offer of the day – olivier bernstein…



GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 2009 75cl 69.00 (Swiss francs)


CLOS DE LA ROCHE 2009 75cl 298.00
MAZIS-CHAMBERTIN 2009 75cl 345.00
BONNES-MARES 2009 75cl 345.00
CHAMBERTIN CLOS DE BEZE 2009 75cl 398.00
CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 2009 75cl 168.00

Grands Crus are sold only together with Village or Premiers Crus – apparently. Aspirational pricing that loses the soul of the place in my opinion – it gives the impression of somebody more focused on cash than place I’m afraid to say (is it him or his importers?).

I think a fair question is ‘why would you pay twice the price for a Clos de la Roche from this producer (by the way, his cheapest GC red), than from Laurent Ponsot?’…

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 11 responses to “offer of the day – olivier bernstein…”

  1. Thomas De Waen15th April 2011 at 7:14 amPermalinkReply

    I don’t know where you can buy for Ponsot’s clos de la roche 2009 for CHF 150 but i’d love to know. I bought it en primeur from L&W for almost twice that (Laurent did increase his prices pretty substantially vs. 08)…

    This being said, I agree with your main point.

    • billn15th April 2011 at 7:19 amPermalinkReply

      Maybe Thomas, but the 99pt 2005 was less than 150chf in Switzerland – if you could get a bottle. I’m sure it’s still below 200 now…
      Edit – actually Ponsot CdLR was just over 200chf in 08. I didn’t see a price for 09.

  2. David Bennett15th April 2011 at 7:31 amPermalinkReply


    This makes me feel alot happier spending a small fortune on other newcomers in the cote!

  3. Don Cornwell15th April 2011 at 8:28 amPermalinkReply


    Ponsot’s pricing for the Clos de la Roche and CSD is up more than 100% over 2008 (apparently ex-cellar too). I’ve only seen three sets of prices for CDLR offered in Europe in the last month that were below 300€ per bottle. The lowest was 215€ and the other two were closer to 280€. Those bottles sold out almost instantly. This compares with widely available prices of 100€ per bottle for the 2008 Clos de la Roche a year ago. I’ve also seen insanely high offers of the Clos de la Roche at 700€ per bottle.

    Laurent seems determined to not leave any money on the table for the 2009’s. The real question is, if you can buy the 2008 Ponsot Clos de la Roche for 100€, do you really want to spend three to five times as much for the 2009?

    • billn15th April 2011 at 3:19 pmPermalinkReply

      Ponsot’s pricing for the Clos de la Roche and CSD is up more than 100% over 2008 (apparently ex-cellar too). I’ve only seen three sets of prices for CDLR offered in Europe in the last month that were below 300€ per bottle. The lowest was 215€ and the other two were closer to 280€.

      Hi Don,
      Let’s call a spade a spade (or a gouge a gougères…) Regardless of how quickly they sold out, if you have one offer at €215, lets be (very) generous and assume an unlikely 20% margin – so Ponsot sold for €180. So ex cellars cannot be up by 100% – the swiss market is rather rational, and first tier importers don’t have anything like this massive annual difference – what the market chooses (and by extension the purchasers) as acceptable is another thing of-course, hence, the disparity of your quotes.

      As David Bennet above alludes, there are other ‘new kids on the block’ with very well reviewed (09) wines that I also think excellent, whose prices are fraction of those quoted in this particular offer. And that’s because wine-making can also be about philosophy, not purely profit. I applaud producers who see merchants making excessive calls (however anyone wants to define that – but making more money than the winemaker might be a decent enough definition) and so reduce their allocation.

      The old argument is that wine-merchants did all the hard work to ‘break’ new talent. High BH scores were a boon to merchants for a while, but can also work against them if it becomes easier for the producer to sell more direct…

      • Don Cornwell17th April 2011 at 9:02 amPermalinkReply


        There were at least three retail offers of 2008 Ponsot CDLR in Europe at 100€ last year and I bought some from one of those merchants. I’m not talking about 100€ wholesale. By any measure, the retail price is up over 100% last year. One merchant in Belgium told me that Ponsot increased his price 100% on the 2009, but I haven’t been able to verify that. I do know of some others, however, who have definitely taken 50% increases on their top wines.

