Liv-ex 100 gains 0.4% in February

5 years

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index closed February on 302.26, up 0.4% on the previous month. The index has now risen for an unprecedented fifteen months and is up 24% year-on-year. It is now at its highest point since October 2011, when it closed at 308.03.

The top two movers last month were both from Bordeaux’s Right Bank. High-scoring Vieux Chateau Certan 2009 (WA 99) was up 10.4% and Cheval Blanc 2006 (WA 97) increased 7.4%.

Two of the top risers were from the Southern Rhone: Beaucastel 2012 (WA 96) and Clos Papes 2012 (WA 96) were up 6.4% and 5.4% respectively.

100-point Smith Haut Lafitte 2009 was the biggest faller this month (-5.1%), having failed to sustain gains made in January.


Bordeaux 2014: scores in bottle


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.


Spotlight on… Angelus


Owner: Stephanie de Bouard de Laforest

Appellation: Saint-Emilion AOC

Classification: Grand Cru Classe A

Vineyard area: 39 hectares

Grape varieties planted: 50% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon

Standard blend: 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc (2014)

Average annual production: 100,000 bottles (Grand Vin)

Second wine: Le Carillon d’Angelus

Colour: Red


In 1782, Jean de Bouard de Laforest – one of the King’s bodyguards – settled on the estate in Saint-Emilion. His son Maurice inherited the property and extended it to include a three-hectare enclosure named Angelus in 1920. The inspiration for Chateau Angelus comes from the painting of the same name by the French impressionist Jean-Francois Millet. The estate is found in a natural amphitheatre and, according to folk law, vine workers could hear the angelus bells of the three neighbouring churches at the same time.

In 1945, Maurice’s sons Jacques and Christian inherited the property and continued their family’s work. The property was classified in 1954 and the two sons extended it further to exceed 20 hectares by 1985. In 1987, Jacques’ son Hubert took over the management of the estate and was joined by his cousin Jean-Bernard Grenie and then his daughter Stephanie in 2012.

In 2012 Chateau Angelus and nearby Pavie were both upgraded to Grand Cru Classe A in the Saint Emilion re-classification. To celebrate the Chateau’s promotion Stephanie designed the iconic black and gold bottle for the 2012 vintage.

Most recently the wine has featured in the 2015 James Bond film Spectre, following an appearance in Casino Royale in 2006.

Market Performance


The broader Bordeaux market tumbled from mid-2011 but both Angelus and Pavie continued to rise. This was helped in no small part by their upgrade to Grand Cru Classe A in September 2012, as the chart above indicates.

Over five years, the Angelus index – which tracks the price movements of the last ten physical vintages – is up 81.5%. It has significantly outperformed the Bordeaux 500 index which is up 6.2%.

Acclaimed vintages


There is a very clear difference in price between the 100-point 2005 vintage and those from other years. The 2009 and 2010 vintages – both scored 99+ points – are currently trading at discounts of 22.6% and 26.2% respectively to the similarly scored 2005. Despite critical acclaim, those wines have not been able to command the price of the 100-point 2005. Robert Parker described the 2009 as “a candidate for perfection” and James Suckling described the 2010 as “the greatest Angelus ever for me”, awarding it 99 points.

Vintage prices


So far this year, the 2010 has been the most actively traded Angelus vintage by both value and volume – the wine traded more than 2.5 times the 2009. Its price has also been rising and it now commands a Market Price of £3,102 per 12×75, an increase of 29.3% on the previous year.


Of the recent vintages, 2008 and 2013 have been the top performers over the past 12 months, up 41% and 44.6% respectively. The 2006 follows close behind with a 40.4% increase. Despite the percentage increases, these wines continue to be among the cheapest vintages on the market. The 2012 has seen the smallest increase in price, but it was already trading at the second highest price a year ago, due to the success of its black and gold label.


Talking Trade: 7th October – 13th October


Market activity remains solid with trade by value up a tick on the previous week. The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 rose 1.1%, closing Thursday at 327.68 – its highest level since April 2012. The market continues to receive a boost from a weaker Sterling which fell to a fresh 31-year low against the Dollar.


Bordeaux was particularly strong at 79.3% of trade by value. First Growths were more active and represented 27.5% of trade. Mouton Rothschild 2000 (WA 96+), Mouton Rothschild 2009 (WA 99) and Lafite Rothschild 2003 (WA 100) were in the top wines traded by value.

