Margaux ’96 Selling at $7,270 Trades Near 3-1/2 Year Liv-Ex Low

A case of 1996 Chateau Margaux, a Bordeaux first-growth wine estate, sold for 4,555 pounds ($7,270) on Liv-ex, near the 3-1/2 year low it touched last month as demand for the region’s top wines weakened.

The price on yesterday’s sale was little changed from the 4,550 pound level at which 12 bottles changed hands on Oct. 1, and was just 4 percent above the 4,400 pounds at which a case sold on Sept. 23. All three transactions took place below the vintage’s previous trading band for this year.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, tracking leading Bordeaux vintages, has declined since March 15, paring an 8 percent gain made in the previous 11 weeks to leave it 1 percent up since the start of this year.

Bordeaux’s share of trade “remains low,” Liv-ex said in its October market report. In the past month “buyers continued to eschew the region in favor of wines from beyond the Gironde.”

The wine is trading 34 percent below the 6,900 pound peak it reached in March 2011 at the height of Asian demand for Bordeaux wines, although more than double the 1,890 pounds at which it traded in October 2002, Liv-ex data shows.

The 1996 Margaux ranks as the estate’s fifth highest-priced wine of the past 20 years, trailing only those from 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2000, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.

The vintage was awarded a 99 rating on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker, putting it among the six highest-ranked Margaux wines of the past quarter century, according to the website.

First Growth

Chateau Margaux, whose wines have been sold in London since the early 18th century, was acquired in 1977 by Greek retail magnate Andre Mentzelopoulos and has been run since his death in 1980 by his daughter Corinne.

The estate has 80 hectares (198 acres) planted with red-grape vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc and 12 hectares planted with white Sauvignon Blanc.

It produces an annual average 130,000 bottles of its main wine, a similar quantity of second wine Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux and 15,000 bottles of white Pavillon Blanc, according to its website.

The vineyard is on the left bank of the Gironde estuary and ranked among the top Medoc first-growth estates in the classification drawn up for Napoleon III’s 1855 Paris Exhibition, which remains in force.

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