Talking Trade – California dreaming

Regional share of trade by value (31st January - 6th February)

Trade fell by both value and volume this week as the landscape continues to prove challenging for buyers. The Liv-ex 50 also drifted (-0.10%), to close the week at 333.64.

Bordeaux’s (48.8%) and Burgundy’s (11.8%) trade shares weakened as the absence of US and Asian buyers continued to impact overall levels of activity.

USA (17.4%) made up a record high of trade share, spurred on by multiple parcels of big-name Napa Cabernet changing hands. Australia (1.1%), Spain (1.1%) and Germany (1.9%), also maintained their share from last week.

Across all regions, the 2016 vintage dominated; it made up 22% of last week’s volume.

Top 5: share of trade by value (31st January - 6th February)

Harlan Estate has received 100-points from the Wine Advocate in three (2016, 2015, 2013) of its past five available vintages. The most recent release, 2016, offers the best value, trading at £10,000 – a 20% and 10% discount to the 100-point 2015 and 2013 respectively.

Its cross-valley friend, Screaming Eagle, receives similar scores to Harlan but commands a higher price. Case production of Screaming Eagle is a little under half of that of Harlan Estate – and it would seem the market is prepared to pay over a 100% premium for that “exclusivity”. The chart below shows the Screaming Eagle premium, while highlighting the similarity of scores awarded.

Neal Martin on Bordeaux 2017 in bottle

“Vintage seeks home,” claimed Neal Martin in his closing remarks on the 2017 in bottle scores. For Martin, it is a vintage that provides “fertile ground for those who could not afford the 2016s”. As 2017 suffered through a destructive frost, Martin’s view on the wines may surprise you.

Sassicaia 2017 UK release

Prices have been on a steady upward trend of late and Sassicaia’s latest release is no outlier. Released in the UK this morning at £1,700 per 12×75, it represents a 25% premium over the 2016 release, which has subsequently climbed 80% in value after being awarded 100 points by Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate. According to the Wine Advocate, prices were up to compensate for production volumes being down in 2017. Full coverage can be found here, including where this vintage lies compared to previous wines on price and score.