Talking Trade: Bordeaux slows, new high for Fleur Petrus

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Trade by value and volume was up this week, but Bordeaux activity slowed. The Fine Wine 50 dipped slightly (-0.1%), closing Thursday at 339.68. First Growth trade was also lower at 15.5%. Lafite Rothschild was the most active (33%) of the Bordeaux Premier Crus, followed by Mouton Rothschild (24%) and Latour (22%).

Regional

Burgundy and the ‘Others’ were both solid. The ‘Others’ were boosted by the USA with a number of Screaming Eagle vintages finding the bid. They included the 2012, 2011, 2010, 2006 and 1994. The 2012 and 2010 have both been awarded 100 points by Robert Parker. He said the 2010 was “opulent and full-bodied with multidimensional personality, gorgeous purity and a stunning, flawless texture.”

Activity for Burgundy was boosted by Ponsot Clos Roche Vv 2012, Armand Rousseau Chambertin 2012 and DRC Montrachet 1995. The most active vintages from the region were the 2014, 2013 and 2010.

Value

The top five wines traded by value were all from Bordeaux, apart from Sassicaia 2013. The Super Tuscan traded at an all-time high of £1,190 per 12×75. Antonio Galloni downgraded Sassicaia 2013 from an original barrel score of 93-96+ to 92 points in-bottle. He said that “several recent bottles haven’t been as impressive as the barrel samples were last year.”

Petit Mouton 2014 and Mission Haut Brion 2012 were among the top five wines by value and volume this week. According to Robert Parker, Mission Haut Brion 2012 displays First Growth levels of quality. He awarded it 97 points.

Volume

97-point Fleur Petrus 2010 hit an all-time high of £2,018 this week and is now trading on the Exchange just 2.7% below the identically scored Fleur Petrus 2009.

Fleur 10

Looking for weekend reading? This week, Liv-ex published two more blogs on Bordeaux 2007 – Ten years on: Sauternes 2007 and Ten years on: Right Bank 2007. Liv-ex also looked at wines from the Bordeaux 2009 and 2010 vintages that carry identical scores – Great gaps or little difference: Bordeaux 2009 and 2010.


 

Great gaps or little difference: Bordeaux 2009 and 2010

Several Bordeaux wines have received equally high scores for their 2009 and 2010 vintages – but prices can be far from even. To find out where the gaps are, Liv-ex has identified 18 Bordeaux wines that have achieved equal scores in both years from Robert Parker and calculated the price differences between the two.

For a number of the Chateaux, both vintages are very closely priced. Pontet Canet 2009 and 2010 – both 100 points – currently command identical Market Prices. The two vintages of Haut Brion and Margaux are similarly close, priced within 1% of each other.

Elsewhere, the gaps are greater. 97-point Fleur Petrus 2010 – “a truly magnificent wine for this estate”, according to Parker – is the most heavily discounted against the 2009.

Montrose 2010, which was upgraded to 100 points in 2014, is yet to fully catch up with its “astounding” older sibling: It is available at 8.9% below the 2009. Still, this gap has narrowed considerably since before the upgrade when there was a 38% price gap between the two vintages.

A number of 2009s are available at discounts to the 2010s. 100–point Latour 2009, “one of the most remarkable young wines [Parker has] ever tasted”, is one example.

Prices and scores for the 18 wines considered are shown in the table below. Opportunities, perhaps, for those that share Parker’s palate.

Bordeaux 2009 and 2010 prices


 

Ten years on: Sauternes 2007

Over the past few weeks, Liv-ex has examined the price variations – the highest and lowest Market Prices against the current and release prices – of Bordeaux wines from the 2007 vintage. The chart below displays the same data for the highly rated 2007 wines of the Sauternes 50 sub-index of the Bordeaux 500.

In contrast to the other sub-indices of the Bordeaux 500, all five of the wines in the Sauternes 50 index have dropped in value since En Primeur.

Yquem 2007 has fallen the most and is now available for £2,100, a 46.2% decrease on its release price of £3,900. The equally scored Climens 2007 (NM 98) sees the second largest variation in price. At peak, its Market Price was 37.1% above release. Since then, it has nearly halved to £650.

Suduiraut is now trading at £319, 23.1% below release.

Despite modest rises after En Primeur, Rieussec and Coutet have fallen over 23% and are now available at £295 and £225 respectively.

