Chateau d’Yquem ’06 Sauternes Drops to Record Low $3,350 a Case

Photographer: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images

Wine barrels are stored in a cave of the Chateau d'Yquem in Sauternes, France. Close

Wine barrels are stored in a cave of the Chateau d'Yquem in Sauternes, France.

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Photographer: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images

Wine barrels are stored in a cave of the Chateau d'Yquem in Sauternes, France.

A 12-bottle consignment of 2006 Chateau d’Yquem, Bordeaux’s top-ranked Sauternes dessert wine, sold for a record low 2,100 pounds ($3,350) on the Liv-ex market this week as demand remained muted for the region’s top growers.

The wine sold for 14 percent less than the 2,430 pounds at which it traded in January and 34 percent down from its November 2011 peak of 3,200 pounds, according to data on London-based Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

While much 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 regained 3.5 percent this year. Investor attention has been switching to wines from other regions, and Sauternes dessert wines typically command lower prices than comparable Bordeaux reds.

The Sauternes 50 Liv-ex sub-index for Bordeaux dessert wines is a “perennial underperformer,” which declined further last month, according to a recent Liv-ex market blog commentary.

Yquem 2006 has sold at lower prices at auction this year, with two cases fetching 1,755 pounds each at a Christie’s International Plc sale in London in June, according to results on its website.

Yquem’s 2006 vintage is only its sixth-most expensive of the 10 most recent traded years, and sells for less than half the price of the 2009 and 2010 wines, according to merchant prices tracked by Liv-ex.

The 2006 Yquem was awarded a range of 96-98+ points out of 100 by U.S. wine critic Robert Parker in an online tasting note in February 2009, according to the eRobertParker website.

Chateau d’Yquem is owned by Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC), the world’s largest luxury goods maker, which is 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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