Haut Brion 1989: breakout

Haut Brion 1989 traded at an all-time high on the Exchange this week at £14,846 per 12×75. The wine has been rated 100 points by Robert Parker on several occasions and was identified as “wine of the vintage” and as one of the “greatest First Growths” Parker ever tasted.

As a brand, Haut Brion has seen its popularity increase significantly since the end of the China-led bull market when Lafite Rothschild dominated the First Growth market. Since the market low in July 2014, the Haut Brion Index – tracking the prices of the last ten physical vintages – is up 15.8%. It is currently the second best performing First Growth behind Mouton Rothschild.

Haut Brion has generally appealed to buyers seeking value. It has the second highest average Wine Advocate score (96 points) and the lowest average market price (£3,704) across the most recent physical vintages of the First Growths. Like the 1989 vintage, the 2005, 2009 and 2010 all scored 100 points, and the upgraded 98-point 2012 vintage was “one of the stars of the vintage”. The 2015 release was awarded 98-100 points by Neal Martin. Indeed, Liv-ex has previously identified Haut Brion as one of the next potential First Growths to take centre stage.

Haut Brion 1989 is undoubtedly an iconic expression of the Haut Brion brand. It is 27 years old and as a result supply is much diminished. As the chart below shows, the wine recently traded on the Exchange above the level it traded at during the peak of the market in 2011. It would seem that we are on the cusp of a breakout…






  • 波尔多与英国退出欧盟Brexit
  • 品牌购买
  • 小幅上升:2012年份波尔多
  • Antonio Galloni对沙龙Salon的评价
  • 最后感想:寻求实惠的波尔多2015年份






6月份波尔多的交易活动有所上升,该酒区的交易总额比份由上月低水平的66.6%上升至本月的75.2%。勃艮第(9.2%)和意大利(7. 7%)持续了5月份的水平,后者主要是受到西施佳雅Sassicaia和其副牌Guidalberto 2013年的提振; 而其它的16个酒区 (包括黎巴嫩和南非)也看到小量交易。


6月份,波尔多2012年份出尽风头,成为了交易最活跃的年份;占波尔多交易总额达14.8%。 随后的是占9.3%的2011年份,使被受好评的2005(9.1%)、2009(8.4%)和2010(7.9%)年份的排名进一步地靠后。而最近发布的2015年份则占5.8%,当中出现交易的包括了拉菲Lafite Rothschild和帕斯Pavie。


6月份Liv-ex 100指数持续了第七月六月上涨,Liv-ex 1000指数更升至近五年来的最高水平。所有分项指数均月结上升:勃艮第150(+5.2%)上涨最多,而波尔多传奇50(4.4%)也取得了不错的增幅,而波尔多500和跟踪一级酒庄的Liv-ex 50则分别微升了3%和2.5%。


Cellar Watch July 2016 Market Report Released

Fine wine market report - January 2016The Cellar Watch July Market Report has been released. As well as offering a summary of the past month’s market activity, the report contains a special three-page overview of the Bordeaux 2015 campaign for Pro and Premium Cellar Watch subscribers. This is an abridged version of an extended report that will be circulated to Liv-ex’s merchant members this afternoon.

This month’s full issue includes:

  • From Bordeaux to Brexit
  • Brand buying
  • Edging up: Bordeaux 2012
  • Antonio Galloni on Salon
  • Extended final thought: Bordeaux 2015 – hunting for value

To access the full report, please log in or subscribe to Cellar Watch.

You can download page one – with charts and data – here, or read the text below:

From Bordeaux to Brexit

June saw the conclusion of this year’s Bordeaux En Primeur campaign with the release of Cheval Blanc 2015 on Tuesday 21st. Days later, the UK’s decision to leave the EU was declared and immediately stole the news headlines. The resulting collapse in the value of Sterling led to a surge in dollar-based buying. This had a marked impact on fine wine index levels.

Bordeaux back

Activity for Bordeaux rose in June: trade for the region accounted for 75.2% by value compared to a low 66.6% the previous month. Burgundy (9.2%) and Italy (7.7%) sustained levels seen in May, with the latter boosted by Sassicaia and San Guido, Guidalberto 2013. Sixteen other regions including Lebanon and South Africa traded in small quantities.

