" ...foin, divin, purin ..."

Posted by Bruce Aston

7th November 2018

In Decanter Andrew Jefford has reported on a trip to Bordeaux where, among other things, he explored 'Latour's underground Fort Knox'. The title of this update is usually used by French cigar smokers, but Denis Durantou of Chateau L'Eglise Clinet (and not a fan of decanting) apparently uses the term when referring to the different stages of enjoying a bottle of wine (stage three? Surely not.) The article can be read here.

On the exchange October was a sluggish month during which the Liv-ex 1000 index dipped for only the second time this year (falling in October by 0.6%). On the plus side, Bordeaux's trade share recovered to 66%, due in the main to increased first growth trading. You can read the update here, or to have full market reports posted to your online portfolio every month, you can register for an online account.

Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW have published their Bordeaux 2016 in-bottles scores in a joint tasting report, with Jancis taking the Right Bank and Julia the Left. The top scorers were Pichon Baron and Figeac, and you can read a summary of the article here.


Bordeaux 2018: LIV-EX Report

Posted by Mark Hall

31st October 2018

Liv-ex have today posted their 2018 harvest & weather report, written by winemaker and writer Gavin Quinney. Here are his highlights of the "out-of-the-ordinary 2018 vintage:"

  • A wet winter, followed by a seriously soggy spring.
  • The threat of mildew, from spring onwards, was the strongest for decades.
  • Hailstorms in May and July caused damage in some unlucky areas.
  • The flowering in May and June was largely successful.
  • A glorious summer, preceded by just enough rain in late June and early July.
  • To have three complete months of sunny, dry weather from early July thorough to early October is rare.
  • Optimal harvest conditions, stress free, with no risk of rot.
  • A vintage of great potential, with outstanding reds and some very good whites.
  • Balance will be key as alcohol levels are generally quite high.
  • The fourth very good to excellent vintage in a row for 75% of the leading châteaux.
  • Plentiful yields for most growers but low for those hit by mildew or hail.
  • Overall Bordeaux volumes, at a guess, are close to the 10-year average.


You can read the full article here.


News in Brief

Posted by Bruce Aston

30th October 2018

The budget has made a few waves in the wine industry: Taxes on beer, cider and spirits are to be frozen next year, yet wine duty will rise with inflation: To support British pubs, is the line.

You can read the Drinks Business article here.

On the same website was the grizzly news that a man working at a vineyard in Napa was killed yesterday ... by a grape picking device. A piece of his clothing became trapped in the device and ... well, you can read the article here.

On a less distressing note, on the 28-29th November Christie's of London are going to be holding an auction - its largest sale of the year - in which it will be offering a collection of Chateau Latour belonging to the chateau's former winemaker Denis Malbec. The collection spans the years 1863 to 2009 and you can read the full article here.

On the exchange Bordeaux's trade share held steady with Champagne up 18.5% with the most active wine by value being the Dom Perignon 2002. First growths continue to do well with the Mouton Rothschild 2001 trading at a record high. The full article can be read here.

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Is Port a Good Investment?

Posted by Bruce Aston

24th October 2018

Port has a reputation for being the longest-term of all long-term investments. It conjures images of dark cellars and dusty racked bottles turned every blue moon: It seems to last forever (we have on our books at time of writing a port that is 152 years old.) That being said, is it actually a good investment, or does it merely enjoy the reputation?

Liv-ex have now created & launched the Port 50 Index, which has risen by 64.2% since January 2005.

Which seems about right when thinking about Port- unhurried, steady growth behind old cellar doors.

You can read the full article here.



The Taste of Summer

Posted by Mark Hall

24th October 2018

For many, Chablis is the perfect summer wine. Sitting with friends getting mildly sozzled in a sunny beer garden, relaxing on a picnic rug or deck chair, a cold bottle in an ice-filled bucket ...

Like all wines though, there are good Chablis & not-so-good Chablis. Tim Atkin MW recently reported on the 2017 vintage in Chablis. The full article may not be available to you if you are not a premium Decanter member (paywall) but he wrote a piece a week or two ago in which he compiles a selection of the top scoring Chablis of the vintage.

You can read the article here.

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LIV-EX: The Pre-Eminent Fine Wine Exchange

Posted by: Bruce Aston

23rd October 2018

We are often asked by our clients how great an impact Liv-ex has on the fine wine market as a whole, and an article released today perhaps answers that question.