Burgundy and the ‘Others’ category were more active. Penfolds Grange saw good volume with a number of vintages trading on the Exchange. Burgundy saw DRC, Romanee Saint Vivant 2012 (WA 96), DRC, Richebourg 2012 (WA 97) and DRC, Romanee Saint Vivant 2012 (WA 96) trade this week.


Second wines were active again. Forts Latour 2009 (WA 94) was among the top wines traded by value and Pagodes Cos 2012 (WA 88) was the top wine traded by volume.



Talking Trade: 9th – 15th September


Market activity was slower with trade by value and volume down on the previous week. The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 was firmer, up 0.3% and is now at its highest level since June 2013. This week Solaia 2013 and Sena 2014 were released on La Place de Bordeaux.


Bordeaux activity was down on week at 68.9%. First Growth trade was also lower. Latour was the most active, led by Latour 2009 (WA 100) and Latour 2001 (WA 95).

It was a strong week for Burgundy with high value DRC 2012s finding the bid. Trade for Champagne and the Rhone was also stronger. Krug, Clos Mesnil 1998 (AG 96) and Louis Roederer, Cristal 2007 (AG 97) saw good activity. Guigal, Cote Rotie Landonne 2007 (WA 97) and Janasse, Chateauneuf Du Pape Vv 2004 (WA 95) were the most active wines traded by volume from the Rhone.


Lynch Bages 2000 (WA 97) was in the top five wines traded by value this week. A number of Lynch Bages vintages traded at all-time highs in August and September. The 2006 (WA 93) traded at £925 per 12×75 this week, up 21% from the beginning of 2016.

Figeac 2007 (WA 85) and Yquem 2003 (WA 94) were active this week. Both featured in the top five wines by value and volume.



Talking Trade: 19th – 25th August


Sterling was up against the Dollar and the Euro again this week, but this did not stall the momentum of the Fine Wine 50 Index which closed at 315.98 on Thursday, up 0.6% on the previous week. The index is now at its highest level since July 2013 and has continued to firm over August on the back of brisk activity, unusual for August.


Bordeaux activity was up at 77.5% with high-value wines boosting the region’s share. First Growth trade was strong at 42%, up from 27.1% last week. Lafite Rothschild 2010 (WA 98) was the top wine traded by value. Petrus 1999 (WA 94) and Petrus 2010 (WA 100) were in the top ten wines traded by value this week. Petrus has recently seen good activity in August and a number of wines have hit all-time highs.

Most of the other regions were lower than the previous week apart from Italy which was boosted by good volumes of the Super Tuscans. Sassicaia 2011 (AG 92) was the top wine traded by volume and Ornellaia 2011 (AG 97) and Masseto 2010 (AG 98) were also active.


Chilean wine, Los Vascos, Dix 2011 (WA 92) – a domain of Chateau Lafite Rothschild – was among the top five wines traded by volume this week. Luis Gutierrez of the Wine Advocate described the wine as “a textbook Cabernet Sauvignon” and noted that it was one of the first French investments in Chile. It was the first time the vintage had traded on the Exchange.



Talking Trade: 12th – 18th August


The Fine Wine 50 Index has continued to rise and closed at 314.21 on Thursday, up 0.5% on the previous week. A number of wines have registered all-time highs on the Exchange and momentum remains strong.

Bordeaux activity was, however, lower this week and trade share was back below 70%. Bordeaux trade had picked up over the first two weeks of August as Sterling weakness saw buyers focus on the region. Sterling is up around 1.6% against the dollar this week.


Italy saw activity increase and was up at 7.8% from 2.9% the previous week. It was boosted by Sassicaia 2010 (AG 96) that traded at an all-time high of £1,255 per 12×75 and was in the top wines traded by volume. Champagne also saw trade by value increase. Cristal 2007 (AG 97) and Bollinger Rd 2002 (WA 96) were both in the top wines traded by value and volume. Cristal 2009 was recently released and was pitched at a similar level to the 2006 and 2007 vintages.

First Growth trade was up at 27.1%  from 19.2% last week. Lafite was the most active, representing 55% of First Growth activity. Lafite 2010 (WA 98) was in the top wines traded by value for the second consecutive week. The wine now looks to have found a bottom having fallen since release.


