than… Lafite Rothschild,” the Mouton Rothschild 2011 is currently trading at £3,800 per 12 bottles under bond.


For more information on Mouton Rothschild, please see our feature on Mouton here.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

30 五月 2013享受克里奈堡的一晚

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

An evening with Château Clinet


Ronan Laborde does not look like the typical Pomerol Château owner. In fact, Ronan does not behave like the stereo-typical Chateau owner either. As one of the youngest in the business, his approaches to wine-making at Chateau Clinet – and indeed to marketing – are very refreshing.

Unsurprisingly therefore, expectations were running high amongst our guests, long before dinner took place at the end of May. Set in the splendid surroundings of London’s Vintners Company, we welcomed Ronan & Monique from Château Clinet.

In the hope that everyone’s minds might be a little more relaxed after a few glasses of our house pop, the Domaine J Laurens Blanquette, we launched the evening’s programme. Two informal talks –the first an animated history of Clinet by Ronan, and the second, an insightful presentation from Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate, perhaps the best qualified commentator on the history of Pomerol.

Such a topic demanded appropriately fine wines, so our presentations were accompanied by the truly unsurpassed 2005, and the surprisingly approachable 2011 – a wonderfully characterful vintage despite having been bottled only a week prior to its first UK outing at our dinner.















Those of you who have been fortunate enough to dine in the Vintners’ Livery Hall would have salivated at the prospect of trout served with Bauduc 2012, followed by lamb cutlets accompanied by both Clinet 1996 and the 2001. The white chocolate tart dessert was served with what, we were sadly advised, were some of the very last bottles of the 1993. (Ronan tells us he tries to drink Red with every course!) These are now exceptionally difficult to find. The reason? Clinet sells 98% of each vintage En Primeur, so there is next to nothing left – even in the Château library stock. An excellent reason why Château Clinet is best bought En Primeur.



The 2001 was however an equal star of the evening, wowing most of our guests, but again, very little remains of this brilliant example of aged Pomerol. 

Whether or not you were amongst our dinner guests, we are able to offer the following wines from the evening, in the certain knowledge that you will not be disappointed:

Château Clinet 2001 – £700/ case (12x75) IB

Château Clinet 2012 – £490/ case (12x75) EP

Ronan, by Clinet 2010 – £72/ case (12x75) IB 

Bauduc 2011/ 2012 – £112/ case (12x75) DP


Domaine J Laurens, Le Moulin, Blanquette de Limoux – £90/ case (12x75) IB

In the meantime, it only remains for us to extend our gratitude to Ronan Laborde and Monique Montepini of Château Clinet, Gavin Quinney of Château Bauduc, and of course Giles Smith-Walker, The Independent Vintner for making our first dinner venture such a brilliant success!


From the unanimously positive feedback we’ve received from guests at our first dinner, I am pleased to announce that Ditton Wine Traders intend to make these events worthy, if occasional, highlights in our calendar – to which end we are already planning another spectacular event for autumn.

We’ll be announcing full details towards the end of the summer but, If you would like to express an early interest to secure your place, please do not hesitate to contact us at: info@dittonwinetraders.co.uk or on 0208 339 9112.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

16 四月 20132012年份波尔多佳酿

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

A quick campaign!?

In a complete reversal on the late and sporadic releases of last year, it looks as though the Chateaux of Bordeaux won’t even allow the trade back to their desks before releasing their prices in this year’s campaign. Early reports claim that the campaign should all be over by Vinexpo, which runs 16th to 20th June, much earlier than last year’s finish in July.

So, with that in mind, and the possibility of further large releases during the course of this week (Source: Decanter), we will keep our report brief. In our opinion, if the pricing is right, this is a vintage not to be missed. There are some excellent wines to be had, with a quality that reaches higher points than 2011 did.

The Ditton team of two were in Bordeaux last week to find out exactly what the wines are like, and where they should be placed in the market. Having purposefully avoided all tasting notes and vintage reports already released, we went over there with no pre-conceptions as to the quality of the wines. I think it is fair to say we were pleasantly surprised.

 Chateaux Clinet & l'Eglise Clinet


The Vintage…

As promised above, we want to keep this brief – so, as in “here’s one someone else prepared earlier” style – courtesy of Jancis Robinson and Gavin Quinney – an excellent weather report can be found here.

One of the key points here, is that following on from the two excellent previous vintages, 2011 and 2012 have it pretty tough. But, and this is key, they (‘11 & ’12) are not nearly the same vintage due to completely differing weather conditions throughout the two vintages. It is likely though that the two will be compared, simply because they are not 2009 and 2010. So, prices are bound to be compared to the 2011 releases. And on that factor, I think it is fair to say that any 2012’s released at a lower price than the 2011’s will look a relatively good buy. It is, on the whole, and in our opinion, a better vintage than 2011.

The buzz words in the 2012 vintage will be “fresh, balanced, approachable, and elegant,” to name a few. These do provide a pretty fair description. The 2012’s are not “classic” Bordeaux to put away for 30 years (with some exceptions.) On the whole, they are wines that will really appeal to drinkers. They have the typicity of their appellations; they will be approachable early on. In short there are some spectacular wines to be had, especially on the right bank, where this is a vintage that has allowed Pomerol in particular to produce wines with brilliant balance, incredibly fine tannins, and a real elegance.

The Vineyard's of Vieux Chateau Certan


Our Picks

It looks likely that some big names will be released prior to Parker’s scores, such as this morning’s Chateaux Gazin, which can be bought from us at £450/ 12. This, we feel, is excellent news! Although we’ll happily give you a few of our highlights, these are very unlikely to move the market. It is anyone’s guess as to which wines will perform well with Parker, and therefore too, a gamble as to which wines will offer potential re-sale value. Again, a huge positive for the drinker!

Pomerol is the area that really stood out for us – with La Fleur Petrus, l’Eglise Clinet and Vieux Chateau Certan all excellent. The fantastically intense Conseillante will divide opinion, while Chateau Clinet have continued their run of exceptionally well made wines.

5 minutes down the road in St Emilion, Ausone, although impossibly difficult to assess at this stage, shows superb promise, along with its second wine Chapelle  d’Ausone with similar characteristics, yet more approachable now. Clos Fourtet we felt was another excellent St Emilion, along with Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Troplong Mondot and Clos de Jacobins.

Tasting at Ausone

Over on the left bank, the vintage becomes harder to group. Pauillac, St Julien and St Estephe are all inconsistent in terms of quality. Chateau Latour, as well as showing their 2012’s, also showed their latest “ready to drink” ex Chateau releases, as part of their plan to remove themselves from the En Primeur system. More about those later, but I think it is fair to say I would rather be buying the Forts de Latour 2005 than the 2012. Although we’d heard of bad samples in the past, at Lafite we think we encountered one, and so it would be unfair to pass judgement without trying it again. The Carruades however, was one of the best we have tasted. Of the first growths in the Medoc, it is perhaps Mouton who have produced some of the finest wines in 2012, where special mention should go to Clerc Milon. Mouton and Petit Mouton are both brilliant.

Bruno Borie has made some special wines at Ducru Beaucaillou, with both the Grand Vin and the second wine Croix de Beaucaillou performing well above the average. Should the price be right on Lalande Borie, this too will offer lovely mid-term drinking.

Tasting at Ducru Beaucaillou

Pontet Canet, in recent years always one of the most consistent, have produced arguably the best wine on the left bank in 2012. Other gems include St Pierre, Branaire Ducru and Lynch Bages.

Sadly, we felt Margaux was a little disappointing, with some highlights, including Brane Cantenac, Giscours, Rauzan Segla and Malescot. Unfortunately because of time restraints, we did not manage to taste in Graves, and so notes on those wines will follow soon. Finally, unless priced well below market, most Sauternes will be trumped by their 2011 counterparts.

Horses & tasting at Pontet Canet

2012 Bordeaux vs others –

To summarise, the 2012 vintage has produced some truly brilliant wines, but of course, whether or not to buy them will depend much on price, and whether or not it makes sense compared to previous vintage prices of equal quality. What we must remember though, is that quality in 2012 can be very high. Having spoken to many Chateaux owners, and wine-makers, it is very difficult to compare this vintage to any other previous vintage. 2001 & 1999 were mentioned, but we were told on many occassions you might have to go back to the '70's to find similar.

If you are new to buying Bordeaux En Primeur, the 2012’s will offer an excellent opportunity to start your collection, as many will offer short to mid-term drinking, yet there are those that will evolve beautifully over the next few decades. En Primeur is also an excellent time to get requests in for larger format bottling, as well as half bottles.

As stated above, we prefer this vintage overall to 2011, and would urge consumers to buy, provided releases are at the right price. We’re very happy to advise on your favourite Chateaux, regions, or whether a wine looks good value for money and may have the potential for re-sale in the future.

With every release we offer, we’ll show its price in comparison to previous vintages, any tasting notes available, and we’ll also provide our own thoughts on the wine. This is however a very difficult vintage to compare to previous vintages in terms of quality – but placing it above 2011 gives some idea.

If you have any ‘wants-lists,’ or wines you’d particularly like to be kept updated on, please do let us know and we will do our best to offer these to you as soon as possible. 

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资价值

10 一月 2013今年葡萄酒价格预计将上涨14%

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

"Fine wine prices could rise 14% this year." Headline news on Decanter’s website this morning – coming from The Wine Investment Fund’s investment manager, and former government economist, Chris Smith. He predicts a worst-case scenario of a fall of 5% this year in the Liv-Ex 100, with a rise of 25% “well within the bounds of possibility.”



Economic environment, a dismal En Primeur Campaign, and a high level of net sales by professional asset managers were the three main factors, according to Smith, which caused last year’s downturn in the wine market, with conditions now appearing much brighter. 


Smith gives 3 main reasons for optimism in 2013: The falls in 2012 took place in the first half of the year, with the second half of the year seeing a return to stability and some recovery; Prices have fallen to below trend, potentially allowing for a sharp recovery; And, the institutional sales have fallen away. (Click here to read the full article).


“We believe that now may prove to be as good a time to enter the market as we have seen since 2009,” Smith said. We’re inclined to agree with Smith, particularly because “the risk profile of the market compares much more favourably to recent years.”


To add to this, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index closed at its highest point yesterday since August 2011. In the past, there has been a correlation between this index and fine wine prices as measured by the Liv-Ex 100.  Interestingly, the Liv-ex 100 now is 32% lower than it was in August 2011, suggesting that – if the correlation still exists –  the Liv-Ex 100 has some catching up to do.

The Liv-Ex 100

Should you agree that now may prove to be as good a time to enter the market as we have seen since 2009, please see below for some recommendations that look particularly attractive.


Hermitage La Chapelle 2010 – £540/ case (6x75)

96+ Robert Parker

(2009 market price £700/ case – 97 Robert Parker)


Guigal La Mouline 2005 – £2,500/ case (6x75)

100 Robert Parker

(1999 market price £3,250 – 100 Robert Parker)


Pontet Canet 2010 – £1,295/ case (12x75)

96-100 Robert Parker

(2009 market price £1,550 – 100 Robert Parker)


If you require full tasting notes, or more information, please do not hesitate to ask.  Alternatively, please do get in touch to discuss any needs you might have.


Wines offered subject to availability.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒勃艮第葡萄酒中国期酒投资

8 八月 2012购买的时机

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

Following recent speculation that the market has either hit the bottom, or is indeed very close to the bottom, we decided to take a look further into this. 

Lots of charts, graphs, data etc – and if you are interested to find out why now is the time to buy, and exactly what you should be buying, please read on, because the results below are very positive. 

Until recently, wine was considered, like most investments, as a mid to long term investment. It is only now following some of the crazy gains that were realised by the Far East’s brilliant buying, that many have entered the market expecting immediate returns.
What has happened as a result, is that those who were buying for immediate returns have been pushed to sell during the market low, for fear of losing yet more on their investment, often only made 12 months ago – this leaves us with some very good pricing in the current market, and if you are going to take a mid- long term view on your purchases, please read on.

The Liv-Ex Fine Wine 100

Livex 100


The Liv-Ex 100 above shows that since this time last year, prices have been seeing a dramatic fall – which reflects completely the feeling within the industry. It has been a slow year, not helped by a dreadful en primeur campaign in the spring. The positive thing to note here however, is that the Liv-ex 100 is now below the level that it was at 4 years ago. This means that the inflation, largely driven by mass buying that came from Hong Kong and China (as well as U.K speculators) over the last four years is over, and now the situation is a lot more stable.


 What Liv-Ex has to say: "Time to Buy"


The Liv-Ex Fine Wine 50 below shows that over the past month, the market has started to level out. 

Livex 50


The market is now poised to start behaving in the fashion that it did before China became involved, but with the extra impetus of this additional market. Put plainly, China will buy as much, if not more fine wine than it ever has, but it is now buying at a much steadier rate. However, the traditional capital growth rate of fine wine – in the region of perhaps 15-30% a year depending on Label and vintage – should increase as the extra demand from the Chinese market reduces a supply of wine that will remain constant.

Based on the above, and the price drops we've been seeing, this does indeed seem the time to be buying – so what should you be buying? 
After many weeks of painstaking work for our customers, we have compiled a list of what we consider to currently hold claim to the most investable wines on the market right now. In order to produce this data we have:

  • Taken an average (Parker) score over the last 11 years of Red Bordeaux, and chosen only those in the top 50.
  • Compiled data on the average market price for all of these wines, from only the very best vintages from and including 1982 vintages.
  • This market price is then divided by the score to give a £/ point per bottle value.

