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Deck your holiday table with Sauternes this Christmas 

What’s happening in the market? 

Bordeaux’s trade share experienced a minor decline after Tuesday’s trading, currently standing at 36.2% of the total trade by value since last Friday. Pétrus, Château Haut-Brion and Château Latour continue to drive activity in this region. 

Burgundy has seen a slight rebound in its trade share, now accounting for 21.5% of trade by value over the same period. Wines from Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux and Domaine Leroy are the top performers from the region in terms of trading activity.  

Piedmont is also gaining momentum, increasing its trade share from 2.8% on Tuesday to 4.3% currently. Bartolo Mascarello and Gaja wines have actively traded since last Friday. 

Today’s deep-dive: Sauternes: A (liquid) gold mine for buyers and sellers alike

Last month, the fine wine market continued its downward trend, albeit at a slower pace. The Bordeaux 500 index declined 0.8%, as did the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100. However, within the sub-indices of the Bordeaux 500, the Sauternes 50 index stood out by recording a rise of 0.9% month-on-month.  

Year-to-date, the Sauternes 50 has proven to be the most resilient of the Bordeaux sub-indices, only falling by 0.5%. In contrast, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 dropped the most by 9.8%, and the Bordeaux 500 index as a whole recorded a 7.2% decline.  

The Sauternes 50’s strength extends beyond the short term. Over the past two years, it has increased by 10.8%, while the Bordeaux 500 only managed a 2.1% increase during the same period. It’s worth noting that this resilience can be partly attributed to the relatively limited supply of Sauternes and the wine’s costly production process which typically lead to volatile prices. The current uptick in prices provides an opportunity for sellers with stock to shift ahead of the Christmas season.  

However, Sauternes is also a compelling opportunity in that it represents an affordable entry point into Bordeaux fine wines. Closing at 126.51 at the end of August, the Sauternes 50 index is the lowest among the Bordeaux 500 sub-indices by far. These low prices, however, are not reflective of the time and craftsmanship that goes into producing a bottle of sweet wine, as all amateurs of Sauternes will know.  

Château d’Yquem, the First Growth of Sauternes, remains the most popular Sauternes on the secondary market this year, accounting for 87.8% of trade by value. This can be partly attributed to its high price point compared to other wines from the region (with an average Market Price of £2,800 per case for the last ten vintages), but also to the exceptional quality associated with the wines. Several vintages, such as the 2009, 2014, 2017 and 2020 have all received scores of 97 points from Neal Martin. Furthermore, Lisa Perrotti-Brown awarded the 2009 vintage 100 points. 

However, there is more to Sauternes than Yquem. Châteaux Rieussec and Suduiraut, which have lower price points, captured 9.7% and 2.5% of the Sauternes market respectively in 2023, and are an affordable option for buyers looking for value. 

Sauternes opportunities under £500 a case 

Looking at current opportunities within the Sauternes 50, Château Rieussec 2010 is worth considering. This wine received 96 points from Neal Martin and has a current Market Price of £348 per case, although it last changed hands at £295 per case (15.2% below its Market Price).  

Château Rieussec 2010 trades on Liv-ex 

The 2015 Château Rieussec, which was also rated 94 points, is another attractive option, with a Market Price of £340 per case. 

Château Suduiraut’s 2019 vintage, scored 97 points by Neal Martin, should appeal to buyers looking for quality at a lower price; the wine has a Market Price of £358 per case. For those seeking an even higher-scoring option, the 2009 vintage, with 98 points from Neal Martin, is available for £473 per case. 

There are currently 300 LIVE opportunities for Sauternes on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade. 

In case you missed it 

Here’s what we’ve been reading: 

  • Liv-ex: Viñedo Chadwick 2021 released on La Place de Bordeaux 
  • The Drinks Business: Napa and Pacific Northwest wine auction bags almost $2m 
  • Reuters: China keeps benchmark rates unchanged as economy finds footing 

Liv-ex analysis is drawn from the world’s most comprehensive database of fine wine prices. The data reflects the real time activity of Liv-ex’s 620+ merchant members from across the globe. Together they represent the largest pool of liquidity in the world – currently £100m of bids and offers across 20,000 wines.         

Independent data, direct from the market.