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Cheval Blanc Cuts 2013 Wine Price Amid Bordeaux Pressure

Chateau Cheval Blanc
A cellar of Chateau Cheval Blanc stands in Saint-Emilion, France. Photographer: Gerard Uferas/Vizioz Communications via Bloomberg

Chateau Cheval Blanc, a leading wine estate in the Saint-Emilion district of Bordeaux, cut the price of its 2013 wines by 12 percent from the previous year amid pressure on the region’s growers after cold, wet weather affected the crop.

Cheval Blanc is offering the wine at 300 euros ($416) a bottle from Bordeaux wholesale merchants, according to data compiled by the Liv-ex wine market. That still leaves it 12 euros more costly than Chateau Lafite Rothschild, at 288 euros the most expensive of the left-bank first-growth estates.

Investors have been looking to so-called en primeur sales of 2013 wines, before they are bottled and delivered, to give impetus to Bordeaux prices, which have declined amid growing interest in wine from other regions. The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index is heading for its eighth straight monthly drop and has declined more than 4 percent since the start of this year.

Growers have been under pressure to cut prices by 25 percent to 30 percent “to sell the vintage and get a bit of goodwill flowing again, especially as the 2013 vintage suffered from such poor growing conditions,” Will Beck, a partner at Wine Asset Managers LLP in London, said in a market report e-mailed April 23. “Some diehard and perennial primeur buyers are now opting for better value older vintages.”

Chateau Ausone, a rival top Saint-Emilion producer, also priced its wine at 300 euros a bottle, down 15 percent from the 355 euros it charged for its 2012 vintage, according to data compiled by Liv-ex.

Saint-Emilion Ranking

Cheval Blanc and Ausone are rated among the top four growers in Saint-Emilion in the 2012 rankings. They have the status of Premier Grand Cru Classe A alongside Chateau Pavie and Chateau Angelus in the classification, which replaced one dating from 1996.

This month, Angelus and Pavie both cut the price of their 2013 vintage to 165 euros a bottle, an 8 percent reduction from the previous year, according to data compiled by Liv-ex.

Cheval Blanc has 58 percent of its vineyard planted with Cabernet Franc and the remaining 42 percent with Merlot, according to the estate’s website. The average age of the vines is more than 40 years.

The estate is one of the top wines marketed by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the world’s largest luxury goods company, along with Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Krug and Veuve Clicquot Champagnes and Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes.

Pomerol Neighbor

Chateau La Conseillante, a neighboring producer in the Pomerol district, priced its wine at 57 euros a bottle, down 1 percent from 2012, while Chateau Leoville-Barton, a grower in Saint-Julien, cut the price of its 2013 wine by 3 percent to 42.50 euros, according to data compiled by Liv-ex.

While Lafite cut its price by 14 percent earlier this month, three other first-growth estates Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Margaux have announced reductions of 10 percent. A fifth estate, Chateau Latour, no longer participates in en primeur sales, preferring to release its wines once they have attained greater maturity.

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