There has been a focus on older high value vintages this week. Lafite 1996 (WA 100) was in the top five wines traded by value and Haut Brion 1995 (WA 96) was in the top ten. Lafite 1996 is up 25% since November 2015. Lynch Bages 2000 (WA 97) was the top wine traded by value and volume this week and is the third highest scored vintage. Robert Parker described the wine as “one of the all-time great examples of Lynch Bages”.


Pontet Canet 2011 (WA 93) was in the top five wines traded by volume again this week. It continues to be a popular wine and is one of the cheapest available physical vintages. It has outperformed the 100-point 2010 vintage since the market bottomed out in November 2015, rising 21%.

Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 gains 3.6% in July

Liv-ex 100

The industry benchmark – the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index – increased for the eighth consecutive month in July. It gained 3.6% to close on 269.07. This is the largest positive monthly movement that it has seen since November 2010. It is now at its highest level since August 2013.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index also continued its charge, rising 5.4% to close on 307.8.

Buyers appear to have favoured top-scoring Bordeaux in July: high risers Leoville Poyferre 2009, Latour 2003 and Cos d’Estournel 2009 have all received 100-points from Robert Parker. Margaux 2010 – up 10.5% – has been scored 99 points by the critic.

Each of the five wines within the index that fell the most are from outside Bordeaux. Three of these are from Burgundy, with Armand Rousseau, Chambertin, 2010 (-9.8%) dropping the most.


Updated 15/08/2016: Originally stated “largest monthly movement since November 2011”. November 2010 is correct.

Talking Trade: 22nd – 28th July


Last week attention turned towards more accessibly priced wines, but this week the focus was back on high value with a number of wines trading at fresh all-time highs. The total value of trade was higher, while total volume was lower than the previous week.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index has put in one of its strongest performances. It has continued to firm, but momentum eased a little on the previous week as the slower summer period started to take hold. The index closed at 308.07 on Thursday, up 0.6% on the previous week.


Bordeaux trade was up marginally, but the largest increase came from the ‘Others’ category that was boosted by the USA. Opus One 2009 was in the top ten wines traded by value this week. Dominus 2008 (WA 99) and Continuum and Proprietary Red 2012 (WA 96) also found the bid.

First Growth trade was up on last week’s 15.5% share of total activity at 26.8% – its highest share since June. Mouton Rothschild was the most active, representing 49% of First Growth share and 13.2% of total trade this week. Mouton Rothschild 2008 (WA 94) was the top wine traded by value.


High value and high scoring Bordeaux featured heavily among the top wines traded by value this week. Ausone 2003 (WA 100) traded at its highest level since January 2015 and Latour 2003 (WA 100) traded at its highest level since February 2014. Pape Clement 2005 (WA 99) traded at a new all-time high.


Outside of Bordeaux, Pierre Usseglio, Chateauneuf Du Pape 2010 (WA 93) was the top wine traded by volume. Robert Parker described it as “a full-bodied, rich wine with super purity.” Antinori, Guado Al Tasso 2011 (AG 96) also featured in the top five by volume this week and traded at an all-time high.


Fine Wine 50 Index on a par with global indices

Global Indices

The Fine Wine 50 Index has continued to firm in recent weeks. It closed Tuesday at 304.05, its highest level since October 2013. Likewise, global equities have been on a bullish run. The S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average have hit new all-time highs, while the FTSE 100 Index struck an 11-month high this week.

This year, the fine wine market has benefitted from weaker Sterling. There has been strong Euro and Dollar-based buying that was boosted in the aftermath of Brexit. Exposure on the Exchange – the total value of firm bids and offers – has hit a new all-time high of £34.5 million, while the bid:offer ratio has climbed steadily post-Brexit to 1.47. The number of active markets – wines with a bid or offer against them – has also reached a new record of 6,500, while the number of spreads – wines with a bid and offer against them – stands at 1,300.

There is, however, a caveat to this bullish outlook. The average spread on the Fine Wine 50 Index currently stands at 5.4%. One month ago it was 4.4%. Widening spreads suggest sellers are now raising their prices faster than buyers are raising their bids. The market is also now entering the seasonally slower summer period.

While global equities continue to ride a bullish trend it should be noted that the Fine Wine 50 Index is still 32% below the June 2011 peak it reached at the height of the China-led bull market.

We have observed a tentative recovery underway this year after a long period of decline. The question is whether Brexit and the resulting currency effect is the spark that lights the fuse for a more sustained long-term recovery for fine wine prices.