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Domaines Rothschild’s Duhart-Milon ’09 Reaches Record Liv-Ex Low

Bordeaux Wines
Bottles of wine, from left, Carrauades de Lafite, Chateau Duhart-Milon, and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, are displayed at Chateau Duhart-Milon during a tasting in Bordeaux, France, in this 2010 file photo. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

Seventy-two bottles of 2009 Chateau Duhart-Milon, a Bordeaux estate with links to Chateau Lafite Rothschild, sold for a record-low 570 pounds ($933) a case on Liv-ex amid weakening demand for the region’s wines.

Yesterday’s sale, taking the form of 12 half-cases, was 11 percent below the 640 pounds at which five cases traded last month and 24 percent down from its 2013 high of 752 pounds in April, according to Liv-ex data on its Cellar Watch website. The previous low of 600 pounds a case was touched in November 2012.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index of top Bordeaux wines has fallen about 2 percent since the start of 2013, with declines since mid-March erasing gains in the first 10 weeks of the year. Investors and collectors have sought diversification since the Bordeaux market peaked in 2011, and first-growth wines and those associated with them have been among those leading the retreat.

Bordeaux is “under pressure,” Liv-ex said in its latest market report. Price declines last month “resulted in the Liv-ex indices dropping to their lowest level in 2013.”

The vintage sold for as much as 1,250 pounds a case in May 2011 and is now 9.5 percent below the 630 pounds at which it traded in May 2010 as it came to market, according to Liv-ex data on Cellar Watch.

Estate Purchase

Duhart-Milon is owned by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), which controls Lafite Rothschild, and the estates in Pauillac are neighbors. Duhart-Milon, classified as a fourth-growth estate, is managed by the same team as first-growth Lafite, led by Charles Chevallier, using the same techniques.

The Rothschild family bought Duhart-Milon in 1962, and its vineyards now cover 76 hectares (188 acres), according to the producer’s website. Its vines, with an average age of 30 years, comprise 67 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 33 percent Merlot.

Duhart-Milon’s 2009 wines are its second most expensive of the past five years, lagging behind only the 2010 vintage, according to merchant data compiled by Liv-ex on Cellar Watch.

The 2009 wines were awarded a 97 rating on a 100-point scale by U.S. wine critic Robert Parker, higher than its preceding vintages. He described it in a February 2012 online tasting note as “the most concentrated and broadest example of this cuvee I have tasted in over three decades.”

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