Sauternes07

Previous analysis on 2007 – ten years on:


 

Ten years on: Right Bank 2007

Last week Liv-ex looked at how the prices of various Left Bank wines have moved since release. Below, we examine those from the Right Bank 50 and Right Bank 100 indices.

There are significant variations in the way these wines have performed. Those lucky enough to have secured allocations of Le Pin or Petrus at En Primeur would have seen significant returns: they have risen by 162.1% and 73.8% respectively.

The other three wines from the Right Bank 50 are each available below their release prices. Ausone and Lafleur have fallen more than any other red 2007s in the Bordeaux 500 since release.

Right_Bank_50

Angelus 2007 also stands out. Its release price of £995 per 12×75 was not significantly higher than the majority of other wines shown below. However, like other Angelus vintages, the wine has made major gains and is now strides ahead of its peer group. This is despite a mediocre score of 92 (RP).

Over the last ten years, few of the wines below have dipped far below their release prices. Pavie 2007, one exception, was available at discounts of up to 64% on release at various points, but has climbed considerably since.

Right_Bank_100

Our final report, on Sauternes 2007, will be published this week.

Previous analysis on 2007 – ten years on:


Bordeaux 2016 – the largest harvest since 2006

With En Primeur 2016 now less than two months away, Bordeaux grower, winemaker and writer Gavin Quinney (@GavinQuinney) looks at production figures for the vintage across Appellations.

2016 was the biggest Bordeaux harvest in over a decade, according to official figures. The production of 577.2 million litres – the equivalent of a staggering 770 million bottles – was the largest since 2006, when there was 10% more vineyard area. Strong harvest figures for Bordeaux are, of course, in stark contrast to many less fortunate regions across France in 2016.

Bordeaux_wine_yields

At an average of 52 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha), 2016 saw the highest yield per hectare since the largest crop of the century to date in 2004, which came in at 54 hl/ha. “The yield on the Merlot,” I wrote in Bordeaux 2016 – quality and quantity last October, “is the biggest I’ve seen since 2004 and the quality is far superior to that attractive but uneven vintage. As Bordeaux is 89% red and Merlot accounts for two thirds of that 89%, it’ll be a big crop out in the sticks.”

It’s the third good Bordeaux vintage in a row, following on from the minor disaster that was 2013 (34hl/ha), and with the en primeur or ’futures’ tastings due to take place in late March and early April, the trade and the press will soon be able to judge if 2016 lives up to its billing of quality as well as quantity. Red wine accounted for 85% of production in 2016, plus 4% rosé, 10% dry white and 1% sweet white.

As ever, and not unreasonably, the focus for the primeurs will be on the top 300-400 wines from the leading Appellations. I’ve put together the yields for seven of these Appellations since 2006, and 2016 saw the highest yields in several years for five of them (see below). I’ve highlighted years showing the significant yields. It should be noted that the majority of the top estates ‘green harvested’ their crop from early summer onwards, reducing the potential yield in order to improve quality. Or, in some cases, to stay within the permitted maximum quota which, for reds in 2016, was 50hl/ha (eg St-Émilion Grand Cru) up to 58hl/ha (eg Graves), depending on the Appellation.

Top_Bordeaux_appellations_yields_2006_2016

The Cabernet Sauvignon was less plentiful than Merlot – often the result of less even flowering in June and smaller bunches – and this is reflected in more modest yields at some leading chateaux. Younger vines on more porous soils suffered during the Summer drought, when a tenth of the normal rainfall from 23 June to 13 September fell in some areas, and this also reduced the crop size.

As you can see, these Appellations above, in their entirety, make up just 10% of the total area of the Bordeaux vineyard. The bigger picture looks more like this, below, in terms of production for 2016. As there are 60 Appellations for Bordeaux, I’ve collated the figures into logical, digestible chunks:

Bordeaux_2016_production_by_appellation

Generic red Bordeaux makes up 35% of production, with over 200 million litres and yields of 56.6hl/ha across 35,700 hectares. It may not sound much, but this was a significant increase on the 51.1hl/ha and 51.7 hl/ha in 2015 and 2014 respectively. Bordeaux Supérieur notched up almost 60 million litres, with yields of 50.4 hl/ha across 11,850 hectares.

Most, but not all, Bordeaux rouge and Bordeaux Supérieur comes from the Entre Deux Mers and the loosely defined ‘right bank’. If you know a little of the geography of the region, you’ll see that the red and red-toned segments are those of the right bank and the Entre Deux Mers, and they’re responsible for two thirds of the whole output. Merlot, which is widely planted here, saw some spectacular yields in 2016. The Cabernets rather less so.