We believe we have covered the following considerations:

  • Great/ legend vintage
  • High Parker Score
  • Lower comparable price or status to similar vintages
  • Legend Wines
  • Low £/ point values

It is impossible to think that some of the “legends” out there, like the Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse 1990 (trading around £8,500), will fall lower than the current pricing, which has seen an increase on last year’s market high point. Although this is not high on our list of selected wines, it bodes well for the 2009 (trading around £2,500), which scored perfectly, and if held on to for many years, should well see the sort of demand, and value that the 1990 sees today, plus inflation.
Based on these criteria we have created a thorough spread sheet of data, highlighting those wines that look way and above hundreds of others as absolutely brilliant buys. Below we have taken a snap shot of some of this data for you, to show the sort of results that have been produced:
Things for you to consider:

  • 1982 – The all-time most sought after and in demand vintage – still with many years ahead of it. Availability is constantly decreasing, while demand is always there.
  • 100 Pointers – before the 2009 re-ratings which created 19 100 pointers, the market low for a red Bordeaux 100 point wine was Pavie 2000 at £4,000/ case.
  • Prices are currently much lower than last year’s high, and we are starting to see a slow increase in demand.
  • After En Primeur 2005, prices saw some levelling out as the market didn’t immediately take to the price increases, before the market climbed dramatically – these release prices now look cheap.
  • Bargains are becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of. 

Just a few of our highlighted wines are shown below

(Prices, in bold show current pricePrices in green show market high 12 months agored shows how much the wine has moved down in price since last year)
1982 – La Mission – 100 RP - £8,500 (£11,000-£2,500 (in stock)
1996 - Latour – 99 RP - £5,900 (£8,000-£2,100 (in stock)
2005 - Ausone – 100 RP - £6,700 (cs/6) (£9,000-£2,300 (in stock)
Part of the spread-sheet used to collate data:

Wine 1986 £ 1986 RP 1986 £/ Point/ bottle 2003 £ 2003 RP 2003 £/ Point/ bottle
Lafite 12,500 100 10.42 8,250 100 6.88
Latour 4,200 90 3.89 7,750 100 6.46
Haut Brion 4,000 94 3.55 3,100 95 2.72
Margaux 4,600 98 3.91 4,600 99 3.87
Mouton 6,800 100 5.67 3,200 95.5 2.79


Top £/ Point (per bottle) value

Cos d'Estournel 1,500 95 1.32
Gruaud Larose 1,600 96 1.39
Leoville Las Cases 3,000 99 2.53
Margaux 4,600 98 3.91


This data, when used in full, should prove invaluable to anyone seriously considering a mid to long term investment. If this is you, and you would like to discuss the options, please do get in touch with us. We are more than happy to call at a time convenient to you, or alternatively, send us an email with any questions you may have. Please also see our fine wine market update for more information.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒中国期酒投资

29 六月 2012六月市场更新信息

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

The last 12 months have been challenging for the fine wine market. The fall in prices that started in July 2011 has continued after a brief despite at the beginning of the year. This has resulted in the Liv-ex 100 falling 27% in 1 year time.

Livex 100


The severity as well as the duration of this downturn has taken most by surprise. If you look at the trading climate, it was and to a certain extent still is like a perfect storm. There is continued and severe European and indeed global economic uncertainty. China’s economy is not as buoyant as it was and access to credit is harder. More specific to wine, demand from China has halted for the moment. Whilst demand from the end consumer is still there, it will take time to get through the stock that is currently sitting with merchants in HK and China.

And then there was Bordeaux 2011, a disastrous campaign that has actually caused price drops to gain momentum as it managed to alienate quite a few Bordeaux aficionados. A significant amount of investment wine has been dumped on the back of the campaign, primarily by private collectors that couldn't stomach the continuous drop in price as well as the negative sentiment surrounding anything Bordeaux.

At present, momentum is against fine wine investors, particularly where Bordeaux is concerned.


Looking ahead

However, there are also a number of signs on the plus side, that we should take into account.

Firstly, if you look at above graph, you will see that the Livex 100 is back to the level where it was exactly 4 years ago. It is at the previous peak, just before Lehmann. More importantly, 4 years ago China had not started buying en masse. Therefore, the whole "China effect" seems to have been negated by now. If there was a bubble, it's not there anymore. Moreover, from a technical, chart-reading point of view, it is a powerful signal when a long term, falling trendline reaches a previous high.

Secondly, investment has become much more important than it was some years ago. There are professional investors like fine wine funds and reportedly even institutional investors active in the market. On top of that there are vast amounts of private investors. These companies and people won't go away, not unless fundamentals change dramatically, which is something we don't think will happen. The professionals in particular will keep on searching for value and opportunities and at some point, they will start buying again.

The third point has to do with short term, tactical market developments. Most stockholders that had to sell have by and large done so now. In a market as small as fine wine, this is significant as any marked increase in supply will drive prices down. This downward force seems to peter out. On the demand side, we see increased demand from our customers in China as well as UK investors. It's not a massive change but it's encouraging and it's being confirmed by fellow UK and French merchants.

The summer will likely be quiet, as it always is. We don't expect a significant change in sentiment over the summer, but we do expect prices to stabilise in general whilst the best investment wines might start to go up again. Expect bargains to become more difficult to come by.

There are some interesting strategies to take advantage of current market conditions. For example, there certainly are some classic investment wines that arguably have taken too much of a hammering. We also think there is value beyond Bordeaux. Some of those wine are not correctly priced, neither in absolute nor in relative terms. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Tignanello – one of our hot picks


Finally, when trying to make sense of the market, it is useful to remember that the fine wine investment market has changed dramatically over the last few years. It traditionally was something for the happy few, who’d buy en primeur, stick their purchases away for years and in the longer run did very well. Prices typically moved slowly and there were years where the market hardly moved at all.

Now, there are professional wine investment funds and a greatly increased number of private investors and companies that cater to them. There is new, but not necessarily stable global demand for wine. These people and companies buy, but obviously they also sell (rather than just drink). This has caused volatility to increase sharply, both up and down. Investment horizons have shortened. Buy and sell signals cause a much larger fluctuation now, simply because there is much more activity and supply is still limited.

This will spook some of the more risk averse investors. It also represents opportunity to the perhaps more brave investor.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒勃艮第葡萄酒中国期酒投资

22 五月 20122011波尔多期酒:错过的机遇

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

One word to describe the Bordeaux 2011 En Primeur campaign: shambolic.

Some more words: gross mismanagement. Short sighted. No vision or direction. No timing. No respect whatsoever for the merchants and more importantly, the consumer. An absolute shambles.

Who’s to blame? The Chateaux for not listening? The courtiers (the guys who are the go between Chateaux and French Negociants) for not being able to make a market, which is what they are supposed to do and are handsomely paid for?

Probably both. Matter of the fact is that, whilst there was a chance that Bordeaux 2011 would sell, that hope is now all gone. Consumers have switched off. The merchants can’t keep up with the deluge of “we don’t care what you say, we will release all at the same time anyway” releases. Even very well priced releases are lost in the now prevailing mood of disinterest.

For example, yesterday saw some brilliant wines released with both Pichons, Clos Fourtet, the very well-priced Petit Mouton, Leoville Poyferre and Leoville Barton to name a few. The result? Zilch. No cases sold. None.

Prices have not been too bad, but with a few exceptions, they have not been good enough. This however is not the sole reason this campaign has failed miserably. The main reason, as we see it, is the speed with which the campaign has been conducted, and the frustration that has caused with merchants and consumers alike.

Before the campaign started, we heard all of Bordeaux saying: “yes we have listened and yes we will release quickly.” Then Lafite came out. Quickly, pre-Parker and at a good price. Very well done, a good buy and sending the right message. Then, nothing, until Cos d’Estournel, which was a disaster both with pricing and the efforts to defend that price. Then nothing again, for days. Then Pontet Canet, who got it right. Then nothing again, for days. And then, all of a sudden, as if bitten by a venomous snake, an avalanche of releases. So much so that nobody could handle it. To the point where one of the very biggest UK merchants asked Negociants to stop sending them offers because they couldn’t give them the attention they deserved…

That says something. But did it change anything? No. The very next working day saw another 20 or so Chateaux release.

And that’s where the real problem lies. It’s not the price per se. It’s the disjointedness, the lack of, well, respect, for the people that actually sell the wine. And most of all, for the people that buy the wine. How on earth can you expect the average consumer to keep his interest when he receives 40 offers a day, without a proper recommendation from his merchant? You can’t, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. The whole wine trade has been begging Bordeaux to pace itself and to price well. The result: even more releases at, generally speaking, prices which are not interesting enough.

It’s left the entire trade and our customers with a massive hangover. We’re left thinking “why?” How can anybody think this is the right way to go about selling their wine? A wine that Chateaux owners have spent so much effort on, for a whole year, with so much passion and pride, only to be adulterated in a 30 second phone call to the courtier. Why?!

We honestly do not understand. We – and we are not alone in this – just can’t understand why, if you want to sell your wine, you would go about it in such a shambolic way. Your wine deserves better than that.


The way en primeur is sold

The only explanation we can think of is the way that Chateaux owners sell their en primeur wine. Meaning that there is no real “market place.” It’s not like gauging demand and setting prices accordingly. Or consulting customers on how best to sell your latest product, including the timing of it. We understand that there are a lot of Chateaux and it must be challenging to get the timing right. Or is it? It would be in an open market. But this isn’t an open market. This is a market where 200 Chateaux talk to 20 courtiers who talk to 200 Negociants. Max. Far less if you focus on the big players alone. Surely it can’t be too difficult to manage releases – both in timing and in price – in such a way that customers actually have a chance to be interested?

One can’t escape the feeling that the Chateaux just don’t care, because they will sell it anyway. Or rather, force feed it into the Negociants, who will have to buy for fear of losing their allocations. A harsh conclusion, but difficult to escape.


Stop force feeding


En primeur in the future

This might work for a while, but it’s not sustainable. The system where Negociants will buy regardless, postpones reality and will dilute the impact of real demand, but it only goes so far. In the end, you can’t escape the reality of supply and demand. In the end, it’s all about the consumer. Consumers can’t be held to ransom or coerced into buying something that doesn’t have merit in itself. As a private buyer, the opportunity to keep one’s allocation of a great wine only holds value if: a) it always comes at a good price, now and in the future, b) it won’t be available at the same price later on and c) it’s a wine that you would love to drink.

Even more importantly, the real danger here is the public perception of Bordeaux. Extremely cynical campaigns like this one, on the back of the hugely expensive 2009 and 2010 campaigns, run a risk of consumers turning their back on Bordeaux. Reluctantly, but they will. Nobody wants to feel as if they’ve been taken for a ride. Treated without respect. Force-fed. 

To the Bordeaux Chateaux owners and to the Courtiers: the public, the people that actually like to drink Bordeaux, don’t need to buy your wines. They would love to, but, believe it or not, they have many, many other options to spend their money on and merchants around the world are very happy to point out these opportunities. You have now seen that the Chinese market, as promising as it seemed to be, is not the promised land of anything goes. If you’re not careful, other more established markets will follow suit.

You can shoot the messenger but somebody in the trade has to say it. If you decide to slash our allocations for telling it as it is, so be it. If on the other hand you think there is merit in what we say, then please reconsider the way you’re selling your great wines. Please do make sure you don’t lose your loyal customers that love to buy their favorite Bordeaux En Primeur.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒

14 五月 2012期酒之战的制胜5要诀

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

Every year, merchants and buyers alike get excited about the prospect of En Primeur, even in lesser vintages – for merchants, an opportunity to go and try the new wines that the Chateaux have spent the past year working hard on producing, chatting to the owners about the vintage; its difficulties and challenges, and then trying to gain an understanding of it all.

For buyers, it’s an opportunity to listen to what their merchants have to say about the wines, and hopefully pick up some well-priced wines that won’t be ready for two years at least. Sadly, this year, despite the early pressure for a sensible and quick campaign, things seem to have taken a turn for the worse on this rainy Monday afternoon in London – and as such, we felt compelled to put together a short list on how we might run a Bordeaux campaign…

2011 En Primeur UGC tasting

• Cheap releases are the way forward, otherwise buyers will quit En Primeur altogether. People traditionally buy En Primeur because it is cheaper than buying the wines that are already available. There would be no point in buying something that is not available for two years, (and even once available cannot be drunk for another 5 at least) unless it is significantly cheaper than those wines that are available already with similar reviews.

• Release early, and get ahead of the game – if better wines are releasing before you, it is too late. Merchants will not offer wines if they come out at the same time as better wines, with similar prices. There has been ample time available for the Petit Chateaux to release in the previous four weeks – doing it on the same day as Lynch Bages makes no sense!

• Don’t all come out at the same time!! How can merchants keep buyers interested with an offer every minute!? Spread them out…

• Do not undermine those trying to sell your wines. Merchants do not like being told that the pricing structure is okay (Cos), when it clearly isn’t. Although Bordeaux have been making wine for a long time, the merchants have been selling it just as long – if they claim a price isn’t right, it probably isn’t.

• Don’t build the future price into current releases. If the price moves up in the future, so be it – it does so because it has age and provenance – if you want to do this, follow Latour’s example and quit En Primeur. If you would like people to buy something that hasn’t been made yet, make it worth their while.


Undoubtedly there will be good value on some of the better wines during this campaign, which we’ve already seen from Pontet Canet amongst others, and we will be sure to point these wines out as and when they are available. In the meantime, we’re working on a fantastic offer for some back vintages that have managed to escape Bordeaux and where pricing remains sensible for the quality of the wines – to follow shortly…

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

18 四月 2012拉图酒庄将停止销售期酒

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

Chateau Latour, the illustrious Bordeaux 1st Growth, has announced that 2011 will be the last vintage to be released En Primeur.

This is big news, as for the first time since the 1960’s, a First Growth Chateau breaks with the unique and over time very successful way that Bordeaux sells its newest wines.

Why would Latour do this? What are the reasons behind this decision? What are the implications? Here are our thoughts.

First of all, being Fine Wine Merchants, this is a tricky subject. Our blog is widely read. By consumers, by fellow wine merchants, by the French Negociants and even by the Chateaux. Their interests are not always aligned and taking position could have repercussions on our ability to work with them. To illustrate that, it is very telling to see how few players in the market are willing to go on record.  However, Latour’s decision to stop selling its wine En Primeur is too big a thing to stay silent about and loyal readers and customers won’t be surprised to see that we tell it as we see it. Moreover, we side with the end consumer: if it’s right for the person who buys the wines we sell, it’s right for us and it should be right for all other actors in the distribution chain.

