Liv-Ex Market Report
by Liv-ex.com, February 2012
After a strong start to the year, the fine wine market maintained positive momentum in February. First Growth prices continued their steady ascent and the Liv-ex Indices posted further gains. Heightened demand for the 2009 vintage boosted trade and exchange turnover rose 11 per cent on January. 2009 trade intensified in February ahead of the publication of Parker's in-bottle review. Expectations of blockbuster scores fanned demand and the wines accounted for 16 per cent of turnover. Value hunters found respite in back vintages, most notably 2008 and 2005. Trade in the Super Seconds was strong across all young vintages, while the First Growths continued to claw their way back onto buyer's wish lists. Despite the 2009 excitement, Bordeaux generated less than 90 per cent of turnover for the third month in a row. Demand for Burgundy has surged in the last six months and the region accounted for nine per cent of trade in February - its largest share since October 2009. The top labels from DRC and Leflaive were among the most traded wines. The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 rose 3.4 points (1.2 per cent) last month to 294. The index is making a slow but steady recovery and is up 2.6 per cent year to date. A number of First Growths posted strong returns, including Margaux 2003 and Haut Brion 2008, but it was the biggest names from the Right Bank, Burgundy and Italy that led the market higher.
(more analysis in the full report)
Buyers cherry picked well-priced, high-quality wines in February, many of which were still available at reduced prices. The market seemed to pre-empt Haut Brion 2009's success and prices rose rapidly in the last two weeks of the month. High praise for Bordeaux 2009 had a knock-on effect on top-scoring back vintages, including Ducru Beaucaillou 2005. Outside Bordeaux, DRC prices continued to climb. 2009s that were tipped to be Parker favourites led trade on Liv-ex in late February and early March. The market's expectations were eventually met when 19 chateaux were awarded 100 points, among them the wines in this month's Top 5 table. Pontet Canet, Cos d'Estournel and Ducru Beaucaillou received their first ever perfect scores and renewed demand was reflected in trading volumes.
(analysed in detail in full report)
The release of Parker's 2009 scores has had a dramatic impact on fine wine market pricing. In total, 19 wines were awarded 100 points - more than the perfect scores awarded to the 1982, 2000 and 2005 vintages combined. Whilst this reflects the profundity of the 2009 vintage as a whole, importantly, it also means that ten new chateaux have joined Parker's exclusive 100-point club. Of course, by ranking less prestigious labels alongside, or even ahead of, the usual crowd, Parker moved the market overnight. Smith Haut Lafitte's value has more than doubled in the last week, while Beausejour Duffau, which received a perfect score in 1990 but nothing above 93 thereafter, has risen 159 per cent. Many of the vintage's top scorers are following a similar trajectory, as can be seen below.
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