This month, the total value of bids and offers on the exchange has reached record levels. That is, the total value of all the bids and all the offers being made by merchants worldwide. In the last three years this exposure has doubled, and now the amount of wine bids and offers stands at over £50million.

The article also discusses the changing secondary market for fine wine.

You can read the full article here.


Last Week

Posted by Bruce Aston

22nd October 2018

 The Drinks Business ran an article - mainly a weather report - on Friday looking at the 2018 Bordeaux Vintage, the summation of which is that volumes are up from last year (frosts stunted much of the 2017 crop) and are now in line with the 10 year average. The president of Le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (the Bordeaux Wine Bureau) recently said, 

 “The year 2018 didn’t give Bordeaux winemakers much time to breathe due to the weather conditions, which were extraordinary at times. This new vintage will be unquestionably marked by all the energy exerted in caring for the vineyards.” You can read the article here.

On the exchange the Liv-ex 50 index, which tracks the daily price movement of the most heavily traded commodities in the fine wine market, finished down a couple of points on the week although the wider market continues to do well, with the Liv-ex 100 index (the industry benchmark) continuing its gradual climb.

Of particular interest is the Haut Brion 2009, which was the most active wine by value last week, traded on Liv-ex at £6,300.00 per 12x75.

On Decanter.com Andrew Jefford wrote a piece looking at the growing crossover between cannabis and the drinks world. He looks at the possibility that in the future cannabis may be a rival to wine, and you can read the article here.

And if you're looking for some ideas, the same website published the highlights of wine reviews published exclusively for Decanter Premium subscribers, wines for the table, wines for the cellar etc.

You can read the article here.


Penfolds Grange - An Unusually Sound Investment

Posted by Mark Hall

18th October 2018

There's a lot of Aussie wine on the market at the moment. Lakes of it, in fact. 

The reason it's flooding the market appears to be that, for some reason, an awful lot of investors over the last few years bought into it. When they discovered their canny buys were not canny at all, the selling started - seemingly at once. The majority of Australian wine, while of extremely high quality, should as a general rule be bought for drinking.

There are of course exceptions, the main one being Penfolds Grange.

The 2014 vintage has been released in the UK at £4,140.00 per case of 12. 

Our advice if you are approached to buy some?

Snap it Up!

Read the full article here. 



Lesser Wines? Possibly Not

Posted by Bruce Aston

17th October 2018

Liv-ex has several wine indices: The main one is is the Liv-ex 100, which is described as the "industry leading benchmark." As Liv-ex say, it represents the price movement of 100 of the most sought-after wines on the secondary market.

There are indices for many wines and many regions, but the main ones are the above, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50, the Investables, the Fine Wine 1000 & the Bordeaux 500.

Most Bordeaux investors tend to use the Bordeaux 500 as a starting point when selecting wines to buy, so it is interesting that Liv-ex has looked at several wines from the 2016 vintage that live outside of this index, to see how they have fared since release.

You can read the full article here.




DRC & Piers Morgan

Posted by Ben Lovell

12th October 2018

Piers Morgan loves a tweet. This time it was in reaction to two bottles of DRC Romanee Conti from the 1945 vintage breaking records at auction. One sold for $496,000, the other $558,000.

The gist of his tweet was that the prices achieved were ridiculous, stating that it was possible to buy 20 cases of Latour 1961 for the same price (a wine he considers to be superior).

Liv-ex have looked into this claim to discover if he was right.

Perhaps Mr. Morgan has a point though: Over half a million dollars for a bottle of wine? That has to be ridiculous, doesn't it? (Unless you're the vendor, of course). Perfect provenance helps though - and in the auction market something is worth exactly what the highest bidder is prepared to pay for it. At that moment, at least.

Read the full article here.




Petrus is Expensive, Right? Right.

Posted by Mark Hall

12th October 2018

But it wasn't always that way. Once, it was considered to be just the third best wine in Pomerol, until in the 1940s things really took off. The owner truly believed the wine to be the best in the appellation, and set the prices high to prove it.

There were many factors that made Petrus famous, but it can't be denied that it was the  American critic Robert Parker who, with his glowing reviews of the 1982 vintage, really shone the spotlight on this wine. Since then it has become a sort of Holy Grail for collectors, who won't blink at spending many thousands on a single bottle.