Chateau Latour | Ditton Wine Traders

Chateau Latour is owned by François Pinault, who runs the PPR retail empire. PPR, previously known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, owns luxury brands like Gucci, Yves St Laurent and Puma and additionally is involved in other luxury goods and sports brands. PPR is also involved in online retailing, in a wide variety of products. They have financial muscle and they understand retailing luxury goods. Moreover, PPR is a big corporate business. It’s fair to assume that the reasoning behind the move to quit the En Primeur system must be that Mr Pinault expects it to be better for PPR, ultimately maximizing its profits. Even though Latour say it’s all about selling their wine when it’s ready to drink and about “killing” speculation.


The En Primeur system

In its simplest form, the En Primeur system means that Chateaux sell wine from the barrel, years before it’s ready to be drunk and 2 years before it will be delivered to customers. It’s sold at a discount, in return for cash up front, which allows the Chateaux to finance the next crop. That was the original thinking behind the En Primeur concept.

However, if you have enough cash, why would you sell your wines En Primeur?

If Latour’s decision is indeed just about no longer selling En Primeur – which I’m not convinced about – what are the implications? Let’s look at the effect on price first. Let’s presume Latour decides to release 6 years after the harvest, instead of one year. Even though they might have enough cash to be able to do that, it doesn’t mean that cash is free. So, assuming the cost of money to be 5%, releasing 5 years later means costs have gone up 28%. Releasing after 5 years, at 28% more, wouldn’t make financial sense as the returns for Latour would be the same. Possibly even less because of the need for added storage facilities. Add to that the risk of price fluctuations and most likely – all other things being equal – Latour would have to price at 28% plus. Furthermore, they’d also want to receive a premium for holding the stock and controlling supply, because otherwise the whole exercise IMHO just doesn’t make sense.

How that translates into consumer prices remains to be seen. Perhaps it would do away with unsustainable, speculation fueled price hikes. Perhaps prices would stay the same as they are now. In either case though, the profits would be for Latour and not for the (speculating) consumer.

Moreover, the EP system is a bit more complicated then described above, as it has also morphed into an allocation system, effectively securing demand for the Chateaux. This has provided tremendous value to the Chateaux over the years, as they can “force” buyers into purchasing something they don’t necessarily want (for fear of not being able to get access to it in the years to come) whilst charging extremely high prices in the sought after vintages. This is particularly valuable when vintages are harder to sell and not something you do away with lightly. Therefore, Latour abandoning En Primeur makes people think there’s more going on than what is being communicated.


Is this just about quitting En Primeur?

For example, it could also spell the end for Latour selling through “le Place de Bordeaux”, with its allocation system, couldn’t it? Not necessarily so. It’s important to understand that Latour quitting EP doesn’t mean they will abandon selling through “le Place”. Indeed, Latour have communicated that they won’t. If that’s true, then Latour can still release stock into the market using “Le Place” and allocations, but would have achieved a higher return than before. This system could also exist for drinkable vintages only, provided there’s enough of an incentive for merchants that sell on the public.

Chateau Latour label | Ditton Wine Traders

So, all good then. Latour only wants their wine to hit the market when it’s ready to drink. They want to get rid of speculation and they will continue using the current distribution network.


The way Latour is distributed

Not quite. As mentioned, there is a strong sense that this is not just about quitting EP. Latour has been awkward with Negociants for a long time and has been courting big buyers directly. For years, they have released very little stock onto the market ( at high prices) and seem to have been preparing themselves to restructure the distribution of their wine. Many people expect the move to quit EP to be the start of a bigger plan. But again, the official communication does not support that.

Our guess is that Latour ultimately want to take charge of distribution, of the way its wines are sold, in order to maximize its profits. Ultimately, Chateau Latour would like to control the supply chain. Quite like some other luxury goods empires, who are very successful at it. Take for example LVMH, a rival of PPR and owner of Moet & Chandon and Hennessy Cognac. LVMH spends a lot of effort and money in controlling where their products are being sold. If for example prices in the UK are lower than in Japan, they will try and make sure that international traders don’t use the price gap to supply cheaper stock to Japan and in doing so potentially lower the price in Japan. LVMH want the price gap to remain and pocket the difference themselves. LVMH are very good at this.

Think of it, if you have a brand as strong as Latour, why would you let 3rd parties share in the profits if not necessary? You could do it all yourself. In fact, you are already doing it yourself, just not with this particular brand that you own. Why not cut out the courtiers (which would save 2%)? Why not cut out the Bordeaux Negociants (which would save 15 to 20%)? Why not cut out the International Wine Merchants (which would save another 10 to 15%) and go straight to their customers? Indeed, there are very persistent rumors that direct selling is already happening. Or even, why not cut them out as well and open your own retail stores?

But what about the bad vintages, critics might argue. How would Latour sell those if not through EP and “Le Place”? Could they get the same uptake, at the same price? It would be less forced, that’s for sure – which is a very good thing. It would be more consumer driven, which is good as well.  Yes, there would be a risk there for Latour, but if they can control supply and pricing, that risk surely is manageable. Particularly if Latour would throw some allocations to the Negociants, or big International Merchants, who would be starved for Latour. Or even discount it in their stores. After all, there would be a margin to play with.


Will others follow?

Already, there is massive speculation about what the other Chateaux will do. At the same time, it’s clear that, even if they wanted to abandon the EP system, only the biggest names could as smaller Chateaux simply don’t have the cash. But could this be viable for the bigger names? As stated above, you’d have to have the financial muscle to forego at least 5 years of cash flow. You’d also need to be reasonably sure that customers want to buy your wine without the added benefit of the traditional reasons (EP and secured allocations), now but also in the years to come.

Regarding the other, unconfirmed option of leaving “Le Place” altogether, that’s an even harder challenge, as you would need to be able to control distribution. There aren’t many Chateaux that tick those boxes.

Chateau Cheval Blanc new design


What does it mean if I just want to drink the stuff?

It will certainly improve provenance. It will probably mean Latour will be even harder to buy. Regarding price, that remains to be seen. Hopefully it will benefit drinkers, but our feeling is that if winemakers start to behave like the luxury goods empires that in some cases own them, it’s not in the interest of the end consumer. Surely increased control by the brand owner is not done just to protect the interest of the consumer.

Does this affect your decision to purchase Latour 2011 En Primeur? Clearly, you won’t buy it to safeguard future allocations, so the rationale to buy Latour will have to be that you love it and you like the opportunity to, for the last time, buy it now, En Primeur, years before you can drink it, because it works out cheaper.



Let’s hope we are being too cynical. Let’s hope this is just about what Latour communicates, which is that they would like to supply the market with the best Latour they can possibly make, ready to drink and with perfect provenance. 

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

13 四月 2012在黑色年份中寻找价值葡萄酒

Ben Grosvenor

by Ben Grosvenor

"The cost of a premier grand cru like Chateau Lafite-Rothschild '82 is nearly $58/ bottle. The public simply won't pay this. I think that a crash is inevitable". Steven Spurrier, Time Magazine, 1985

The Lafite 1982 now sells at around £40,000/ case.

No matter what the current situation on the fine wine market is – there is one simple truth, and that is it is reasonable to assume that regardless of the fine wine market’s invariable day-to-day fluctuations, its prices will continue to move upwards.

As the prices move up, interest in buying wine as a commodity will also increase. As wine is a finite product that does get drunk – the value of high scoring wines will inevitably increase.

Smith Haut Lafitte 2009 price movement

The price movement on Smith Haut Lafitte 2009 after Parker awarded it 100 points – Courtesy FINE+RARE

As I have mentioned on previous occasions, prior to Robert Parkers re- ratings of the 2009’s, the cheapest 100 point red Bordeaux was the Pavie 2000 at around £4,000/ case. There are now several wines from the 2009 vintage with 100 points at significantly lower prices than this. These prices will not hold for long – and the same will apply to the 2010’s when they are re-rated later this year or early next.

Right now however, the market seems to have bottomed, and there are many good opportunities to buy before the Bordeaux 2011 campaign kicks off, as this campaign may push prices up further. 

Vieux Chateau Certan

Vieux Chateau Certan – one of the best wines of 2011?

We have put together a list from the 2000 vintage onwards showing all 1855 classified wines, the top wines of Graves, Pomerol and St Emilion, and key second wines too – along with their current average market price, and Parker scores – this list is incredibly useful in identifying those wines which represent great potential for investment, and those that look hugely undervalued in terms of drinking wines too.

Listed below are some of our tips from this list that still look a steal when considering their price/ vintage and score, along with a link to a selection of the full list (there is too much information for us to publish here, but if you would like more information on the full list, please download the list here or get in touch). If you compare these to different vintages of the same Chateau, or the same vintage and points of differing Châteaux, they look incredibly good value. So much so that it will not be long before consumers recognise the most obvious bargains and act!

This will be updated as the 2011’s are released – but expect market prices to move up on some of the highlights as listed below as the campaign moves on. We will be able to offer most of the wines from the full list, so please do ask if you have any interest.



Lafite Rothschild

Haut Brion

Pontet Canet

Pichon Baron

Leoville Lascases

Lynch Bages

Eglise Clinet



Brane Cantenac


Ducru Beaucaillou

Grand Puy Lacoste

Gruaud Larose

La Chapelle Ausone

La Lagune

Lafon Rochet

Larcis Ducasse


Latour a Pomerol

Le Bon Pasteur

Le Gay

Leoville Poyferre


Malescot St Exupery

Saint Pierre

Smith Haut Lafitte



Petit Haut Lafitte (2nd wine of Smith HL)

Clos Fourtet


Pontet Canet

Smith Haut Lafitte

Beausejour Becot

Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse

Branaire Ducru

Ducru Beaucaillou

Gruaud Larose

La Gaffeliere

Larcis Ducasse

Saint Pierre

Smith Haut Lafitte




Lynch Bages

Haut Bailly

Pichon Baron

Pontet Canet


La Fleur Petrus

Pavie Macquin




Others to look at

Latour 2000

Latour 2003

Cos Estournel 2005

La Mission Haut Brion 2000

Leoville Las Cases 2000

Las Cases 2002

Malescot 2005

Margaux 2000

Montrose 2000

VCC 2006



 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

8 四月 2012在波尔多2011年品鉴周之后

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

After a short but very informative and useful trip, here are some of our observations regarding the new vintage and upcoming En Primeur campaign.

We have tasted lots of wines ourselves, we have been following tweets and blogs by other wine merchants and have read the reports published by wine reviewers and journalists. The conclusion is that 2011 is not a great vintage, although better than feared. It’s also a heterogeneous vintage, with some very good to exceptional but also rather poor wines. Selection therefore will be crucial this year. Whites and particularly Sauternes and Barsac however are exceptionally good in 2011 and represent a fantastic buying opportunity.

It must be said that the winemakers, in a lot of cases, have done a fantastic job in making very good wines when nature had not dealt them a good hand. It must be heart breaking for Chateau owners to work very hard for a year only for the international “critics” and merchants to show up and slack off their wine. The wine made in Bordeaux nowadays is invariably better than it was 15 years ago.

Speaking of the weather, there have been rather extreme conditions, with severe drought and very high temperatures in spring, hail and 2 days of 40 degrees in late June (see here for more detail). This has resulted in low yields, small berries and an early harvest. Chateau Margaux for example reported the lowest yields since 1991, the smallest berries ever (!) and the earliest harvest since 1893.

Chateau Margaux

Chateau Margaux

There is a plethora of vintage reports available online. Therefore, let it suffice for now to say that in a nutshell, the best appellations for Red seem to be St Julien and Pomerol with weather conditions most favorable for clay based Merlot. Whites and particularly Sauternes and Barsac are exceptionally good. The consensus seems to be that this vintage (for red) is of a quality comparable to 2001 and 2008, perhaps just behind them. To give you an idea of where that leaves 2011 in a ranking of all vintages since 2000, have a look at this:


Left Bank:  10,09,05,00,08,06,04,03,01,02,07

Right Bank:  10,09,00,05,08,01,06,04,07,03,02

Courtesy of Vinalytics, this ranking is derived at by taking aggregate scores from a spread of reviewers looking at approximately 250 Châteaux.


Seeing this is not a must-buy vintage (except for Whites and Stickies), pricing and the speed with which the En Primeur campaign is conducted will be all important to make 2011 sell. The Chateaux recognize this and promise price reductions and a quick campaign. Nevertheless, given pricing in recent history, Courtiers and Negociants are not convinced at all that Chateaux owners will reduce prices enough. Negociants and secondary trade are nervous about being forced into taking allocations that could ruin them if they can’t sell them through quickly enough. So far, 2011 has not attracted a lot of interest. Although reportedly, there were more badges issued by the UGC during the En Primeur week, reports from Chateaux and various attendants suggest there was considerably less interest, particularly from Asia.

Prices therefore need to come down severely to have a chance to sell this vintage. If they do, it might sell well as many very good wines have been made and the vintage does present an opportunity to get or increase your allocation of your favorite wines. If they don’t it will be a very disappointing campaign and a missed opportunity.

On our way to the fabulous Gruaud Larose party

On our way to the fabulous party at Gruaud Larose

So that leaves the question by how much need prices come down? The answer should be simple: prices need to be at a level where consumers can buy 2011 at a discount compared to similar and physically available vintages. We have already reported that for 3 of the 5 First Growths, this would mean they need to reduce their price by 57% as compared to 2010. The same calculations can be made for each wine, with reductions depending on the quality of their 2011, their pricing in 2010 as well as prices of comparable back vintages.

Will that happen? Let’s hope so because at the right price, there are some delicious wines out there well worth filling up your cellar with. So far the spread in prices I have heard is massive, ranging from €300 per bottle ex Negociant for Lafite Rothschild to no less than Sylvie Cazes (president of the UGC) saying that  10-15% down on 2010 should be enough.

