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Bordeaux 1990-2020 – The best of the back vintages

What’s happening in the market? 

Bordeaux has led trade since last Friday, accounting for 38.4% of total trade by value, closely followed by Burgundy with 31.8%. Château Pavie 2016 was the most-traded wine by value and volume; Château Lafite Rothschild 2010 also changed hands, as did Château Giscours 2009.  

From Burgundy, wines from Domaines Bonneau du Martray, Georges Roumier and Dujac were active on the exchange. Champagne recorded an uptick, buoyed by trades of Louis Roederer, Cristal 2006 and Dom Pérignon 2013

Tuscany accounted for 10.4% of trade since last Friday, with Rampolla Sammarco 2019 and Fattoria Le Pupille, Toscana Saffredi 2020 changing hands. 

Today’s deep-dive: Bordeaux 1990-2020 – The best of the back vintages 

Ahead of the 2023 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign, the trade is waiting to see if last year’s feedback was considered. 

As we wrote in last campaign’s closing report, the steady rise in recent Bordeaux EP release prices has begun to undermine the En Primeur system. To many regular buyers, the campaign no longer presents an opportunity to acquire high-quality wines at an advantageous price. Too often wines of similar quality and pedigree and considerable bottle age are available in the physical market. Therefore, buying wines En Primeur (with all the risks attached) at a premium simply makes no economic sense. 

That said, looking back at 30 years of Bordeaux vintages*, several things stand out. One is that wine is constantly getting better – at least according to major critics. From 1990 to 1999, the average score of the 26 wines considered below was 89 points, compared with 92.6 for 2000-2009 and 94 points for 2010-2019.  

The second is that despite the fact that on average the 2018 vintage is priced about the same as a vintage 20 years its senior (the 1999 has an average Market Price of £1,954 per case compared to the 2018’s £1,950), the almost 6-point difference in average score could for many justify the premium. If storage costs are no object and critical acclaim is the sole decision factor, then these younger vintages may well be worth their price (but 2019 seems to be the way to go, with a higher average score and a lower Market Price). 

Buyers looking for relative value may find the 2014 vintage looks compelling, with an average score of 94 points and an average Market Price of £1,578 per case. With slightly more years in bottle, the 2008 could also be a good option.  

There are 212 LIVE bids and offers for Bordeaux 2014 on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade.  

If only the highest-rated vintages are of interest, then the 2005 stands out. It has a similar average Market Price to the 2009/2010, but it also boasts close to 20 years in bottle and a higher average critic score of 95.8 points.  

There are 177 LIVE bids and offers for Bordeaux 2005 on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade. 

Of the 2009/2010 duo, the latter appears to be a more compelling option thanks to its higher average critic score and lower average Market Price. Between the 2015 and 2016, once again the latter comes out on top; the marginally higher Market Price is backed by a critic score a whole point higher on average.  

There are 1,494 LIVE bids and offers for Bordeaux 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016 on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade. 

Looking back at the 1990s, 1995 looks to offer relative value compared to its peers, with an average score of 92 points and a Market Price of £2,287 per case. While the 1990 has an ever-so-slightly higher average score of 92.3 points, its average Market Price is almost double the 1995’s at £4,132 per 12×75.  

There are 61 LIVE bids and offers for Bordeaux 1995 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: Screaming Eagle 2021 leads weekly trade 
  • The drinks business: The Macallan launches new limited release 
  • Financial Times: China cuts mortgage-linked lending rate by record amount to aid property market 

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.