Meanwhile, the bluer sections of the left bank account for markedly less wine. The entire Médoc and Haut-Médoc – including Margaux, St-Julien, Pauillac and St-Estèphe – and the Graves and Pessac Léognan combined produced 100 million litres of red. That’s a lot of wine but it represented little more than a fifth of the output of Bordeaux red in 2016. Again, by volume, most of the generic dry white comes from the Entre Deux Mers.

Here are the yields for the major groups of Appellations:

Bordeaux_appellations_yields_2006_2016

In every case for red wines and dry whites, the combined averages for each Appellation group show higher yields in 2016 than for any other vintage. It was also a good year for sweet white wines in terms of yield.

Vins de France, Vins de Pays

Non Appellation Contrôlée wines are very much in the minority in the Gironde but it’s interesting to note that production of Vins de France and Vins de Pays (de l’Atlantique) combined, doubled from 16 and 15.5 million litres in 2014 and 2015 respectively to 31.5 million litres in 2016. 90% of this was Vins de France.


Talking Trade: Bordeaux 2014 active, Petrus climbs higher

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Bordeaux activity has improved this week with the region taking a healthy 80.9% of trade. The most active Bordeaux wines were the 2014s. The vintage took a larger proportion of Bordeaux market share than the ‘great’ vintages of 2010, 2005 and 2009. Interest in the 2014s has been building since the vintage started to become physical. Adding to this, critics have recently started to release their in-bottle scores.

Regional

The Fine Wine 50 dipped lower this week, down 0.3%. However, First Growth trade was higher at 17.7%, but still remains low in historical terms.

After a number of strong weeks for Burgundy, the region dropped back to 6.4% this week, close to its average for last year. Activity for Champagne increased, boosted by Salon Mesnil 2004, Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002 and Louis Roederer Cristal 2007.

Value

Overall, the top two wines traded by value were 100-point (RP) Cheval Blanc 2005 and 98-point (RP) Lafite Rothschild 2010. The rest of the top five were all Bordeaux 2014s. Mouton Rothschild 2014 has received critical acclaim with James Molesworth (96), James Suckling (99), Antonio Galloni (97) and Neal Martin (94-96) all rating the wine highly.

Likewise, Cheval Blanc 2014 has received high scores. James Molesworth scored it 97 points in-bottle and said it has “notes of Lapsang souchong tea, smoldering cigar and cold charcoal wafting up from the core of dense yet supple currant, fig and blackberry preserves.” Neal Martin said it is “a formidable Cheval Blanc” and awarded it 95-97 points in-barrel.

Volume

Bordeaux 2014 was also prominent among the top wines traded by volume. Ducru Beaucaillou 2014 was awarded 99 points by James Suckling and described as “Complex. Full-bodied, yet agile and complete.” One of the top-scoring wines from Bordeaux 2015 was also active. Canon 2015 (98-100, NM) is now up 86.9% from its release price of £750 per 12×75.

100-point Petrus 2010 traded at an all-time high of £29,450 this week. It is up 33.5% over the last year. Robert Parker said it is an “awesome Petrus”.

Petrus 2010

Looking for weekend reading? This week, Liv-ex published two blogs on Bordeaux 2007- Ten years on: Left Bank 2007 and Ten years on: Second Wines 2007. It also looked at recent in-bottle critic scores for Bordeaux 2014 – Bordeaux 2014: scores in bottle.


 

Ten years on: Left Bank 2007

As part of a series on Bordeaux 2007 ten years on, Liv-ex has examined the price variations of wines from the Left Bank 200 index, which tracks the price movements of 20 major Left Bank Chateaux.

The chart below shows how the wines’ current Market Prices compare to their highs, lows and En Primeur release prices. The majority are either currently at their highest ever levels or within 8% of it. Four – Palmer, Leoville Las Cases, Cos d’Estournel and Grand Puy Lacoste – are at peak.

Duhart Milon 2007 holds a number of records. It rose the most from release to peak (389.4%), has fallen the most since (42.6%) and yet is currently second furthest (180.9%) above its release price. Part of the Lafite stable, it might look more at home with the Second Wines which have performed in a similar way.

Beychevelle – another wine with a strong brand following in China – has risen the most since release, up 239.8%.

Only Mission Haut Brion and Pape Clement are available at discounts to their release prices, having fallen 25.6% and 6.0% respectively.

