Bordeaux experiences an Indian summer
With the 2014 harvest under way, Bordeaux is experiencing an Indian summer with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees – apart from a few downpours – and many Chateaux are anticipating a return to good yields and a quality vintage which is being compared to 2008. The humid weather in July and August threw up fears of mildew which required early treatment. Gavin Qinney of Chateau Bauduc said that the vintage resembles those of 2001, 2004, and 2008 and that the wines will be “really good drinking wines”. These positives comments have been echoed by several renowned winemakers in Bordeaux including Jean-Christophe Mau, of Chateau Brown and Patrick Jestin, chief executive of Dourthe, which owns nine estates in Bordeaux. Dourthe’s technical director, Frederic Bonnaffous described this vintage as having ‘lots of colour and healthy grapes.’
Cautious optimism returns to Bordeaux
This air of optimism has spilled over into the wine investment arena where both prices and volumes are more encouraging than we have experienced for many months. The Liv-ex 50 index, made up of the last 10 vintages of the five Bordeaux First Growths, rose by 1.3% in August. The 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages were in most demand with the highest price rises followed by 2003 and 2005. Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2009 and 2005 rose by 9.9% and 8.1% respectively. Other notable prices increases were experienced by Chateau Haut Brion where the 2011 vintage increased by 6% and the 2007 by 5.6%. Furthermore, Chateau Latour 2003 rose 5.4%.
Chateau Montrose leads the Liv-ex 100
The Liv-ex 100 showed a modest performance in the month of just 0.94% helped by the re-rating of Montrose as a result of Robert Parker’s new score for the 2010 vintage from 99 to 100 and the 2003 from 96 to 99. The resultant prices increases were 6.5% and 7.4% respectively but the star performer was the 1989 Chateau Montrose, up 10.9%, which benefited from Parker’s comments following the vertical tasting.
It is tempting to conclude that this recent positive news signals a definite turning point in the fortunes of fine wines but commentators are undoubtedly cautious not wishing to over-egg what might be a false dawn. It is during these times when our continuous scrutiny of market commentary, pricing and volumes comes into its own. We will be watching with interest the upcoming wine auction season looking to what extent sale prices exceed estimates.