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Liv-ex is an electronic exchange for fine wine used by professional merchants and collectors. Market Report is part of a package of services offered to subscribers of Liv-ex, with subscriptions starting at £49.95 per year. Below is just a brief extract from the latest Market Report. For access to all of Liv-Ex's services, sign-up with them at

Liv-Ex Market Report
by, November 2008

As the month progressed, the effects of the credit crunch on the wider economy became more tangible by the day. October was also the time that fine wine finally succumbed to the wider pressures, with hopes that the market could steer a path through the economic troubles firmly cast aside. The Liv-ex 100 Fine Wine Index fell 12.4% to 221.62 - the largest monthly movement in either direction since the index was first calculated in 2001. Year to date the index is now down 7.6%. Exchange turnover was also considerably lower than the record level set in September, although with a number of excellent deals available on popular wines, trade was up 9.7% on the same month last year. The few with cash to spend bought heavily at the reduced prices.

(more analysis in the full report)

Major Movers
The trend in October was clear - almost all major wines from every modern vintage came under pressure. Highly priced Bordeaux wines from the 2003 and 2004 vintages were the hardest hit, if only because their counterparts from 2005 had fallen significantly already. As shown below by the falls for the First Growths and Cos d’Estournel, it is the more liquid wines that are most affected. In terms of the movers upwards, we see the pattern of recent months repeated. Mid-ranked wines from back vintages - epitomised by Vieux Chateau Certan and Talbot from 1995 - continue to hold or increase their value. Elsewhere we saw the festive favourites, Champagne and Port, see a modest bounce as merchants stocked up ahead of the customary rush.

(analysed in detail in full report)

Critical Corner: Parker on Chateauneuf du Pape
Chateauneuf du pape - and the Rhone valley in general - has benefited from an unprecedented run of good to great vintages over the last decade, with the wet 2002 the only obvious blemish. Interest in the region in recent years has been on the rise - especially in the US - as critics, most notably Robert Parker, have lavished praise on its wines year-after-year. Prices have similarly been on the rise, particularly for the increasingly popular tete de cuvees, yet they remain reasonable when compared to wines of equivalent quality from Bordeaux and Burgundy.

The latest report on the region by Robert Parker (Wine Advocate #179) containing the final in-bottle scores for the 2006s and barrel scores for the 2007s shows no deviation from this trend. Although Parker has ceded responsibility for covering a number of wine regions to his growing band of contributors, he continues to report on the Rhone (along with Bordeaux and California) and with no formal classification in existence his influence remains high.

Starting with the 2006s, Parker says that the "vintage has turned out significantly better than I had initially expected. It is also an exceptional vintage for the white wines. The reds are full-bodied, charming, and fruity, with relatively low acidity and ripe tannin". The vintage is said to have "terrific balance", "purity" and "they will age much longer than many people suspect given their intrinsic equilibrium and harmony". His thought on the 2007s are even more enthusiastic: "Throughout the southern Rhone, 2007 is the greatest vintage I have tasted in my thirty years working in that region…Nearly every producer has attained largely unprecedented levels of quality." The wines contain an "aromatic dimension and freshness that I have rarely witnessed" combined with "super depth of fruit!".

Below are the top 15 2006s and the top 10 2007s by scores. Worth noting is the exceptional score for Clos de Papes in both vintages and the continued success of Clos St Jean, an estate championed by Parker from the 2003 vintage onwards. (*source:

(other chart in detail in full report)

Final thought — feeling the crunch
As mentioned in the introduction to this report, the Liv-ex 100 Fine Wine Index - which tracks 100 of the most sought after fine wines (see for full details) - saw an unprecedented fall of 12.4% in October. The resilience shown by wine prices - which had actually risen by 4.6% in the 12 months to September 2008 - was no more. In a period of acute financial instability, it is all too easy to slip into hyperbole when reporting on the markets - even in the rarefied world of fine wine. Nevertheless, the events of October were dramatic. As in other markets, there was a ‘dash for cash’ - with a number of investors, both private and institutional - moving to take profit on the market gains of recent years. The downward pressure on prices that had hitherto largely been limited to the 2005s spread throughout the market, with the wines of the greatest liquidity and highest value - the Bordeaux First Growths and their right bank equivalents - hit hardest. By the end of October, we saw First Growths from all the major years - as tracked by the Liv-ex Claret Chip Index - trading, on average, at 20% off their June peak.
(analysed in detail in full report)

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