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Price performance of ‘on’ and ‘off’ Bordeaux vintages

What’s happening in the market?  

So far this week, Bordeaux has continued to lead the market, taking 39.9% of traded value. Though falling slightly from its close at 41.0% on Friday, the region was buoyed by trades of high-value wines, including the 2021 and 2019 vintages of Petrus.  

Champagne overtook Burgundy in second place, with an 19.6% share of traded value. Large volumes of Bollinger R.D. 2008 changed hands, alongside the 2004 vintages of Charles Heidsieck’s Blanc de Millénaires and Laurent Perrier’s Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rosé.  

After a weak close last week, Tuscany saw increased demand, with several vintages of Tenuta san Guido’s Sassicaia and Soldera Case Basse’s 100% Sangiovese changing hands.  

Today’s deep dive: price performance of on vs. off vintages 

While different terroirs and producers attain varying levels of quality within vintages, we can broadly identify some years in Bordeaux as great, and some as less impressive. Today we consider the price performance of ‘on’ vintages (2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016) vis à vis ‘off’ vintages (2002, 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2017) for the First Growths. 

Considering the First Growths from 2000 to present, 2000 is the best-performing vintage, up, on average, 501.7% since release. This, however, is largely attributable to the novelty of the Millenium and Château Mouton Rothschild’s commemorative labelling. Meanwhile, 2009 has been the worst performing, on average down 25.6%. This comes despite the impressive critical response to the vintage. Jancis Robinson, for example, in her Bordeaux vintage report, described 2009 as potentially the ‘vintage of the decade/century’.  

The release of the 2009s coincided with a period of sustained high growth in the market, and a sudden spike in demand from China. With producers and merchants seeking to capitalise on this boom, the 2009s were released, on average, 440.5% above the 2008 release prices. In mid 2011, the market turned, and prices of the First Growths dropped with it.  

2009 First Growth performance 

*made using the Liv-ex Charting Tool.  

Each vintage between 2000 and 2004 has seen an increase of over 200% since release. This includes ‘off’ vintages 2002 and 2004, up by an average of 485.2% and 329.8% respectively. 2005, a famously great vintage, has seen a relatively slight increase of 60.1%. The 2005’s were released into a highly speculative period for the fine wine market, with the universalisation of broadband allowing for increased demand and trade. Emboldened by high scores during En Primeur, producers more than tripled their release prices.  

‘Off’ vintages, significantly cheaper on average than ‘on’ vintages may present good opportunities for buyers to enter the market – especially those looking to eventually drink the wine. While the 2000 vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild, embossed with the Augsburg Ram, may hold value as a collector’s item, the 2017 was scored five points higher by Neal Martin. They are available at Market Prices of £9,964 and £4,950 respectively (12×75). 

The higher price tags of ‘on’ vintages, however, present buyers with an opportunity. Great vintages have high release prices, however when the market turns, these prices undergo a swift correction. Return on investment will be better when buying the dip of an ‘on’ vintage than an ‘off’ vintage. Buying Château Lafite Rothschild 2005 in July 2020 and selling in October 2022, for example, would have yielded a profit of £1,700. Buying and selling Lafite 2007 at the same times would have yielded a profit of only £900.  

2005 First Growth performance

*made using the Liv-ex Charting Tool. 

As shown in the chart above, when rescored by Robert Parker in early 2015, all five of the 2005 First Growths saw an uptick in price, relative to the Liv-ex 1000. In his rescoring, he upgraded 12 scores to a perfect 100 points. Though 10 of these wines hailed from the Right Bank, wines from across Bordeaux saw increased demand. 

Soon, critics will be rescoring the 2015s, which may result in renewed interest in the vintage. Château Mouton Rothschild 2015 last traded at £4,070 per 12×75, 9.6% below its Market Price. Château Margaux 2015, Paul Pontallier’s last vintage and produced with a commemorative label, last traded at £9,568, slightly above its Market Price.  

There are 505 LIVE opportunities of Bordeaux 2015 on Liv-ex. Log into your exchange to view them.

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.