2012 action

Bordeaux 2012 stole the show in June: it was the most traded vintage, accounting for 14.8% of Bordeaux activity by value. The 2011 took 9.3%, pushing the acclaimed 2005 (9.1%), 2009 (8.4%) and 2010 (7.9%) further down the table. The recently released 2015 vintage accounted for 5.8%, with wines including Lafite Rothschild and Pavie finding a market.

Lucky number seven

While the Liv-ex 100 Index rose for the seventh month in a row in June, the Liv-ex 1000 reached its highest level in almost five years. All of the sub-indices closed the month in positive territory. The Burgundy 150 (+5.2%) gained the most, while the Bordeaux Legends 50 (4.4%) also made strides. The Bordeaux 500 Index edged up 3%, and the Liv-ex 50, tracking First Growth prices, increased 2.5%.

For current and historic issues of the full report, please subscribe at www.cellar-watch.com

Talking Trade: 1st – 7th July


Trade was up by value and volume this week with the Fine Wine 50 Index maintaining a strong momentum. The index is now at its highest level since December 2013. Sterling hit a fresh 31-year low against the dollar driving more dollar-based buyers onto the bid, particularly from Asia.


Bordeaux’s trade share slipped slightly this week. The First Growths represented just 20.6% of total activity. Mouton Rothschild was the most active at 27% and Lafite Rothschild was second at 23% of the First Growth’s share. Latour 2001 (WA 95) was the fifth most active wine traded by value.


It was a strong week for Champagne with the region representing 10.6% of activity by value. Bollinger Grand Annee 2005, Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon 2004 and Delamotte Blanc De Blancs NV all found the bid this week. Italy also saw activity increase, boosted by trade for Sassicaia 2013.


In terms of volume, Cos d’Estournel’s second wine Pagodes Cos 2012 (WA 88) was top. Last week, its older sibling Pagodes Cos 2011 (WA 88) took the honours. There has generally been strong activity on the Exchange for second wines, driven by Asian demand for popular brands at lower price points, boosted in recent weeks by the weaker Pound.


Beychevelle: plain sailing

The second wines of the Bordeaux First Growths have been soaring. Over 12 months, the Second Wines 50 Index has climbed 19.5% compared to gains of 7.4% for the broader Bordeaux 500 index over the same period.

Within the Bordeaux 500 five of the top six performers are second wines, led by Petit Mouton which has gained a staggering 28.7%. There is one interloper: Beychevelle has climbed 22.7%, ranking it in third place.

The recent successes of the second wines has been driven by Asian demand for popular brands at lower price points. It will therefore come as no surprise to many to see Beychevelle – with its dragon boat label – among their ranks.

The table below shows how the ten most recent physical vintages of Beychevelle have performed over one year. The younger and cheaper vintages have made the greatest gains, suggesting price-driven demand within the brand.

The recently released 2013 was the cheapest one year ago and has gained the most by a significant margin. The exception is the 2011, though it is also the lowest scoring vintage.

Beychevelle performance

Liv-ex 1000 Index gains 3.4% in June

Liv-ex 1000

In June, the Liv-ex 1000 Index reached its highest level in almost five years after gaining 3.4% to close on 264.4. This is its largest positive move since May 2007 when, stimulated by Chinese buying and interest in wine funds, it leapt up 6%.

The last time that the index was at a higher level was September 2011 when it closed on 266.9. It peaked at 279.7 in July 2011.

The Bordeaux 500 also moved up in June. It gained 3% in its largest monthly move since February 2011.

With Sterling weakening in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU last month, the market has seen increased activity and rising bids from Euro and Dollar buyers – including those from Asia.

All of the sub-indices of the Liv-ex 1000 rose in June. The Burgundy 150 (+5.2%) gained the most and is now the strongest performer over one year. The Bordeaux Legends 50, up 4.4%, also made strides.

Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 rises 2.1% in June


The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 rose for the seventh consecutive month in June. The index closed the month on 259.71, up 2.12% on May’s closing level of 254.31. The First Growths also saw prices rise: the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 closed on 292.16, up 2.5% on last month.

It was generally a good month for Bordeaux 2009, with price increases for 100-point (RP) Pontet Canet and Pavie, and 99+ point (RP) Angelus. At the other end of the table however, Leoville Las Cases 2009 saw prices slip. Two Cristals also experienced price drops in June, although the largest fallers were the 2010 Guigal “La Las”. On the whole, June was very positive for the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index: 85% of its components saw prices either stabilise or rise.

