Market Outlook November 2012

The Market in October

Bordeaux trade dominated by top vintages
Interest in 2009 Bordeaux continues to be strong, partly aided in the UK by Decanter’s recent report on the vintage. There has also been significant interest in 2010s, as well as 1996s, 1990s, 1986s and 1982s, suggesting that buyers are looking to top vintages for security in an uncertain market.

Rhone volumes up on anticipation of new Wine Advocate
Hopes of score upgrades in Robert Parker’s Rhone report due at the end of the month have driven trade in 2010s, with October sales ofRhone wines up over 50% on the previous month.

Muted response to 2011 Y d’Yquem release
The release of Chateau Yquem’s dry white, coming as always after the primeur campaign proper, was met with limited enthusiasm from buyers, with the price rise on 2010 proving too much despite the high quality of 2011 as a white wine vintage.

What the critics are saying

The 2010 Bordeaux cru bourgeois have been favourably reviewed by Jancis Robinson, who called the winemaking “pretty much up to classed-growth standard”. Neal Martin finds the vintage to be more variable at this level than 2009 but is similarly enthusiastic, finding “a clutch of stupendous wines”.

Allen Meadows ( released his fourth quarter report on white Burgundy and his view on the 2011s chimes with our view when we tasted in July: “very interesting wines that should provide delicious drinking early on”, “classic in style” though “more fruit forward and approachable than a truly classic white burgundy vintage.” He finds his impressions of 2010 confirmed; it is a vintage with “two distinct personalities”: there are fresh, mineral, fully ripe wines with vibrant acidities and others which are rich, botrytis-influenced and lacking some freshness.

In the wine regions

Vinification of 2012s is ongoing in Bordeaux and Burgundy. F+R were out in Bordeaux at harvest time and witnessed the arrival of some healthy 2012 grapes although also a lot of sorting. The 2011s, after a summer to settle down, are more approachable than in April last year but the 2010s were the real surprise, showing even better than before and surpassing our (very high) expectations.

In Burgundy, with a short 2012 harvest confirmed, growers warn of price rises for the 2011s and high demand as buyers position themselves for the 2012 vintage.

In Bordeaux, Managing Director Jean-Guillaume Prats has left Ch Cos d’Estournel to join LVMH, the group that owns Moet & Chandon as well as Krug, Cheval Blanc and Yquem.

Outlook for November

The Christmas season is set to start and, with strong GDP figures released this month potentially heralding a more positive time for the UKeconomy, the question is how this will impact on the wine market.

The UGC tastings early on in the month will offer a chance to re-assess the 2010 Bordeaux vintage.

November also sees both the release of 2011 Rhones and of Parker’s pronouncements on them; with the vintage looking to be stronger than in Bordeaux, significant interest is to be expected.

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