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Mouton 06 - buy or sell

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2017-03-28


Keen followers of Bordeaux can’t have missed the striking price revivals that have been in progress over roughly the last 12 months, and Mouton Rothschild 2006 makes for in interesting case study.

We’re looking here at what is effectively an over-performing wine in an under-appreciated vintage. 2006 Mouton has consistently been rated highly by both Robert Parker (last scored at 96 in 2014) and Neal Martin (scored at 97 points in May 2016), and compares very favourably to the other First Growths in 2006. Latour consistently scores around 94-95; Lafite at 95 from Neal Martin, 97 from Parker; Margaux at 94 and Haut Brion at 96.

Not only that, it outscores or equals itself in what ought to be better vintages. The 2005 is likewise rated 97 by both Parker and Martin, and 2006 is only outscored in recent vintages by 2009 and 2010. No doubt then that winemaker Philippe Dhalluin did exceptional work in the vintage, and those buying at the nadir of the market in and around January 2015 were picking up a serious bargain at around £3000, the same price as the far less interesting 2007, and rather cheaper than the less well-rated 2008.

However, having risen in value throughout 2016 from £3200 to £4400, the market price has stagnated since October 2016, and now stands at £4500, with bids standing around £4130, which is still the highest this wine has traded at since 2011, but starts to look like the top of the market. For drinkers, this seems to continue to represent good value, but for those interested in wine as a store of value, quite possibly one to swap out.

Click here to see live trading information on Mouton 2006.


Did you know...? British artist Lucian Freud was commissioned to create the label for the 2006 vintage of Château Mouton-Rothschild. "Far from the tormented portraits and nudes for which he is renowned, [he] chose a joyously exotic transposition of the pleasure of drinking, in which the vinestock is transformed into a springing palm tree and the wine lover into a happily anticipatory zebra." Source: Chateau Mouton Rothschild.



INTERESTED IN BORDEAUX?

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Bordeaux en primeur 2016: a weepy

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2017-03-28


The potential of the 2016 Bordeaux en primeur assessed from a comparative examination of the weather conditions

There is a weather station located near the airport in Bordeaux which has been recording details of rainfall and temperature since 1911. It’s worth mentioning that rain in Bordeaux-Merignac does not mean rain in St.Emilion; nor does the absence of rain in Merignac on a particular day signify no rain in Margaux. But if the 2016 Bordeaux en primeur campaign is to find traction then some consideration of the weather is important.

THE RAIN

Looking at a Table of Cumulative Precipitation (below) which covers several of the greatest vintages of the last 2 centuries (with a couple extra thrown in to demonstrate the ‘exceptions which prove the rule’), one is immediately struck by one anomaly - the 1982 vintage (the others we know about).

It is a sine qua non of red wine grape production to have a sufficient period of dry weather in the summer to induce hydric stress in the vine so that the plant will cease growth and focus on maturing its fruit. It’s also a general rule that wet weather at harvest time is not conducive to healthy picking conditions and produces rot.

Table of Cumulative Precipitation

THE HEAT

It is widely accepted that warm weather (as opposed to canicular heat - remember that 2003 had 50 days of temperatures warmer than 30°) is another critical ingredient in the production of great wine (also interesting to see just how much cooler it was in 1982) - see the table below of Maximum Average Temperatures.

Maximum Average Temperatures

Clearly, the temperature progression during 2016 was unusual and extraordinary. Not shown, but also relevant, is a table constructed of average minimum temperatures: 2016 was about average, and slightly cooler than many other years in July; certainly not as warm as 2003.

ASSESSMENT OF BORDEAUX 2016 VINTAGE

Whilst the general weather picture for a vintage is a good prognostication of the quality of the wines not everyone will have been dealt the same cards. Terroirs are not the same. Not every estates’ ambitions are equivalent. Not every vigneron has the tools, techniques and vision to maximise the potential. Some producers will undoubtedly over-reach themselves. Comparing the general climatic conditions for 2016 with other remarkable vintages several features of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage stand out:

    - First, 2016 had no phenomenological events of any significance eg frost.

    - Second, the precipitation in the growing season and replenishment of the water table set it up for drier conditions later in the year. Of course, warmer humid weather at this time meant vigilance in case of mildew etc.

    - Third, the uniformity of temperatures and the progression of average temperatures until August, without the heat spikes of 2003.

    - Fourth, August was an unusually sunny month in 2016.

    - Fifth: the dry, warm months of July and August were followed by a beautiful autumn.

On the face of it, the charts above, general as they are, demonstrate that 2016 was one of the most remarkable years that Bordeaux vineyards have ever experienced. One might, with some justification, call it a ‘benchmark’ year. Coupled with the advancement in oenology and the investment in the vineyards which have been undertaken in the last 30 years and if meteorology were the only factor in determining vintage quality (so ignoring viticultural practises, key husbandry decisions, winemaking approaches and trends, sharp temperature spikes masked by monthly averages) then 2016 could be one of the greatest, if not the greatest of Bordeaux vintages. However, the true quality of the vintage will only be demonstrated by the en primeur tastings which are about to commence.

Estates are surely crying (with happiness) over their wines and as for the rest of us, to paraphrase Goethe: “If you've never drunk wine while crying, you don’t know what life tastes like.”

