Chateau d’Yquem ’90 Extends Decline to Lowest Level Since 2009

A case of 1990 Chateau d’Yquem, Bordeaux’s top-ranked Sauternes dessert wine, sold for 2,700 pounds ($4,050) on the Liv-ex market yesterday, extending a 15-month drop and taking it to its lowest level since October 2009.

The wine sold for 20 percent less than the 3,380 pounds at which it traded in March last year, having peaked at 3,400 pounds in September 2011, according to data on London-based Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

While the start of the vintage’s decline mirrored a broader drop in the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index during the first half of last year, it has continued to retreat even as the index has recovered since November, partly as investor attention has switched to wines from more recent years.

“Market sentiment is more positive than the indices might suggest,” Liv-ex said in its monthly Cellar Watch market report this week, citing a 20 percent increase in overall trading volume.

Yquem’s 1990 vintage is its fourth most expensive of the past two decades, lagging only those of 2010, 2009 and 2001, according to merchant prices tracked by Liv-ex. It’s still 69 percent higher than its level of 1,600 pounds 10 years ago.

The 1990 Yquem was awarded 99 points out of 100 by U.S. wine critic Robert Parker, according to the eRobertParker website. Of its wines from the intervening years, only the 2001 is currently rated higher at 100 points.

Chateau d’Yquem is owned by Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC), the world’s largest luxury goods maker led by billionaire Bernard Arnault. The wine estate is managed by Pierre Lurton, who also has responsibility for Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint-Emilion.

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