Margaux ’99 at $4,800 Is Trading Near 12-Month Low on Liv-Ex

A case of 1999 Chateau Margaux, a Bordeaux first-growth wine estate, sold for 3,000 pounds ($4,800) on Liv-ex yesterday, near its lowest level for a year, as investors look beyond first-growth estates to boost returns.

The price on yesterday’s sale, while 1.7 percent up from the 2,950 pounds which 12 bottles fetched on Sept. 27, still left the vintage below its previous trading band for this year, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

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. The ratio of bids to offers on the London-based online exchange has fallen to its lowest since August last year, according to the exchange.

“Bids are dropping away,” Liv-ex said in a market commentary blog this week. “It would seem that fine wine prices may struggle to rise with the current ratio.”

The Margaux ’99 is trading 25 percent below the 4,000 pound level it reached in April 2011, when Chinese demand for top Bordeaux wines was peaking, although is more than triple the 850 pounds at which it traded back in March 2004, Liv-ex data shows.

The 1999 Margaux ranks as the estate’s seventh highest-priced wine of the past 15 years, trailing those from 2011, 2010, 2009, 2005, 2003 and 2000, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.

First Growth

The vintage was awarded a 94 rating on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker, putting it below at least six subsequent years, according to the website. Vintages since then with higher ratings include the 2000 wine, which was given 100 points, the 2005, which was assigned 98+ points, and the 2003, 2009 and 2010 vintages, which each scored 99 points.

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 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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