Rhone releases: Beaucastel and Vieux Telegraphe 2015

Beaucastel 2015

Rhone 2015 wines are beginning to be offered pre-release by the international trade.

Beaucastel 2015 is available at £450 per 12×75. For UK buyers, this is an increase of 19% on the merchant release price of the 2014 vintage last year (£378) – a difference that can be partly accounted for by the current weakness of Sterling.

At this price, the 2015 is more expensive than the majority of other recent vintages currently available in the market.

Vieux Telegraphe 2015 is being offered at £390 per 12×75. It has not yet received a critic score, but its price pitches it alongside the 95-point 2005 that already has several years in bottle.

Early feedback from Rhone 2015 tastings suggest a strong vintage that might be on par with 2007 or 2012. A report by The Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnuck on the region is due to be released at the end of the week.

Vieux Telegraphe 2015


Liv-ex releases the 2015 Power 100

In conjunction with The Drinks Business, Liv-ex has released the tenth edition of the Liv-ex Power 100 – the annual list of the most powerful brands in the fine wine market.

The Drinks Business’s full report on this year’s Power 100 has been published in the magazine’s December edition.

Key findings this year:

  • Mouton Rothschild took the top spot in the 2015 table, following two years when the Bordeaux First Growths conceded first place to other wines. With good scores across all four categories, it was boosted by the value and volume of trade it saw on Liv-ex.
  • All Bordeaux First Growths, apart from Latour, rose up the table this year, with Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion and Margaux seeing positive year-on-year price movements.
  • The highest new entrants this year were from Burgundy: the wines of Coche Dury entered the table at number 18, and Lambrays at number 59.
  • Sassicaia was the most traded wine by volume, and the only wine from outside Bordeaux to fall among the top ten wines traded by value.
  • California continues to be a rising star, with two wines from Napa Valley seeing the best year-on-year price performance: Scarecrow and Screaming Eagle. They rose 19.9% and 15.1% respectively, with Scarecrow making its debut in the list at number 83.
  • Angelus and Pavie continue to see the benefits of the 2012 St Emilion Re-Classification, coming in 4th and 5th
  • Buyer diversification continues, with the variety of wines and vintages traded wider than ever before. 166 wines qualified for the ranking this year: an increase of 10% on 2014.

To calculate the scores, we took a list of all wines that traded on Liv-ex in the last year (1stSeptember 2014 – 31st August 2015) and grouped these by brand. We then identified brands that had traded a minimum of three wines or vintages and a total trade value of at least £10,000. Brands were ranked using four criteria: year on year price performance, trading performance on Liv-ex (value and volume traded), the number of different wines and vintages traded, and average price.

The main change we made to this year’s methodology is that we removed scores. With so many wines trading – and from so many different regions – it was becoming impossible to include scores on a like-for-like basis, and the number of critics we had to include was increasing. To keep the consistency of the ranking we removed them.

The individual rankings were then combined with a weighting of 1 for each criteria, except trading performance which had a weighting of 1.5 (as it combined two criteria: value and volume traded). The final 100 brands accounted for over 1,750 unique wines/vintages traded in the past year.

Below are the results in full for the 2015 Liv-ex Power 100. For the purpose of comparing against 2014 on a like-for-like basis, we have recalculated 2014’s ranking incorporating the new methodology.

Liv-ex 2015 Power 100

In the balance

Regional trade shares

In 2010, as the fine wine bull market neared its peak, Bordeaux accounted for 95.7% of trade by value on Liv-ex. It was the year of the 2009 En Primeur release, and that vintage alone accounted for 13.2% of trade. Other regions barely registered: Champagne, the second strongest, took just 1.2%.

Bordeaux trade has been in steady decline since then. Pushed out by unsustainably high prices, buyers sought value from other regions. The market shares of regions beyond Bordeaux have grown substantially since 2010, with Champagne, Italy and the Rest of the World particularly leaping ahead in 2015 to so far account for 6.1%, 6.9% and 4.6% respectively.

As shown above, Bordeaux’s current market share of 74.2% is now back to 2004 levels, before the bull market began. There is little doubt that the emergence of mainland Chinese demand led to a bubble in Bordeaux prices. When viewed purely in terms of market share, one could say that bubble is now well and truly behind us. Buyers have broadened their interests – and the market looks more balanced.