The 2010 vintage has been active on the exchange this week. This one was awarded the perfect 100 points by Parker in 2013, and traded this week at £32,700.00 per case.

Read the full article here.



Bordeaux 2016 - Any Good?

Posted by Bruce Aston

10th October 2018

En-primeur: A phrase that once represented to an investor an almost guaranteed route to profit, but which for many years now has meant anything but. It's an old record, but once upon a time you could look at the release price of a first growth and know that that was as low as it was going to get. Buy it, and, given a reasonable vintage, you'll make money.

Bargains these days are hard to find - release prices even for the poor vintages leave you waiting for the punchline. 2016 was a good vintage, but even so release prices were higher than even the merchants expected.

Now the wines are being bottled and delivered, Liv-ex have taken a look at how these wines have fared: Which ones have gone up, which ones have gone down.

The results make for disappointing - if not surprising - reading.

Read the full article here.




Winston Churchill's Favourite

Posted by Mark Hall

8th October 2018

Sir Winston Churchill famously enjoyed a tipple, and the great man's favourite champagne, equally famously, was Pol Roger.

Churchill died in 1965, but it wasn't until 1984 that Pol-Roger introduced the "Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill", made from predominantly Pinot-noir grapes from the 1975 vintage. The champagne is periodically released about a decade after the vintage year - and only when the vintage is deemed fine enough.

The champagne is always sought after by investors, and as Liv-ex point out, prices are not closely correlated to critic scores, it is the passing of time and demand that dictates.

Now the Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2008 has been released to, it's fair to say, something of a fanfare. Paul Graham, a director at Pol Roger, has gone as far as to say the 2008 is the most investible Churchill ever made.

Time will of course tell, but the wine is already changing hands on the exchange for £1,800.00 per case of 12.

Read the full article here.

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Mouton Rothschild 1982 - 36 Years On

Posted by Bruce Aston

5th October 2018

The 1982 Bordeaux vintage needs little introduction. Most experts would agree that it ranks as one of the greatest vintages in living memory, the vintage upon which the eminent wine critic Robert Parker rose to fame (although at the time many of his contemporaries disagreed with his analysis). 

Last week the Mouton Rothschild 1982, now in its 36th year, hit a new high when a case of 12 bottles sold for £15,000.00.

Which may not sound like a fortune when compared to other high flyers in the market - until you remember that it was released at about £250.00 per case.

Incidentally, the Lafite Rothschild from the same vintage is today trading at £37,500.00 per case. It too was released to the market at £250.00.

A TARDIS, anyone?

Read the full article here.





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The Bordeaux Market Bouyant

Posted by Ben Lovell

21st September 2018

In case anyone hadn't noticed, it's been a hot summer: For those not working the weather has been a treat, and the news from Bordeaux has been pretty good too.

As it always does during the summer months, trade on the exchange slowed a little although the market continued to do well enough. Last week Liv-ex reported that Bordeaux's trade share on the exchange rose from a low 50.7% to a better 66.2%. 

It is clear that the First Growths were responsible for the rise, with the Latour 1996 and the Margaux 1997 being particularly heavily traded.

Read the full article here.




Leoville Barton - One to Watch?

Posted by Mark Hall

20th September 2018

If you haven't been watching this property, it might be an idea to start now. It is true that the first growths and the Screaming Eagles and the DRCs tend to grab most of the headlines, but the famous Saint-Julien chateau has its own Liv-ex index and is doing very nicely - and has been for some time.

Liv-ex reported recently that the 2001 & 2010 vintages have traded on the exchange at all-time highs. They also reported that the 2009 and 2005 vintages also hit highs at the end of August.

The Leoville Barton index has actually outperformed the Bordeaux 500 index over the past two years, gaining 19% ... and if you're new to the market, the price (compared to the superstars mentioned above) is another reason to consider a case or two of Leoville Barton.

At time of writing, 12 bottles of the 2010 Lafite Rothschild has a market price of £7,100.00, the Screaming Eagle weighs in at £33,400.00 and the DRC, Romanee Conti 2010 would set a collector back an enormous £169,968.00.

But 12 bottles of the Leoville Barton? A snip at £1,010.00.

Read the full article here.