Today saw the 2009 campaign move up a gear. Duhart Milon – the first major Left Bank wine of the campaign (and the first from the Lafite stable) – released at 38 €/b, an increase of 46% on the 2005 release and up 72% on 2008. It is also the first chateau to spark real secondary market activity, with the wine having already traded on the Liv-ex exchange at well above release (and it remains well bid).
It’s a touch too early to say at what level the initial London offers will be, although prices at above £600 a case can probably be expected. This would put it just below the current price of the 2005 (£650, 94 RP) and 2003 (£625, RP 92) and a chunk above the 2008 (£525, RP 93-95) (although if demand for the 2009 proves particularly strong, then its London release could well be somewhat higher).
In addition to Duhart Milon, today saw a clutch of other releases, including Poujeaux (€16.9 p/b), Tour Carnet (€19.3 p/b), Fombrauge (€16.97 p/b), Du Tertre (€21.35 p/b), Camensac (€14.5 p/b), Larrivet Haut Brion Rouge (€18.5 p/b), Larrivet Haut Brion Blanc (€23.5 p/b), Franc Mayne (€22.15 p/b), Raymond Lafon (€22.8 p/b) and Meyney (€ 18 p/b). Most of these releases saw only small increases on 2005, with only Meyney and Larrivet Blanc up significantly (both +24%). In a somewhat refreshing change to the norm, Fombrauge and Raymond Lafon released down on both 2008 and 2005. (Follow Liv-ex on Twitter to keep fully up-to-date with the latest releases.)
Are we starting to see a pattern emerge? If we look at all of the releases so far, then the average increase on 2005 is 11%. If we look only at the most famous chateaux, however, the numbers are somewhat different. Both Duhart and Gazin released at more than 40% above their respective 2005 prices and we can probably expect the other big names to follow suit. With next week's Vinexpo the likely watershed for the main releases, we won't have to wait too much longer to find out.