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Space for Seconds

Though classed as equals in 1855, the Second Growths have drifted over the years in terms of both price and quality. Last week on the blog we highlighted the relative value of Leoville Barton, which is widely considered to be one of Bordeaux’s leading “Super Seconds”. But if we take a wider view and examine the full set of Deuxiemes Crus side by side, the disparity that now exists between the wines becomes even more apparent. Using data for the ten most recent vintages, the graph below shows the average Parker score and price* of each of the Second Growths. (Where a score range has been given, the mid-point has been used for the calculation.)

Second Growths - relative value    
*Prices are calculated based on the Liv-ex Lowest Current List Price – an indication of the lowest price currently available in the market.
We have used Wine Spectator scores for vintages of Durfort Vivens that were not rated by Parker.

As you can see, Leoville Las Cases is the highest scoring and most expensive of its fellows, followed (in both instances) by Cos d’Estournel. And whilst Leoville Barton continues to represent strong value at an average of £600 per 12x75cl case (well below the mean average price of £740) Lascombes seems to merit equal attention, with its last ten vintages averaging 92.4 points and trading at around £560. (Trading members of Liv-ex can view live markets here.)

For those with less to spend, our analysis reveals that Brane Cantenac is one of the cheapest Deuxiemes Crus available on a price-per-point basis. Both the 2008 (RP 90-93) and the 2006 (RP 92) offer remarkable value for money at under £300 per case, whilst the top-end 2005 (RP 94) and 2009 vintages (RP 93-95) can be picked up for around £450 each – less than half of the price of other popular Second Growths.

Scores from