It was announced on Friday that Margaux 2015 would be the latest Bordeaux wine to be released in a commemorative bottle.
The bottle is dedicated to the late Paul Pontallier, who died in March 2015 and had been the chateau’s technical and managing director since 1990 after joining the estate in 1983. As well as being Pontallier’s last vintage, 2015 also marks the estate’s 200th anniversary. The black bottle features a screen print of the chateau, its new chai, designed by Sir Norman Foster, and a dedication to Pontallier.
In a statement, Margaux said: “By means of this unique bottle we wish to immortalise the 2015 vintage which seems to have been created for eternity and which will remain a fantastic vintage for all of us, tinged with very special emotion.”
The wine was crowned ‘wine of the vintage’ by Liv-ex members in our annual En Primeur survey. In a report by Liv-ex last month, it was considered undervalued compared to other Margaux vintages. At that point, it was bid at £6,600 on the market. It is now bid at £7,500 per 12×75 and merchants are reporting strong demand.
Other special bottles
Historically, the announcement of a special bottle or label has significantly impacted prices.
Mouton Rothschild 2000
While prices for other First Growths dropped significantly during the downturn of 2011-14, Mouton Rothschild 2000 weathered the storm. In November 2013 Liv-ex commented that, “its striking black and gold ram label design ensures that it continues to appeal to an Asian market”. This no doubt also helped it push higher ahead of the Chinese New Year of the Sheep in 2015.
The wine currently commands a Market Price of £17,000 per 12×75. This pitches it far above even the critically acclaimed 1982 vintage (£11,400).
Lafite Rothschild 2008
In 2010, Lafite Rothschild announced that its 2008 vintage would feature the Chinese figure of eight, which represents good fortune. Before the announcement, the wine traded at £8,300 per 12×75. This was during the China-led bull market of 2009-11, perhaps helping to explain how the wine quickly rose to £13,888, a 67% increase in just over a month.
In May 2014, Angelus announced that its 2012 vintage would be released in a special black and gold bottle to celebrate its promotion to St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A in the same year. The result was rising prices for the wine in a market that, at the time, was mostly flat. Its trade price rose from £1,680 to £2,200 (+31%) by the end of the year, before increasing to £2,800 by February. It last traded at £3,000 per 12×75.
One year later, Pavie declared that it would be following suit by celebrating their promotion with a special black and silver label. The wine saw a flurry of trade on Liv-ex, but the immediate impact on price was less obvious: trade prices fluctuated until the end of the year.
Smith Haut Lafitte 2015
Smith Haut Lafitte 2015 was released with a special black and silver label to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the chateau and to mark 25 years of ownership by the Cathiard family. It is too early to judge any long term impact that this might have, although the wine’s Market Price has increased by 19.4% since release. This performance is slightly above average for the vintage.