Spotlight on … Clos des Papes


Owners: Paul-Vincent Avril and Claude Avril
Vineyard area: 32 hectares
Average annual production: Around 7,000 cases per year
Colour: Red
Standard blend: 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and >10% Vaccarese, Counoise and Muscardin


Chateauneuf du Pape (CNDP) is the Southern Rhone’s most heralded appellation and is named after the town’s 14th century papal palace (once a summer retreat for the Avignon popes). The Clos Des Papes estate, not far from the palace ruins, produces one of the appellation’s most revered reds and is considered the benchmark wine for CNDP quality. It is famed for its complexity, a characteristic credited to the 25 individual parcels of land spread across the appellation – with a variety of soils and altitudes – that are home to its vines.

The domaine, which originally formed part of the papal vineyards, first started bottling its wine as Clos des Papes in 1896 under the auspices of Paul Avril, whose family had been producing wine in the region since the 17th century. Paul was succeeded by his son Regis Avril and his grandson Paul Avril, who ran the winery from 1963 to 1987 and played an integral role in the formation of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation. Having contributed greatly to the reputation and success of Rhone wines, Paul Avril passed away in 2009 at the age of 72.

The current manager of Clos des Papes is Paul Avril’s son, Paul-Vincent, who according to Jane Anson has “built on his father’s legacy to turn the estate from a local legend to a global star.”

Acclaimed vintages

Clos des Papes’ ten most recent vintages (2004-13) have an average score of 95.5 from the Wine Advocate, with all of them achieving scores of 90 or above. This compares to an average of 93.1 for wines produced in the previous decade.


In recent years, several of the estate’s wines have come under the spotlight. In 2007, the Wine Spectator proclaimed the 2005 vintage Wine of the Year. James Molesworth, who awarded it 98 points, commented that “it should be a monster – à la the 1990 – when it reaches its peak”. Following this recognition, prices skyrocketed from £350 in October of that year to £900 the year after. It has since drifted: its current market price is £590 per 12×75 and it last traded for £505 in May 2015.


2007, 2010

2007 and 2010 are the most highly scored vintages by the Wine Advocate, receiving 99+ and 99 points respectively from Robert Parker.  Parker described the 2007 as “the greatest Chateauneuf du Pape made since 1978 and 1990”, calling it “a sublime expression of the art of winemaking as evidenced by its dense purple color and big, sweet kiss of kirsch, framboise, blackberries, licorice, roasted herbs, and smoked meat.” He says the 2010 “flirts with perfection.”

Other critics appear to share Parker’s enthusiasm. Jancis Robinson awarded the “sumptuous and glorious” 2007 19.5/20 and the 2010 19/20. James Molesworth (Wine Spectator) gave the 2010 97 points, and 98 to the 2010.

Although the prices of both wines were boosted following Parker’s reviews, they have run flat since. In the March 2014 Cellar Watch Market report, Liv-ex questioned whether this is because the Rhone is producing so many excellent vintages that even the very best ones do not see extreme demand.


Prices and points

Even if this is the case, quality continues to impact vintage prices. As the chart below shows, the 2007 and 2010 are commanding the highest secondary market values: £1,040 and £900 respectively. A notch below this, the 2003 and 2006 vintages – both with 98 points – appear to offer relative value: both are available for less than £600 per case.


Spotlight on… Hermitage la Chapelle


Owner: La Maison Jaboulet
Colour: Red, White
Wines: La Chapelle Rouge, La Chapelle Blanc, La Petite Chapelle, Chevalier de Stérimberg
La Chapelle Rouge: Syrah, vines aged 40-60 years.


Hermitage la Chapelle, known as the jewel in the crown of Maison Jaboulet, takes its name from the little Chapel of Saint-Christophe which sits on a hill overlooking the vineyards of the Rhône. The chapel was built by the injured French Knight Gaspard de Stérimberg who dwelled there from 1224 after returning from the crusades. He lived as a hermit, giving the Hermitage region its name.

In 1834, Antoine Jaboulet began working on this land, producing wines of reputedly outstanding quality. He was succeeded by his sons Henri and Paul, and it was the latter who went on to give his name to the business which stayed in the family until 2006. In 2006 Paul Jaboulet Ainé was acquired by the Frey family, established winemakers in Champagne and owners of Chateau La Lagune in Bordeaux. Caroline Frey, the family’s eldest daughter, now heads wine making at Hermitage la Chapelle.