  4. Will15th April 2011 at 8:34 amPermalinkReply

    €264 (all in) for 2009 Ponsot’s CdlR in Ireland this year. I find all of his prices in 09 to be a bit of a joke.

    Needless to say though, that the Bernstein prices are even more rediculous in light of his recent arrival in the region. I’m horrified by the inexorable increase in Burgundy prices, if this continues it looks like I might have to bow out of buying my favourite wines altogether…

  5. JT15th April 2011 at 11:28 amPermalinkReply

    The prices are about 20% more than what I see in Singapore, assuming I can get allocations for them though.

  6. Rick Dalia15th April 2011 at 2:59 pmPermalinkReply

    An importer here in California lists prices similar to these as a “steal,” and “extremely well-priced premier cru burgundy!”

    Bill, I too agree with your main point, however from a business standpoint, I’d have to place the blame on the consumer and the press. The wines will sell (if they haven’t already). How can one blame a business or individual for meeting the price to demand? And with all the hype surrounding the 09’s, it’s no wonder people are paying what he’s asking. My answer (not with his wines) is to look to (in my opinion) the better 08’s at much more reasonable price.

    • billn15th April 2011 at 3:05 pmPermalinkReply

      My answer (not with his wines) is to look to (in my opinion) the better 08′s at much more reasonable price.

      My approach exactly Rick!

  7. Adrian16th April 2011 at 9:42 amPermalinkReply

    Olivier Bernstein’s Clos de la Roche and Bonnes Mares are GBP150 in UK.

  8. Antoine16th April 2011 at 2:46 pmPermalinkReply

    Good for him…and for his buyers! Looks like I will never be one of them! Just bought a case of Fourrier Gevrey villages for much much less and probably way way better

  9. billn18th April 2011 at 12:08 pmPermalinkReply

    Only because I think that it’s incredibly difficult to come up with objective info if we are left in the hands of multiple merchants and their pricing – with all the multitude of factors and drivers that that involves – I asked Laurent Ponsot if he might comment on the actual position re his 2009 pricing. Okay, there is another reason; I dragged his name into this in first place!

    The result is that prices have gone up – a lot – but 100% is not correct:

    The increase applied this year is first of all in connection with the exceptional quality of the vintage 2009.
    But it is also the result of our will to control the grey market, which absorbs a lot the potential margins. There are a bunch of sharks taking profit of the situation.

    For the last few years, the wine market throughout the world has changed dramatically. Our bottles can be sold four or five times the original price before arriving in a cellar or in a glass. Two months before I sent the allocations and prices of the 2009s to my clients (I do it the same day to all of them), I already found on the web, merchants selling our wines. And the 2009 Clos de la Roche was at 400 € already, without any idea of the ex-cellar cost!

    There are far too many stages between our cellars and the final consumer, who at the end of the day pays for our wines much too much. At the contrary, some wine merchants are selling our wines under the cost price, probably to attract customers and sell them also cheaper wines on which they apply a huge margin. For example, it is impossible to sell a Clos de la Roche 2008 less than 150 € without losing money.

    And to people that think our wines are too expensive, I would answer by questions:
    What about the price of top Bordeaux wines?
    What about the price of comparable wines of Burgundy?
    What about the price of some new world wines, made by gurus and that are all looking alike each other?
    Despite the big increase of the prices in 2009 (47.5 % in average), our wines are still cheaper than all these wines. Are they at the same level ?

    If customers think that it is not the case, then they should not buy them! But if they agree that our wines reach the same level, then our prices will seem more reasonable.
    I don’t want to pretend or have an attitude, but I believe that our production is quite unique and that has a cost. We always take risks where most of the winemakers use methods and techniques to “make” drinkable wines.

    We propose now 20 appellations, including 11 grands crus and I am sure that all of them are just giving to the drinker a bit of the soul of each terroir, without interference of human being fashion. That is very very rare nowadays…

    On top of it, since several years, I have invested in buildings, staff and technology, to produce much more consistently the most authentic wines possible. And when I see the price of my wines so high, I think it is quite fair to take a little of the income directly.

