Leoville Barton 2006 Bordeaux at Eight-Month Liv-Ex High

A case of 2006 Chateau Leoville Barton, a Bordeaux second-growth wine estate, fetched 408 pounds ($650) on Liv-ex, taking the vintage to its highest level for eight months amid some signs of increased trading activity.

The sale on Nov. 1 was up from the level of 395 pounds to 400 pounds a case at which it traded in September and 11 percent above the five-year low of 366 pounds in October 2012, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, fell 1.5 percent in October, its sixth month of declines in the past seven, extending a slide which has taken it down more than 5 percent since the end of March. While the index tracks first growths, other wines including some second growths have outperformed it, and an increase in wines with active bids or offers to a record level may signal reviving market interest.

“The market may be tough,” Liv-ex said in its market blog, but “with both active markets and total exposure at record highs, opportunities abound.” Total exposure, measuring the value of bids and offers on Liv-ex, has reached a record 23 million pounds, it said.

This month’s trade in Leoville Barton ’06 compares with the high of 455 pounds a case it reached in September 2011 during a bull market in Bordeaux wine powered by Chinese demand, which has since abated. It is within the range of 345 pounds to 425 pounds at which the wine traded on Liv-ex in May 2007 soon after its release to the market.

Eighteenth-Century Roots

The 2006 Leoville Barton ranks among the estate’s three cheapest wines of the past decade, ahead only of the 2007 and similarly-priced to the 2008, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.

It was rated 91+ on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker in a February 2009 online tasting note, putting it below at least six other vintages in the past 10 years, according to data on the eRobertParker website.

The Barton family, owner of the estate, traces its history in Bordeaux back to 1725, when Thomas Barton arrived in the city from Ireland and went on to found a wine merchant which became Barton & Guestier. For the past three decades the estate has been run by Anthony Barton, who took it over from his uncle Ronald.

Leoville-Barton is in the Saint-Julien district north of Bordeaux and is a neighbor of Chateau Langoa Barton, owned by the same family. Leoville-Barton was designated a second-growth vineyard in the classification drawn up for Napoleon III’s 1855 Paris Exhibition, which remains in force.

Leoville-Barton, covering 45 hectares (111 acres), is planted to 72 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, 20 percent Merlot and 8 percent Cabernet Franc, according to Leoville-Barton’s website.

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