Bordeaux 2017 primeurs – what the trade thinks

I had hoped to provide some alternative to our Bordeaux primeurs diet this week for our free article today but I’m afraid Liv-ex, the fine-wine trading platform and price database, have just issued the results of their annual en primeur survey and they are rather interesting, particularly when taken in tandem with the set of prices suggested by Wine Owners in What price Bordeaux 2017?

Every year Liv-ex canvasses opinion from a wide range of international wine-trade figures on their impressions of that year’s primeurs campaign, based on tastings such as the one above right photographed by Julia at Vieux Château Certan. They describe their survey as ‘designed to track the consensus of opinion among the best professional tasters of young Bordeaux. Liv-ex membership numbers 400 of the world’s biggest buyers and sellers of fine wine.’

The key findings are that wine merchants expect an average decrease of 11.5% on 2016 release prices in euros. (Wine Owners were suggesting that an average decrease of 23% in sterling prices was required for a successful primeurs campaign.) More than 80% of the respondents in the Liv-ex survey said they are expecting less demand for the 2017s than they experienced for the 2016 primeurs.

As Justin Gibb of Liv-ex observes, ‘This is going to be a particularly interesting en primeur campaign to watch. While the trade expect prices to drop by 11.5% on average, many hope for greater reductions. Collectors have invested heavily in the 2015 and 2016 en primeur campaigns. To encourage buying for the third year in a row, the price will need to be right. This means it will need to look right next to other comparable vintages in the market.’

The survey (full results here) always asks merchants to name their top wines on the basis of primeurs tastings. This year Petrus was voted wine of the 2017 vintage.

Petrus is one of the six 2017 bordeaux given a score of 18.5 by Julia in her tasting report on almost 400 wines tasted en primeur.

A small team at Syracuse University has developed a model for predicting primeur prices involving temperature, rain and Liv-ex prices (which it is hoping will particularly help smaller American wineries such as those in the nearby Finger Lakes to develop primeur sales). Just to keep things interesting, Liv-ex have also published the Syracuse team's predictions for Bordeaux 2017 prices. The Syracuse academics say they expect a 2.02% rise in first-growth prices and a 1.47% increase in prices for other left-bank wines.

So, no shortage of predictions this year then. Keep an eye on our updates to What price Bordeaux 2017? to see what actual prices are. Wine Owners' selection of significant properties does not include Ch Haut-Batailley whose new owners, the Cazes family, announced a particularly dramatic price hike yesterday. Julia will be publishing her tasting note and score on this wine, and the rest of the northern Médoc, tomorrow.

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