A case of 2006 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, a Medoc first-growth wine estate, sold for 3,715 pounds ($5,930) on the Liv-ex market in the past week, near a seven-month low amid weakening demand for top Bordeaux vintages.
The transaction on Oct. 11 was 0.9 percent down from a trade at 3,750 pounds the previous day, and just 1.8 percent above the 3,650 pounds at which it sold on Oct. 3, the lowest level on Liv-ex for the vintage since February, according to data on the London-based market’s Cellar Watch website.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, has fallen 6 percent since mid-March after gains of 8 percent in the first 10 weeks of this year, leaving it up less than 2 percent since the end of 2012. Collectors’ reluctance to buy Bordeaux 2012 wine futures has combined with a sterling rally against the dollar since July to discourage investors.
“There’s been quite a big exchange effect in the last month,” Chris Smith, an investment manager at The Wine Investment Fund in London, said by telephone. “It’s pretty striking.” The fund, invested in Bordeaux, manages $50 million.
Mouton ’06 is 12 percent below this year’s March peak of 4,240 pounds and is 37 percent down from its record 5,935 pounds reached in April 2011 at the height of Chinese demand for Bordeaux first growths.
The vintage is still up 6 percent for this year, and is 13 percent above the 3,300 pounds at which it traded in July 2007 soon after its release to the market.
In the auction rooms, Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. sold one case for $6,572.50 and six others for $5,975 each in Chicago in June, while a separate 12-bottle lot fetched $7,767.50 including fees at a Hart sale last month, according to its online results.
The 2006 Mouton still ranks as the Pauillac estate’s fourth most-expensive wine of the past 10 years, lagging only the 2010, 2009 and 2005, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.
The 2006 Mouton was given a rating of 98+ points on a 100-point scale by U.S. wine critic Robert Parker, putting it among the estate’s top five wines of the past half century, according to data on the eRobertParker.com website.
Parker said in a February 2009 tasting note that only 44 percent of the Mouton harvest that year went into its main wine, the lowest percentage in more than 50 years, boosting quality. “The selection process has been ratcheted up to the level of other first-growths, and that is reflected in what is clearly the greatest Mouton produced since 1982 and 1986,” he wrote.
Parker also said the wine would need “at least 20 years to reach a teenage status, and probably will not hit its plateau of maturity for three decades.”
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 has been managed by his daughter Philippine.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Sillitoe at email@example.com