Finally, there is a good chance the campaign will start very soon, possibly even next week. Most expect it to finish before Vinexpo at the end of May. And it might be kicked off by a First Growth. So get yourself ready! We will contact our subscribers and customers early next week to gauge interest. If you are not yet a customer, please get in touch. We have allocations for you and we are always very competitively priced.

We will be sharing our best buys as the campaign progresses. Make sure to check our blog for updates and do follow @DittonWineTrade on Twitter. It will allow you to stay on top of breaking news and releases, often before it's available anywhere else. Search (and use) #bdx11 to see who else is tweeting about Bordeaux 2011. Or just phone us if that's too geeky for you.

 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

28 三月 2012波尔多2011年份将以什么价格出售?

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

The Bordeaux 2011 En Primeur campaign will start shortly. Next week, the trade will go and taste the wines but this week, several wine critics have already done so. Robert Parker, who said on Twitter that he had no interest in the 2011 vintage before going out to Bordeaux, has also tasted the new vintage. On his blog, Parker said that "the 2011 is better than expected. It's close to both 2001 and 2008 in overall quality". Other tasters seem to confirm this.

There is also a lot of speculation on pricing. The consensus amongst consumers and trade is that prices will need to come down a lot in order for Bordeaux 2011 to have a chance of selling. The Chateaux agree that prices need to come down but at this stage won't be drawn into saying by how much.

The basic rule for En Primeur pricing is that it needs to be cheaper than comparable, physically available vintages. There has to be an incentive for consumers to buy something that they can't drink for a good few years. With that in mind, we make an attempt at establishing the price levels of the 2011 First Growths.

Below you'll find a table with the last 11 vintages of the 5 First Growths, their RP scores and current UK prices.

Comparison of First Growths

We then focus on 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008 as being the vintages that will likely compare best with 2011. We have calculated the average price and average score for each of the First Growths, for those 5 vintages:

Bordeaux First Growths average score and price

We feel this "basket" of "average" vintages would be a fair proxy for 2011. Assuming that the consumer would be tempted to purchase 2011 if it comes at a 10% discount compared to the basket, we then have target consumer prices. Please see below. 

Bordeaux First Growth consumer prices

Finally, using normal margins for the trade, the Negociants and the Chateaux, we arrive at the release price for the 2011. Below, we have used the price ex Negociant, as this is the most widely quoted and comparable price. 

Bordeaux First Growths discount to 2010

So there we have it. If we have the consumer in mind – which we all should do and never not – prices need to come down by 57% for Mouton, Margaux and Latour and by 64% for Haut Brion. The only exception is Lafite, for which 8% would be enough. If you think 57% is a lot, then bear in mind that €260 a bottle is double the release price of the 2008.

You might also want to have a look at the Liv-ex blog, where you'll find a similar analysis although it arrives at different conclusions.

Make sure to follow our blog for updates and do follow @DittonWineTrade on Twitter. It will allow you to stay on top of breaking news and releases, often before it's available anywhere else. Search (and use) #bdx11 to see who else is tweeting about Bordeaux 2011. Or just phone us if that's too geeky for you.


 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

3 三月 2012罗伯特•帕克2009年瓶内评分

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

They were expected to be high, but the 2009 scores released on March 1 by Robert Parker have exceeded the highest expectations.


"Not a myth but mythical" is Parker's subtitle for his Bordeaux 2009 review. Indeed. He goes on to say "In short, 2009 is the greatest vintage I have tasted in Bordeaux since 1982". He backs this up by awarding no less than 18 Bordeaux reds, and 1 white, the perfect score of 100 points.


Robert Parker 2009 bottle scores


To put the number of 18 in perspective, have a look at below table, that lists the 100 pointers of the most successful vintages since 1982, 


Robert Parker's most successful vintages

1982 6
1996 1
2000 6
2003 3
2005 2
2009 18


2009 boasts an astonishing number of perfect scores. Is this Parker's farewell, to complete the cycle that he started in 1982 (the vintage that made him), never to be surpassed? Here's the full list, including the "barrel" score:


Parker's 2009 Bordeaux 100 pointers

wine bottle barrel
Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse 100 96-98
Bellevue Mondot 100 95-100
Clinet 100 97-100
Clos Fourtet 100 95-98
Cos d'Estournel 100 98-100
Ducru Beaucaillou 100 96-98
L'Evangile 100 96-100
Haut Brion 100 96-100
La Mission Haut Brion 100 98-100
La Mondotte 100 95-98
Latour 100 98-100
Le Pin 100 95-98
Leoville Poyferre 100 97-100
Montrose 100 96-100
Pavie 100 96-100
Petrus 100 96-100
Pontet Canet 100 97-100
Smith Haut Lafitte 100 96-98


From barrel, Parker awarded 21 wines a potential 100 points. Out of these 21, 12 indeed received full marks. The remaining 9 got at least 98. Interestingly, there were also 6 wines that got upgraded to the perfect score whilst the barrel score range did not reach 100 (see above).

Looking beyond the top scoring Chateaux, there are an incredible number of wines that score 95 points or more, many of which make unbelievable value for money. Do revisit our list – once we have had the time, we will be offering some of those gems that are a must buy to drink.


Bordeaux 2009 scoring 95 plus (reds only)

99 11
98 14
97 6
96 10
95 16


It goes too far, in this blogpost, to list all of the above wines. I would urge you though to get in touch with us – some of these 95-99 pointers represent the best buys.

Although there had been substantial price movements prior to Parker releasing his scores, it goes without saying that there were massive price hikes when the scores came out. Particularly for the 100 pointers, on which below table focusses. It needs to be pointed out though that the "after" prices might still change significantly, as the market has yet to find its new prices. The "prior" prices are as of the day before the new scores came out, the "after" prices are as of today (March 3rd). 


2009 movers and shakers

Wine prior after % change
Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse £1,000 £2,400 140%
Clos Fourtet £750 £1,800 140%
Smith Haut Lafitte £680 £1,600 135%
Clinet £1,500 £2,200 47%
Le Pin £18,000 £25,000 39%
Montrose £1,900 £2,550 34%
Leoville Poyferre £1,350 £1,800 33%
Pontet Canet £1,350 £1,800 33%
L'Evangile £2,300 £2,750 20%
La Mondotte £2,550 £3,000 18%
Petrus £25,000 £29,000 16%
Cos d'Estournel £2,800 £3,200 14%
Pavie £2,200 £2,500 14%
Ducru Beaucaillou £2,000 £2,200 10%
Haut Brion £7,400 £8,000 8%
Bellevue Mondotte £2,550 £2,750 8%
La Mission Haut Brion £5,600 £6,000 7%
Latour £11,700 £11,800 1%


Are these prices the right prices? Overshooting? Underperforming? Is the fine wine market efficient enough to quickly adjust to the new information, or is there scope for arbitrage? What is the right price level for a 100 pointer? Nobody knows, really. And that's why there's an enormous amount of trading going on. Taking position, selling on the hype, holding on, buying with a long term view – it's all part of the spiel. There will be a lot more analyses done to determine the new values, now that Bob has spoken. Do get in touch if you would like to hear our views. Views based on trading these wines daily – we know what's going on.

There are quite a few wine critics that publicly proclaim Parker has lost his marbles. However, none of them have the track record that Parker has and none of them have the influence that Parker has. Therefore, we can safely ignore what they say, when it comes to the effect on pricing. 

When it comes to drinking, you will have to choose which wine reviewer is most aligned with your personal taste. Bordeaux 2009 is a unique vintage, and has just been awarded stardom, so if you were planning on buying some, do so now before prices are out of reach. There are many, many wines that should be part of your cellar.



 Categories: 博客波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

8 十二月 2011关于高品质葡萄酒基金及拍卖的一切

James Swann

by James Swann

In this latest piece we look at the emergence of new actors in fine wine markets, by way of wine funds and the increased prominence of fine wine auctions.



In a series of questions and answers Ella Lister, the Auctions and Secondary Market Correspondent for the World of Fine Wine Magazine (WFW) provides critical insight.



New routes to market for the collector and investor

Until James Miles, Director of Liv-ex (the London International Vintners Exchange), put a figure to it at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits fair, estimates of the value of the world-wide fine wine market saw swings by as much as 100%. The figure Miles arrived to was $4 billion and one that has been referred to since. As Miles pointed out, this is composed of merchants (90%) and auction houses (10%), but not other actors, such as wine funds or financial entities holding wine as an investment.

Importantly, private collectors and investors, with whom most stock resides and who may freely sell or broker their wines independently, are not included within this figure. Thus, the real value of the fine and rare wine market must be significantly higher.


In the 10 years since the trading platform began, the fine wine market has changed dramatically, to the point where fine wine is well on the way to being accepted as a credible alternative investment. The 2008 decision by the Hong Kong government to go from a closed to open market, by reducing its 50% tariff on wine to zero overnight, ushered in startling expansion and is the most disruptive event since the entrance of the US market in the 1970s or the arrival of the internet and transparency.

The historic fine wine trade structure – centred on the traditional merchant, collectors and auction houses – has changed too. London fine wine merchants successfully established broking divisions in the expansive environment of the early to mid-1990s, which saw Asian buyers enter for the first time. Trading platforms, led by Liv-ex, and price tools like wine-searcher.com followed and have brought transparency to a hitherto remarkably opaque market place.

We may not have given it due attention at the time, but this marked the first meaningful step in the little-by-little sophistication of fine wine markets. New actors – professionally managed wine funds and a freshly dynamic auction scene among them – mean there are now new routes to enter and exit the market for the private collector and investor.

A common feature of fast-growing, but immature markets is that a rush of new money can push up value beyond the line supported by the fundamentals. Moreover, where will this new capital go in the event of a stabilisation of stock markets; will it remain in fine wine or will it return to the traditional fold?

How important are these newly empowered actors to today’s fine wine markets?

Certainly, hammer prices and fund headlines suggest increasingly so. The former is a leading indicator of sentiment, albeit for the irrational luxury market, so important to that essential ingredient of economic prosperity, confidence. The latter? Well, we don’t know exactly. A large part of the challenge with wine funds is that, behind the headlines, facts would seem to be hard to come by. Yet, understanding the role of these new actors matters. Accurate and transparent figures, traceability and the human face are a pre-condition to the fine wine market taking the next step and becoming a mature and accepted form of investment as well as pleasure.


fine wine auction



Wine funds and fine wine auctions – behind the headlines with Ella Lister

DWT How important are fine wine auctions and wine funds to today’s fine wine market?

EL The wine auction market steals the headlines but represents no more than ten per cent of global fine wine revenues, at almost $400 million annually in 2010. Similarly, wine funds are on everybody’s lips, but total assets under management are no more than $400 million, and probably nearer to $300 million.


DWT Are fine wine auctions a good route to market for the private collector/investor?

EL They can be very lucrative, but the seller has less control over the final price, as you have to commit stock months before the actual sale, and auction houses will restrict the reserve price you can apply. Hence some wine funds steer clear of this riskier route to market.



DWT What is the current growth trend among auction houses and what is their regional spread?

EL The auction market is growing fast, but probably not considerably faster than the overall fine wine market. Revenue in the first three quarters of 2011 was up 44 per cent on the same period in 2010. Hong Kong now represents just over 50 per cent of global wine auction revenues.


DWT There has been a lot of talk about new funds being set up. Is this true or exaggerated? What is their impact and is this sustainable?

EL There has certainly been a flurry of announcements in 2010 and 2011, but the actual level of success is so far unclear. For example, Société Générale and Bordeaux Index have both announced funds that have yet to materialise. Despite bold aims to raise RMB 1 billion in its original statement in August, the much talked-about DeRouge fund has made no further noise. We don’t know whether it has succeeded in raising its initial target tranche of RMB 200 million.


DWT Do wine funds buy en primeur?

EL Some do; some don’t – see my series on funds in the WFW.


DWT Would buying into a fund outperform purchasing a basket as represented by the Liv-ex Investable index?

EL It’s likely to be a similar basket! You would like to think that the fund manager’s expertise and careful ongoing analysis would yield higher returns, but this is not always the case.


DWT Fast forward five years: what are your predictions?

EL Wine funds will continue to play a key role in the fine wine industry, as investors look increasingly to tangible assets. However, the limited size of the fine wine market means that it’s hard to imagine fine wine becoming a major investable commodity on a par with gold or even fine art. After all, the most expensive case of wine is nothing compared to the most expensive painting. The market will continue to become more sophisticated and transparent, but in five, or even ten years’ time, it still won’t be ready for large-scale investments or complex financial products. It is a niche investment product, best kept in the realm of the tangible.


The final instalment of Ella Lister’s three-part work, examining the pros and cons of funds vs. DIY wine investment, is in issue 34 of the World of Fine Wine Magazine, out now.


 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒勃艮第葡萄酒中国期酒投资

15 十一月 2011不要成为诈骗的受害者

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

The WSTA has published a "wine investment guide". It is "published and maintained by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. Its contents were drafted in consultation with a number of reputable UK wine merchants, retailers, brokers and law enforcement agencies. It is aimed at consumers who are considering investing in fine wines. It provides tips on how to protect yourself against becoming the victim of fraud".

"Fine wines can make a good, relatively low risk long-term investment. However as with all types of business, there are rogue wine traders who are intent on conning people out of their money. Whether you are a wine enthusiast starting your own fine wine collection or someone looking to build up an investment portfolio, this guide provides some tips on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of wine fraud".

We urge you to read this, to make sure you make the right decisions, because, as the WSTA says "fine wine can make a good, relatively low risk long term investment. However, as with all types of business, there are rogue traders who are intent on conning people out of their money". 

View the full wine investment guide here.

 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

7 九月 2011顶级葡萄酒市场现代化更新及前景

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

Now that what seems to have been a very long summer break is over, it’s time to catch up.


