A case of 2004 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, a Medoc first-growth wine estate, sold for 2,880 pounds ($4,550) on Liv-ex yesterday, approaching its highest price since June and taking its gain this year to 11 percent.
The transaction was 1.8 percent up from a five-month low of 2,828 pounds a case at which it traded in mid-July. A second case also sold on the market this week for 2,850 pounds.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, has risen 4 percent this year, with gains since mid-August following a price slide from its 2013 peak in March. While a muted investor response to the Bordeaux 2012 sales campaign sapped appetite for older vintages in recent months, there are signs of revival following a summer lull.
“The market has settled down now,” said Peter Shakeshaft, chief executive officer and founder of Redhill, U.K.-based Vin-X Ltd., a wine investment company. First growths “can’t go lower, in my opinion.”
Mouton ’04 is selling at quadruple the price of 700 pounds a case at which it traded in September 2005, after its release to the market, although 24 percent down from the record 3,780 pounds a case in May 2011, at the height of the bull market for Bordeaux first-growths. A case sold for as much as $6,765 at an Acker Merrall & Condit auction in Hong Kong in March 2011.
“Left-bank Bordeaux may be out of fashion, but it would seem that brand Mouton continues to hold appeal for buyers,” Liv-ex wrote in its market blog last month.
The 2004 Mouton ranks as the Pauillac estate’s third-cheapest wine of the past 10 years, ahead only of the 2007 and 2012, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild has 84 hectares (208 acres) planted with red-grape vines. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 83 percent of the vineyard, Merlot 14 percent and Cabernet Franc the remaining 3 percent.
The average age of the vines is 44 years and they are planted at a density of 10,000 per hectare on gravel. The wine is fermented in oak vats for 15 to 25 days, and then matured for as long as 22 months in barrels, according to Mouton-Rothschild’s website.
The vineyard, owned by Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, was promoted in 1973 to the ranks of the top Bordeaux first-growth estates on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, joining the four other estates designated in the classification drawn up for Napoleon III’s 1855 Paris Exhibition.
Mouton has been under the control of the Rothschild family since being acquired by Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild in 1853. The property was developed extensively by Baron Philippe, who ran the estate from 1922 until his death in 1988, and since then managed by his daughter Philippine.
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