En-Primeurs 2014 Bordeaux Tasting(Part 5: Why you should by EP2014 with Dunn Dunn Wine Limited)


Some 4 reviews were done by our 2 Tasting Teams(Team Quatjing K and Fatloong B)and it’s high time the main characteristics of this vintage and investment strategies define for your our valuable customers.

Allow us to give you the following synthesis: first, is 2014 a good vintage?; second, why you should buy this vintage?; third, why should you buy from Dunn Dunn Wine Limited; finally, the impact of the acquiescence of Parker in EP ratings starting 2014 and recommended strategies.

1) Is 2014 a good vintage?

Opinions on certain vintages tend to be a bit subjective. We make fun of people from Bordeaux who pretend to make the vintage of the century every year which is, of course, an exaggeration. But as a veteran merchant we thought that all Bordeaux vintages have never been classifiable as bad at all: they can only be good. The reasons are always as follows. Some vintages may have been a little bit weak, or seen as low-quality, but have often found its place with the years and this is one of the strengths of this tremendous wine region. To be able to offer wines to keep and wines to drink in spite of, or thanks to, its oceanic climate, and changeable weather conditions from one year to the next. So wine lovers can debate the different advantages of one vintage or another and compare them with great years of the past. For example: 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2007. They are all drinking fine by now.

Again, who can say that 2007, which was criticized at the start, is a weak vintage, as every bottle opened is delicious to drink now. And discrete vintages like 2004 and 2008 seen as « rather profitable » are so well appreciated by distributors and consumers that today they are unobtainable. One of the assets of 2014 is to arrive just after a tricky 2013 vintage. In the end, Bordeaux offers a different style every year, far from the monolithic and monotonous products of other regions which are appreciated by consumers all over the world with different expectations.

The reality is the technical progress and expertise in winemaking has amplified this phenomenon. There are now different types of good vintages in Bordeaux, depending on who is expressing their opinion. For an estate, the good vintages are ones with effective and prolific return, with a good growing season, well rated by the critics and sold expensively. This is why 2005, 2009 and 2010 will always be seen as some of the greatest vintages for ageing, and will come to their maturity in several years’ time, for those who are patient enough to conserve these precious bottles.

The quality of a vintage is indeed measurable by the curiosity of all the visitors who come to taste the wines « en primeur ». Encouraging signs are all the questions and interest from both French and foreign customers since last October and the fact that there were more visitors in 2014 than in the three previous years, with a notable rise in the number of overseas clients (USA and Asia). So we predict that the 2014 sales, charged by by low Euro exchange rate and high U.S. currency, will be strong. So as consumer we have to be alert on some on the best items.

We can also judge the quality of a vintage by the quantity that has been produced (up to standards for 2014, compared to the weak harvest of 2012 and 2013) and a consistent quality level for all vineyards (reds, whites and sweet wines) which is the case for 2014.

Let us return in detail to the character of this vintage and the chain of events that is typical of the Bordeaux magic when everything turns out well. From this point of view, no vintage in living memory is comparable to 2014.

Recently, Olivier Bernard, head of the UGC, described Bordeaux 2014 as “the vintage of the great Indian summer. From the 27th of August, 60 days of beautiful weather turned the situation around and week after week our vines matured perfectly. Rich fruit with a good level of acidity, due to the cool summer, assured success for 2014”.

My old friend Bill Blatch described the Bordeaux 2014 vintage growing season as starting with ‘an extremely auspicious beginning, a very difficult and worrying middle and a glorious happy end, and some excellent wines’.

One of the hottest Septembers in the Bordeaux area was considered, at the time, as having potentially saved the vintage. Weather conditions had been varied up to that point.

The beginning of 2014 went well for the vintage; a very wet and warm winter meant the vines made a two week early start and buds burst mid-March, with very little frost damage, said the Blatch report.

The warm April, followed by a cool, damp May meant that when the first half of June was very hot, the crop flowered fast and efficiently, maintaining the two week advance. Unfortunately, this was followed by a cool, damp July, with small, frequent showers and then a grey and cold August, delaying the ripening of the grapes and the loss of the initial two week advantage.

Luckily for growers, from the end of August until the end of October, it was very hot and dry, with occasional isolated thunder. Blatch said it was just the autumn that was ‘needed to save the vintage’. It was the third hottest September in Bordeaux after 1921 and 1961, and October had an all-time record of 194 hours of sun.

Several winemakers reported that those allowed the grapes to ripen well and without significant rot in the vineyards, which in turn raised expectations for the vintage overall.

Ludovic David, manager of the Château Marquis de Terme, agrees and speaks of

“ The flavours preserved by the cool August temperatures, the silky tannin due to the slow ripening of the grapes in September and October, the perfect alcohol/acidity balance are the defining elements of this vintage and give its strength”.

Jean-Philippe Janoueix from the Chateau La Confession confirms that “it’s a generous, colourful, bold and fruity vintage comparable to 2001”

In the end, in spite of appellation differences or even differences among wine properties, that indicate a general lack of homogeneity, particularly with this vintage, we can guess that 2014 will be a “pleasure” year and can be appreciated immediately. It is an intermediary wine, probably not as good for keeping as 2005, 2009 or 2010, of course, but better than 2001, 2004 or 2008, ideal for distribution.

