The February 2019 Market Report

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-03-07


February was a relatively quiet month for the wine market. The month started with the Chinese New Year celebrations which meant Asia was quiet and it also contained a European half term break. Sentiment towards Brexit turned, meaning GBP strengthened towards the end of the month, which is never good for the wine market as US$ based bids (U.S. and Asia) automatically adjust downwards. The broad base WO 150 index fell by 2.4%, as did our Blue Chip Burgundy index. In fact, all the indices for the major wine producing regions came off by c.3%.

If recent discussions with the finance and new venture folk surrounding wine as an alternative asset class were anything to go by, this is beginning to look like a good time to buy. Following the Brexit inspired rise of USD and Euro against GBP in 2016, the Bordeaux market has done nothing for almost a decade. ‘Bordeaux bashing’ peaked years ago too - just resentful shrugging goes on these days! En primeur looms but is largely a dead duck, so that is unlikely to provide stimulus to the market but a wall of money certainly might do the trick… watch this space!

We were busy trading 2009 red Bordeaux following various reports published after ‘ten year on tastings’. We blogged about these in general and focussed on one wine separately, Cos d’Estournel. We concluded that, as it continues to split opinion, and received some pretty low scores (93 from Jane Anson of Decanter for example), coupled with challenging price levels why take the risk when there are so many less controversial and comparatively cheaper wines available? There are many names still available on the exchange, from the excellent Cantemerle at c.£300 to Haut Brion and Mouton Rothschild at the cheapest in the market prices.

If you’re looking for decent ‘drinking’ claret buying en primeur made very little sense even back in 2009 which blew apart every previous record ever held for wine sales, anywhere on the planet. Factoring in the cost of storage and capital and the effect of inflation, the very respectable names of Cantemerle, Capbern Gasqueton, Haut Bergey, Lafon Rochet, Ormes de Pez and Potensac are all better value today than they were then! All these names are available on the platform today.

Sassicaia was in focus with the release of the much admired 2016 vintage, Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate awarding the full 100 points and meaning Armit, the UK agent sold out in seconds.

Screaming Eagle ’16 was released and is now offered at £7,250 per 3 bottles in the U.K. market. Not altogether surprisingly, this is making some older vintages looking relatively cheap! The ’17 will not be sold under the usual label due to smoke taint from the Californian wildfires.

And finally, we learnt the sad news that Gianfranco Soldera passed away in the middle of the month. We are planning to honour the magician of Montalcino with a memorial dinner later in the year, possibly in May.



Focus on: Screaming Eagle 2009 - 2014

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-03-07


In terms of reputation Screaming Eagle is the ne plus ultra of American wines, the equivalent of Petrus on the Right Bank, Romanee-Conti on the Cote de Nuits and Conterno Monfortino in Piedmont.

The prices of the wine varies from £2240 per bottles up to £2600 per bottle for the vintages of 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, but over the last two years it has been the 2009 and 2011 that have made the greatest gains, with 37.9% and 42.7% respectively. Double digt growth seems to be the norm on a CAGR basis.

Screaming eagle index

The 100 point vintages of 2010 and 2007 are roughly £3600 per bottle, and have gown at a slower rate in the last two years, suggesting again that there is better vakue to be had in the 97 to 99 point bracket currently.

Screaming eagle Market versus price

Current market levels puts the 97 point ’09 at £2602 a bottle and the 94 point ‘11 at £2461 per bottle. These prices are at a premium of £350 and £200 respectively to the 97 point 2013 and 98 point 2014, which would seem a little illogical. Hard to see a justification for a discount for equivalently scored wines. As the chart below shows, the 2011 in particular seems over-priced and the more recent vintages would seem to offer greater upside potential.

Screaming eagle Relative value score

Trying to compare Screaming Eagles with other US wines is a rather thankless task as it operates on a different pricing level entirely to every other wine in California. There are several things you can say about it in isolation, however:

  • There is no vintage values at less than £2000 a bottle, and many tip the scales at over £3500 per bottle
  • Three pack OWCs are the norm – almost all stock available comes in this format
  • It has the highest average Parker score over the last twenty years of any wine in the world except Conterno Monfortino
  • No more than 700 cases (12 pack equivalent) are made in any vintage.

