Chateau Haut-Brion ’06 Bordeaux Drops to Nine-Month Liv-Ex Low

A case of Chateau Haut-Brion 2006, a first-growth Bordeaux from the Pessac-Leognan district on the south side of the city, sold for 2,700 pounds ($4,340) on the Liv-ex wine exchange this week, its lowest level in nine months.

The transaction was 8.5 percent below this year’s high of 2,950 pounds a case reached in February, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch web site. Yesterday’s price was 1.5 percent above the level of 2,660 pounds at which the vintage traded in October last year.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index has given up almost all of the gains it made in the first 10 weeks of the year as investors deterred by prices of recent Bordeaux wines have diversified outside the region. It fell 1.5 percent in October, its sixth month of decline in the past seven and extending a slide which has taken it down about 6 percent since the end of March.

“So far in 2013, Bordeaux has accounted for 82.6 percent of all trade by value, compared to 87.2 percent in 2012 and 93.2 percent in 2011,” Liv-ex said in its Cellar Watch monthly market report, describing recent trading as “muted.”

The vintage peaked in June 2011 at 4,136 pounds, since when it has declined 35 percent, according to Liv-ex data. It has now returned to the same level at which it traded in June 2007, when it was first released to the market.

Clarence Dillon

Haut-Brion is one of the five left-bank first growths in Bordeaux’s 1855 classification, and the 2006 wine is the third-cheapest of the past 10 years, ahead of only the 2004s and 2012s, according to Liv-ex data. 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.

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.