As the en primeur campaign drew to a close on Tuesday with the release of Cheval Blanc, we take a look back at pricing – first, a basic “how-to” template, and then an example of two châteaux that got it right.
In the chart above, taken from our study “Bordeaux – Reasons to Hope“, we compare the average quality scores from the last seven vintages to the current market price for those vintages (looking at 97 top Bordeaux crus). The closest quality rating to 2015 for this sample is 2010. As such, we applied the quality to price ratio from 2010, in order to arrive at a derived future market price of £169 for the 2015 vintage on average, according to its current quality assessment. Next we have applied négociant and importer margins of around 25-30%, and a discount to the consumer of between 10-20% for buying en primeur. This would imply an average ex-château release price between £98 and £110.
Some releases in the 2015 en primeur campaign failed to follow this logic, with prices that leave little or no upside for the end-buyer, and these wines have been difficult for the négociants to sell on. However, several châteaux made en primeur work for everyone concerned this year.
One was Château Canon, for which 2015, which at 965 has the highest Wine Lister quality score since 1964 (988), performing well over its average quality level of the last decade. Despite such an exceptional quality, it was released 26% cheaper than the current market price for the 2009, the vintage closest to 2015 in terms of quality in recent history (well below at 885).
Among other châteaux experiencing successful campaigns, we also find Château Beychevelle, whose release price for the 2015, with a quality score of 910, was 38% below the current market price for the 2005, the closest vintage for quality in recent history, scoring 864 for quality.