The legendary 1961 Vintage

Hermitage la Chapelle 1961, classed as one of the Twelve Mythical Wines of the 20th century, was a vintage that gained legendary status. In June 2000 Robert Parker commented, “This is unquestionably one of the greatest wines made in the twentieth century. In the two dozen tastings where I have had the 1961 La Chapelle, I rated it 100 points twenty times.” He described it as “truly immortal”. The vintage went on to break the record for the highest selling 12×75 case at auction house Christie’s in 2007. The lot sold for £123,750 – more than £10,000 per bottle.

A dip in the 1990s

Both James Suckling and Jancis Robinson have noted a change in La Chapelle’s vintages of the 1990s. Robinson observed a number of the wines produced in the decade to be “dangerously evolved, light and sweet, rustic, and rather skinny”, and suggested that the change may have been due to an increase in production and change in the type and use of oak.

James Suckling’s vertical tasting summer 2014: new heights

In December 2014, James Suckling released a tasting report following a visit to Hermitage La Chapelle in the summer. He met with Caroline Frey, who Suckling says has taken the winery “back to its former glory”. He praised her use of organic and biodynamic viticulture and limited use of new oak which “yields wines with clarity and style”.

In his vertical tasting, Suckling favoured the 2009 over the popular 2010 “due to its ultra-fine line of tannins and form” and described the 2011 as “a revelation”. The 1989, however, proved to be “the standout of the tasting” and was awarded 100 points. Suckling described it as “fabulously spicy with black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, black truffles, sous bois and liquorice.” He commented, “This is the legendary 1961 again”.

The chart below compares the scores given by Suckling with their current market price. These POP* scores, where the lower numbers represent greater value, reveal a number of value wines on offer from Hermitage la Chapelle. The 1983, a 98 point wine that has a market price below £1,000, has the lowest POP score of only 52.1. Typically, Bordeaux First Growths have POP scores of 200-400.

Source: http://www.jamessuckling.com/


A wine’s POP score is its price-over-points ratio, our loose measure of value. It is calculated by dividing the price of a nine-litre case of wine by a shortened 20-point score. We have calculated this 20-point score by simply subtracting 80 from the official rating from James Suckling on the basis that any wine under 80 points is unlikely to attract a secondary market. In theory, the lower the POP score the better value a wine is. 

Power 100: value brands 2014

In November Liv-ex released the 2014 Power 100 – our annual list of the most powerful brands in the fine wine market. For the second year in a row, Pavie was top of the table, although the list in general reflected buyers broadening their tastes.

The full report on the 2014 Liv-ex Power 100 can be found in the December edition of the Drinks Business.

Value brands

Wines from nine different regions featured amongst the top 20 this year: the largest range in the nine years of publishing the list. We decided to reconstruct the Power 100 to see which wines offer value for money. In order to identify lower-priced buying opportunities, we removed all of the brands that have a market price of more than an average of £2,000 per case (based on vintages traded Sep 2013 – Aug 2014). We then ranked the brands according to their average price (the lower the price, the better the ranking), average score, one-year performance and the number of vintages traded. The results are shown below.

Power 100 value table top 20 all regions

Wines from the Rhône performed particularly well on this scale, representing four of the top ten. In the original Power 100, only one of the top ten came from the Rhône – Guigal came in at number eight. Bordeaux is also well represented in this alternative list, accounting for nine of the top twenty value brands. While the wines of Bordeaux and the Rhône have not generally performed as well as other regions since market peak, they are boosted by high scores and low prices. Indeed, of the top 20 wines above, 14 trade for an average price of under £1,000 a case. 

Value Bordeaux

With Bordeaux well represented, we next created a value table using the same methodology as above but focusing solely on Bordeaux wines with an average score of more than 90 points. This left us with 41 chateaux.

Power 100 value table

Smith Haut Lafitte, which was third on the value brands table last year, has climbed to top of this year’s table due to its strong all-round performance in the rankings: it has a relatively low average price which has not dropped as much as some other wines on the list. Pape Clement, top of the value list last year, has dropped to number 7 in 2014 as its price ranking and performance slips below other brands. Right Bank Monbousquet, a new entrant to the Power 100 this year, stands out for its strong price performance, seeing an increase of 14.9%. By way of comparison, the weakest brand by price performance on the list, Duhart Milon, saw declines of 14.6%.

Pavie – top of the 2014 Power 100 – also ranks highly in the Bordeaux value chart, finding itself in third place. Although it is the second most expensive brand on the list (only Angelus is more), it is boosted by its relatively strong performance and high average score. 