Major Movers

Talking Trade: 24th – 30th June

Liv-ex 50

The week in fine wine was dominated by the result of the EU referendum. Jane Anson writing in Decanter described the view on Brexit in Bordeaux, while The Drinks Business provided a round-up of reactions from key figures within the drinks trade.  Harpers reported on Liv-ex’s experience that following initial reactions, the fine wine market was returning to normality – although Sterling weakness has led to increased dollar-based buying.

Despite financial volatility, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 closed the week on 292.16, up 1.8% on last week’s close. This puts the index up 10.3% year to date, rising 27.28 points on 2015’s close of 264.88.

Regional share

Bordeaux had a solid week of trade. Following a paltry 14.4% share last week, First Growths bounced back to take a third of all trade by value. Haut Brion and Lafite took the lion’s share, with the 100-point Lafite Rothschild 2003 the fifth most traded wine by value. 99-point Montrose 2003 – described by Parker as “a candidate for a perfect score” – also featured in the top five table.

Trade by value

It was also a good week for the ‘Others’ category, which includes Australia and Spain. These regions saw their market shares rise to 2.9% and 3.0% respectively – more than the Rhone – as parcels of Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012 and Vega Sicilia Unico 2007 changed hands.

Trade by volume

Haut Brion 2012: on the rise

Searched for wines

While only a handful of Bordeaux 2015s have traded since release, the vintage is nonetheless of interest to merchants. As shown in the table above, Margaux, Canon and Lafite 2015 – which has traded – are the most searched for wines on Liv-ex over the last month.

Also of interest is Haut Brion 2012. Having been scored 93-95 in barrel by Robert Parker, its price soon drifted from the £2,800 per 12×75 release. In April 2015 the wine was trading for £2,200 when Parker awarded it 98-points in bottle. He heralded it as “one of the stars of the vintage” and prices shot up as a result, peaking back at £2,800 before stabilising.

The 2012 vintage has been attracting buyers for several months now, and the recent En Primeur campaign has left them seeking value in back vintages. Consequently, Haut Brion 2012 is on the move again. Now at £2,950, it is still 28% below the £4,080 of the new 2015 release (98-100 from Neal Martin) – but will this gap remain for long?

Haut Brion 2012

Jeannie Cho Lee interview with Liv-ex

Jeannie Cho Lee MW is a wine critic, educator and writer based in Hong Kong who has published books on wine in English, Chinese and Korean. Liv-ex recently interviewed her to discuss her thoughts on the pricing of the Bordeaux 2015 vintage, fine wine trends in Hong Kong and China, and her experience of being an “outsider” in the wine industry. 

Jeannie Cho Lee interview

You visited Bordeaux to taste the 2015 vintage. What are your overall thoughts on the vintage, and which chateaux impressed you the most?

I thought it was a great vintage, less consistent perhaps than the 2010 vintage, but I found it similar to the 2005 in both style and balance. All the basic elements – tannins, alcohol, acidity and flavour – were in balance. While some Merlot-based reds had high alcohol levels, it was in balance with all the other elements. Phenolic ripeness was achieved by all appellations and there was good concentration of flavors without heaviness. The moderate acidity levels meant that most of the wines were extremely approachable and open during En Primeur tasting week in April. I found many excellent cru bourgeois and petits chateaux in 2015, which is an important indicator of the quality of a vintage.

My top red wines for 2015 were: Chateau Margaux, Petrus, Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Ausone, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Vieux Chateau Certan, Chateau Haut Bailly, Chateau Pavie, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Leoville Las Cases, Chateau Lafleur, Tertre Roteboeuf, Chateau Palmer. These are wines you would expect to be at the top. However, there were some good-value wines that also made it to my top 30 this year: Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Chateau Pichon Lalande, Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Domaine de Chevalier, Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron, Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery.

How do you feel about the pricing for the new releases this year?

Prices were, as expected, above the 2014s. When the campaign started, prices were 15-25% above 2014 but towards the end, when the top chateaux started to release, prices were creeping up higher and higher. Overall, I think the pricing for many wines were reasonable, especially for chateaux selling at below 80 Euros ex-cellar. But for those at the top end, the pricing was too high. It is not a vintage that consumers will jump on because they feel that at the current price, this is a good deal compared to the prices at which the wines will be sold on retail shelves.

