WINE PICK: Mouton Rothschild 1996

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-08-21

Mouton Rothschild 1996

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BYO Dinner – Exploring Spain

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-08-21

Following a long summer break, we’re back into our series of ‘BYO’ tasting dinners where you can share your wine treasures and your unusual purchases with friends and enthusiasts.

Taking a Spanish flavour this time, we’d love to hear from anyone who wants to come along on Tuesday 23rd of September with a bottle of old Rioja, boutique Priorat, or anything weird, wonderful and fun from the Spanish region. Before anyone asks, yes, that certainly includes sherry!

We’ll be eating this time around at Dehesa in Soho, where we can fit in up to 13 guests for a specially prepared menu showcasing the best of modern Spanish cooking.

Dehesa Soho

As usual, the Wine Owners Team will be digging out the odd interesting bottle to add to the excitement, including a 1965 bottle of Lopez de Heredia’s iconically old-school Vina Tondonia, and an early vintage of Alejandro Fernadez’s ground breaking Ribera del Duero, Pesquera.

The cost per head will be £90, plus a wine to share with the group.

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INFOGRAPHIC - Your life in wine: The Collector

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-08-18

Infographic - Your Life in Wine: The Collector

Index spotlight

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-08-14

Unsurprisingly, given the continuing market morosité over classed growth Bordeaux, the index plumbed fresh 2014 lows last week, down -3.83% since January, and -6.8% from this time a year ago. The right bank fared marginally better with the Libournais Index year to date (-2.68%) whilst year to date it was down -4.61%.


WO Medoc Classed Growth Index


WO Libournais Index


Year on year fallers (Libournais Index):

Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A AOC 2000 -16.15% £475.00
Chateau Beausejour Becot Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe B AOC 2000 -16.19% £41.31
Chateau Belair-Monange Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe B AOC 2010 -16.55% £81.66
Chateau La Fleur Petrus Pomerol AOC 2001 -16.78% £93.70
Chateau Latour a Pomerol Pomerol AOC 2005 -17.02% £48.71
Chateau Le Tertre Roteboeuf Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2001 -17.63% £100.72
Chateau Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe B AOC 2005 -17.90% £48.33
Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A AOC 2005 -18.70% £325.00
Chateau Figeac Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2009 -18.99% £120.83
Chateau Clos L'Eglise Pomerol AOC 2001 -19.55% £71.46
Chateau Beausejour Becot Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe B AOC 1998 -19.82% £32.89
Chateau Latour a Pomerol Pomerol AOC 2001 -20.04% £32.36
Chateau Ausone Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A AOC 2005 -21.21% £802.05
Chateau Moulin Saint-Georges Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2000 -21.74% £34.45
Chateau Hosanna Pomerol AOC 2000 -21.79% £111.60
Chateau Clos L'Eglise Pomerol AOC 2009 -24.12% £98.24
Chateau Ausone Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A AOC 2000 -25.02% £750.00
Chateau Larcis Ducasse Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe B AOC 2000 -26.15% £26.77
Le Dome Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2000 -40.75% £76.41

The First Growth Index is down -10% year to date and -27.9% since summer 2011 highs. However, there are some surprisingly low prices on back vintages being seen on the fine wine exchange. How about Latour 2004 at £3,050 IB per 12x75cl excluding buyer’s commission? Or Margaux 1996 at £3,500 IB per 12x75cl - one of their great vintages, drinking beautifully now. Frankly, with pretty good to excellent back vintages fetching these kind of prices, no wonder there are no takers for the recent string of Bordeaux off-vintages. The risk to discount ratio is simply not compelling enough. No doubt the market will sort that out over the next couple of years. Contrarily, good to great vintages with 6-10+ years under their belts are starting to look very attractive in places, at least in our eyes, and there’s a trend towards restocking within the fine wine trade - a positive sign.

Looking at constituents of the Wine Owners 150 (which comprises 150 Investment Grade Wines across the top 40 performers of the last 10 years), the leaderboard is topped by Monfortino 2002, up 39% in the last 12 months. This is a romantic, if not heroic performance, from one of the greatest wines in the world defying the miserable conditions of the vintage with its superlative microclimate and the producer’s belief in the intrinsic quality of the wine.


