A case of 2008 wine from Chateau Pontet-Canet, a Pauillac estate north of Bordeaux, sold for 580 pounds ($926) on the Liv-ex market in London last week, near a three-year low amid weakening demand for top Bordeaux labels.
The transaction was at the same level as one on Sept. 30 and compared with the 578 pounds a case at which 24 bottles changed hands on Sept. 23, the lowest level since April 2010, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. The vintage traded as high as 630 pounds on Oct. 3.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index has been falling since mid-March following a muted response to the sales campaign for Bordeaux 2012 wine futures. While gains in the first 10 weeks of the year mean it has still risen 1 percent since the end of December, the London wine market has also had to grapple with the effects of a sterling rally against the dollar since July.
“It makes things difficult for sterling wine prices,” Chris Smith, an investment manager at The Wine Investment Fund in London, said by phone Oct. 11. The fund, invested in Bordeaux, manages $50 million.
Pontet-Canet, a neighbor of first-growth estate Chateau Mouton Rothschild, has 81 hectares (200 acres) of vineyards and traces its history back to the 18th century. It has been owned since 1975 by the Tesseron family, according to its website.
The vines, comprising 62 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 32 percent Merlot, 4 percent Cabernet Franc and 2 percent Petit Verdot, have an average age of 40 to 45 years and are planted at a density of 9,500 per hectare.
The current trading level is little changed from the 575 pounds a case at which it fetched in May 2009 soon after its release to the market. It fell as low as 490 pounds in both August 2009 and March 2010 before rallying, according to Cellar Watch data.
The vintage’s peak came in June 2011, amid strong Chinese buying interest in Bordeaux, when three cases sold for 887 pounds each, according to the data. Its Liv-ex high this year of 667 pounds was reached in May, while four cases sold at a Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. sale in Chicago in February for $1,314 each, according to results on the auction house’s website.
Pontet-Canet’s 2008 vintage is the second-cheapest of the past five years, ahead only of the 2012, and trades at less than half the level of the 2009 and 2010 wines, according to Cellar Watch data.
The 2008 wines were assigned 96 points on a 100-point scoring system by U.S. critic Robert Parker, and were followed by two perfect 100-point scores for the 2009 and 2010 vintages.
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