The Fine Wine Market

Immediately after the En Primeur campaign finished early July (!), activity dropped right off. July still saw relatively brisk trade, but August was very slow, slower than recent years. Partly due to the trade having had quite enough of the long drawn Bordeaux En Primeur season, partly because of the holiday season, but mostly because of the uncertainty on the financial markets, coming right in the holiday season. There was not much demand and, as some stock holders preferred cash over paper profits, there was a steady stream of supply. As a consequence, prices dropped (more on this to follow). Particularly because First Growths led the way, and because we haven’t seen any monthly price drops for quite some time now, questions were being asked as to whether this could be the correction that has been predicted by many. The high prices of 2010 Bordeaux seemed to further fuel this thought, not unlike boom before bust. Speaking of the 2010 vintage:


The 2010 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign

Was long. Very long. High quality wines, high prices, big ego’s, long waits. We have covered this subject quite a bit on the blog, so for details please check the blog archive. Our opinion is that it was a very badly managed campaign, with basically all players in this market bar the Chateaux feeling hung over, the consequences of which we might well feel in the years to come. Ultimately, the concept of selling future wines needs to work for all parties involved, something which was not the case in the 2010 campaign. A shame really, because quality wise this vintage deserved much better.

What is interesting to cover is whether the 2010 campaign was successful in terms of sales. The answer depends on who you ask. The Chateaux had a bumper year, no doubt. I believe the French Negociants did do ok, although they were faced with a high risk of being left with very expensive stock. Remember, the Negociants pretty much have to take their historical allocation off the Chateaux, so they bear the risk, not the Chateaux. They sold through relatively well, although remaining stock must be higher than in 2009.

Because, overall,  consumers were not nearly as excited about 2010 as they were about 2009, it was the “secondary” trade (merchants around the world) that was left holding much more stock than wanted. Or, if not, at the price of reduced future allocations. The consensus seems to be that 2010 sold about 40% of 2009 (which admittedly was an incredibly successful year). Importantly, sales were at a historically very low margin. There was lots of discounting going on, anything to sell the allocations one wanted to keep.

Up until the last 2 weeks of the campaign (until Vinexpo), Ditton Wine Traders were actually up on 2009, by a whopping 60%. Early on in the campaign, there were great wines to be had, at decent prices, something we did much more successfully than in 2009. Over the whole campaign, we sold 20% more different wines than in 2009. The last 2 weeks, when the 1st Growths and most super seconds were released, were not as successful as 2009 though, resulting in the end in a turnover of 78% as compared to 2009. When compared to most other UK merchants, we did extremely well. Although I don’t think this justifies being occupied with En Primeur Bordeaux for 2 months… Something to think about for 2011.


Fine wine prices

Starting in July and accelerating in August, most prices have come down. As measured by the Liv-ex 100 index, prices have decreased by about 6% in July and August. First growths, as measured by the Liv-ex Investables index, have done slightly worse, printing a fall of 7%. This was mainly caused by Lafite (see Liv-ex article), another major contributor being Parker’s downgrading of 2008.


First Growths drop in price in summer of 2011


What has caused this drop in prices? In our humble opinion, 3 main reasons.

Firstly, it seemed a natural moment for people to cash in on the profits they made over the last years. Well before the Primeur campaign, there was already lots of talk about price rises being unsustainable. It’s quite natural that people want to cash in on very handsome profits as they sense that the market might have reached a peak. Consequently, a lot of stock came onto the market.

Secondly, this boost in supply coincided with the holiday season and, importantly, the fact that the international fine wine trade was still holding a lot of stock, bought at cheaper prices. In particular the Chinese traders – we believe – held a lot of stock, bought when prices were going up ferociously. Note though this weak demand does not necessarily have anything to do with demand of the final customer (be it drinkers or investors).

Finally, the timing coincided with a general feeling of uncertainty, generated by another looming recession, continued systemic problems in the EU and resulting, massive falls on the financial markets.


Fine wine as alternative investment

First of all, we have to see this price drop in perspective. During the same period (July-August), the FTSE has lost 10% of its value, the German DAX even 17%. The financial markets have seen turmoil reminiscent of post Lehmann in 2008, with some very fundamental issues that have so far proven to be impossible to solve adequately. Given that Fine Wine is now, to a significant extent, an investment vehicle, it’s actually a remarkable resilient performance. From first hand experience, it’s clear that a lot of money is being swapped out of bonds and shares, into alternative investments like Fine Wine.

Secondly, no market can keep going up. If it would, there would be the mother of all corrections at some point. It is actually very healthy that prices have come off a bit. It allows for a period of consolidation, reflection and normalization. Which ultimately avoids boom/bust scenario’s.

As for demand of the final customer, September sees more activity again. UK investors are once again keen to invest in wine. Our customers in Asia are definitely back to buying, albeit more selectively than early in the year. We don’t see any indication that there could be a fundamental shift in the total level of demand, which – if true – will keep in force the age old adagium that demand outstrips supply.



Stock picking is very important and even more so now that there's a distinct gap in performance between several "classes" of wine. At the moment, there is a trend towards super seconds and "flying fifths" as well as cheaper Grand Cru Classees. It’s no longer anything 1st Growth and their 2nd wines. 

Super Seconds performance


As predicted on our blog a few months ago, customers are more aware of value for money. Although, at the same time, the truly iconic wines and vintages keep on doing well (as always). 

At the same time, investment money is still flowing in. Wine investment funds and, to a slightly lesser extent, investment brokers make sure their portfolio’s are constituted of at least 50% 1st Growths, in some cases even 100%.  These companies need to buy stock, there’s only limited supply, so we expect the current fall in 1st Growth prices to be reversed in the very near future.

On a final note, we do see growing demand from Asia for super Italians, as well as for Burgundy and indeed some New World regions. As this fabulous part of the world gets more acquainted with fine wine, and as prices of their first choice (often most iconic) wines go up and up, it’s natural and healthy that the eye is being cast on other wine regions that make great wine.


Our Picks

Not everything has come down in price. Some wines are actually up (Lynch Bages, Cos Estournel, Montrose, Pontet Canet). La Mission Haut Brion has had an incredible run. There's a lot of coverage on the performance of the "super seconds" and "flying fifths" as well as some of the cheaper GCC. The common factor with these wines and the reason behind their succes is that they are all well known brands, that they have made stunning wines in 2009 and 2010 as well as in some older vintages, and that their prices do not (yet) reflect the quality. We'd be very happy to advise on them, so if that strikes a cord, do get in touch.

Worth an extra mention is that Robert Parker has recently conducted an extensive vertical tasting of Lynch Bages, spanning 1981 – 2010, re-rating the wines accordingly. The market has already reacted, but it's likely that some vintages of what's arguably the strongest brand behind the 1st Growths will continue to do very well. We will cover this in our next blog post.

Lynch Bages labellabel Cos Estournel

Finallly, something else to take notice of, is the "Magical 20" as selected by, again, Robert Parker. On November 8, he will conduct a tasting of "estates that produce wines of "first growth quality" although technically not first growths...and because of that are under-valued and very smart acquisitions". This might well have some effect on prices. Here's his list:

1. Ch. Cos D'Estournel,
2. Ch. Pontet Canet,
3. Ch. Pichon Lalande,
4. Ch. Leoville Poyferre,
5. Ch. Leoville Las Cases,
6. Ch. Palmer,
7. Ch. Malescot St.Exupéry,
8. Ch. Pape Clement,
9. Ch. Haut Bailly,
10. Ch. Angelus,
11. Ch. Trotanoy,
12. Ch. La Conseillante,
13. Ch. Pichon Baron,
14. Ch. Lynch-Bages,
15. Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte,
16. Ch. La Fleur-Petrus,
17. Ch. Clos Fourtet,
18. Ch. Rauzan-Ségla,
19. Ch. Brane-Cantenac,
20. Ch. Le Gay

So, enough reason to expect this trend for value to continue. Go for well known, non 1st Growth names with high scores. And don’t forget to stock up on 1st Growths before they go back up again.






 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒中国期酒投资

5 九月 2011The 2010 期酒活动及中国市场

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

We found this interesting article on Wine Spectator: "Did China really save Bordeaux?" It gives some further insight into the success or lack thereof of the 2010 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign, and the role of Chinese /HK buyers:


Throughout this summer's sales campaign for 2010 Bordeaux futures, as châteaus released their wines at record prices and a number of loyal customers in America decided to pass, most analysts believed China would make up the difference. Thirst for high-end Bordeaux among China's wealthy has been growing for five years. This was supposed to be the year China came through for Bordeaux, leading to one of the most lucrative futures campaigns ever. If only it were that simple.

“We had a really good campaign,” said Jean-Pierre Rousseau, managing director of the négociant Diva. "We did as well as last year [value-wise]. But overall, we sold much less wine—fewer brands and less volume of each brand. And we also kept less wine than last year."

Several sources told Wine Spectator that yes, this was the most profitable futures campaign ever and China deserves a large amount of the credit. But the campaign was not the blockbuster many had hoped it would be.

Bordeaux’s top producers released the 2010 vintage at record prices, but the châteaus’ pricing strategy backfired in several ways. Merchants said that while some top names sold easily, other past bestsellers were not in demand. To move the wines, négociants would only give clients the top wines if they also took the others. Clients refused to hold onto “grossly overpriced” wine, and there was widespread discounting to quickly move the “toxic” brands out the door.

As for China, many châteaus priced themselves out of America and Europe and failed to attract the Chinese. “It would be wrong to say that Chinese customers have jumped at buying everything. That is not true,” said négociant Philippe Laqueche, general manager of Yvon Mau, whose 2010 campaign profits topped the 2009 campaign. “I think the campaign showed the strength of brands.” Pontet-Canet, Pichon-Baron, Beychevelle and Grand-Puy-Lacoste flew out the door. Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Rauzan-Ségla and Figeac, not so much, according to leading merchants in London and Hong Kong.

According to one broker’s report, 365 wines were released as futures during the 2010 campaign, with 89 percent of the allocated cases finding buyers. That’s the same clearance rate as the 2009 campaign, but fewer wines—403 wines sold during ‘09—and a far cry from the 93 percent clearance rate on 436 wines sold during the 2005 campaign.

Some merchants did well. ASC Greater China, a leading fine wine importer with 23 offices in China, increased its purchases but still only took a fraction of the offer. “We bought about 70 labels, of which 30 to 40 were for China and the rest were for Hong Kong,” said Don St. Pierre, Jr., CEO of ASC. “In total we purchased 90 percent more by value than we did last year and our total quantity was up by at least 70 percent. We took all the normal allocations and tried to get more allocations for the key wines that have demand and recognition in China.”

Demand for those key wines is fierce, and prices aren’t likely to come down unless the Chinese suddenly stop giving wine to business partners and high-ranking government officials. “The wine used for these purposes has to be famous and well-known in China [such as Lafite Rothschild]. Otherwise the gift giver or host may lose face,” explained Hong Kong businessman George Tong, whose own 2010 shopping list included the first-growths, second-growths, Le Pin and Pétrus. “If someone presents a bottle of Penfolds Grange or Harlan Estate as a gift or hosts a dinner serving them, he will lose face. They are very fine wines, but few people in China know them.”

But ongoing Chinese demand for other wines is less certain, particularly since China's nouveau riche were forced to take wines they didn’t particularly want in order to get their hands on the Lafite and other must-have gift items.

Nor did Chinese companies appreciate the disorganized tempo of the campaign—snail-paced at first, then frantic at the end, with 35 estates releasing in a single day. Pricing and tempo left private investors, a growing segment in China, disenchanted. “If prices drop later, everybody will be upset,” said Bandy Choi, a Macau and Hong Kong retailer who provides wine investment training to Bank of China executives.

Speculators are also muddying the waters. “We see quite a few wines that are not selling so well yet in China, but because of demand in Hong Kong the perception is they are very popular in China,” said St. Pierre. “We think most of the speculation is coming from brokers in Hong Kong and the U.K., betting on the next big thing. But since none of these companies have much of a presence in China, they are really very far away from reality.”

Aside from the seasoned importers with strong distribution networks like ASC and Aussino, most of the Chinese buyers, many of whom are large corporations who would just as happily import scrap leather, are worried about the next step: turning a profit. “They bought in '09 and haven’t seen any profit and now with 2010 they question if they will see profit again, so they are right to be cautious,” said Doug Rumsam, managing director of Bordeaux Index (HK). “Time will tell as to how these corporations offload these wines and the success of their long-term strategy.”

At its essence, the futures game is one of opportunism, nowhere more so than China. “If the Chinese cannot make big money in the primeur business, they will quit,” said Laqueche. That is particularly worrisome, because a large amount of Bordeaux’s grand cru classé now goes to China and Hong Kong. “The new concern over the long term is the geopolitical balance of wine,” said Laqueche. “Shifting from loyal customers to new customers—that’s an upside-down way of thinking. Perhaps it’s a historic move but it’s a dangerous one. We need to maintain traditional markets.”

Some négociants hope that Americans will begin buying petit châteaus priced between $15 to $35. But those wines aren't well-known in the U.S. “There really is not much of a petit [château] market,” said James Gunter, senior vice president at Glazer's, a major U.S. distributor. “Négociants want to sell them, but do nothing to promote them or help sell them and build in the marketplace. Estate owners really don’t get marketing and promotion in the U.S.”

Which means Bordeaux may be putting all its eggs in China's basket before it truly knows—or understands—the Chinese market.

Unquote. Now that the holiday season is finally over, we will shortly give our take on the campaign as well as the current market. Watch this space.


 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒中国期酒投资

6 六月 2011有人在那儿吗?

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

I find it slightly bizar that the whole wine trade is occupied with Bordeaux En Primeur during nearly 3 months. The tastings were done in April and the last of the reviews (Parker) were released at the end of April. Yet, a month and a half  later, we’re all still waiting for the campaign to get serious. Frustration in the trade mounts and customer interest is waning. An esteemed fellow trader dubbed the campaign “operation Escargot”. And rightly so. Can we please please get on with it?

Some thought Chateaux were waiting for the Latour auction in Hong Kong.That auction has happened but still no sign of live from Bordeaux. Perhaps the reason for the wait is hope that the euro will crash? If so, the gamble didn’t work: over the past 2 weeks, the single currency has only got significantly stronger against the dollar and sterling.

