Liv-Ex Market Report
by Liv-ex.com, August 2008
With much of the fine wine trade taking a summer break, exchange turnover fell away from its July peak, down 31% for the month. Nevertheless, this represented an 102% increase in trade on the same month last year, as the active market we have seen throughout the year continued. As to be expected in August, the French were largely absent from the market, with trade concentrated on UK-based merchants and funds. The 2003 vintage dominated trade in Bordeaux, accounting for 24% of the total by value, with a number of large parcels changing hands. The 2000 and 2004 vintages also saw strong activity, accounting for 15% and 14% of the total respectively. In contrast, trade in wines from 2005 continued to decline, with its 6% share of trade the lowest we have seen this year.
(more analysis in the full report)
It was once again those on the bottom half of the major movers table that made the most interesting reading in August. Lafite Rothschild 2005 makes an appearance for the second month in a row, although this month’s 1% drop is somewhat less dramatic than the 5% fall we saw in July. Latour and Troplong join Lafite on the downward slope although these slight price falls represent just a fraction of the price increases of the past year. Among the major movers upwards we are seeing the pattern of recent months repeated as popular wines from back vintages see modest price increases. The movement of both 1995 Mission Haut Brion and 1996 Yquem is part of trend that has seen various vintages from the two chateaux make strong gains in the past six months.
(analysed in detail in full report)
The publication of Stephen Tanzer’s scores and notes on 2007 Sauternes and Barsac in the July/August edition of International Wine Cellar (Issue 139) marked the final release of notes and scores on 2007 Bordeaux from the major critics. Tanzer usually waits ‘a while to present tasting notes on young Sauternes and Barsacs’, but due to the ‘considerable early buzz for these wines in 2007’ has published the notes ahead of time. Tanzer felt the appeal of the 2007’s was due to ‘the way they combine richness and freshness. These are elegantly styled wines with lovely purity and definition of aromas, as well as a good deal of residual sugar’. Overall Tanzer feels it will prove to be ‘the best vintage for Bordeaux’s sweet wines since 2001, even if the 2001s are more powerful wines with generally stronger acidity and higher levels of residual sugar’. In terms of scoring, Tanzer is generally more parsimonious than his contemporaries
(more analysis and score charts in full report)
With an average production of more than 90,000 bottles across its seven wines – Romanee Conti, Tache, Richebourg, Romanee St Vivant, Grands Echezeaux, Echezeaux and Montrachet – Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC) is far from being a boutique producer. Yet with a name that is revered from New York to Tokyo as the greatest wine estate in Burgundy – if not the world – this production can service only a small part of the demand. Unlike its Bordeaux equivalents, much of the annual production is released direct to collectors via its appointed agents, rather than through wholesale and retail channels. Nevertheless, DRC is actively traded and its wines are readily available on the secondary market – for a price. DRC is one of the few wines from outside the top echelons of Bordeaux that is viewed as a strong investment, even when buying on the secondary market. Due to the wine’s cost and scarcity, however, it is the single bottle, rather than the case, that is the general unit of trade and the most accurate pricing measure (all prices given in this report are for single bottles). In order to test its performance we looked at the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 vintages, basing our index at 100 in January 2004 (all seven wines used, index rebased with each successive release). From this, it is clear that DRC has been one of the fine wine market’s top performers. The Liv-ex DRC Index has risen 133% over the period, a performance bettered only by a handful of top-Bordeaux and the very best vintage Champagnes.
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