A case of 1998 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, a Medoc first-growth estate, fetched 3,350 pounds ($5,500) on Liv-ex this week as Bordeaux vintages now available for drinking attracted demand in preference to younger wines.
The deal, on Jan. 7, marked a rebound from the eight-month low price of 3,120 pounds set in October, and took it to within 5 percent of the 18-month high of 3,500 pounds a case set in May, according to data on the London-based market’s Cellar Watch website. A similar case sold for 3,334 pounds yesterday.
While the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index tracking top Bordeaux wines has declined for each of the past three years, and for eight of the nine months since March, there are signs that some investors and collectors, deterred by prices of recent vintages, are seeking older clarets or diversifying outside the region.
While the broader Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index also recorded a third straight annual decline, marking “an unprecedented event for the fine wine market, it should be noted that the yearly declines are themselves declining,” Liv-ex said in a blog commentary. “Broader Bordeaux indices performed better.”
The Liv-ex Bordeaux 500, comprising 10 vintages each from 50 producers, gained 0.8 percent last year, indicating wider demand for wines outside the five first-growth estates of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, Mouton and Chateau Haut Brion represented in the Liv-ex 50.
The 1998 vintage of Mouton is still 25 percent below its peak of 4,441 pounds at which it traded in March 2011 as Chinese demand for Bordeaux first growths was driving prices, according to data on Cellar Watch.
The 1998 Mouton ranks as the Pauillac estate’s ninth most-expensive wine of the past 15 years, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex. It is trading at more than triple the level of 900 pounds for which it sold on Liv-ex in March 2003.
The higher price for the 1998 vintage this week came after a case of Mouton 2000 fetched a record 10,500 pounds on Liv-ex on Dec. 13, according to data on Cellar Watch. The trend in the 2000 vintage has been up, with the price gaining 26 percent in the past 16 months.
Mouton Rothschild has 84 hectares (208 acres) planted with red-grape vines. The vines have an average age of 44 years and are planted at a density of 10,000 per hectare, according to Mouton’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.