by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-31
Domaine Bruno Clair, Chambertin, Clos de Beze 2010
WO Score: 94
Price: £3,120 per 12
Note from Burghound (93-96 points):
A spicy, pure and admirably refined nose offers up notes of cool, layered and an impressively broad mix of wild red berries, stone and underbrush hints. The textured and almost painfully intense broad-shouldered flavors possess deep reserves of tannin-buffering dry extract as well as the same extraordinary finishing depth that the nose hints at. A knock-out but this is expressly built to age and the flavors and tannic spine are so tightly wound that it's pointless to buy this if you do not intend to age it for at least 10 to 12 years first.
Domaine Drouhin-Laroze, Chambertin, Clos de Beze 2010
WO Score 96
Price: £1,410 per 12
Note from Burghound (93-95):
A spicy, ripe, elegant and admirably pure nose offers up notes of anise, sandalwood and clove that add breadth to the floral, earth and stone-suffused aromas. There is the same superb breadth to the rich, intense and tension-filled full-bodied flavors that possess excellent power and drive on the seductively textured, muscular and classy finish.
Both the Drouhin-Laroze and the Bruno Clair expressions of Clos de Beze from the blockbuster 2010 look attractive at current levels with the less fashionable Drouhin-Laroze really standing out - there are a few cases in the market too. Both get great scores across the board from the critics and have not kept pace with the sizzling Burgundy index (Drouhin-Laroze in light blue) over the last three years:
Whilst seeking high quality wines that have lagged the Burgundy market, these two have popped up as good candidates. More and more market watchers will be searching for this type of opportunity, so some catch up is expected. Neither have hit their drinking stride yet but when the scarcity kicks in, will it be possible to source them when they do? I doubt it.
Although it is not comparing like with like, Rousseau’s take on this famous piece of dirt, (rated at 94-97) at £40,000 per 12, is probably fully valued and I for one would be making a switch! Putting it another way you can buy 28.5 bottles of the Drouhin-Laroze product for one of dear Monsieur Rousseau’s! The Clair to Rousseau ratio a more modest 1:13, but still!?
by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-25
Sassicaia 2006, 94 points £2,050 per 12
Sassicaia 2009, 96 points £1,590 per 12
Sassicaia 2010, 94 WO points £1,430 per 12
Sassicaia 2015, 97 points £1,750 per 12
When we began researching Sassicaia for this post we began by thinking it would turn out be a good and solid egg. We were right. Other than the stratospheric and legendary 100 point ’85, now c.£30,000 per 12, up from £12,000 three long years ago, Sassicaia is a really steady holding. It’s a wine that gets drunk readily, is approachable at a younger age than most investment grade wines and doesn’t tend to get dumped in a downturn.
The 2015 is another exception to this generalisation, not least because last November it claimed the coveted Wine Spectator’s ‘Wine of the Year’ 2018, causing the price to do this:
It is interesting to note that the Wine Advocate’s upgrade from 91-93 to 97 points in February 2018 had no lasting impact on price – do they not influence this corner of the market, we wonder?
In an efficient market, there’s a great short to mid-term switch play here, selling '15 and buying the cheaper and older ’09 or ’10 vintage where supply is shrinking faster. This is the wine market though, and trades like these not always play out. Judging from the price of the ’06, there is sufficient upside to these two vintages to suggest a purchase, especially if conservative is your thing!
The younger 2013 also looks cheap (but much more plentiful):
Buy: 2009, 2010, 2013
Trading sell: 2015
by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-24
Haut Brion has always been referred to the connoisseur’s choice amongst the upper echelon and indeed it averages the highest scores across multiple vintages within its peer group. Yet strangely, and more often than not, it trades at a discount to its peers.
Looking at this Relative Value Score the 2006 (£3,500 per 12) stands out but good investment rationale can be argued for the ’90, ’95, ’96, and ’01 also.
The case for the ’90 (£8,900) is that it is currently trading at its widest ever discount to its chart-topping sibling of ’89 (£25,000) and the scarcity force is strong!
