• Abby Schultz - Source: www.barrons.com

For Collectors, Bordeaux 2018 Is a Complex Story

Chateaux Margaux cellar, Bordeaux

An employee uses the light of a candle to check the colour of the wine in the cellar of Chateau Margaux in June 2018. Margaux is one of the first growths according to the 1855 official Bordeaux classification. AFP/Getty Images

For collectors of great Bordeaux, the 2018 vintage has turned out to be complicated.

That's largely because of the price. Producers have offered their 2018 vintage en primeur - or as wine futures - at relatively high levels, at or slightly above the current market price for the 2016 vintage.

The issue is Bordeaux from the 2016 vintage was considered excellent, and there's lots of it in the market. The latest vintage - initially perceived as difficult, because of the challenging weather conditions - has turned out to be rather good, with wines from several producers receiving over-the-top praise and generous scores from critics. But the assessments aren't universal.

"2016 was a vintage that worked across the board," says Justin Gibbs, director and co-founder of Liv-ex, a London firm that tracks the wine trade. But when it comes to 2018, "no one can agree where the strengths and weaknesses are."

The futures market has existed in Bordeaux for more than 60 years as a way for producers to set prices for their wines two years before they are released in bottle. Wine lovers and collectors like to buy futures to ensure they are getting their wine at the best possible price.

But that dynamic seems to be shifting as more of the region's producers release less wine to the market en primeur in an effort to retain more of the wine's price appreciation over time. Château Latour, one of five "first growth" Bordeaux producers, according to an 1855 classification system of the region's best, stopped selling its wine on the futures market entirely beginning with the 2012 vintage.

Read the full article at: https://www.barrons.com/articles/for-collectors-bordeaux-2018-is-a-complex-story-01560798966?mod=RTA

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