Olivier Bernard, head of the Union des Grands Crus (UGC), which is hosting Bordeaux 2016 en primeur tastings this week alongside individual estates, said that member estates have already seen 6,500 people come to taste. That’s around 2,000 more than normal at this stage.
‘We have never seen that at UGC,’ he told journalists at the en primeur week opening dinner at Château Brane-Cantenac in Margaux. ‘You need to put some more people at the doors of the châteaux tomorrow morning. I promise you,’ he told assembled producers.
Many producers rank Bordeaux 2016 as among their best achievements.
Yet, much now depends on the views of major critics and the subsequent pricing in a global market that is slightly healthier for fine wine than a year ago but is nevertheless part of a world reeling from political shocks, such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. France itself goes to the polls for a presidential election later this month.
Most visitors to 2016 en primeur so far have come from within France, but there have to date been more Chinese tasters than British visitors, Bernard said. After those three nationalities come Germany, the US, Belgium and Switzerland.
The number of Chinese guests is perhaps an indication of a thawing in relations after several Chinese merchants lost money on the 2010 vintage. However, insiders at the dinner said that Chinese buyers were much more cautious today.
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