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Sauternes – sweet stability in the Bordeaux 500

What’s happening in the market?  

Bordeaux continued to lead trade last week, taking 42.8% of traded value. Château Palmer 2016 and Château Lafite Rothschild 2019 proved the most popular wines of the region. Taking 25.4% of traded value, Burgundy placed second. The region was buoyed by high-value wines, such as Auvenay, Chevalier Montrachet 2013 and several cuvées from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.  

Over the weekend, Château Pontet-Canet 2015 led trade by volume, followed by Alain Voge, Côtes du Rhône Les Peyrouses 2020.  

Today’s deep dive: Sauternes – sweet stability in the Bordeaux 500 

As shown in the chart below, the Sauternes 50 has outperformed all other components of the Bordeaux 500 over the past two years. While the Bordeaux 500 has fallen by 13.2% since June 2022, the Sauternes 50 increased by 1.7%, showing resilience in the face of a declining market.  

Conversely, while the Bordeaux 500 rose sharply with the wider market between mid 2020 and mid 2022, the Sauternes 50 underperformed. Between May 2020 and October 2022 (trough to peak), the Bordeaux 500 index rose by 25.6%, while the Sauternes 50 rose by 1.7%. Overall, the Sauternes 50 has been more resistant to movement in the wider market than other Bordeaux 500 sub-indices. As such, Sauternes may present attractive opportunities for buyers seeking lower-volatility investments during this period of uncertainty.  

The price performance of individual components varies depending on both producer and vintage. Château d’Yquem, the First Growth of the Sauternes, is the most traded wine of the region, with 25 different vintages changing hands so far this year. It has exhibited stable pricing behavior relative to others included in the index. The worst performing component vintage, the 2015, has increased in value by 8.1% over the past five years, while its best performer, the 2013, has increased by 33.9%.  

By contrast, Château Climens exhibits slightly more volatile pricing behavior. Its worst performer, the 2011 has decreased in value by 26.3% since 2019, while its best performer, the 2010, is up 43.3%.  

Sauternes are often noted as some of the best value wines available in Bordeaux. Not only have they demonstrated relative pricing stability in recent years, they may also serve as good entry points for buyers looking to enter the Bordeaux market.  

The table below shows the current average Mid Price and Neal Martin (Vinous) score of each sub index of the Bordeaux 500. Without sacrificing high ratings, components of the Sauternes 50 are, on average, less expensive than components of each other sub-index.  

* prices shown are Liv-ex Mid Prices; the mid-point between the highest live bid and lowest live offer on the market. These are the firm commitments to buy and sell at that price; transactional data, rather than list prices. It represents the actual trading activity of 620+ of the world’s leading fine wine merchants. Because Liv-ex doesn’t itself trade, this data is truly independent and reliable. 

There are currently over 250 live opportunities for Sauternes on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade.