This was my first En Primeur campaign.
My first job was to decide which merchant I should use. I looked at From Vineyards Direct, Avery’s and Tanners but settled on Berry Bros. & Rudd. The world is still quite a scary place at the moment so financial security was my main driver. As Berry’s have been selling wine since 1698 I thought it would be unlikely they would disappear down the tubes in the next couple of years.
I had managed to build up a modest war chest of £1000 over the previous month’s and I even thought, rather naively, that I might cash in a couple of cash ISAs, which are earning nothing, to buy a case of a first growth. How wrong was I !
What great fun it turned out to be. I based my buying on my personal preferences together with Berrys’ best value bordeaux list.
Reading Sales Director Simon Staples increasingly incredulous tweets was a treat. They had obviously expected prices to be high, demand to be strong and supply to be limited but the events surpassed this. The popular wines were sold out within minutes.
I received an email most days with new releases and trying to find excuses to absent myself from meetings to view them was tough but thank goodness for my Blackberry.
One of the other reasons for choosing Berrys is their attractive website. It is a leap of faith buying wine that is sloshing around in a barrel 700 miles away, but they show you a simple photo of the wine which reassures.
The wines I eventually chose were :
2009 Chateau Ormes de Pez
2009 Chateau Batailley
2009 Chateau d’Augludet
2009 Chateau Capbern Gasqueton
Now all I have to do is wait until 2012 for delivery and then a lot longer before there reach their potential.
The Chateaux priced their wines very aggressively but most have still been bought by their regular customers, apparently the far east only accounted for 10% of sales but far more in value.
But, a backlash has certainly begun. Robert Parker described the makers as being “greedy and arrogant” and I know many who think decent claret will be out of their reach in the future. Let’s hope not ! Let’s hope for a strengthening pound !
The next blog will be about one of my personal favourites from The Goisot family.