Talking trade: 1-7 August

First Growths by brand

Much of the fine wine trade may have departed for their summer vacation but the last week on Liv-ex has highlighted several points of interest. The first is that the share of trade for Margaux and Haut Brion – the least-loved of the First Growths – is on the rise. In the last week the two wines accounted for 21% of trade by value, more than Latour, Lafite and Mouton Rothschild combined. A year ago the number was 3%. After taking a low 5% of trade last week Lafite’s share has risen to 9%, but higher volumes are coupled with declining prices: there is pressure to sell as the wine’s premium over the other Firsts continues to narrow.

Regional share

July saw Bordeaux account for just 76% of trade, its second lowest regional share in nine years. This week it sits at 85.3%: buyers and sellers would seem to have found harmonious ground. Yquem 05, which traded heavily, has dropped more than 50% from LVMH’s release price and consequently found the bid.

  Top 5 traded by value

Italy takes second place in the regional share table this week, due largely to the activity around 96 point (AG) Sassicaia 2010, which traded at £1,000 per 12×75.   

Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index falls 0.85% in July

Liv-ex 100_July 2014

Following June’s heavy price falls for the Bordeaux First Growths, July was more stable: the Liv-ex 50 declined 1.1% overall but ran flat for the last week of the month. Meanwhile the Liv-ex 100 dipped 0.85% to close the month on 234.01. This was its sixteenth consecutive fall but also its slightest month-on-month drop since December 2013.  

Various Lafite vintages declined in July, including the 2009 which traded for a record low of £5,600 per 12×75 – at the market’s peak it traded for upwards of £14,000. Two Burgundy wines made the top five movers in a month that saw the region account for 12.5% of all trade by value, its highest share in 18 months. 

Major movers_July14

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 1000 index – the broadest measure of the market – performed slightly better, falling just 0.3%; none of its sub-indices fell by more than 1%. The strongest performer was the Rest of the World 50, which climbed 1.4% and is currently posting a year-to-date rise of 2%.

Full index levels can be seen here.


Liv-ex 50_four weeks

今天的博客为您综合报道本周Liv-ex的交易概况。如图所示,波尔多的每周交易份额现低于80%水平 – 比市场高峰时期的95%相去甚远。相反,勃艮第表现却更胜一筹,按价值计算现占总交易份额11%; 远远高于2014年上半年的5%水平。勃艮第葡萄酒中单周交易表现尤其出色的是宝尚父子(Bouchard Pere et Fils)的罗曼尼康(Romanee) 2001年; 其荣登我们交易价值排行榜的榜首。

Regional share of trade_val_2507

正如我们本周早些时候提到的,2011年拉菲在交易上出现一些进展, 其最近的交易价格为每箱(12×75)3500英镑, 成为拉菲在瓶年份中最便宜的; 是故在市场上看来是物有所值的。而排在首五位最高交易量的葡萄酒主要来自波尔多; James Suckling 给予98分的2009年Sassicaia也交易活跃而排行第三位。Liv-ex优质葡萄酒50指数除了在最近几天下跌外,一直相对稳定。另一方面, 在过去的几个星期,会员间的良好互动令七月份的交易表现返回正轨, 并成为今年第二个最强的交易月份。或许这不足以表明是一个重大变化,但至少仍可算是一乐观迹象?

Share of trade_val_2507

Share of trade_vol_2507

Talking trade: 18-24 July

Liv-ex 50_four weeks

Today’s blog brings you a round-up of the week’s trade on Liv-ex. As shown in the table below, Bordeaux’s weekly share sits below the 80% mark – a far cry from the 95% of trade it accounted for at the peak of the market. Burgundy, meanwhile, is punching above its weight with 11% of all trade by value, considerably larger than the 5% share it took in the first half of 2014. A large trade for one wine in particular is in part behind the region’s weekly performance: Bouchard Pere et Fils, Romanee 2001 sits at the top of our five most traded by value.

Regional share of trade_val_2507

As we mentioned earlier in the week, there has been an uptake in trade for Lafite 2011. As the cheapest physical Lafite available and last trading at £3,450 per 12×75, it would appear that sections of the market see it representing value. While the top 5 wines traded by volume are mainly from Bordeaux, good activity for Sassicaia 2009 – scored 98 by James Suckling – pushed it into third place. Apart from its dip in the last couple of days, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 has held relatively steady over the last few weeks, and good engagement from members puts July on track to be the second strongest month of trading this year. Perhaps not enough to indicate a sea-change, but signs of optimism at least?

Share of trade_val_2507

Share of trade_vol_2507