Ch. d’Yquem Pulls Out of the En Primeur System – For Now

Tasting 2011 Ch. d’Yquem at Cheval Blanc

Chateau d”Yquem has announced that they will not be releasing their wine into the en primeur system this year.  It is the second major Chateaux to do so this year following the example set by Ch. Latour.

There is a difference though.  Ch. Latour has announced that they are pulling out of the system permanently.  D’Yquem has only announced that they are not releasing right now – due to the uncertain conditions of the 2011 campaign.  This is simply a financial decision for Ch. d’Yquem and it shows that they may not be willing to release at the steep discounts that are required to sell this year.  In some cases, the top Chateaux have reduced their prices by over 40%.

It remains to be seen if they will release later if prices increase or demand picks up.

To see the Decanter article that reported this development go here.

To see my post on what the en primeur system is go here.

First CIVB Wine Bar Opens in Shanghai

Last week the Burdigala Bordeaux Wine Bar opened in Shanghai.

This is the first of the international wine bars opened in partnership with the CIVB – the body that markets Bordeaux wines around the world.  The CIVB has one such bar in Bordeaux.  It is called Bar-A-Vins and it is pictured below.

As part of its new marketing strategy, the CIVB announced last year that it would be opening CIVB Boardeaux bars around the world (with partners) in cities that are good Bordeaux markets.  It is not a surprise that the firs such bar has opened in Shanghai.  The Chinese market has been very good to Bordeaux over the last few years.

Decanter is reporting that this is the first of a planned chain of Bordeaux only wine bars that will include more in China, as well as franchises in New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Will we get one in Vancouver?  Anyone interested?  I can introduce you to the right people. . . .

See the Decanter report on the opening here.

Early 2012 Vineyard Report

[singlepic id=90 w=320 h=240 float=]Bud break happened really early in Bordeaux again this year after another dry and cold winter and a hot and dry early spring.  You can see in the picture above that there was already significant leaf growth on some of the vineyards during the en primeur campaign this year.  That is really unusual.

In the pictures below, you can see the normal conditions during en primeur – wet, cold, with completely dormant vines.  This start is eerily similar to the start that happened last year for the 2011 vintage.  Let’s hope that this growing season turns out better.

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To see our vineyard reports from previous years go here: 2009, 2010 and 2011.

2011 Vintage Report

2011 Vintage ReportThis is our summary report of the 2011 Vintage.

In the end, we are providing the same general advice that we always provide at en primeur time:  Don’t buy en primeur wines this year – instead buy the same wines already matured and in the bottle for about the same price (or maybe less).   This year, finally, our style of advice is coming from other sources – for an example check out this article in Businessweek.

Caveat:  This is the year to get allocations of first tranche First Growths and other hard to get wines. That is because many traditional buyers have pulled out of the market and once you have an allocation you usually keep it for future years. So, we recommend getting as much as you can of: Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion, and Cheval Blanc.

To see Parker’s full ratings go here.

To see the full ratings from Decanter go here.

To see the full ratings from Wine Spectator go here.

Disclosure: Rooftop is running an en primeur campaign this year (for the first time) including allocations of First Growths.  If you are interested please contact us.