If there was any doubt that Duhart-Milon was going to be swept up in the hype that follows Lafite it must surely have been cast to one side with the 2009 primeur campaign. Previously a "cheap and cheerful" (well, cheap to an extent) Pauillac that might retail for about £300 per case on release, the price of the 2009 was the highest ever. The wine opened on the UK market at over £600 (I think – I don’t recall actually seeing any at this price) but what is really notable is not the release price, but the fact that it then climbed, and was quickly trading at over £800. Farr Vintners in London now lists it at £1000 (excluding duty and VAT, of course, so this will be well over £1200 delivered), with a reduction to £850 (ooooh, bargain!) in a tie-in with a case of Rieussec.
Duhart-Milon, in a tie-in! I recall tasting the 1996 about 8-10 years ago and thinking it a nice wine, but not being able to find any at the right price. I can’t really remember what the price was but is was probaby ~ £30. Now the asking price for the 1996 is very similar to that for the 2009 above. Prices across the board have soared.
All of which came immediately to mind when, browsing the wine shelves in the Hyper U in Murs-Erigné just south of Angers a couple of weeks ago I spotted the 2007 on the shelves for about 30 Euros, or 180 Euros for six in the OWC. That’s about half the retail price in the UK. I wasn’t a buyer, firstly because there are so many more interesting wines to buy in the Loire (and I put my money where my mouth is there) and 2007 defines the over-priced Bordeaux vintage in the same way that 1997 did. There are some pleasant wines, but don’t buy without (a) trying or (b) a firm and trustworthy recommendation. I walked on by.
A few days later I was back, needing to stock up on drinks and ice creams, and another stroll down the aisle revealed a yawning chasm where the Duhart once sat, both single bottles and 6-packs. The naive wine drinker in me would like to believe that some lover of Duhart-Milon had found his or her favourite wine at a good price. The cynic (or realist, I suppose) knows that the secondary market is soon to be bolstered by the arrival of a few bottles and cases of Duhart-Milon sourced from the shelves of a Hyper U superstore in the Loire. The provenance is clearly not an issue when there is a fast buck to be made. If you’re in the market for pricy 2007 Duhart, buyer beware!