Pontet-Canet said this week that it has released its 2013 vintage at €60-a-bottle ex-Bordeaux.
Much of the wine trade will arrive in Bordeaux next week for the 2013 en primeur tastings, making this a surprising move from one of the region’s leading chateaux.
Poor weather early in the growing season and during harvest last year means that estates have had to be highly selective in the vineyard, and Pontet-Canet said it has produced 50% less wine for its 2013 vintage, with yields of 15 hectolitres per hectare.
‘It’s certainly unexpected,' Caspar Bowes, of Bowes Wine merchant, told Decanter following the early release.
'The only reason can be that feel they have nothing to gain by waiting. The Tesserons take enormous pride in what they do, have invested lots of money in their estate, and are obviously very serious, which sits strangely with what they are doing here.
'It seems to indicate that they are not particularly interested in this campaign – not a great message the week before merchants are spending their own money coming out to taste what is already a complicated year to sell.'
Several observers have said prices will likely have to fall for the 2013 vintage to be attractive to en primeur buyers. That is true of China and Hong Kong, as well as more traditional western markets.
Richard Sutton, managing director of Armit Wines in Hong Kong, told DecanterChina.com prior to the Pontet-Canet release that Bordeaux prices in general have ‘levelled out’, with some vintages now looking relatively attractive.
But, he added, ‘Despite this, I suspect it will be a few months before we see Bordeaux prices rising much again, and there won’t be much impetus from 2013 en primeur unless it is extremely attractively priced.’
One Bordeaux negociant commented on the Pontet-Canet release, ‘If other chateaux follow this same pricing model, we might as well go home now.’
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