Five times that Robert Parker moved the Bordeaux market

Yesterday brought the news that Robert Parker will be stepping down from reviewing Bordeaux altogether, focusing his efforts on California and passing his full duties in the Gironde on to Neal Martin.

With this, Liv-ex looks back at just five times – of very many – that the critic moved the Bordeaux market.

1. Haut Bailly 2009

Parker first published his 100-point review of Haut Bailly 2009 in the Hedonist’s Gazette (Nov 2014) following a private dinner at the Chateau. The market responded rapidly: three days after the score was announced, its trade price had increased from £775 per 12×75 to £1,125 – a 45.2% gain.

Six months later, the wine saw a further uptick after the review was officially added to the Wine Advocate archives. It last traded for £1,582.

2. Bordeaux 2005

Parker’s influence on Bordeaux 2005 began months before his ten-year respective review of the vintage was even due to be published (June 2015).

In the six months leading up to the report’s publication, Liv-ex observed a period of increased trading activity for the vintage – and rising prices. Upgrades for several 2005s in late 2014 and early 2015 led to speculation that further upgrades would follow, resulting in a “ripple effect” of price gains across the vintage.

When the report was eventually released, it emerged that several wines tipped for an upgrade didn’t achieve three digits. Mouton Rothschild 2005, for example, received 97 and saw its price drift over the months that followed.

3. Mission Haut Brion 2005

Mission Haut Brion 2005 was a beneficiary of Parker’s recent 2005 report. It was upgraded from 98+ to 100 points. “Pure perfection” and a “modern-day legend”, Parker comments: “This is a fabulous wine and a great effort from this hallowed terroir”.

Parker had hinted at an upgrade back in August 2012 (“If everything comes together in 10-15 years, this brilliant 2005 should merit a triple digit score”). With buyers anticipating a bigger score, its price began to creep up at the beginning of 2015. Between January and June 2015, when the score was revealed, its trade price moved from £3,200 to £4,506 – a staggering 47.7% increase.

Mission Haut Brion 2005

4. Montrose 2010

The upgrade for Montrose 2010 came at the end of a period of declining prices for the wine: between March 2013 and May 2014 its trade price dropped 32.3% from £1,600 to £1,100 per 12×75.

Parker increased its score by just one point – from 99 to 100 – in August 2014, calling it “among the greatest vintages ever made in Montrose”. What the wine lost in over a year, it regained in a single day following Parker’s announcement: on the day of the upgrade, it traded at £1,650.

Still, in spite of this, the vintage continues to trade at a 14% discount to the Chateau’s fellow 100-point 2009.

Montrose 2010
5. Haut Brion 1989

Parker has been effusive in his praise of Haut Brion 1989, publishing 100 point scores for the wine on six separate occasions – as well as 98-100 in barrel. He calls it “one of the immortal wines and one of the greatest young Bordeaux wines of the last half-century … a seamless, majestic classic”.

As the chart below shows, this Parker favourite commands a significant premium on other Haut Brion vintages: its market price is 139% above the 2005, the next highest of the last 20 vintages.

Parker concludes: “Life is too short not to drink this wine as many times as possible!”

Haut Brion 1989

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