The Wall street Journal posted this article on their website today:
Advice to Burgundy Lovers: Start Hoarding
Acker Merrall & Condit Bottles of 1985 Henri Jayer Richebourg: Is 2011 Burgundy’s breakout year in Asia?
After Bordeaux wines fetched sky-high auction prices last year in Hong Kong, it seemed like France’s other top region — Burgundy — was getting neglected. But this year might be Burgundy’s time to shine.
Early reviews of the 2009 vintage of Burgundy are in — critics began tasting late last year — and the verdict is good: According to the London-based dealer Bordeaux Index, the 2009 vintage is “the most forward and generous one over the past decade.” And the WSJ’s London-based wine writer Will Lyons was giving the vintage high praise in a recent column:
“I cannot remember feeling such a fizz of excitement around a Burgundy en primeurcampaign…. The ’09s, in the case of the red wines, are so ripe, forward and low in tannin and acidity that even the barrel samples are a joy to taste. As one restaurateur whispered in my ear at the end of a particularly memorable tasting: ‘They’re gorgeous.’”
Not surprisingly, the buzz has reached Asian markets. Wine merchant Berry Bros. & Ruddbrought Jasper Morris, its Burgundy expert and author of the encyclopedic “Inside Burgundy,” to Hong Kong to lead a tasting of barrel samples of the 2009 vintage in January. The firm’s sales of 2009 Burgundy in the en primeur market — a futures market in which wine is bought more than 18 months ahead of delivery — were its best to date. It sold “just below 1,500 cases” of 2009 Burgundy in Hong Kong, about three times as much as last year, according to Nick Pegna, the managing director for Berry Bros. in Hong Kong. What’s more, the stock it allocated for futures sales is virtually sold out.
“It’s very encouraging to see the market respond like this,” said Mr. Pegna. “People are really starting to gain the understanding for the wines…. In previous years, people have cherry-picked on the grand crus. This year, they’ve been buying across the board.”
Burgundy still makes up less than one-tenth of overall wine sales in Asia, Mr. Pegna said. Still, the hype around the 2009 Burgundy highlights a greater fear — or optimism, depending on who’s talking — of a massive influx of Chinese buyers picking up the top Burgundy bottles of all vintages.
It’s a matter of supply and demand, he said. Bordeaux wines, which already have been bid up in price in recent years, come from large estates that produce anywhere from 5,000 to 40,000 cases a year. Most domaines in Burgundy, on the other hand, produce just 500 to 2,000 cases — some even less. To compare, Château Lafite, the Bordeaux of choice among Chinese buyers, produced 25,000 cases of its famous 1982 vintage; Romanée-Conti , a top Burgundy label, averages only 450 cases a year, while another top wine from the same area, Richebourg, puts out only 1,000 cases.
“In my opinion, if Asia acquires a thirst for [Domaine de la Romanée-Conti], then over the long term prices can only increase. The question is, with such great quality and such small production, how high do prices go? It could become prohibitively high,” he wrote.
His advice? Hoard. Now. ”I think that if you want to drink great Burgundy, now or in the future, it might be a good idea to start laying it down in the cellar,” he said. “My view is that [Domaine de la Romanée-Conti] will be first to take off, and this is what I would choose to drink on Chinese New Year.”
Click here for the full article in WSJ.
You may have noticed that we hardly sell any Burgundy. We are in the process though of building up our network and list. If we can offer at the same competitive prices you are accustomed to from us, and if we can source the most sought after wines, we will be offering them to you. Watch this space!