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Burgundy 2013 Prices Stabilise

Published on Jan 19 2015 8:49 AM in Drinks

Burgundy 2013 Prices Stabilise

Prices for 2013 vintage Burgundy wines going on sale now are holding stable or declining relative to the peaks reached in 2012 even as supplies remain tight after cold, wet weather reduced yields for the fourth straight year.

Late flowering, combined with rot in some vineyards and hail showers in the Côte de Beaune, contributed to making the vintage difficult for winemakers, according to Jasper Morris, Burgundy director for London merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Demand for Burgundy remains strong in the US, the UK and Japan, where collectors are drawn to a region whose many small producers and wide variety of vineyards contrasts with the bigger, more commercial Bordeaux estates. While the four Burgundy vintages from 2010 to 2013 have all had yields below average, putting pressure on growers to raise prices, especially for 2012 wines, merchants say that trend is easing.

“It’s supply and demand, and the problem is supply has really been hit,” Morris said in an interview 12 January before a tasting. “Demand is quite strong worldwide, but the growers have been listening. They realized that 2012, when prices went up quite sharply, they realized that they were pushing people’s patience.”

He described 2013 as “another very good vintage, but not consistent across the board,” and singled out Clos de Vougeot and Chambolle-Musigny as regions that produced quality wines. “The top end of the Côte de Nuits did very well,” he said, while noting most Côte d'Or wines at Berry Bros. are being priced below 2012 levels.

Low Yields

Thibault Liger-Belair, a producer in Clos de Vougeot and Nuits-Saint-Georges, said that while yields were half their normal levels, continuing the pattern of the previous three years, the vintage captured “the taste of the soil.”

For pricing, he said it was “necessary to find a good balance between the quantity and the quality.” That has led him to keep his prices broadly stable for 2013, with the prospect of reducing them for the 2014 vintage.

Other merchants presenting 2013 Burgundies in London over the past week gave a similar assessment.

“I don’t see 2013 as a difficult vintage to sell at all,” Martin Buchanan, private client account manager for Armit Wines in London, said in an interview 14 January. “People have either kept prices at 2012 levels or pulled back very slightly. I don’t think pricing is going to be a major issue.”

He described it as “not as big a vintage” as some recent years in terms of its prospects for long aging, but “really elegant” and with “a lovely fresh acidity.”

Looking ahead to the 2014 vintage, harvested three months ago and due to go on sale next year, there are further prospects of lower prices, according to Berry Bros.’s Morris.

“With 2014, which is a bigger crop, and it’s going to be decent but not spectacular, I think that we will be able to see a softening of prices,” he said, adding that that is “what the market wants to see.”

Burgundy’s share of wine-auction sales rose in 2014 as interest in Bordeaux vintages waned, with the Domaine de la Romanee Conti estate driving demand, according to US houses Acker Merrall & Condit and Zachy’s Wine Auctions Inc.

Bloomberg News edited by HI

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