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Bordeaux 2017: risers and fallers

The 2017 En Primeur campaign saw average release prices drop by almost 12% and volumes sold fall by 60% against the highly regarded 2016 release. Sales by value also dropped 45%. Numerous wines thus remain readily available at opening prices in Bordeaux.

According to the international merchant community, interest in the vintage was very focused on the First Growths and the most popular brands – the majority of releases struggled. Critical opinion was mixed while collectors showed a reluctance to pay 2015 prices for a vintage that was generally judged to be at the level of, or below, the 2014 vintage.

For a summary of the 2017 campaign, you can read our concluding report, Bordeaux 2017 – a risky strategy, here.

The wines are now bottled and will soon to be delivered. Critics are expected to release in-bottle scores in the coming months. UK merchants will be tasting the wines tomorrow at the annual Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting in London. It is time then, to examine what has happened to prices since release.

Of the 50 wines represented by the Bordeaux 500 index, only 7 have risen in value, 3 haven’t moved, and 37 have dropped. On average, prices are down 1% since April 2018. The Bordeaux 500 index has dipped by 0.9% over the same period. The best and worst performing wines can be found in the table above.

As with its 2016 vintage, Lafleur has been the best performer, rising 57% from release. Buyers of the second wines of the First Growths have once again done well – Carruades Lafite has jumped 37% while Petit Mouton has risen 8% in value.

As is too often the case with Sauternes, prices have struggled in the secondary market. Two First Growths feature among the reds that have drifted: Margaux down 9% and Mouton Rothschild down 10%.

But all is subject to change, especially as the wines become physical in the secondary market. How might the trade’s and critics’ renewed attention influence prices? The trend since release has been downward. Those holding the wines will be hoping for some good news from the tasting season ahead.