Operation Escargot

There are still roughly 200 wines to be released. With 9 working days left until Vinexpo (starting June 19th), it’s highly unlikely the big guns will release in the next 2 weeks. We were hoping that today would finally see some bigger releases but no: today is a bank holiday in China and Hong Kong.

Andrew Jefford posted an article on decanter.com last week, Bordeaux 2010 – The Titanic campaign, which he starts by saying “…I’m thinking of a magnificent vintage of unsinkable quality leaving port, buoyed by a nation’s pride – and heading for a rendez-vous with a very large iceberg”. According to Jane Anson, the Bordeaux based journalist, this article has received a lot of attention in Bordeaux.

Jefford mentions that, according to Farr Vintners, “demand is about 20% of what it was last year”. Not all agree and speaking to Bordeaux Negociants, I found it very much depends on the wine. Some have done really well – notably Beychevelle but also Cantemerle who got their timing spot on. Everybody seems to agree though that prices are being pushed to the limit and arguably over the limit of what customers can and will stomach. Very few chateaux so far have released below their 09 prices and fears mount that “without significantly lowered prices, “the whole process will stutter and stall”.

Mind you, the UK trade has always been very vocal during the en primeur campaign, pushing for speed and lower prices. Fact of the matter is though, we all want to sell wine and to do so, there has to be some momentum. Which there isn’t at the moment. Fingers crossed some brave Chateau owner with a big reputation will release tomorrow, at -10% on 2009 prices- and will resuscitate the near comatose patient.

 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒

19 五月 20112010年份波尔多葡萄酒价值超群

James Swann

by James Swann

The quality of Bordeaux 2010, across the region, is very high.  A raft of lesser known Cru Bourgeois and Petit Chateaux have produced beautiful wines, at accessible prices. Wines that have something to say about the place in which they are grown. As money chases the big guns, such chateaux have been widely hailed as offering some of the best value to be found in the fine wine market.

‘Nearly 100 wines are reviewed below, few of them likely to be fought over en primeur. You may wonder therefore why I am even bothering to publish such detailed notes. The reason is that from the point of view of us consumers, many of these wines are likely to represent some of Bordeaux's finest value in the 2010 vintage.  And from the point of view of the producers, many of them have made such progress and taken such expensive steps to improve quality, that I think these wines deserve as much publicity as they can get. The 2010 vintage with its just-ripe fruit, high alcohol, fresh acidity and high tannic charge seems particularly eloquent throughout the Médoc.’ Jancis Robinson MW


A classic vintage? 

In our tastings and reviews a number of chateaux stood out for their elegant cassis perfume, freshness and attractive cedar wood tannins, exceptionally ripe in historical terms yes, but nonetheless reminiscent of the best vintages of classic claret.

Bordeaux expert Stephen Spurrier compares vintages:

‘As with great vintages, which 2010 undoubtedly is, comparisons are made with previous years and at this level of quality, there are few contenders. Only 2005, and to a lesser extent 2000, were mentioned from the past decade. 1998 was referred to as a benchmark on the Right Bank, 1996 and 1995 mentioned in passing on the Left, 1990 certainly, 1986 for the Médocs, 1970 (the first vintage when many of the classed growths made a profit, following the washouts of 1963, 1965 and 1968 and the under-ripe 1967 and 1969) and, for those with longer memories, 1949, 1945 and 1929.’

‘So, not just in my opinion’, he continues, ‘2010 is looking like THE greatest Bordeaux vintage, so far, and, contrary to expectations, not tiring to taste.’

So what should we be drinking?

Let's focus on that for a change, drinking. Honest, delicious Bordeaux without breaking the bank. Take your pick because 2010 has produced lots of wines that fit into that category. The Médoc is certainly the most consistent overall. However, prepared to hand-pick, the experience of quality-conscious Right Bank growers’ shines through in many a chateaux with the best ones having succeeded in the delicate interplay of picking times and extraction.  Such chateaux are likely to provide the most enjoyable – and affordable – drinking in the short and medium term.

Here is a sample of our favourites, watch this space for prices. The Chateaux that have already released have done so at reasonable prices, similar to 2009 whilst 2010 in our opinion provides better value at this level, Don't forget to request your allocation in advance, to avoid disappointment.


Haut Medoc RP JR
Beaumont    16.5
Cantemerle 91-93 16
Petit Bocq   16
Capbern Gasqueton 87-89 16.5
Belgrave 90-93 16.5
Bernadotte 87-89 17
Belle – Vue 87-89 17
Cambon La Pelouse 89-92 16
Camensac 89-91 15.5
La Lagune 93-96 16.5
d'Aurilhac 88-90 16
d'Escurac 86-88 15.5
Greysac 87-88 16
Caronne Ste Gemme   16.5
Goulee 90-92 16.5
La Tour de By   16.5
Labegorce 89-90 16.5
Ferriere 85-87 16.5
Tour St Bonnet 87-88 16
Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgois      
Sociando Mallet 91-93 16.5
De Pez 90-92 17
Du Boscq 86-88 16.5
Le Crock 90-92 16.5
Les Ormes de Pez 87-90 17
Senejac 87-90 16
Poujeaux 90-92 16.5
Chasse-Spleen 88-90 16
Medoc Cru Bourgois    
Potensac 87-89 16
Labadie   16
Labat   16.5
de Fieuzal 90-92 17
Haut Bergey 92-94 16
Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux    
Reynon 87-88 16
Villars 90-92 15.5
St Emilion    
Fonbel 85-87 16
La Dominique 92-94 17.5
Teyssier 89-91 16.5
Bellevue 92-94 15.5


Apart from requesting your allocation in advance, one of the best ways to stay abreast of releases is to follow us on Twitter. It's the quickest way to see what's being released and at what price. Not just by following us, do check out other "Twitterati" as well.

By James Swann

 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒

4 五月 2011年波尔多期酒: 判决书

by Gavin Quinney

Guest blog by Gavin Quinney (@GavinQuinney)

This report was also posted on the Liv-ex blog. Gavin has kindly allowed us to post this follow up on his excellent report Bordeaux en primeur 2010: the wines and previously Bordeaux en primeur 2010: the weather. Gavin is a local winegrower in Bordeaux. He has been writing the annual Bordeaux "en primeur report" for Harpers Wine & Spirit magazine. Gavin has also tasted all the top wines from Bordeaux en primeur for 10 years and has been following these up in bottle. Do check out his blog for lots of excellent, factual information. 

There was something different in the air this year, and it wasn’t just the constant tweeting of what the 2010s tasted like.
En primeur attendances were higher than ever at the top estates, according to Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux. Much in evidence there, and at all the Firsts, were the Chinese translations of the brochures, to add to the long-standing piles of English and French versions. Based on visits to the leading properties the week after the UGCs, these were still being snapped up by Bordeaux’s new best friends.

Perhaps that’s what’s changed. Opinions about many of the great wines no longer matter. For the top chateaux, even huge Parker points or double asterisks won’t be required to sell the iconic brands and for most of us, some of the tastings were academic.

A pity, because the First Growths made belters this year, with all four Médoc Firsts coming close to perfection. What is unusual is the varying levels of alcohol between these four Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated wines: Lafite and Margaux at 13.5%, Mouton at 14% and Latour at 14.5%. Note that Cabernet Sauvignon comes in at lower potential alcohol than Merlot, so it’s no wonder that second and third wines for many estates, with higher percentages of Merlot, pack quite a punch. Chateau Margaux is typical in this respect (13.5%, 14% and 14.5%). Refreshing acidity – much touted by all the chateaux – provides the balance.

July-aug-2010 (2)

St-Julien and Pauillac: strong performances

Moving on, St-Julien and Pauillac were incredibly strong across the board. The Cabernet Sauvignons of the top appellations of the Médoc – for me, the best that Bordeaux has to offer in 2010 in any volume – are ‘über-classic’. The Bordelais prefer to use words like elegance, balance and freshness but I’m not sure that these words adequately convey the feeling of power that these wines have. And be prepared to be patient.

The two great spots of Pauillac and St-Julien have their fair share of ‘Parker hopefuls’ – those estates looking for an outstanding good score to maintain or improve their standing amongst their peers. If the prices are not pushed too far, these great 2010s will sell very easily. Pichon Longueville Baron (with arguably their best wine to date), Leoville Las Cases and Leoville Poyferre just edged it for me amongst the Super Seconds, with Pontet Canet once again right up there.


Pontet Canet

And who wouldn’t want a cellar full of St-Juliens like Gruaud Larose, St-Pierre and Langoa Barton, the latter with much less Merlot than usual. A lot of Merlot on both banks – especially on older vines – suffered from coulure and millerandage, or ‘shatter’ and poor fruit set. This reduced the crop, as did the small berry size of all the grapes. But what the Merlot lacked in quantity (and sometimes quality), the Cabernet Sauvignon made up for in quality. We can pray that it doesn’t come at too high a price.

Rest of the Left

St-Estephe has to be viewed on a case-by-case basis. I might have caught Cos on a slightly off day, while Calon Segur showed a lovely wine, despite losing some of the crop to a localised hail storm in May: almost half the number of bottles from 2009 there. Nearby, Montrose, with 20 additional hectares bought from Phelan Segur, was untouched: 50% more bottles of the (brilliant) Grand Vin in 2010. Will it be cheaper than the 100 pointer in waiting, the 2009?

The appellation of Margaux, beyond the very top wines, is a source of values for drinking: 20 chateaux produced 90+ point wines in my book. Issan is right back on form after hail struck in 2008 and 2009, and I’m looking for value from the likes of du Tertre, Ferriere and Labegorce – the latter two not being RP favourites.

Nearby, there are some values from Moulis, Listrac and the southern end of the Haut-Médoc. The Haut-Médoc and the Médoc to the north of St-Estephe produced some very good wines – however, I don’t think it’s a case of fill yer boots with any old Cru Bourgeois. Amongst the winners are rather too many wines with a lack of ripeness and fairly coarse tannins.

South of Bordeaux, the evenly mixed Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends of Pessac-Léognan will provide sumptuous drinking. While the top chateaux – Haut-Brion, La Mission, Haut Bailly and Smith Haut Lafitte – made glorious wines, prices haven’t caught up yet for estates on the up like de Fieuzal and Haut-Bergey.

It’s a super vintage for the dry whites of Pessac-Léognan and the Graves, and I’m probably alone in preferring 2010 Sauternes and Barsac to 2009, with the possible exception of Yquem. But that’s another story.

On the Right Bank

It may be small but all eyes are usually on Pomerol. That little bit of rain at key moments in September really helped these precocious vineyards, which once again turned in some wonderful wines. Jacques Thienpont prefers 2010 Le Pin to his 2009 (like his brilliant 2001 to 2000) but I wouldn’t say that this was true across the board here. Mixed flowering in the Merlot, hydric stress and small berries certainly had an impact on the character of the wines, as well as the yields (just 31hl/ha at L’Evangile, compared to 38hl/ha average). Petrus, L’Evangile, L’Eglise Clinet, Vieux Chateau Certan, Clinet, Hosanna – no surprises, just not enough wine.

I tasted scores of St-Emilions and scored many of them very highly. But it was tough going, with many having rigorous tannic frames and a sense that the drought conditions contributed to the dryness of the wines. Still, plenty of super values to be had for those who choose well, with numerous 90+ pointers. Choose carefully: it’s a big place but not one for the faint hearted, with many super-concentrated wines topping 15.5% alcohol. At the top level, Clos Fourtet, Pavie Macquin and Beausejour Duffau impressed again. The Cabernet Franc excelled, not least at Cheval Blanc and Ausone, of course.

Bring on the campaign. And if you want to pick up a relative bargain sooner, take a look at some 2008s, right now.  



 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

29 四月 20112010年份波尔多期酒: 是什么?

Mark Schuringa

by Mark Schuringa

James Swann

and James Swann

 The Bordeaux 2010 En Primeur campaign has finally started. The tastings are done and reviews have been coming out thick and fast. The first wines have been released and once Robert Parker will release his scores (expected on the 3rd of May), we will see Chateaux step up the pace of releases.


Is it a good vintage?

‘I find it hard to imagine that I will ever again encounter such successful consecutive vintages in Bordeaux as 2009 and the infant 2010s I have just been tasting’ - Jancis Robinson MW, in her weekly slot for the Financial Times. 

Meanwhile, Decanter Consultant Editor, Stephen Spurrier and Right Bank colleague, James Lawther MW, who tasted the Medoc and Graves together, coincide, with Spurrier’s experience shining through; ‘As with great vintages, which 2010 undoubtedly is, comparisons are made with previous years and at this level of quality, there are few contenders. Only 2005, and to a lesser extent 2000, were mentioned from the past decade. 1998 was referred to as a benchmark on the Right Bank, 1996 and 1995 mentioned in passing on the Left, 1990 certainly, 1986 for the Médocs, 1970 (the first vintage when many of the classed growths made a profit, following the washouts of 1963, 1965 and 1968 and the under-ripe 1967 and 1969) and, for those with longer memories, 1949, 1945 and 1929.’

‘So, not just in my opinion’, he continues, ‘2010 is looking like THE greatest Bordeaux vintage, so far, and, contrary to expectations, not tiring to taste.’

In the meantime, a tweet from wine critic Robert Parker, gave the final touches; “2010 is another top vintage for the Bordelaise region – was Bob Dylan singing about them in the mid 60s ("With God on our side").

cellars of lafite.jpg


Bordeaux 2010 En Primeur

Ditton Wine Traders will be offering 2010 Bordeaux En Primeur. Hard to believe after the great 2009, but we (and more importantly, all of the influential critics) think it’s a fantastic vintage. It offers real good value for money for the “lesser” wines. Wines that you can buy for between £10 and £20 a bottle and offer quality that surpasses most recent and older vintages.

There is a number of chateaux in the classed growth category, below 1st Growth, that have surpassed themselves. According to some of the reviews, these chateaux have made wines that are far superior to 2009 and possibly the best they ever made. Watch this space to find out which wines I’m referring to. Prices will be higher, in some cases quite a lot higher than 2009, but given the quality, they will likely sell very fast.

