The price of perfection

100 point wines

In his scores for the 2000-2010 red Bordeaux vintages, Robert Parker awarded 39 wines the highest accolade: a ‘perfect’ 100 points. But how much does a 100-point wine cost? We have previously examined the power that a single point can have on a wine’s price, and even half a point. Above, we have compared like for like – at least in terms of score. Small production levels and exclusivity elevate some wines’ prices to a premium, such as Petrus and Le Pin. The First Growths, too, tend to be more expensive, both on the Right and Left Banks.

There nonetheless remains a plethora of wines that are hovering around the £2,000 per case mark, and sometimes below it. All are from 2009 or 2010. This is in part because so many of these wines received 100 points – 29 in total, three quarters of all top scorers from the last ten physical years – but also because in the last couple of years (since Parker’s scores were released) the market has been under pressure, and prices have gone nowhere.

But where could these wines end up? They might not be First Growths, but a 100-point wine is a 100-point wine. Pavie 2000, one of the original non-First Growth wines to receive a perfect score, presents an interesting case study. As shown below, it received its in-bottle score in 2003, when it was around £1,400 per case, and over the next nine years slowly climbed to over £3,500 (and then its 2012 promotion to St Emilion Grand Cru Classe A boosted it to £4,500). While the market has moved up and down during that period, Pavie 2000’s trajectory has remained constant – upwards, suggesting a perfect score ultimately conquers all. 

Pavie 2000

3 thoughts on “The price of perfection

  • August 20, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Surely there’s a lot more you can do with this.
    What interests me is the price change when a potentially perfect wine gets its “full time score”.
    Example: Mouton 2006 was initially pitched at 96-100, and rose to £4k or so. last April it got its final score of 98, and – I think – sank a bit on the news. 98 is still massive, but not the super perfection.
    Montrose 2003 has bounced around a lot too, on the basis of being a 100 pointer and then not being a 100 pointer.
    I’m less interested in the overall, and more on the effect on individual wines.
    Can it be quantified: i.e. 99 to 100 equals 15% increase on price? 98 to 100 equals 25% increase in price?

  • March 17, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Your conclusion is not entirely supported by the facts. First, the elevation in 2012 seems to have had a significant effect on Pavie’s value trend. Second, other 2003s have performed as well since EP release, without the benefit of a perfect score. Look at Talbot for example. In % terms it has outperformed Pavie.

  • March 17, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Sorry I mis-commented. It is 2000 Beychevelle which has outperformed 2000 Pavie, but the point is the same. Parker scores have a profound impact at the outset; but the impact is often weakened over time as prices are driven as much by replenishment decisions as by critics’ ratings.


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