In an unusual move, Ch. Pontet-Canet released its 2013 wine last week before the en primeur tastings. They released it at the same price as last year. This is unusual because except for a few select negociants – no one has yet tasted the wine. The tastings started today.
This move was both brilliant and extremely troubling at the same time.
For Pontet-Canet it was brilliant. Pontet-Canet is curently the darling of the Bordeaux world. The wines have made a meteoric rise in quality over the last few vintages and their work with bio-dynamics is one of the bright spots of Bordeaux wine-making. The Chateau made a lot less wine this year and they wanted to make sure that they were able to get the same price as last year. So, they beat everyone to it and released the wine before the campaign. This protected them from possibility that the other owners would decide to drop their 2013 prices due to the difficulties of the vintage and they would have to follow suit. It was a bit of a risk – but the tactic worked and the wine sold out – all the negociants took their full allocations. Great move by Pontet-Canet and good for forward thinking.
For the rest of us it is troubling. What we need is for the prices in Bordeaux to decrease this year. Especially since we are looking at three vintages in a row that are difficult: 2011, 2012, and 2013. This one may be the most difficult of the three. With Pontet-Canet setting the standard at the same price as last year – I hope that other Chateau owners do not use it as a benchmark to price their own wines. Pontet-Canet is in a unique position right now and can do it. Many of the other Chateaux would be better off reducing the prices to a more reasonable level commesurate with the quality of the wines.
I cannot offer an opinion yet of the 2013 vintage. I just started tasting today. Will update you tomorrow.