Haut-Brion ’08 Recoups 25% of Decline to Trade at 10-Month High

A case of Chateau Haut-Brion 2008, a first-growth Bordeaux from Pessac-Leognan, sold for 3,100 pounds ($4,800) on the London Liv-ex wine exchange April 12, its highest level in 10 months, according to Liv-ex data.

The vintage was fetching as little as 2,400 pounds a case in January, its lowest price since February 2010, before recovering on Liv-ex over the past two months. The advance, while recouping 25 percent of the past two years’ decline, still left the wine trading 40 percent below its Liv-ex peak of 5,190 pounds reached in June 2011.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index has risen 10 percent since November, when it touched a 31-month low. A 0.3 percent gain in March, following a 2.9 percent increase in February, was its fourth straight advance. A rebound in Bordeaux first-growth wines such as Haut-Brion after the selloff has lifted the index.

“I still believe Bordeaux will outperform Burgundy in the short term,” Miles Davis, partner in London-based Wine Asset Managers LLP, with $20 million under management, said in a phone interview. “It’s been good since November, very steady.”

Haut-Brion is one of the five left-bank first growths in Bordeaux’s 1855 classification, and the 2008 wine is the cheapest of its past four vintages. The estate, which has been making wine for more than 400 years, was bought in 1935 by U.S. financier Clarence Dillon and is still owned by his descendants.

1989 Vintage

Haut-Brion’s most expensive wine of the past quarter-century remains its 1989 vintage, which was awarded a perfect 100-point score by U.S. wine critic Robert Parker. One case sold for 10,925 pounds at a Christie’s International Plc auction in London on Feb. 21 while another fetched 10,810 pounds at a Sotheby’s U.K. sale the same month.

Haut-Brion 2008 has still fallen more than any of the estate’s previous nine vintages over the past 12 months, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex, and the wine is the third-biggest decliner by that measure in the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 over the past year, trailing only Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2008 and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 2000.

Wines Falling Most in Past 12 Months on Liv-ex Fine Wine 50

Producer           Vintage         % Change
                                 (12 months)
Mouton               2008           -19.9%
Lafite               2000           -17.1%
Haut-Brion           2008           -17.1%
Lafite               2008           -17.0%
Haut-Brion           1999           -15.4%

Wines Gaining Most in Past 12 Months on Liv-ex Fine Wine 50

Producer Vintage % Change (12 months) Latour 1999 +10.6% Margaux 2001 +9.0% Margaux 2004 +6.7% Mouton 2003 +6.1% Margaux 2002 +5.3%