Not only have the wines performed strongly in terms of price, but there are signs from critics that they are also showing (surprisingly) well ten years on. In Decanter today, Jane Anson wrote that “the Cabernet Sauvignons did well when they were able to fully ripen, and there are many classic, even luscious, drinking clarets on the Left Bank”.

Read more:


Bordeaux 2014: scores in bottle

critics1

As interest surrounding Bordeaux 2014 continues to build, critics have started to announce their in-bottle scores for the vintage. James Suckling released his this week; James Molesworth and Antonio Galloni published theirs last week.

Mouton Rothschild 2014 is the only wine to appear in all four critics’ top ten. Cheval Blanc, Latour, Vieux Chateau Certan each appear in the top ten for three of the four reviewers.

James Suckling’s top scores were higher than other critics. He awarded Lafleur and Ausone a ‘perfect’ 100 points, noting that he is “in awe” of Ausone, and exclaiming that Lafleur “is fantastic on the nose. OMG!” As can be seen, eight of his top ten wines have been scored above their original barrel range.

James Molesworth and Antonio Galloni have been a little more reserved. All of Molesworth’s scores fall within their original barrel ranges. Galloni awarded 97 points to seven Bordeaux reds with Vieux Chateau Certan acheiving the top score of 97+, above its original barrel range of 93-96+.

Neal Martin’s in-bottle scores for Bordeaux 2014 are expected in the next few months.

crtics 2

The chart above highlights the differences of opinion amongst the leading critics for twenty of the high-scoring wines that received a score from all four reviewers. It uses a mid-point of the barrel range for Neal Martin. As can be seen there are significant variations between critics for particular wines. For example, Clos Fourtet received 90-92 from Neal Martin from barrel, but 97 points in bottle from Antonio Galloni.

Neal Martin has generally scored towards the bottom of the range so far. However, as we have seen Suckling and Galloni have both increased their scores from barrel to bottle. It will be interesting to see whether Martin also finds more quality in the vintage when he releases his in-bottle scores later in the year.


 

Ten years on: Second Wines 2007

Second wines

Last week Liv-ex analysed the price variations – the highest and lowest Market Prices against the current and release prices – of the Bordeaux First Growths from the 2007 vintage. The chart above displays the same data for the wines from the Second Wines 50 sub-index of the Bordeaux 500.

All five of the First Growths’ second wines have made staggering gains since En Primeur. Like its first wine, Carruades Lafite 2007 has risen the most – 283.3% since release – and sees the largest variation in price. At peak in August 2011, its Market Price was more than six times higher than its release of £600.

Similarly, like its first wine, Clarence Haut Brion 2007 has gained the least since release, but is still up by 113.8%. The 2007 was the first vintage from the estate to be named Clarence, rather than Bahans Haut Brion.

Petit Mouton and Pavillon Rouge are both around 10% off their peak and command Market Prices of £1,646 and £1,350 per 12×75 respectively.

Second_wines_2007


Talking Trade: Burgundy solid, Haut Brion rising

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Activity for Bordeaux was higher at 69.7%, up from a low level last week of 42.6%. However, Bordeaux’s share of the market remains weak in historical terms. The Fine Wine 50 was up, closing Thursday at 341.11 (+0.6%) below the five-year high of 347.08.

Regional

First Growth trade was also low at 15.3%. Lafite Rothschild was the most active, taking a 33% share of the Bordeaux Premier Crus. The most active Bordeaux wines were from the “great” years – 2009 ,2005 and 2010. The 2014 remained active and Lagrange St Julien 2014 was among the top five wines traded by volume. Neal Martin awarded it 87-89 points and said it “needs to pull its socks up by the time of bottling.”

Trade for Burgundy was lower compared to last week, but remains solid against its average of 7.9% for last year. The region has recently received a boost from hype surrounding the 2015 En Primeur campaign.

Value

All of the top five wines traded by value this week were from Bordeaux. 100-point Montrose 2010 was top and traded at £1,985 per 12×75, below its all-time high of £2,049 it hit in January. It is now available at a 14.2% discount to its 100-point 2009 sibling.

Volume

The top wines traded by volume were from Italy, Bordeaux and the Rhone. Guigal Condrieu 2015 was described by Jeb Dunnuck of The Wine Advocate as “a blockbuster” and “a rich, unctuous, thrillingly textured beauty.” He awarded it 95 points.

95-point Haut Brion 2003 traded at an all-time high of £3,550 this week. It is up 42% over the last year. Robert Parker said it is a wine of “both power and finesse.”

HB 03