The release of Cheval Blanc 2015 on Tuesday marked the end of this year’s En Primeur campaign. Only a handful of wines from the vintage – those offered later in bottle, or via agencies only – are yet to be released.
Yesterday, Liv-ex published the results of a survey where its merchant members were challenged to predict the release prices of a basket of wines. The average increase predicted was 17.8%; the reality was a 45.8% increase for the basket. Hardly any merchants overestimated.
When Liv-ex first published the chart above two weeks ago, Canon – up a high 56% on 2014 – looked almost anomalous. It now has company, with wines such as Ducru Beaucaillou (+52%) and Figeac (+70%) similarly upping their release prices. Mission Haut Brion is now the stand-out. It flew off the original chart when its 2015 came out a whopping 107% higher than the 2014.
Collectively this illustrates one central theme of this year’s campaign: price hikes on 2014 have significantly exceeded expectation – and the increases increased as the campaign went on.
Liv-ex will publish a concluding report on Bordeaux 2015 in two weeks’ time. It will be distributed to all merchant members. If you are a private collector, you will be able to access an abridged version via your Cellar Watch subscription.
Fine wine market analysis will continue as usual on the blog. Over the coming weeks and months, Liv-ex will explore regions outside of Bordeaux to look at market trends from Italy, Burgundy, Champagne and beyond. From Bordeaux, analysis will be published on 2005 to show what has happened since Robert Parker’s ten year retrospective review of the vintage one year ago.
A number of interviews with leading critics and Chateaux are also planned. You can find all recent interviews here.
We hope that you have found – and will continue to find – the analysis on the Liv-ex blog helpful.
In April we challenged Liv-ex members – 440 of the world’s largest buyers and sellers of fine wine – to predict Bordeaux 2015 release prices for ten wines. We published their overall thoughts on the vintage here.
Now that all ten of these wines have been released, we can look at how the predictions compared to reality. In last year’s survey, 80.8% of merchants underestimated the overall cost of the basket. This year, 98.4% of respondents underestimated them.
On average, merchants predicted that the basket of wines would cost €1,607.8, representing a 17.8% increase on 2014 prices. In reality the basket costs €2,045.4: a 45.8% increase.
The most accurate price prediction was for Pontet Canet, which saw its first tranche released at €75 per bottle ex-negociant on May 18th (the second tranche was released at €88 on June 14th). At 2% below merchants’ predictions, it was also the only wine whose price they overestimated. Mission Haut Brion 2015 was the biggest surprise – our merchants anticipated it to release at around €184.8 per bottle, rather than the €300 it eventually came out at.
Congratulations to the winner of a magnum each of Troplong Mondot 1998 and Château de Montrachet 2007, whose prediction was out by less than 5%.
Cheval Blanc 2015 has been released at €540 per bottle ex-negociant, up 50% on 2014 (€360). It is being offered by the international trade at £5,200 per 12×75. This is 52.9% higher than the opening price of the 2014 (£3,400).
Ausone 2015 was also released at €540 per bottle ex-negociant this morning but is offered by the trade at a higher price of £5,600 per 12×75.
Cheval Blanc 2015 was scored in the late 90s by several key critics. In his report, Neal Martin (97-99) noted that it “flirts with perfection” but lamented Cheval’s tendency to price highly, “a pity because it puts a black mark against a stunning succession of wines in recent years”.
The wine’s price pitches it next to the 2005, which was upgraded to 100 points by Robert Parker in June last year. It is offered at discounts of 16% and 27% to the 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Buyers looking back might also find relative value in 2006 and 2014 which have strong critic scores and are priced around 35% below the 2015.
There was no Petit Cheval produced in 2015: the vast majority of parcels were deemed to be of high enough quality to go into the Grand Vin.
Ausone 2015 has been released at €540 per bottle ex-negociant, up 50% on the 2014’s release of €360. Offered by the trade at £5,600 per 12×75, it is 63.3% above the 2014’s release of £3,430.
James Suckling scored the wine a straight 100, exclaiming, “What an energy”. He was not the only critic to see Ausone 2015’s potential as a perfect wine: Jeff Leve scored it 98-100 and Gavin Quinney 97-100. Neal Martin was more reserved, scoring it 95-97.
Ausone vintages fall into two distinct price categories: £3,200-£4,100 and £8,300-£9,800 (for 05, 09 and 10). The release of Ausone 2015 at £5,600 pitches it somewhere in the middle. Buyers may be interested to note that the 2008 scores 98 from Robert Parker – a fraction below the 98+ given to the 09 and 10 – and is available for £4,100, 25% below the new release.
Figeac 2015 has been released at €102 per bottle ex-negociant, up 70% on 2014 (€60). It is being offered by the international trade at £1,115 per 12×75. This is 83.6% higher than the opening price for the 2014 (£575).
