PARIS (Reuters) - Fine wine buyers face paying more for top Bordeaux wines as prices for the early 2015 harvest 'primeurs' have jumped more than 20 percent after critics pointed to a particularly good vintage.
The sale of primeurs is a unique feature of the Bordeaux region allowing prices to be fixed for wines that are still sitting in vats and will only be delivered between 18 months and two years later. Prices can vary widely from one year to another depending on the quality of the wine.
The rise this year is particularly strong for the top 10 estates such as Cheval-Blanc, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Angelus, Ausone, Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild and Pavie, whose prices gained 54 percent on average, far above the 22.8 percent rise calculated on 350 chateaux, Bordeaux brokers said.
The 2015 vintage could prove to be the best since the highly rated 2009 and 2010 harvests.
Primeurs of Cheval Blanc (Saint-Emilion) were traded at a pre-tax price of 450 euros ($502) a bottle and were expected to reach 750 euros at delivery, brokers said.
Lower-rated 'grands crus' were also on the rise but at a smaller extent, up by between 10 to 15 percent from last year.
"2015 is a great vintage," a leading wine broker in Bordeaux said.
Producers fix their prices based on the ratings of some 5,000 wine tasters and buyers making a tour of the wineries, including nearly all the most famous chateaux, in the Bordeaux and wider Gironde region.
Reporting by Clade Cannelas; Writing by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Greg Mahlich