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Article Date: Monday, July 3, 2006

[BORDEAUX, France] 2005 is going down as a remarkable year as Bordeaux wines command some of the highest ever prices for wine futures, with the record going to a Saint Emilion at 500 euros (S$1,011) per bottle.

The retail price for the 2005 Ausone, Saint Emilion, is expected to be about 800 euros per bottle. And this for a wine that is not even in the bottle yet.

“The market is crazy,” said Michel Moulene, a negociant – the wine merchants who buy from the chateaux and sell to retailers worldwide – with Jean Baptiste Audy in Bordeaux.

“At the start I thought that they were mad, but now everything has sold. Pichon Lalande is at the limit, but it sold. Same with La Mondotte, and these are not even premier cru classe.”

The first growth prices ex-chateau – the price at which the wines are released to the Bordeaux trade – are all about 300 per cent up on 2004.
Chateau Margaux & Chateau Latour Labels
Chateau Margaux and Chateau Latour released their prices on Monday, both at 350 euros per bottle, and the retail prices are expected to be about 530 euros per bottle – more than 6,000 euros a case.

The record prices are being attributed to a great Bordeaux vintage with only limited quantities, an increase in the number of global millionaires plus a bit of “Internet speeding up global sales” thrown in for good measure.

The total average price increase, as calculated by Bordeaux negociants, for all 400 chateaux selling en primeur, or wine futures, is currently 68.5 per cent up on 2004, and 30.5 per cent up on 2000, a more comparable vintage in terms of quality. And the wine is selling. “Even with these increases, 93 per cent of the 420 wines sold en primeur this year have found homes,” said Laurent Ehrmann, director of Barriere Freres negociants.

“I am all out of top Bordeaux, and there was 30 per cent less this year anyway,” said Hamilton Narby, another negociant. “I’ve got four or five guys in New York, who earn 20 million dollars a year. They have standing orders for three or four cases of each of the first growths. And God help me if they don’t get what they need.”
But is there an upper limit even for the richest?

“Yes,” replied Bill Blatch, an English negociant base in Bordeaux. “Not more than the current retail price, for a bottle of the same wine, from the 2000 vintage. And we are getting very close to that.” - AFP