There are so many very good to excellent back vintages from the same chateaux in the market. Many will think, ‘Why tie up my money and buy the 2015 when I can buy older vintages at the same price and enjoy it now?’. I always suspected that many buyers in Asia would sit out this vintage despite its high quality. This was confirmed after speaking with some Hong Kong-based merchants recently who confided that the interest in buying En Primeur is lower than they anticipated despite strong marketing efforts.

What is your view on the importance of blind tasting?

Blind tasting is a very important component of assessing a wine but I don’t think the current format of blind tasting hundreds of wine per day is fair to any wine. Given how much wine there is to taste, I can’t think of an alternative solution to the large format blind tasting in Bordeaux, but I prefer to assess wines in bottle. When the UGC organized blind tastings during En Primeur for journalists, I always signed up for it. However, I also taste the same wines with negociants non-blind. I focus on wines that I marked low to see if a different bottle makes a difference. Around one-third of the time, I find that there is bottle variation so it is important not just to taste blind but also to give those wines that did not show well in the blind tasting another chance. Since these are samples and wine tasting is not a science, tasting wines twice in the hopes that the second bottle is better is an effort at giving the wine a fair chance.

In Hong Kong, I taste in a very different format. I find that the best way to assess wines is when it is semi-blind with wines chosen and tasted along with its peers (by region, style and vintage when possible) and in flights of no more than six at a time. Ideally, there is plenty of time so one can come back to the wine after an hour in the glass. I find 3 to 4 flights of six wines to be a good amount in one sitting.

In a recent article you say that discussions with Chinese wine merchants led you to conclude that “there is currently very little interest in Bordeaux and even less interest in Bordeaux futures.” Do you think these merchants could be won back to the region, and how?

Winning the merchants back to Bordeaux futures is quite simple – we need a pricing strategy that allows all players in the chain to make money and that includes the final consumer. Given what has happened over the past ten years, and reading assessments by Liv-ex and others about whether En Primeur is a good investment or not, the smart investor would have to conclude that buying En Primeur is not a great investment. One of the ways this can change is if the top chateaux will offer wines at prices that allows all players to make enough money and the final consumer to conclude that buying futures does pay off because it is much less expensive than buying it when the wines are released in the bottle.

Winning the merchants back to Bordeaux wines in general can be achieved with the right promotional and marketing campaign. Bordeaux already enjoys a strong foundation and anchor in the Chinese market: consumers are already familiar with Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon as a grape variety is the most widely planted variety in recent years in China which familiarizes the consumer to its flavour, Bordeaux as a region is a well recognized brand in itself. Bordeaux producers who want to export to China should continue to visit, meet consumers and try to promote en masse, not just at the top end but also at the mid price range (150-500 RMB retail in China per bottle, the current sweet spot).

Which if any of the recent “great” Bordeaux vintages – 2005, 2009, 2010 – has been your favourite and why?

I have a strong preference for the 2010. I love its structure, its intensity and verticality. The 2009s will always give me pleasure but they don’t offer the slightly mysterious character that the 2010s offer. With the 2010s, I feel drawn to discovering it slowly over time, over many decades to see how it will evolve and change. The 2009s and in many cases the 2005s are so completely formed already that the mysterious, alluring character is not as strong. The 2005s are balanced and delicious, but lack the intensity and precision of the 2010s.

What other fine wine trends do you currently see emerging in Hong Kong and China?

Among top collectors, I am seeing a trend toward Burgundy; this is not a recent trend, but one that started about five years ago. It has moved up another notch now and I am finding many people actually making time to visit Burgundy. Disappointingly, I don’t see many people enthusiastic about white Burgundy, though I am sure this will happen over the coming three to five years. Another trend I see is a shift toward vintage and mature Champagnes in Hong Kong (not yet in China). There is some interest in top Italian and Napa wines but mainly at the very top end.

What regions are exciting you most at the moment?

I am excited about what is happening in South America, especially in Chile where producers are moving into cool climate regions and crafting some exciting wines from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. Also old vines are making a come back and I have had very good old vine Carignan and Semillon from Chile. Another region I am excited about is Ningxia in China where thanks to the commitment by the local government, there is great support to develop a boutique wine industry. I try to visit annually and every time I go, I am impressed by the fast progress, the improving quality of the wines and the investment being made by both the private and public sectors.

