We are nearing the end of what has been a strange 2009 En Primeur campaign for Sauternes and I thought I’d say a few things on the pricing.
Above all we have to remember that these are historic wines – perhaps the best since 1921. It is not surprising therefore that release prices are higher than in recent years. We are of the view that the growers have been generally reasonable with their pricing and we certainly feel that they are deserving of fair reward for their efforts – it is not either easy or highly profitable making Sauternes.
Three things, however, have conspired to make things difficult both for growers and buyers. Firstly, it has also been an historic vintage for red bordeaux. Perhaps not so uniform as in Sauternes but easily of sufficient interest to distract attention.
Then there are two financial factors – exchange rates and the worldwide economic uncertainty. These are difficult times for both the Euro and the Pound and the net effect for those looking to buy Sauternes has been to amplify the prices increase from the Chateaux, making the vintage appear more expensive still. On top of this the general financial uncertainty, compounded in the UK by the uncertainty of a General Election, has served to dampened enthusiasm.
But En Primeur is, or should be, all about the long view. Despite all the financial problems surrounding this vintage over time it will become recognised as one of the greatest Sauternes vintages ever and future prices will reflect this unquestionable fact. Bill Blatch