Liv-ex: Bordeaux 2018 divides critics and wine merchants

Liv-ex: Bordeaux 2018 divides critics and wine merchants

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Thursday 23 April 2020 - Updated at 11:48 am
Liv-ex: Bordeaux 2018 divides critics and wine merchants

Hailed by wine writers, for which it is second only to 2016, but the prices leave more than a few perplexities among the traders

BORDEAUX, 28 JUNE 2019, HOURS 17:47
Bordeaux, 2018 divides critics and wine merchants

"Exceptional", "heterogeneous" or "controversial": the 2018 vintage of Bordeaux generated great interest, both among critics and among wine merchants, who gave the last vintage produced in Gironde a different judgment. On the one hand, traders are not so sure that prices, with a decided growth on 2017, with three of the five "Premiers Crus" (Chateau Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and Haut Brion) which came out at 17.2% more, guarantee a return from The investment obviously depends on how wine lovers and collectors will respond. On the other, the vintage, as reported by the Liv-ex analysis report "Bordeaux 2018 - A perplexing vintage", was greeted with an enthusiasm that has not been seen for a while by critics. For Antonio Galloni (Vinous) it was "a year capable of offering a great stylistic variety", while for James Suckling, who has only lower marks than 2016, "it has the potential to establish itself as one of the great harvests in history, similar to 2010, 2009 and 1989 ". In this sense, the wine merchants are colder, whose ratings were higher than those of the 2017 vintage, but still lower than 2016, 2010 and 2009, in line with those of 2015.

Despite a clear qualitative improvement in this year's releases, especially compared to 2017, for some merchants few labels are able to stand out as a "must buy". Several labels have been released at record prices, even if on average the vintage has been released at the same price level as the much celebrated 2016. And this is precisely the problem, namely the easy availability, on the market, of quality vintages similar to lower prices, which challenge the possibility of success of an En Primeur campaign in which, however, the wines that recorded the greatest demand are those that came out at a price lower than 2016, in addition to those received with particular warmth by critics.

From the point of view of the merchants, although the outputs of 2018 are likely not to convince long-time collectors too much, important purchases can be justified in the hope of intercepting the younger generations, who are now starting to build their own cellars. Some merchants approached the vintage with great enthusiasm, in the wake of the high scores of the critics, while others with greater caution, held back by the price, showing the two sides of the same coin, that of the wine merchants, which are reflected in sales figures well different. Overall, sales in value increased by 60% compared to 2017, exceeding the levels reached for 2015 and prospecting for 2018 a great success, also thanks to the increase in production, with the volumes sold increasing by 50%. A trend, however, predicted by Liv-ex members, with 69% predicting that demand would increase, even if it would depend on the price, and therefore not fairly distributed.

What catches the eye, is that the attention is mainly directed to a small number of labels, highly desired, so as to reach record levels of both demand and price, while wines that do not enjoy the support of the critics' scores, are intended to lower the price shortly after the release. In the meantime, concludes the analysis of Li-ex, while the Chateaux of Bordeaux communicated the exit prices, the secondary market of fine wines saw Italy and Burgundy nibbling further market shares ...