We also think Bordeaux 2010 offers opportunities for investment, although pricing will be even more important than in 2009. In that respect, we feel 2010 en primeur can be an excellent buy if you can get hold of it at first or second “tranche” and you buy the right names. Some of the chateaux have made wines of staggering quality. Think Cheval Blanc 1990, Haut Brion 1989 – wines that surpass the 100 points category. However, if you can’t get in early on, then there are alternative strategies that might serve you better.

Therefore, we will be covering the campaign right from the beginning until the very end. From easy, affordable and delicious drinking wines to top flight, modern classics with a matching price tag. We will send out offers by email – sign up for them here – and will post analyses on the blog. We will also keep you up to date on En Primeur news in our news section.

So which wines should you buy?

There are excellent wines to be found here at every level. The best terroirs have dealt remarkably well with the draught conditions as soils retained water deep-down. Second wines are of vastly superior quality with leading chateaux continuing their re-definition of this style as a noble wine in its own right.

At entry level and mid-priced range, a raft of lesser known chateaux has produced wines of great, even outstanding quality. Prices overall will like be slightly higher than 2009, yet quality is higher.  Cru Bourgeois and Petit Chateaux have produced fine claret that have something to say about the place in which they are grown and will quite possibly provide the most enjoyable – and affordable – drinking in the short and medium term.

No one commune stands out, however, quality is not blanket-wide and there are some heavy-handed wines to be found in both the Left and Right Banks, with the Right Bank being the less consistent of the two.  As with 2009, harvest dates for comparable terroirs varied considerably from chateau to chateau, thus, the style being determined largely by choice rather than prevailing conditions.  2010, above all is a vintage where under-extraction not over-extraction is the order of the day.

Full list of 2010 En Primeur wines (populated on release of those wines we can recommend)

cellars of cos estournel.jpg


Why buy from us? Two very good reasons. Firstly, we are better priced than all of the big, well known merchants. Secondly, we have allocations to give to you. We are growing quickly and as such, our allocations from Bordeaux grow as well. Even though overall there will be less available from the chateaux. We are primarily wholesalers – dealing with the majority of the UK wine trade. As such, we don’t have a database of thousands of private customers. Therefore, we might well be able to offer you an allocation of the sought after wines – an allocation that you can then keep throughout the years. A fantastic opportunity that you won’t easily find with other fine wine traders.


Is it safe? Apart from price and availability, this is the most important aspect in selecting your En Primeur merchant. Make sure you buy from a reputable company and do your homework. Ditton Wine Traders only buy from very well known, reputable Negociants. We sell to the majority of the trade in London, including En Primeur, and have never failed to deliver. We are middle sized, financially sound fine wine traders that have been trading since 2004. Ask for references, they will confirm that buying En Primeur from us is safe. And if you can rest assured that your order will be delivered to you, why pay more than necessary?


How to buy? Please send your wish list to mark@dittonwinetraders.co.uk. It helps us secure what you want and you will be the first we offer to. Otherwise, subscribe to our blog and email offers so we can help you to select and purchase. Or just go to the Full list of 2010 En Primeur wines.


Storage? We advise to have your wine professionally stored, in a bonded warehouse, unless you intend to drink them in the short term. There are various options. It is quite straightforward to open up your own account in a bonded warehouse. See here for some that we work with and can recommend. Rates do vary so shop around. Alternatively, we are happy to assist you with your own, personal account at London City Bond. We can offer trade rates which are basically half of what you would pay for a private account. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Our en primeur prices include delivery from France, insurance and warehouse receiving charges. They are under bond prices, excluding duty and VAT which will be payable only if wines are later taken out of bond. There are NO storage charges for en primeur wines. Storage charges will be charged only on wines that have physically arrived in the spring of 2013. We will contact all our customers on arrival of wines in the UK to obtain storage or delivery instructions.

If you think you might buy during the campaign, do sign up for our email offers – it’s the best way to closely follow the campaign, spot the best deals and secure an allocation. Don’t forget to follow our blog and news. You can of course also phone us:

020 833 99 112.
By Mark Schuringa and James Swann

 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

12 四月 20112010年份波尔多期酒临时报告

James Swann

by James Swann

Mark Schuringa

and Mark Schuringa

Bordeaux 2010, as with Bordeaux 2009 before it, is a vintage born out of extremity. In opposition to the no less extreme but regular cycle of 2009, 2010 is the fruit of exceptional meteorological conditions that tested the vine to its limits. 2010 is an extreme vintage which, in this instance, went the right way.

2010 as compared to 2009

Both 2009 and 2010 are big vintages; powerful, concentrated, of high alcohol and weight. 2009 are by comparison, opulent, softer wines that saw gradual concentration over a perfect ripening season followed by a perfect autumn.

2010 meanwhile are potent wines born of irregular and altogether more aggressive conditions, in particular drought and cooler August-September minimum temperatures followed by a cooler autumn leading to enhanced aroma, pigmentation and acidity. Drought-induced grape shrinkage combined to further exaggerate this acidity, being, along with tannic structure, the vintage’s most arresting feature.

As with 2009, harvest dates for comparable terroirs varied considerably from chateau to chateau, with the style being determined largely by choice rather than prevailing conditions.

2010, above all is a vintage where under-extraction not over-extraction is the order of the day, so as not to overplay robust tannins. High sugars once again have produced wines comparatively high in alcohol – broadly 13-14% for the Left Bank and 14-15% for the Right Bank – in the main a little less than 2009 although sometimes, in particular, the Right Bank and Pessac-Léognan, more so.

Left bank

There are excellent wines to be found here at every level, the best terroirs have dealt remarkably well with the draught conditions as soils retained water deep-down from the unusually heavy rains of the previous winter (which, although with no way of telling at the time, turned out to be the saviour of the vintage).

Second wines are of notable quality as leading chateaux continue their re-definition of this style as a noble wine in its own right.

No one commune stands out, however, quality is not blanket-wide and there are some over-extracted wines to be found. 

In 2010, it is a question of individual chateau over its village or district.


Despite in some instances record alcohol levels, experts (Spurrier, Laws, Decanter et al) believe these to be quite possibly the wines of the vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc have retained very good acidity levels at full ripeness, whereas the white wines are excellent and of an extremely high standard.

Right bank

Less consistent overall, where some chateaux have struggled to contain alcohol levels or produced over-extracted wines. Nonetheless, if one is prepared to hand-pick, there exists a wide-ranging offer of elegant and well-crafted wines to be found.

Sweet whites

A fine vintage for Sauternes and Barsac and in contrast to the other communes and districts an abundant yield. Crisp aromatic power is the hallmark of this vintage.


Some 5,000 members of the international wine trade representing close to 70 different countries have arrived to Bordeaux for the annual week of tasting barrel samples. Notably, the US trade is in attendance, after largely staying away in 2009. There are also reports that Asian buyers, in particular China but also Japan, have yet increased their interest again. Further, perhaps as a portent to future trends, KBR School of Wine, an Indian wine educator, is also taking part.

The market and pricing

By consensus, prices for the 2010 vintage are expected to be similar to slightly higher as compared to 2009.

A series of week fronts led to many flowers becoming infertile (coulure) whilst bunches that at first appeared successful ceased to develop and aborted (millerandage) with early-ripening Merlot, in particular effected. Moreover, green harvesting, begun on the assumption of what appeared to be a full crop and significant weight loss during the drought conditions led to an ever-lower yield. Whereas full bunches have been reported among petit chateaux, top growers with typically stringent selection processes, in the Merlot-dominated Right Bank above all, report a drop of up to 30% on 2009.

Chateaux and Negociants are well-capitalised after record prices for a string of high-quality high-scoring recent vintages and soaring international demand, notably from new markets in Asia. There is therefore no immediate financial pressure to lower prices.   

The re-entry, albeit a little more modestly by historical standards, of US merchants, the ever-stronger presence of Asian buyers and continuous strong demand from UK investors all point to demand being similar to 2009. Having said that, there is certainly less hype amongst private customers when compared to this time last year.

Finally, in line with recent performance, we may see certain chateaux out-perform their critic ratings against the backdrop of brand-led demand from China. But, there is some way to go yet, and we shall maintain our analysis of this in the coming days and weeks as the all-important ratings begin to emerge in full. Particularly from Robert Parker, who will release his scores at the end of this month. Interestingly, he has twittered that 2010 is a great vintage but not greater than 2005 or 2009.

On a final note, when we say prices are expected to be similar or slightly higher than 2009, that is measured in euro’s. For buyers who pay in sterling that’s bad news as sterling has dropped 6% against the euro since this time last year.

By James Swann and Mark Schuringa

 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

30 三月 2011之前的年份胜过2010?

The record-priced Bordeaux 2009 vintage currently trades at -2% off its London release price and so far has failed to produce growth in accordance to expectations. We look into alternative fine wine investment strategies that – albeit with hindsight –  would have netted a better return.

Bordeaux 2010 would seem set to bring another high-quality and highly priced vintage. But will this make for a good wine investment? If 2009 is anything to go by, possibly not. But if – and it's a big if – that’s the case, 2010 will likely open the door to other, more lucrative strategies to pursue.

So what and how to buy?

On current trends, exceptionally high prices for top-performing vintages (2005, 2008, 2009) become the new price ceiling by which prior vintages are measured.

In this context, the emphasis on brand over vintage, and increasingly brand over score together with the apparent search for value would look set to continue. If that’s the case, lesser scoring vintages and chateaux outperform their higher-rated equivalents as they move towards the new price ceiling. Moreover, some studies suggest that buying into recent top performing chateaux can outperform the market over the short-term, a so-called momentum approach. We have commented on these phenomena here in the blog before.

We have compiled a list of 10 wines from 2006, 2007 and 2008 that fit into the categories “brand over vintage and score” and/or have been on the move and thereby would be candidates for the “momentum-based approach”. We have compared prices from June 2010 with the current market prices and calculated the % increase in price:


Lynch Bages
Pichon Lalande
Cos d'Estournel
Mouton Rothschild
La Mission Haut-Brion

Source: www.wine-searcher.com and Liv-ex.

Of course, with hindsight it's easy to come up with a list of outperforming wines. However, chances are that anybody who, at the time, wanted to pursue a strategy of "hot names in back vintages" would have come up with a similar list Moreover, the returns do speak for themselves. Measured over the past year, this strategy would have been far superior to buying 2009 Bordeaux en primeur.
Could you repeat this with the 2010 vintage coming up? Who knows. A lot of wines and vintages have already closed a substantial part of the gap to their more expensive peers, be it vintages or other brands. What will – even more so than in 2009 – be extremely important is at what point in the campaign you are able to buy. If you get the top wines at 1st or 2nd tranche, you stand a good chance of doing well. If you need to buy at the "open market" prices, we would like to point out that – at least in the short run – history might repeat itself. 

Some remarks in general – a new investment order?

Where will prices go and what may be the implications for the wider market?

As luxury goods reach new audiences with different values, familiar dynamics begin to change. A buy and hold strategy may well produce strong returns over the long-term, but how much more effective could your investment be if you were to combine this strategy with trying to catch shorter-term trends, with profits re-invested in similar opportunities.

Furthermore, a new investment order of sorts is emerging within the blue chip (First Growths) segment of the market in the apparent catch-up of the other First Growths with Lafite. All have seen steady price rises as Lafite appears to be treading water at the moment. This is most evident with Haut-Brion, which appears to represent a secular mini-trend as it looks increasing undervalued in comparison to its First Growth peers.

Scores (Parker) will continue to account for major price differentials between vintages and chateaux on aggregate. However, we will likely see the continued emergence of exceptions to this rule, evident among those wines where (Chinese) demand is strongest; representing a differentiation within the classed growths market as some chateaux become less sensitive to (Parker) scores and brand-led demand becomes their chief driver of price.

Risk is higher too; price formation would appear to have a higher correlation with emerging market GDP and industrial production indicators than traditional fine wine supply-side economics, raising the risk of a price shock in the event of a sudden drop in demand in these countries. Major merchants, moreover, may depend on China for as much as 50% of their turnover. En primeur too, increasingly presents irregular prices and diminishing returns for considerably higher risk.

Finally, after a year where almost everything went up, the near future looks set to be more discriminating. It will be more important to pick the right stock at the right time. Seeking advice on your wine investment strategies, always a good idea – will be more important going forward. Make sure you ask your favorite fine wine merchant.

By James Swann and Mark Schuringa

 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒投资

24 三月 2011购买期酒评价

Is buying en primeur actually a good deal? It certainly can be, but much depends on the vintage, your allocations and on available alternative wine investment strategies.

With what appears set to be another high-priced – high-quality vintage in the ensuing Bordeaux 2010 en primeur campaign, we take a look at the evolving wine investment market. In particular, in the light of the low-priced but high-performing 2008 vintage becoming physical and record release prices for the slower-moving, still at chateaux Bordeaux 2009.

En primeur is the French term for wine sold as a futures offering prior to it being bottled. This advance sale, while long available to the trade, only became popular with wine investors and collectors in the late C20th amid the scramble for a succession of good vintages, a broadly prosperous economic environment and the emergence of vintage reports and ratings from 3rd parties, such as wine writers and (one) wine critics. It has become a – relatively recent – specialty of Bordeaux classed growth chateaux.

The theory is that by buying wine early, the public not only secures sought-after wines, he or she also pays less. This early-release frees up much needed cash-flow for the chateaux, funds they can use to fund the next crop.

However, financial benefit to the wine collector, drinker or investor is by no means invariably the case. We look at some of the phenomena becoming apparent in a string of high-performing recent vintages against the backdrop of a significantly changing China-demand led wine investment market.

So, is buying en primeur actually a good deal?

