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By Thomas Gearing (C.O.O) - Cult Wines Ltd -

Lafite Rothschild 2008 @ £7,400 per case (12x75cl)
Current Market Spread: £7,500 - £8,256

Why Invest in Lafite 2008?

With the 2009 En Primeur campaign expected to be the most expensive of recent times, interest continues to grow for the well-received 2008’s. Parker scored all the first growths at 95+, with Lafite Rothschild scoring a potential maximum (98-100pts). Recently Parker made his case for the 2008 vintage, stating:
“some very strong wines, particularly from the top properties in the Médoc… given what will be the enormous hype machine buttressing the 2009 campaign, 2008 is a vintage that smart money will seek out.”
Robert Parker’s comment that ‘2008 is a vintage that smart money will seek out’ – is a very sound assessment and adds further weight to the investment potential of this wine.

As mentioned Lafite 2008 is rated 98-100pts, below I have compared this vintage with previous Lafite years that have achieved similar scores:

Wine Vintage Market Price RPJ Score
Lafite Rothschild 1982 37,500 100
Lafite Rothschild 1986 16,000 99
Lafite Rothschild 2000 18,500 100
Lafite Rothschild 2003 11,000 100
Lafite Rothschild 2005 10,500 96

As the table shows, the 2008 vintage has the potential to be worth over £10k in the near future. Whilst this wine is still En Primeur, there is every chance it can undergo a serious price rise this time next year when it becomes physical. I would conservatively put this wine’s expected growth at:

24 Months: 35-50%

5 Years: 50-100%

Mouton Rothschild 2008 @ £3,650 per case (12x75cl)
Current Market Spread: £3,700 - £4,100

Although rated at 96 pts by Robert Parker it is widely thought that this is a wine that will really grow and mature over the next few years and could well be re-scored at 98+. Nevertheless if you compare this vintage to the 2005 (96pts), then it is clear there is a lot of investment potential. The 2005 vintage was trading at £4500 within the first 18 months of its release and currently it trades at over £5000 per case. Similarly to Lafite Rothschild, Mouton is experiencing a huge growth in demand from Asia and has developed quite a status symbol. You only have to look at the last couple of months of 2009 to see the effect this has had on Mouton across all vintages, with liv-ex reporting Mouton as the biggest climber for November. With rumours of a Chinese artist designing the label for the 2008 vintage, this could only help to push its price to a stratospheric level (Mouton 2000, 97pts, £8,000 per case). With all this in mind, Mouton 2008 seems a clear choice for the wine investor and should be a serious consideration for all portfolios.

24 Months: 50%

3 - 5 Years: 50-100%

Margaux 1996 @ £5,500 per case (12x75cl)
Current Market Spread: £5,500 - £5,800

When you are looking at purchasing physical vintages you want wines that meet the following criteria:

1) Wines that are high scoring across the board (most importantly 95+pts RPJ score) MARGAUX ’96 = 99 pts
2) Have shown a solid track record for growth.
3) Have widespread appeal (First growths – Lafite, Mouton, Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion)
4) Approaching the drinking age – 2009-2040
5) Supply decreasing

To Compare this vintage to a similarly scored Margaux, the 1982 vintage scored 98 points and currently trades at £9,000 with the top prices in the market at £12,755. Out of the five first growths, Margaux has had the most comparative increase in prices over the last 3 months. I believe this is because of returning buyer’s confidence in a Chateau that has regularly produced fantastic wines.

As the market continues its upward curve toward the pre-crisis prices, Chateau Margaux is a wine that has a lot of growth potential as it hasn’t experienced quite the same recovery Lafite, Mouton and Latour have had so far. A lot of my confidence is also placed in the fact that Margaux 1996 previously traded at £6,500 in June 2008. Therefore this wine has past performance and the potential to surpass those prices in the future.

2 year projected value: 50%

3-5 years: 100+%

Leoville Las Cases @ £2,450 per case (12x75cl)
Current Market Spread: £2,500 - £2,900

Those wanting to spread their risk away from the First Growths may want to give Las Cases a look. Considered the ‘sixth First Growth’ this wine has been overlooked in recent times. The 2000 vintage has scored well regularly over the last 10 years by all critics – Robert Parker scored the wine at 99 points. It is widely considered one of the best produced Leoville Las Cases ever, but its drinking age and recent market activity has encouraged me that this wine has very good growth potential over the next 3-5 years. Parker believes the wine is ready to drink from 2010, while others believe nearer to 2012.

Leoville Las Cases 1982 – average market price is £3,800 per case, but it has previously traded at £5,000 per case (Dec 06 – Dec 08). I would expect the 2000 vintage having scored similarly and with its drinking age approaching will hit prices similar to the 1982 over the next two years and potentially in the next 3-5 years could be worth £5,000.

For £2,600 the 2000 vintage of Leoville Las Cases offers a fantastic investment opportunity:

3-5 years: 50-100%


Selected Others:

Lafite Rothschild 2000 – Half Bottles @ £708.33 per btl (37.5cl) NON-OWC
Current Market Spread: £710 - £827 (per btl)

Lafite Rothschild 2006 @ £POA (12x75cl)
Current Market Spread: £6,400 - £6,950

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