Neal Martin’s scores for Figeac have been rising since 2011, as the chart above shows. In his report, Martin discusses recent developments at the estate. He predicts that as with Canon, the 2015 “will surely be seen as a watershed moment” for Figeac, adding: “What this vintage does is bang a signpost in the ground, or perhaps more accurately the gravel croupe, indicating its future direction.” He says that he would “not begrudge” Premier Grand Cru Classé A becoming a group of six.
At £1,115 the 2015 is priced above the majority of recent back vintages, but offers discounts of 19% and 26% on the 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Conseillante 2015 has been released at €113 per bottle ex-negociant, up 71.2% on 2014’s release price of €66. It is being offered by the international trade at £1,236 per 12×75. This is 93.1% up on the 2014’s opening price of £640.
At this price, it is pitched just 3% and 11% below the 2009 and 2010 vintages respectively. It has received strong scores from critics (95-97 from Neal Martin; 96-97 from James Suckling; 17.5/20 from Jancis Robinson), putting it on par with wines from these ‘great’ years. However, Conseillante has produced wines of a comparable calibre in other years such as 2012 which is available for 40% less than the 2015.
Lafite Rothschild 2015 has been released at €420 per bottle ex-negociant, up 45.8% on 2014 release price of €288. It is being offered by the international trade at £4,350 per 12×75. This is 50% up on the 2014’s opening price of £2,900.
The majority of critics scored the wine in the mid to late 90s. Neal Martin (94-96) commented: “It is an excellent Lafite-Rothschild in the making and it often “finds its voice” only after bottling, so it could ultimately end with a higher score.”
Buyers looking for value in other vintages need not to look far back: the 2014 is the cheapest Lafite on the market and is scored equally to the 2015 by Neal Martin. It is available for 23% less than the 2015.
Buyers of Lafite Rothschild have seen positive returns for six of the last ten vintages. Those released at the top of the market have seen the steepest declines, while the most recent vintages have made moderate gains.
Carruades Lafite 2015 was also released today. It came out at €120 per bottle ex-negociant, up 33.3% on the release price of the 2014 (€90). It is being offered by the trade at £1,260 per 12×75. This is 40% higher than the merchant opening price of the 2014 (£920).
As the chart above shows, Carruades Lafite vintages broadly follow the conventional pricing pattern, where wines appreciate in value as they get older and are drunk: critic score has less of an influence here. The price of the 2015 places it below the majority of the back vintages.
Buyers of Carruades Lafite have seen positive returns for eight of the last ten vintages, with those from 2008 and earlier showing the steepest gains.
L’Evangile 2015 has been released at €150 per bottle ex-negociant, up 66.6% on the 2014 release price of €90. It is being offered by the international trade at £1,560 per 12×75, up 77.3% on the 2014 release price of £880.
Neal Martin rated the wine 96-98 points and said it “could well be the pick of the wines from the Domaines Barons Rothschild stable in 2015.” James Suckling gave the wine 99-100 points, describing it as “marvelous”.
Offered at £1,560, the wine is available at a 37.6% discount to the 100-point 2009. Buyers looking for value may be tempted by the 98+ point 2010 currently available at £1,580. The 94-point 2008 and 2012 also look attractive at £750 and £840 respectively.
L’Eglise Clinet 2015 has been released at €180 per bottle ex-negociant, up 36.4% on 2014 (€132). It is being offered by the international trade at £1,900 per 12×75, up 46.1% on the 2014’s release price of £1,300.
L’Eglise Clinet 2015 was received positively by the critics, scored 98-99 by James Suckling, 94-97 by James Molesworth and 96-98 by Neal Martin, who praised a “sophisticated and refined” bouquet, with “bunches of violets emerging with time.”
There is significant variation between the price of L’Eglise Clinet’s last ten vintages. The release of £1,900 pitches the 2015 towards the higher end, but still at a 24-27% discount to the 2009 (RP 99+) and 2010 (RP 96+). For those looking for a L’Eglise Clinet with several years in bottle, the 2006 may be intriguing – with 96 points from both Neal Martin and Robert Parker, it is available for £1,200 per 12×75.
Vieux Chateau Certan 2015 has been released at €150 per bottle ex-negociant, up 47.1% on 2014 release price of €102. It is being offered by the international trade at £1,695 per 12×75. This is 71.2% up on the 2014’s opening price of £990.
The wine was among those scored most highly by Neal Martin (98-100) who commented: “What you need to know is that it is a beguiling Pomerol that will set hearts aflutter.” A number of other critics also rated it highly including Jancis Robinson (18.5/20) and James Suckling (98-99).
Like its score, its price positions it closest to the Chateau’s top vintages. It is priced 13% and 23% below the similarly scored 2009 and 2010.
Buyers seeking value in the back vintages might look to 2006 and 2014. These have relatively strong scores of 96 and are available at around discounts of 35% on the 2015.