So to the question: “Is 2014 a good year?”

The answer is YES !

2) Should we buy this vintage ?

As we said earlier, apart from its intrinsic qualities, one of the strengths of 2014 is to come after the 2013 campaign. Looking back, we can safely say that 2009 was a successful year for the wine industry in general. 2010 was a good year for wine producers but less so for the negociants and a lot less for the importers and distributors. Confidence went down step by step when 2011, 2012 and 2013 were put on the market, although 2013 was the least expensive year since 2008. However, 2008, often seen as a reference year for a “good deal”, was put on the market during the world financial crisis, just a few months after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. So, let’s not dream, 2014 will not be on the same level as 2008. This is impossible because of the upsurge in the market for the “Grands Crus Classés” in Bordeaux in the last few months.

But we feel very strongly since the beginning of the year, and this was evident during the week of “primeur” tasting and at the Prowein Fair that all the interested parties, chateaux, brokers, vintners, importers and distributors all want it to work. Nobody is speaking too loud in case it brings bad luck or encourages disloyal behaviour, but expectations are high for a successful campaign.

And this should be the case thanks to Low buying over the last three years, good quality level, a good exchange rate for a market indexed on the US dollar and not forgetting that Bordeaux cannot be easily replaced on the long term to put figures up with knowledgeable private clients.

One question remains, and it is not the least important, the price. This year, each wine producer will have to consider this, as the situation is very desperate. Certain wine owners will have to lower their prices so as not to miss out on business; others can maintain their prices, while others, thanks to the healthy market will probably be able to increase their prices slightly.

Each wine producer has to make a strict analysis of his position within the market before announcing his prices, instead of watching what his neighbour is doing. This is an unspoken rule in the “primeur” market but is extremely important this year. Although each one is going to try to maximise his prices in the given business context, we trust that they will find the “right price”.

So 2014 that we will be enjoyable quickly, will be good, sometimes very good, and will be the ideal vintage to restore confidence in the “primeur” system and validate its relevance; to do this, all the actors of the wine distribution sector need to earn money. These are the stakes in this campaign

So to the question, « Should we buy this vintage? »

The answer is YES!

3)Why Dunn Dunn Wine Limited

Service, Service, Service. Dunn Dunn Wine Limited has been the professional wine broker serving Hong Kong and China since 1997. We have a very diverse team including staff from Australia, Mainland China, England, France, South Africa, Italy, United States and Hong Kong. We can safely boast that we have over 50+ years combined experience in wine.

We have a broad range of clients based in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan and the UK. We love it when our clients call us for a chat about wine or anything else really. We are always happy to share our knowledge and learn from others. So we know.

We are a 17- year veterans of fine wines. We are trustworthy professionals with a proven record. We are also Asia Manager of Quien et Cie established in 1873. You can send your month direct to Quien et Cie, a close friend to China since 1973, and as local manager we wil handle the rest. Of course we are more than ready to send the money on your behalf. The effect is there is no middle man in between so we at Dunn Dunn Wine Limited can concentrate on getting the right 2014 stock for you.

So to the question, « Should we buy from Dunn Dunn Wine Limited x Quien et Cie? »

The answer is YES!

4) Robert Parker, absent from the « primeur » tasting – an unprecedented situation; what perspectives and what strategies?

The 2014 vintage was also marked by Robert Parker, the famous American critic who has dominated the Bordeaux wine scene since the early 80’s, passing the Wine Advocate baton to Neil Martin. Even if Neil’s competence is fully recognized by everyone, this unusual situation will, no doubt, lead to a new order and allow other critics like Jancis Robinson from Wine Spectator, James Suckling from Decanter, René Gabriel from Bettane et Desseauve or Jean-Marc Quarin, etc. according to the different markets, to spread their zone of influence.

Bordeaux will have to go on and adapt without Robert Parker. This will allow other vintners, importers and distributors to make their own choices for certain wines. At Dunn Dunn Wine LImited together with owners and senior staff of Quien et Cie Bordeaux, we have tasted over 200 barrel samples during the tasting week. There is no need to congratulate the performances of the 1ers Grands Crus Classés that are exceptional. We cannot mention every good wine in this 2014 vintage. There are too many. We would just like to highlight some wines that surprised us in their category. Like most wine tasters, we were particularly impressed by the Médoc region, especially St-Estèphe, Pauillac and St-Julien. We would like to mention Chateau Montrose who has come back to the forefront, Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, Chateau Calon-Segur who has gone a stage further, which is the case for Chateau Pedesclaux as well. But also Pape Clément, Carmes Haut Brion, Cantenac-Brown and Meyney. On the “rive droite”, we were pleasantly surprised by Château Fleur Cardinale, Château Soutard or the Château Rol Valentin.

The strategy is to look attempt the best value amongst the vintages 2011, 2012, and 2013 meansure the 2014 you may be interested for best cost performance. My colleague Miss May Lo or myself and my teams may be in contact with you in the next few days for, we trust, a successful 2014 campaign. Please send us your wish lists and we will strive, as usual, to give you complete satisfaction. Do Inquire mk.lo@dunndunnn.hk, or surf www.dunndunn.hk

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