A recovery in prices of Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Haut Brion over the past 12 months has eroded the premium built up by Chateau Lafite Rothschild over rival Bordeaux first-growth estates, according to Liv-ex data.
Measured by the average price of its last 10 physical vintages, Lafite’s premium over other first growths rose from below 6 per cent in July 2003 to peak at 129 per cent in the period following the 2008 vintage, which saw strong Asian demand boosted by a Chinese figure-eight symbol on its label. Now the premium is back at 35 per cent, Liv-ex said in its blog.
The narrowing differential also coincided with Liv-ex data showing Mouton overtook Lafite as the most viewed wine based on page clicks for January to July, ahead of Lafite in second place, Haut Brion in third and two other first growths, Latour and Margaux, in fourth and fifth respectively. Others drawing interest on the exchange included Cheval Blanc, Lynch Bages, Cos d’Estournel, La Mission Haut Brion and Montrose.
On relative prices, “while Mouton has held steady after its boost from Asian demand leading up to the Chinese Year of the Sheep, Haut Brion looks to offer value,” Liv-ex said in its blog. “It is the cheapest first growth,” it said, despite having the highest average score from critic Robert Parker across four leading recent vintages 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010.
Amid the Liv-ex analysis of recent trading, London-based Wine Asset Managers LLP issued a report looking ahead to this year’s vintage, which has been marked so far by above-average temperatures during the growing season and which it said offers a chance for Bordeaux estates to win back traditional customers.
“Weather-wise 2015 is so far shaping up to be a very good vintage in Bordeaux,” WAM said in its monthly report.
“For the first growths the 2014 vintage releases were actually greeted more favorably than any of the previous three, suggesting they were almost pricing it right,” WAM said. “If the Bordelais can control themselves and release a really good vintage without whacking their prices up, then they may well be back in business.”
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