1995 (£4,300) because it’s getting on a bit now, is not that challenging in price terms and is drinking very nicely, as personally witnessed at Thanksgiving.
Last week the ’96 (£4,200), in my view a better wine than the ‘95, gave an effortless history lesson in classicism and has a long and charming life ahead. It was allowed five hours in the decanter which was richly rewarded and is a stupendous wine albeit not so overtly fruit driven as Mouton ’96, but that wine is £1,000 more per case at a similar rating level.
The ’01 is £3,700, so very low for a first growth and has been drinking well for some time. Its relative value score above 8 makes it look interesting.
The giants of ’05, ’09 and ’10 are exactly that and deserve to trade in another price bracket altogether. This commentator’s view, however, is that’s where they will stay for the time being and price performance in the short to medium term will evade them, as it has done in recent times:
Buy: Haut Brion ’90, ’95, ’96, ’01 and ‘06
Sell: Haut Brion ’05, ’09 and ‘10
Haut Brion 2000 will be included in a separate post.
by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-23
WO Score: 96
Price: £3,500 per 12
Haut Brion 2006 is cheap, working relatively on a vertical basis by comparing it to other similarly rated vintages of Haut Brion and also on a horizontal basis, comparing it to its first growth peers. Its absolute relative score of very close to 10 is a leading indicator - anything in double figures for a first growth positively screams a buy. This falls marginally short of that magical figure but its consistent notes and firm scoring of 96 gives it a buy recommendation.
by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-21
Latour ’82, Mouton Rothschild ’82, Mouton Rothschild ’82, ’86, Haut Brion ’89, La Mission Haut Brion ’89, Margaux ’90, Cheval Blanc ’90 and Pichon Baron ‘90
When managing two wine investment funds (2006-2016) we referred to this subsection of the portfolio as ‘the legends‘. They all received cast iron reviews from all the major critics and rock solid and multiple 100s from Big Bob. Cheval Blanc ’90 “unequivocally a brilliant wine” (Neal Martin) has slipped a little to a 98+, but otherwise these wines are confirmed as truly great – legendary in fact! As such, they don’t come cheap (prices in GBP per bottle in graphic below).
Latour and Mouton ’82, +46% and 38% in 2018 respectively, Haut Brion and La Mission ’89 +35% and +52% respectively and Margaux ’90 +35% have all broken out and have massively outperformed the index in the last few months. I believe they can continue to yield positive returns.
Scarcity has been the big driver of price rises in the last couple of years as demonstrated most ably by Burgundy (WO Burgundy Index +33% for 2018, +16% in 2017). This is a prime example of how the principle of good demand versus limited supply in the wine market can work. As a region Burgundy has thrashed others as production is so much smaller, especially with Bordeaux in comparison. Where Bordeaux has been able to compete is in these older vintages of legendary wines, where consumption has driven a scarcity of supply. Each case that is now opened will have a direct impact on that side of the equation.
Cheval ’90 has been volatile but is generally on the up and is well worth considering. I have included Pichon Baron ’90, only a 98+ according to Neal Martin but a Steven Spurrier legend, as it is so relatively cheap and has not broken out at all, so watch this space. The really obvious choice, however, is Mouton ’86. This wine at 32+ years is still a baby in terms of maturity but has an exciting life ahead. Its backwardness has had an impact on the wine’s supply but that will change. As ever good provenance is extremely important and as this is a wine that has been traded more than most so beware - we have seen many examples of poor condition. If this can be found in good nick, do not hesitate in acquiring it - it’s a legend!
Buy: Mouton ’86, Cheval Blanc ’90, Pichon Baron ‘90
Hold: if it’s a legend, continue to hold, for now at least…
N.B. Petrus ’89 and ’90 fall into the ‘legend’ definition but they are so expensive (c.£45,000 per 12) and rare, they have been excluded here.
