First Quarter 2018 Bordeaux and Burgundy Report

Many fine wine collectors and investors continue to perceive the Bordeaux futures market as an opportunity to acquire desirable Claret at discounted prices. This monograph is not intended to be a condemnation of the Bordeaux futures system. Rather it is meant to support the premise that it is always instructive to fully examine overall Bordeaux buying opportunities to attempt to discern the best investment/appreciation potential.

The qualitative assessments of the 2015 vintage from several famous and well-respected critics have been very positive with extensive praise and many high scores. However, other experienced experts caution that this vintage is not as uniformly excellent as initially perceived and described, that many of the wines are problematic and have performed below their reputation, and that the expectations for the likely longevity of this vintage overall do not appear to be as good as other recent accoladed and proven vintages including 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2000.

Comparing the lowest currently advertised retail prices worldwide for recently released notable/collectible 2015 Bordeaux against recent auction sale prices (including Buyers Commission) for the same wines from 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2000; it becomes apparent that selective purchases in the secondary market (auctions) of these proven previous vintages may in some cases be more prudent than acquiring the same wines from the 2015 vintage. Especially given the concerns about overly generous scores and long-term aging potential. Possible future downgraded scores/assessments for some of the 2015 wines could also lead to a subsequent softening of prices for those wines.

The following chart compares and contrasts select Chateaux from these vintages, and also includes current 2016 vintage futures pricing for reference.

Chateau 2016 2015 2010 2009 2005 2000
Lafite-Rothschild 624 585 746 756 796 1394
Latour N/A N/A 1095 896 717 779
Margaux 550 1347 647 647 615 764
Haut-Brion 534 539 448 651 637 647
Mouton-Rothschild 529 519 638 615 533 1722
Petrus 2447 3400 2987 2987 2987 3900
Cheval Blanc 659 695 681 663 654 717
La Mission-Haut-Brion 362 389 389 478 472 512
Pichon-Lalande 154 129 119 123 119 189
Ducru-Beaucaillou 179 163 179 235 184 179
La Conseillante 193 150 159 139 184 225
Trotanoy 240 275 231 231 219 219

Fine Burgundy continues to see meteoric increases in prices, and wines from many previously relatively unknown but very high quality producers are now commanding significantly higher prices. A number of storied family properties have been acquired by large companies with the wherewithal to better promote the wines, increase demand, and justify higher prices.

Thankfully, at least for the short term there remain a handful of rising superstars with wines that are currently still priced relatively reasonably. But given the ever-increasing global focus on Burgundy, it is likely that their wines will become much better known in the very near future with resultant increases in prices. Some producers/Domaines to consider are: Arnaud Tessier, Patrick Javillier, Jean-Philippe Fichet, Buisson-Charles, and Philippe (Damien) Livera (Domaine-Des-Tilleuls).

Compared to other rare and highly regarded Burgundy, the wines from the Hospice-De-Beaune continue to represent notable value, due in part to a lack of understanding on how to acquire the barrels offered at the charity auction, and the methods and contacts to facilitate the bottling. But even already bottled Hospices wines offered from time to time by some of the Burgundian Maisons tend to be a relative bargain.

April 10th, 2018