    My own thoughts: Well looking at the producer perspective it is very hard not to empathise, sympathise even, at why this has happened. From a consumer perspective of-course it is a tax on the long-term, faithful enthusiast, but of-course, nothing like the tax that remains outside the domaine’s control. Fair to say that (given the apparent size of the grey-market and reselling/flipping) those people may be in a minority though.

    This changes nothing about my position re the pricing of the Bernstein wines. The ‘maison’ is very young – first vintage 2007. If vines had been purchased and it was decidied that the business model would be to repay that cost over say 25 years (more typically today it’s just about preserving investment capital as prices are just barmy) prices would need to be a bit higher still! But these are bought-in grapes, and expensive as those grapes are, pricing like this remains incredibly self-indulgent.

  10. Mark Gough18th April 2011 at 8:10 pmPermalinkReply

    I’ve been reading this thread with interest & had convinced myself not to ‘get involved’ but I can’t resist now – on two counts :-

    1) Ever since, and its not recently, I first saw BBR’s hyperbole (and it is) around Bernstein and the prices of his wines I thought ‘you’ve got to be kidding’. When the thread here first started I thought to myself “Well, fancy that” and quietly applauded, as I’d been thinking all sorts about the marketing of Bernstein wines for quite a while. Jasper may not like it but, and I’ve nothing against the gentleman, I do though just find the whole Bernstein attitude, and I’ve been through the website again tonight, just almost insufferably arrogant, mickey taking, and practically insulting of one’s intelligence. I’ll be quite honest in saying I’ve not tasted the wines but neither can I find a compelling reason to make me want to do so – quite the contrary. Bill’s last para above just says it all to me and there’s more besides. How can Bernstein just ‘arrive’ as a negociant (what’s all this micro stuff ?) and make out, and charge, like he’s ‘top dog’ over several longstanding, multi generation, hard working, committed domaines – let alone other serious negociants ? Is his Charmes-Chambertin better than Roty’s TVV for example ? I could go on with more comparisons if I had the time – but Vosne Suchots 2009 £92.90 a bottle ???? Similarly his whites – incroyable ! Does he think he’s Dominique Lafon, M Coche Dury, P-Y C-M or what ? Not for me thanks. I hope the buyers like them and reckon they’ve got VFM, or do we might expect to see the wines reduced in sales or bin end lists, or in auctions in years to come ? His claims re grape producton in the vineyard, and winemaking practices are I’m sure no different in care and quality terms than quite a few, thankfully more self effacing, individuals.

    2) Laurent Ponsot’s views. I cannot disagree with him one iota. Sure, I’d love to have more of his wines than the few, older, vintages I have. An afternoon years ago (late 90’s) I spent visiting the domaine, one on one with M Ponsot, was one of the most unforgettable burgundy visit experiences of my vinous life – he was great value. I suppose that makes me biased – guilty as charged then. I haven’t forgotten his tackling that New York I think it was auction were wines were being passed off as domaine wines that weren’t or similar – I forget the details exactly. He’s the end to end producer, he takes risks (his team were the last one standing I saw in 2010), he’s obviously made huge investment in Morey. Why should he not charge what he thinks the market will stand ? Its not his fault I can’t afford the wines any longer. Everything he says is valid. I suppose the only way to address (some of ) the issues he raises, but totally impractical I guess would be for him to sell the wines direct ‘cellar door’ as it were, direct to the end drinker, to buyers on a ‘subscription’ list (isn’t this what high end US wineries do ?), but I guess he hasn’t got the time, inclination, or wherewithal to do this – which has lots of issues all of its own. If he did though and I was on the list, and the price was affordable, I’d be happy to drive over and collect – or collect when on the Cote for another reason !

    Wonder when I should think about trying the Ponsot 97 CDLR, 96 Griottes or 98 Griottes. Then there’s a couple of his superb Monts Luisants winking at me !

    Sorry for the rant ! That’s the effect of M Bernstein’s prices.

  11. Graham18th March 2013 at 9:47 amPermalinkReply

    I searched Jancis Robinsons tasting notes for 2011 and searched by highest points first. The bernstein clos beze is the highest scoring red burgundy that one actually has a chance of buying. All the other wines in this rating bracket are simply not available to the man on the street either through price or allocation.

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