Miles Davis - professional wine consultant working in the fine wine market. He has been a wine collector for thirty years and managed wine investment funds between 2006-17 for Wine Asset Managers LLP.
by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-18
WO Score: 96
Price: £6,900 per 12
Margaux ’96 has always received rave reviews from the Wine Advocate, whether is was big Bob himself or Neal Martin who awarded it the full 100 in October ’16. Neal does not hand out the perfect score lightly – in fact, barely ever. Our own Nick Martin gave it the full three figures at the Wine Owner’s Margaux dinner last summer although his clout is not quite as heavy!
Left bank 96s deserve a decent allocation in any investment portfolio given their quality, liquidity and age profiles. You could argue the stars here are aligned. Margaux ’90, the only other confirmed 100-point Margaux from vintages still possible to source, enjoyed a chart break out starting last summer (see chart below). The ’96 is trading at a very attractive 47% discount to the ’90 suggesting a strong recommendation. The chart break out may not be around the corner but I’d want to be long when it does.
Recommendation: Buy as a core holding.
by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-15
Chateau Margaux - ©Wine Owners Ltd.
WO Score: 95
Price: £4,675 per 12
Margaux ’89 has never received great scores from Robert Parker, with five tasting notes at either 89 or 90 points. His last post on the subject, however, was recorded in 2003. Neal Martin has always been more generous, rating the wine between 92 and 95, the last note dated 2010 – so, again, some time ago. In 2008 Jancis Robinson rewarded the wine with a generous 19 points which, as we know, is a high score from her.
The relatively low (and now aged) scores from Parker have probably always depressed the price performance of Margaux ’89. A more recent note from another critic a bit closer to home, from a dinner only a few months ago, yielded this review: “The generosity of the vintage is evident on the nose, yet the accomplishments of this wine are still hidden, and there’s a sense of more to come. That grainy texture and gorgeous spiced finish are surely harbingers of great things in store for future drinking. As a result, a decent investment to boot for a 10-year view: 94+.”
Margaux ‘89 has always been dwarfed by its much acclaimed sister from the ’90 vintage which currently trades at £13,000 per 12. 1989 and 1990 are often coupled for comparative purposes and have thrown up some intriguing pairs, both for tasting and trading purposes, Haut Brion and Petrus being the most fabled.
As the chart below demonstrates, the prices of Margaux ’89 and ’90 started diverging six months ago and the differential has never been wider. This, coupled with our own notes above, gives us good reason to recommend a purchase.
by Wine Owners
Posted on 2019-01-11
In a year, and particularly the last quarter, of great uncertainty the wine market has proved to be a place of great refuge - the WO 150 increased by 10.3%. The wine market performance during the fourth quarter of 2018 was flat, having been gently on the rise until December when indices, including the red-hot WO Burgundy Index, came off a little, in line with a noticeable drop off in turnover throughout the market. In the context of all asset classes, this is another demonstration of the low correlation with more conventional investments the wine market enjoys. Ongoing trade wars between China and the U.S. continued to damage confidence across the board, hitting stock markets, both developed and emerging and depreciating the Yuan – a significant factor as we estimate 40% of fine wine by value lands there. As global markets faltered the wine traders of London, the epicentre of the fine wine trading world, were and still are, gripped in the throes of Mrs. May’s desperate attempts to pass her Brexit bill.
The main story of 2018, like 2017, was Burgundy, the index posting a gain of 33%. A combination of Asian-led demand and real scarcity is a powerful dynamic. The biggest names amongst the producers and the grandest crus still dominate; the usual suspects of DRC and Rousseau are still out in front and may always stay that way but Coche-Dury, Dujac, Leroy, Mugnier, Roumier, and Rouget, are some of the names that are hot on their heels and we suspect there are plenty more sitting in behind. Prices of some wines have skyrocketed and are, some may argue, fast becoming the preserve of the insane (or very brave) as they rush headlong into unknown territory! A lot of serious collectors we know have been taking profit in these sorts of examples and are looking for value elsewhere.
The WO Champagne index rose by 8.8% on a feeling of increased interest from investors. Italy and the Rhone both performed respectably. More for reference, as it is so difficulty to source efficiently in the U.K., but the California index was more than respectable with +17.2%
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