A case of 2006 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, a Medoc first-growth wine estate, sold for 3,875 pounds ($5,875) on the Liv-ex market, a three-month low and down 9 percent from its high for this year as demand weakened.
The transaction on July 16 was 35 percent below the record 5,935 pounds a case at which it traded in April 2011 at the height of the bull market for Bordeaux.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, fell 2 percent in the second quarter after gaining 7 percent in the first three months, and has slipped further during July to trade just 4 percent up on the year. A muted investor response to the Bordeaux 2012 sales campaign of the past three months has also sapped appetite for older vintages.
“My view is the first growths are going to find it increasingly difficult to maintain their price differential,” Stephen Williams, founder of the London-based Antique Wine Company, said by phone this week. “The market is much more value-sensitive.”
The 2006 Mouton ranks as the Pauillac estate’s fourth highest-priced wine of the past 10 years, lagging only those from 2010, 2009 and 2005, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.
The vintage was awarded a 98+ rating on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker, putting it among the three highest-ranked Mouton wines of the past quarter century, according to the eRobertParker.com website.
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild has 84 hectares (207 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 between 15 and 25 days, and then matured for as many 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.