Year on year top performers (Wine Owners 150):

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo Riserva DOCG 2002 39.06% £338.62
Screaming Eagle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley AVA 1995 28.99% £3,135.00
Domaine Jean-Francois Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru AOC 2005 28.50% £2,015.74
Tenuta dell' Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT 1998 20.66% £454.00
Petrus Pomerol AOC 2001 18.28% £1,400.00
Tenuta dell' Ornellaia Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC 2004 16.53% £133.33
Tenuta dell' Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT 1997 15.94% £516.67
Chateau Le Pin Pomerol AOC 2009 14.92% £2,291.67
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru AOC 2002 12.08% £1,130.35
Dominus Estate Bordeaux Red Blend Napa Valley AVA 1997 10.66% £107.27
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee Conti Monopole Grand Cru AOC 2001 9.62% £7,353.97
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Bolgheri DOC 2006 9.36% £137.50
Joseph Phelps Winery Insignia 1997 9.19% £163.90

By the way, not one Medoc classed growth made it into the top 20 of the Wine Owners 150, with the best performing representative of the region being Pichon Baron 2000.

Chateau Pichon Baron Pauillac Deuxieme Cru Classe AOC 2000 2.47% £125.00

WINE PICK: Chateau Margaux 2005

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-08-14

In line with recent interest in 2005 Bordeaux, Chateau Margaux 2005 (98RP) makes interesting reading. Down from a 2011 high of £7991 to a market value of £5000, and offered at £2500 per 6, it’s an almost affordable case of near-perfect First Growth claret, with a perfect rating from James Suckling to rely on.

Chateau Margaux 2005 - Wine Owners

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Villains of the piece

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-08-14

As prices of fine Bordeaux continue to tumble, the chancers, city trader refugees, the numerically challenged, con-merchants and worse - who set up so-called wine investment companies over the last few years and who attracted hot money and gullible consumers’ hard-earned cash - are continuing to go bust as their mini ponzi schemes or lop-sided balance sheets run out of road.

The latest to hit the headlines are Encarta Wines, Canary Wharf Wines and the snappily named En Primeur Ltd. These add to the list of Culver Street, Premier Cru Fine Wine Investments (who transferred their clients to Cult Wines), and European Fine Wines this summer.

These events do serve to further depress prices, as two things happen: distressed stock comes onto the market and is quickly traded; and consumers who have been stung take flight and get out at any cost. I suspect these events contribute to the overshoot that is a typical behaviour of all bear markets. Whether we’re already in overshoot territory, only time will tell.

It is really rather depressing how people get seduced into putting money into these businesses. Very often we see prices being offered to consumers that are far higher than market rates. For Christ's sake, don’t buy from cold callers you’ve never heard of! At the very least buyers really need to check the value of wines via Wine Owners Market Level pricing or by browsing the range of merchant prices listed through Wine-Searcher. One such consumer contacted Wine Owners earlier this year after they’d been offered a case of Montrose 2003 by a firm selling prestige fine wine at £2,100 per 12x75cl IB when the market price was £1,350-1450 at the time. The implication was that it had been rerated 100 points by Parker and that it was primed to go rise to £2,500 per case. In the event it had not been rerated, was not rerated, and today stands at £1,450.

Then there’s the story of Nobles Crus (the wine fund of Elite Advisors) who were forced to suspend redemptions last year by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s financial regulator due to insufficient assets to meet the demands of clients heading for the exit door. Then in May this year something akin to a sweetheart deal was stitched up with leading creditors that led to redemptions at a notional value of €37M (Read the FT article Luxembourg embroiled in fine fine row).

What the true worth of the fund is, no one really knows. Ernst & Young were apparently used to bring authenticity to a suspect valuation method that included punchy Hong Kong auction prices. Supposedly there are €51M of assets left in the fund. Yet the fund has not filed accounts since 2011. Rumour has it that a variety of potential buyers have sniffed the assets over the last year only to walk away, believing values to be too high. One thing is likely: investors would be lucky to get out with the 28% discount to valuation that Banca Generali achieved when it recently sold their shares in Noble Crus to an unnamed 3rd party, as and when they manage to redeem.

How can a global leader like Ernst & Young have accepted a proprietary valuation methods for auditing a fund’s value, especially when that valuation was being questioned by other parts of the mainstream fine wine market including Liv-ex? How can the presumed oversight of a leading Italian Bank, who was a shareholder in Noble Crus, have still allowed a situation like this to develop? Not that regulated markets are necessarily any better. And they say the opaque derivatives market is booming once again…

But doesn’t this further demonstrate the value of being in control of your own portfolio of fine wine? A bit unfair perhaps on the good guys such as The Wine Investment Fund, Wine-Source and other reputable, well-run funds. But of course people who want to build their own portfolio are a different breed to those who are happy to go into a collective, so you can’t really compare. Collectives address a certain market seeking financial diversification and targeted returns, which isn’t the same as the mainstream fine wine market of collectors and lovers.


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