It all depends. Bordeaux 2009 currently languishes at an average -2% off its record London release price one year ago. However, some of the other vintages – notably the 2008 – have posted much better returns (albeit over a longer time period):


Source Liv-ex.com

Yet, has anyone ever lost money on a stellar Bordeaux vintage? In the long-term probably not. For the collector/investor holding wine rather than trading it matters. Bordeaux 2005, the last pre-2009 top vintage currently trades at a premium of 59% off its 2007 London release price. Moreover, anyone holding the underrated 2002 would now be looking at a whopping 800% return since release!

In his seminal work, ‘Wine Investment for Portfolio Diversification’ (the Wine Appreciation Guild 2006), finance academic, Mahesh Kumar, concludes there are 3 stages at which wine typically returns a profit; the first 6-18 months after its purchase en primeur; when the wine has matured is more valuable and there is less of it; or, after an event that triggers sudden price appreciation such as the re-rating of a vintage or an increase in scarcity (a favoured strategy among wine funds). For 2009, the first opportunity seems to be lost. 

Timing is of the essence

With buying en primeur, when you buy matters. See below for the evolution of 2009 release prices by tranche as compared to the respective 2008 release prices:

Prior to 14/06
Source Liv-ex.com

This is extremely important. The above quoted return for 2009 up to now of -2% compares the London release price with the current market price. The London release price is the price at which a wine was first traded on the secondary market. This is not necessarily the price you can get it at if you have a relationship with your merchant.

For example, Lafite 2009 was first sold by the Negociants at €550 per bottle, which at the time equated to roughly £5,500 per case. London release price was £13,500….. Hardly anybody had any at this first price though. The second tranche was around £7,500 and there was some volume of that, but still not nearly enough to even satisfy loyal customers, let alone offer it on the secondary market. 

So, you can vastly improve your return if you can secure an allocation early on. For those who can’t, money invested in 2009 so far might have been put to better use.

Then what to buy if not en primeur?

We are not saying buying en primeur doesn’t make sense. What we are suggesting is that top quality vintages that are highly priced en primeur leave the door open to alternative, potentially more profitable strategies.

One could argue that very high prices for stellar vintages (2005, 2009) will be the new price ceiling against which previous vintages are measured. Should the brand-led/value vintage buying continue apace among a new wine public (China, but possibly also India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia), then we can expect to see the appreciation of lesser scoring, physically available recent back-vintages and lesser scoring chateaux towards this new ceiling.

Next time we will look at this strategy in more detail.

By James Swann and Mark Schuringa

 Categories: 期酒投资

19 二月 20112010年份波尔多期酒: 葡萄美酒

Guest blog by Gavin Quinney (@GavinQuinney). 


This report was originally posted on the Liv-ex blog. Gavin has kindly allowed us to post this follow up on his excellent report on the Bordeaux 2010 weather. Gavin is a local winegrower in Bordeaux. He has been writing the annual Bordeaux "en primeur report" for Harpers Wine & Spirit magazine. Gavin has also tasted all the top wines from Bordeaux en primeur for 10 years and has been following these up in bottle. Do check out his blog for lots of excellent, factual information.


There’s an embarrassment of riches in the best barrel cellars of Bordeaux right now. The relatively inexpensive 2008s are being shipped out (the first tranche offer of 100€ ex-cellars for First Growths in April 2009 seems a long time ago), leaving row upon row of French oak barriques bearing the precious, pre-paid 2009 vintage. And, currently being assembled in the ‘first year’ cellars, there’s another great vintage waiting in line.
Time will tell if Lilian Barton Sartorius was right when she said at the start of the harvest, “However well the 2010s turn out, they are going to be cheaper than the 2009s.” At the time I nodded sagely in agreement, but now, following an outstanding harvest and with more names being touted as the next big thing in China, I’m not so sure. Meanwhile, a few wise old heads are keeping shtum about 2010 as they want their wines to do the talking in the spring. Nobody wants to hear about another vintage of the century. At least, not just yet.
After concerns that he would be unable to travel following knee surgery, Robert Parker has indicated that he will be coming to taste the new vintage next month. Significantly, his friend Michel Rolland, the renowned consultant oenologist, believes that most estates that he works with have made, er, better wines in 2010 than in 2009. And for those who prefer wines at the other end of the structure spectrum, Denis Dubourdieu quietly agrees – for reds and dry whites anyway.
Margaux harvest 
Chateau Margaux, Harvest 2010
I tasted the 2009s again recently at many of the top estates on the Left Bank, and if 2010 is at the same quality level as 2009, it’s a hard act to follow. The 2009s are exuberant, opulent and delicious to taste even now, but what of the other side of the cellar of l’embarras des richesses - the 2010s? The 2010s appear to be more classically Bordeaux-like, but with tremendous power and intensity. I’d call them über-classic, for want of a better expression. The buzz word for the 2009s at this same stage last year was ‘exceptional’ – see my 2009 harvest report. We’ll probably hear a lot more of ‘classic’, ‘intense’, extraordinary’ and ‘balanced’ in reference to 2010.
Jean Guillaume Prats of Cos d’Estournel explains: “Speaking for Cos and not for the others in the Medoc, the 2010 is in the same league as the 2009 but in a completely opposite and different style. 2010 is an extraordinary classic Medoc vintage. A year of drought, of course, and the driest in the last ten years, but nothing like 2003 when there was exposure to so much heat. It was a late vintage and rain on the 4th October in the north of the Medoc helped the Cabernet Sauvignon to extraordinary phenolic ripeness. Beautiful weather followed for picking the Cabernet.”
Jean Guillaume Prats, Cos 
Jean Guillaume Prats, Cos
Jean René Matignon, the technical director of Pichon Baron, agrees, summing up 2010 as ‘un grand millésime de garde par excellence’. He believes yields are generally around ten per cent lower than in 2009 around Pauillac (i.e. in St-Julien and St-Estephe also), in part due to poor flowering in older Merlot vines, as well as smaller berries with less juice from the near-drought conditions. Lilian Barton told me that they only made four tanks of Merlot, compared to six the previous year, for the same reason. The quality of the Merlot, though, is ‘magnifique’, according to Matignon, whose final blend will be 77 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 23 per cent Merlot – compared to 67 per cent and 33 per cent in 2009. That’s a significant shift, and if that doesn’t suggest a wine for longer ageing, then the near-record levels of tannin, however ripe, certainly do.
There will undoubtedly be concerns, as in 2009, over the high levels of alcohol on both banks – especially for the Merlot, so it’s a bigger issue on the Right Bank. What is noticeable, though, is the higher acidity than in 2009, giving the wines freshness and balance. The 2010s are very deeply coloured, which is no surprise given the dry conditions and levels of concentration. (I wouldn’t be surprised if some malolactic fermentations struggle to be complete in time for Parker’s visit.)
Steve Blais, who works with Michel Rolland and has clients around the world, believes that 2010 – being a later harvest than 2009 – plays to the strengths of Bordeaux. He works with Malescot St-Exupery in Margaux and many chateaux in Pomerol and St-Emilion.
It works best here when there’s a slow, even maturity of the grapes. In theory, not too hot and longer is good, but the problem with later vintages is that we get autumn rain. The weather we had over the harvest in 2010 was almost perfect, so we could wait.
“Maybe we’ll see that some estates have terroirs that were just too dry, but many chateaux, like those with clay over limestone, should have made great wines. The 2010s have lower PH (higher acidity), less jammy fruit and incredible freshness. The more samples we taste in the lab, the better I think it is than 2009. Sorry, but it’s true. Don’t forget the vineyards that ripen later either – I have clients in places like Blaye where the wines are tasting extremely good.”
This is the clear message from many of the 'lesser' appellations. Yorick Lavaud, who sources the wine for Rothschild's Mouton Cadet brand and manages 1,200 hectares of vines, was adamant that 2010 is a better vintage than 2009, especially for Merlot.
Mouton Rothschild, 13th Oct 2010 
Mouton Rothschild, 13th Oct 2010
2010 is also an excellent vintage for dry whites and for Sauternes, so if you’re planning on coming to the April trade tastings, make sure you fit them in to your schedule. On that note, I’d suggest you don’t try to cram too much in, too quickly. There’s a lot to take in, and the wines will be quite demanding.
Let’s hope the proprietors aren’t.


 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒

16 二月 20112010年份波尔多期酒: 天气情况

Guest blog by Gavin Quinney (@GavinQuinney). 

This report was originally posted on the Liv-ex blog. Gavin has kindly allowed us to post this excellent report on the 2010 weather. Gavin is a local winegrower in Bordeaux. He has been writing the annual Bordeaux "en primeur report" for Harpers Wine & Spirit magazine. Gavin has also tasted all the top wines from Bordeaux en primeur for 10 years and has been following these up in bottle. Do check out his blog for lots of excellent, factual information.

The en primeur tasting week will be the first week of April. It is still a good 3 months away before the campaign really starts going and as such, it may be a tat early to start writing about 2010. On the other hand, media coverage is likely to be hotting up and invariably, there will be a lot of speculation on the quality of the vintage. So that you can form your own opinion on this matter, we wanted to share Gavin's findings. Based on facts, with lots of graphs (I love graphs).


As wine merchants and critics make their travel arrangements for the En Primeur barrel tastings in late March and early April, here are some early conclusions that can be drawn about 2010 – with the help of a few weather charts.
As a grower in Bordeaux – and being British - the weather is something I keep an eye on. I also visited scores of leading chateaux during the growing season and throughout the harvest.
In summary:
  • 2010 was a very dry year.
  • 2010 was sunny...
  • ...but not too hot.
  • Uneven flowering, lower yields?
  • Top terroirs shine, again.
  • Rain in the nick of time.
  • A later harvest (than 2009 and 2005).
  • Harvest ‘à la carte’.

2010 was a very dry year


I live 15 miles east of Bordeaux and 15 miles south-west of St-Emilion, between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Bordeaux is a vast wine region and the weather can vary significantly from one end to the other. It’s fair to say, though, that 2010 was a dry year across all areas. 

Throughout the growing season, from April to October, we had less than half the rainfall than in 2009 – itself a dry year. 2010 was an exceptionally dry year, and not just at the business end of the season from June through to the harvest. There was less rain in March compared to the average, then very low rainfall in April and May, leaving a shortage of water reserves before the summer had even begun.


2010 was sunny...

2010 saw a fairly similar return to 2009 and 2005 from July to September (when the fruit ripens) and the sunshine continued into October, which was when most of the top reds were picked. Note the differences between these great years and other recent vintages – differences which are reflected in the wines.

But not too hot

There was plenty of sunshine in 2010 but it wasn’t particularly hot which, given the near drought conditions, was a relief. May was much cooler than the 30-year average (14.2ËšC  v 15.4ËšC), June warmer (18.6ËšC v 18.3ËšC), and July warmer still (21.7ËšC v 21ËšC), while August was a shade cooler (20ËšC v 21ËšC), as was September.
It’s been said that Bordeaux will become too hot for Merlot and Cabernet with the changing climate. These graphs seem to show that it’s not rising temperatures, but a shortage of rainfall that could be more of a concern for the vast majority of growers that don’t have perfect terroirs.

Late start, then uneven flowering

The graphs above tell half the story. To have a better feeling for how the weather affects the vines, some day-to-day tracking can be helpful. March was cold, with much colder soils than normal until the 20th of March, leading to a later budburst than usual in April.
May-june-2010 (2) 
A sunny April, then a hot streak in late May, followed by a cold snap, probably confused the vines. Rain in the first half of June didn’t help at this critical time, so the flowering was mixed. The Merlot, which is more vulnerable to poor fruit set, was inconsistent from one parcel to another, and often from one vine to another – a result of coulure and millerandage. This was evident on both banks. Old timers also said that as there were many larger bunches, the flowering was poor – ‘the bigger the bunches the lower the yield’.
Many of the top estates saw lower yields through a combination of poor flowering and uneven fruit set; fewer bunches; green harvesting later on; strict selection; smaller berries; and less juice from the very dry weather. But I saw many vineyards, often in the so-called lesser appellations, positively groaning with bunches, so general claims of low yields might be misleading.

Top terroirs shine, again

July-aug-2010 (2) 
After rain in mid-June, it was a dry old time in the vines throughout the summer. By the end of August, there were clear signs of stress in many vineyards through lack of water. Merlot leaves in many parcels from Margaux to Pomerol were wilting, and younger vines suffered.
The great terroirs showed extraordinary resilience to the drought conditions by providing just enough sustenance to the vines. Some of the Cabernet Sauvignon on the gravelly knolls at Lafite and Mouton and other top sites in Pauillac, St-Julien and St-Estephe looked extraordinarily healthy – as did Merlot on the best clay-limestone terroirs around St-Emilion and Castillon. The Cabernet Franc at Cheval Blanc and Angélus also looked in perfect shape.

Rain in the nick of time

Light rain in early September provided welcome moisture (the ‘before and after’ effect on the leaves in vineyards like Le Pin was clear) and further showers around the 24th and the 29th had a positive effect, as did quite heavy rain on the 4th of October. In between, and on into mid-October, it was clear and sunny. 
Too much rain, coupled with a later harvest, and there’s a risk of rot. But the weather held and I saw no rot whatsoever on any red grapes until mid-October (and those were mine).

A later harvest (than 2009 and 2005)

The later budburst  at the start of the season was reflected in the later harvest dates than 2009 – some four to ten days - despite the very dry, sunny summer. Later and greater don’t normally go hand in hand, but 2010 is an exception.

Harvest ‘à la carte’

Pierre Lurton claimed at Yquem on the 28th of September that it was another harvest during which chateaux could pick when they wanted to, or ‘à la carte’. I was somewhat sceptical, given that the red harvest had only just begun. Nine days later, they were cheerily picking Cabernet Franc in bright sunshine at Cheval Blanc in St-Emilion (which he also manages). The week after that, they were leisurely picking Cabernet Sauvignon at Margaux, Lafite and Mouton – again in bright sunshine. Back on the Right Bank, they were still bringing in the Merlot, in lovely condition, at Troplong Mondot on the 15th of October.
I have to admit, Monsieur Lurton might just have been right.



 Categories: 波尔多葡萄酒期酒

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