It would seem logical to suggest for the medium to long term that younger, higher point scoring vintages offer the greatest potential for capital growth. Not for the faint hearted, of course, but the fundamentals of extremely small production, a style that will see each vintage improve for a minimum of 25 years form bottling and a brand that has cemented itself as the epitome of great modern Californian wine making make this a wine that needs to be considered very seriously as an unavoidable component in any top drawer cellar…


Focus on: Bordeaux 2009

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-02-28


Following recent ’10 years on’ tastings, one held at Bordeaux Index whilst the ‘Southwold group’ met at Farr Vintners, there have been various write ups, reports and blogs appearing. Jane Anson’s write up in Decanter can be found here, Farr Vintner’s Chairman Stephen Browett’s blog here and the mighty Joss Fowler on Vinolent here.

The initial reaction from the time, which can so often can be over-hyped, has now been confirmed (which is nice) – this really is ‘a vintage of the century’! Most people view it alongside the famous 2005 vintage in terms of overall quality although the ’05 is regarded as a rather more grown up vintage with the ’09 being a more confident and flamboyant younger sibling. In due course and following years of maturation, they will both have to overcome 2010 and 2016 for the absolute title and neither of these two are going to be pushed over lightly. As well as being exceptional, 2009 was a consistent vintage and did well on the left and right although it has now showed a tad disappointingly in Sauternes, certainly when compared to earlier indications.

The following wines have been mentioned in more than one dispatch from respected commentators so have made it into this condensed list of really top picks, with market price scores (MPS) and relative value scores (RVS) to follow:

St. Emilion: Ausone, Canon, Cheval Blanc and Pavie

Pomerol: Le Pin, Petrus, Le Gay

Pessac-Leognan: Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, Fieuzal, Smith Haut Lafitte and Pape Clement

Margaux: Margaux, Palmer, Rauzan Segla (and 2nd wine Segla), Issan

St. Julien: Ducru Beaucaillou, Leoville Poyferré, St. Pierre (big surprise)

Pauillac: Latour (strong claims for WotV), Lafite, Mouton, Grand Puy Lacoste, The Pichons and Pontet Canet

St. Estephe: Montrose, Lafon Rochet, Les Ormes de Pez

Medoc: Cantemerle, Bernadotte

Broken into comparable peer groups, starting with the stratospheric right bank set:


Bordeaux 2009 market price versus score

Bordeaux 2009 relative value score

The first growths are still below their release prices and continue to underperform both the WO150 index (not surprisingly, given Burgundy’s ascent) and the WO Bordeaux Index. They will outperform at some stage, but we don’t think it is yet judging by the supply side of the equation.


Bordeaux 2009 - Wine Owners

Generally speaking, a relative value score (RVS) in double figures for a first growth signals a buy, so nothing doing here.


Bordeaux 2009 - Wine Owners

And now on to the arguably more interesting second liners. It is interesting to note that they have not suffered from the over-priced releases (compounded by some crazy speculation shortly after) in the same way as the first growths and have performed much better in the secondary market as a result, many generating decent returns.


Bordeaux 2009 - Wine Owners

A lot of these wines have pleased the critics and are punching way above their £££ weight. Look how the relative value scores reach double figures and soar. A score of over 20 for this group should cause a loud bark of approval.

And now on to the real cheapies, which will make for exceptionally lovely wines at really attractive prices, mainly for the drinker but with some likely upside on the prices of the posher names to be enjoyed too!


Bordeaux 2009 - Wine Owners

A special mention should go to Grand Puy Lacoste (RVS 37.6), a Grand Vin from grand appellation (Pauillac) from a lovely branch of grand Bordeaux family. The wine came in first equal with Pichon Baron (21.3) and not that far behind Latour (4.3)! it even looks cheap in this ‘lowly group’ here!

We have covered the ‘marmite’ wine that is Cos d’Estournel ’09 here and have come down on the side of the .

You can argue the case to buy any of the wines listed in this post, given the quality of the vintage, but here is the Strong Buy list:


For drinkers:

Alter Ego

Bernadotte

Cantermerle

Croix de Beaucaillou

Fieuzal

St. Pierre

Segla


For drinkers and investors alike:

Canon

Grand Puy Lacoste

Rauzan Segla

Pichon Baron

Pichon Lalande

Pontet Canet


And if money is no object:

Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Le Pin and Petrus

Latour, Haut Brion and Margaux



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