Haut-Brion 2006 Vintage Drops to Three-Year Low of $4,090

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 a three-year low of 2,500 pounds ($4,090) on the Liv-ex wine exchange in the past week.

The transaction on Nov. 29 was 15 percent below this year’s high of 2,950 pounds a case reached in February, according to data on the London-based market’s Cellar Watch website. The price was 4.6 percent below its previous low for this year of 2,620 pounds at which the vintage traded in January.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index tracking top Bordeaux growers has given up all of the gains it made in the first 10 weeks of the year as investors and collectors, deterred by prices of recent wines, have diversified outside the region. The benchmark has declined 9 percent since mid-March, as demand has also switched to some second-tier Bordeaux and to older vintages that may be trading at a discount.

“We’re still selling first growths every day, but they have to be the right price,” Joss Fowler, director of fine wine at London broker Fine+Rare, said in an interview. “There is value there when there is intrinsic value.”

The vintage peaked in June 2011 at 4,136 pounds, since when it has fallen 40 percent, according to Liv-ex data. It has now dropped 7.4 percent below the level of 2,700 pounds a case at which it traded in June 2007, after it was released to the market. It last traded at 2,500 pounds in September 2010.

Clarence Dillon

Haut-Brion is one of the five left-bank first growths in Bordeaux’s 1855 classification, and the 2006 wine is the fourth-cheapest of the past 10 years, ahead of only the 2004s, 2011s 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.

The 2006 vintage was awarded a score of 96 on a 100-point scale by U.S. wine critic Robert Parker in a February 2009 tasting note, putting it among the top five vintages of the past 10 years, according to the eRobertParker.com website.

The most expensive Haut-Brion of the past quarter-century remains its 1989 vintage, which was awarded a perfect 100 points by Parker, as were the 2009 and 2010 wines. One case of the 1989 sold for 10,925 pounds at a Christie’s International Plc auction in London in February, while another fetched 10,810 pounds at a Sotheby’s U.K. sale the same month.

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