Bordeaux 2011: How low is low enough?

Last week on the blog we noted that Robert Parker has compared the overall quality of the 2011 vintage to that of 2001 and 2008. With the En Primeur tastings now in full flow, many more reports are streaming in from Bordeaux. (See our Bordeaux 2011 pages for the latest news, views, scores and prices.)

At this stage, there appears to be little consensus on the quality of the vintage. Some critics maintain that the wines are better than expected, but others (such as Tim Atkin) suggest that many top chateaux have underperformed. With these comments in mind, we have created an alternative "rough guide" to pricing Bordeaux 2011. 

The new releases will need to be more affordable than other available vintages – of a similar quality level – in order to tempt buyers. The diversity of opinion on 2011 indicates that it sits somewhere between 2007 (at the low end) and 2008 (at the high end) in terms of quality. As such, we have created what would seem to be appropriate pricing benchmarks for 50 leading chateaux based on the current trading prices of their respective 2007s and 2008s. Depending on how you (or your favourite critic) view the vintage, either price can be used. These are shown in the table below. (To account for the fact that that the 2007s and 2008s are now a number of years in bottle, prices should really be somewhat below these benchmarks to represent real value.)

We have also included the London release price for 2010 and the percentage reduction needed to hit these benchmarks. The results of our analysis imply that, on average, 2011 London release prices will need to be 47-52 per cent lower than those of 2010, at a minimum, for the wines to be a worthwhile purchase. Encouragingly, some reports (here and here) state that reductions of this magnititude could be realistic.

Bordeaux pricing

All prices are in GBP and are for 12x75cl cases.