You say you “stumbled upon wine” while at university. Was there a pivotal moment or bottle that inspired your career?

It is easy to point to one bottle or one moment and say ‘A-hah, that was the moment’. If I were to do this, it would be a bottle of 1982 Talbot I enjoyed at a dinner at Christ Church college at Oxford. But to be honest, it was a series of events in the 1980s that led me to wine – the intimidation I felt when I heard wine conversation which sounded like a foreign language to me and drove me to study and read about wine; several eye & palate-opening meals in Italy and France when I was studying in England in the late 1980s; university friends both in the UK and US who were enthusiastic about wine and shared their favorite bottles with me; my love for cooking and food and my year at Cordon Bleu which made me think of wine as a unique beverage with a wide range of flavors to accompany meals.

In your TED talk you describe yourself as an “outsider” because you don’t “look the part” and didn’t “grow up in a wine region”. Do you still feel like that?

I feel that every day. It is not just that I didn’t grow up in a wine region or that I don’t look the part, but the truth is wine was not part of my upbringing nor was it a beverage that my family or the communities I lived in embraced. Of course this has changed in the last 15 years in Asia, but it is very recent.

When I caught the wine bug in 1988, it was considered unusual for an Asian woman to delve into wine so seriously. Even now, there are not that many Asian female sommeliers or those working in senior positions within the industry. The women who do go into wine are in sales and often at mid management levels rather than being CEOs or Managing Directors of companies.

As an outsider, I feel I have several advantages. First, I can look at the industry more objectively and sometimes more critically because it is from the outside. Second, I can bring different cultural perspectives from my own background as an outsider. Third, because I do not fit the stereotype of a traditional European wine professional, I am treated like an amateur or even an inexperienced wine drinker and it gives me insight into how the average consumer feels on a regular basis, whether ordering wine in a restaurant, buying wines in a shop or walking into a winery.

What advice would you give to other “outsiders” looking for a career in wine?

My first advice is always to tell them to follow your heart. Don’t go into wine because it is currently trendy, or because the lifestyle appears attractive. Don’t go into the wine industry because you think you will become really wealthy or because it seems sophisticated. As with any industry, the glamorous wine dinners and great wines are maybe about 20% of the job if you are lucky, the rest is simply hard work – whether it is meeting sales targets, getting more clients, interviewing and writing up articles or assessing hundreds of wines. Don’t choose wine to make a lot of money – real estate or banking are better options for that.

Go into wine because you are intrigued by this amazing beverage that is part of a region’s history, culture and its people. Go into wine because you are eager to grow and learn every day and to be humbled on a regular basis because even after all the studying, tasting and experience, you find mystery and enchantment in the glass. Go into wine because you can’t imagine doing anything else. And cross your fingers that you can make a decent living to support yourself and your family.

You launched the wine lifestyle magazine Le Pan in 2015, but left in 2016. What were your reasons for this?

There are numerous reasons, but it came down to differences in direction and ultimate goals for the publication, which were initially aligned but started to diverge over time.

You founded Asian Palate in 2006 and said then that its goals were to “democratize wine appreciation”. How far do you think things have come since then?

Sadly I think we, as communicators and wine writers, have a long way to go to make wine more accessible. In my writing I still catch myself using wine jargon without being aware that the average person cannot follow the conversation. However, since leaving Le Pan, I am spending more time working in television and writing for general rather than specialist publications because I still embrace the goal of trying to democratize wine. Currently I write for Forbes and I am spending more time working in television. I am now a Producer as well as host for In Vino Veritas wine program with TVB in Hong Kong, filming currently for its third season. I am also in discussion with a few Chinese television and multimedia companies to create more wine programs for the mainland Chinese market.

You have recently launched jeanniecholee.com. What plans do you have for the new site?

As you can see, this site is much more personal than AsianPalate.com. My goal for this site is to house all my writing, tasting notes, events and activities in one place, in both English and Chinese. I will continue to rate and review fine wines from around the world and will be launching a few interesting projects online in the near future.

Besides the website and writing, I continue to consult for Singapore Airlines as well as a few restaurant groups and I am a teaching professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Without a doubt it is my four beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful and kind daughters. I don’t know how I got so lucky but they are wonderful. They bring me the greatest joy and remind me daily about what is really important in life.