Stay with Wine Owners as we taste our way through the Bordeaux appellations next week. Follow our tweets @WineOwners1. As ever we shall represent the voice of the wine lover and collector pointing out where there's value and where it makes no sense to buy early. Not forgetting the merits in back vintages that en primeur comparative evaluation often spotlights. We look forward to your company along the way.

Tables: compiled and coloured by Wine Owners from data by Infoclimat


La La Land

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2017-03-22


Few producers ever achieve the magical 100 point rating from the Wine Advocate. Parker’s ratings have been the most influential in the world, so to achieve the magic century is quite some accolade; to achieve it more than once is the stuff of dreams; to achieve it 28 times as have Guigal’s famed Cote Rotie triumvirate of La Landonne, La Turque and La Mouline (collectively nicknamed ‘the La Las’) is unprecedented. No other producer from a single appellation comes close.

You might have thought that these three wine with a claim to be among the finest in the world should cost the earth, shouldn’t they? Well, in fact they don’t – at least not in comparison with the finest wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and California.  

For the purposes of this analysis we’re going to look at the 2009 vintage, which paints a fairly typical picture for these wines. Historically there is very little variation in the values of the three wines, with prices often within a 3% range. So, this chart for La Mouline ’09 is mirrored closely by the other two. What is immediately noticeable is that prices have, until midway through last year, fallen consistently. This despite two 100 point scores in November 2013 and September 2014!

The fall in price is on a par with the falls in value of Bordeaux wines in the same period, but importantly the La Las did not have a huge price rise immediately prior to the falls that insulated many buyers from the slump. It seems, on the face of it that Guigal’s amazing wines were simply the victim of a lack of global interest in Rhone wines at the top end.

This seems to be changing however, as over the last 6 to 9 months the relatively attractive pricing has found favour, and sentiment seems to have turned positive. All good vintages across all three wines are moving upwards, and demand is out-stripping supply for the first time in many years. 

La Mouline 09 is 15% up since July, and is on its way back to the £4000 a case level last seen in early 2013. In our view there is reason* to be confident that this recovery is a fundamental re-evaluation of the value of the wine, rather than simply the beneficial effect of weak Sterling, and there is definitely reason* to add this to a cellar, for both investment and drinking purposes.

So, what is this reason you may well ask?

Sadly, the La La’s were among the chosen wines of various boiler room, sales led operations who decided that they were ideal wines to sell as investments to unsuspecting investors at way over fair market prices. This created skewed pricing and led to reputational damage to the wines that caused prices to drop. Thankfully most of these operations have now closed down, and their negative impact on the market has dissipated. The secondary market is now a healthier place for these great wines, and prices are once again reflecting the supreme quality and longevity of Rhone’s finest.



Pontet Canet 2010 and 2009 – buy or sell?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2017-03-14


In 2009 and 2010 Pontet Canet produced wines of apparently unequalled quality for the property, both hitting an unprecedented 100 points from Robert Parker. Prices have increased dramatically as one might expect, but where next for these two superstars?

Trading history

Release prices were high for both vintages, 2010 c.1180 and 2009 c.1000. Both bucked the trend of falling prices in 2011, and saw heavy trading in late 2016, with market value hitting an historic high of £1700 for both vintages in November 2016. The top trading prices for 2010 were £1625 in October 2016 and £1630 for 2009 as late as February 2017. Bids have fallen in value for both wines, though, with £1621 the current best for 2009, and £1572 the top bid for 2010 at 10th March 2017. Interestingly, the Asian market seems to value 2009 over 2010, paying up to £1630, while offers of £1620 for the 2010 are considered slightly too high to sell. In the UK market on the other hand, the prices track one another more closely, with UK merchants willing to pay around £1600 for either vintage.

Undeniably, buyers who purchased en primeur have made a very reasonable return, far better than most Chateaux have seen based on the high release prices of 09 and 10. The question, however, is where these wines go next in terms of value. Does the slight downward adjustment in bid prices indicate that they have reached a natural value level and will continue to plateau; will the market correct downwards; or does £1600 represent a pausing point following heavy trading after which the wines will continue to appreciate?



Track record

Perceived quality must be a factor here, and it’s hard to make predictions for Pontet when the wine has no precedent of producing wines at the 100 point level. High scorers from Palmer, for example, regularly exceed the £2000 mark (2005, 2009 and 2010), but Palmer has a long history of outperforming its 3rd growth classification, and Pontet Canet which scores at a similar level is priced much lower, with 2005 trading around £980. The question is, will these perfect scoring vintages of Pontet Canet continue to be held in such high regard and turn into truly legendary wines, or will enthusiasm wane as tastes change? Neal Martin doesn’t come close to concurring with Parker on points, rating 2010 at 94 and 2009 at 95, so the jury is hardly unanimous on absolute quality, which has to be a concern.

There are still a number of offers and bids for bothwines on the exchange, though since the end of February buyers and sellers have been standing off, perhaps hesitant to jump one way or the other until there’s a clear indication which way these wines will move.

Many sellers will find themselves holding large parcels of Pontet 10 and 09 will feel motivated to realise some of the value of their position as a hedge against falling prices, while buyers who hold none, and don’t mind taking on an element of risk may feel that there’s further upside here, provided a 3-figure score and high vintage reputation are enough to hold it together for Pontet Canet.




INTERESTED IN BORDEAUX?

We will be in the Bordelais covering the en primeur campaign, so don't forget to follow us:

- on Twitter

- on Intstagram

- on Facebook




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