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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.




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