Montrose ’03 at Five-Month Low Still Shows 12% Gain This Year

A case of 2003 Chateau Montrose, a second-growth wine estate in Saint-Estephe, sold for 1,410 pounds ($2,310) on Liv-ex yesterday, a five-month low for the vintage while still 12 percent higher than the end of last year.

The deal took the wine down 2.8 percent from its high for this year in July of 1,450 pounds and close to the level of 1,400 at which it sold in June, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. That still leaves it outperforming the market’s benchmark in 2013.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, tracking leading Bordeaux vintages, has declined since mid-March, erasing an 8 percent gain made in the previous 10 weeks to leave it 2.3 percent down since the start of this year as investors and collectors sought value outside of the Bordeaux first growths, some looking to second-growth wines and older vintages.

“Once again pressure fell on the most recently physical vintages,” Liv-ex said in its latest Cellar Watch market report. Bordeaux’s share of trading “reached a four-month high in November, but at 82 percent was still significantly lower than its 87 percent market share this time last year,” it said.

Montrose 2003 fetched as much as 900 pounds a case in June 2004 soon after it went on sale, and is now trading 57 percent above that level. It peaked at 1,800 pounds in June 2011, as Chinese demand for top Bordeaux was at its height, and dropped back to 1,261 pounds a case by Dec. 30 last year.

European Auctions

Even after the recent decline, two cases of Montrose 2003 still fetched 1,351 pounds each at a Sotheby’s sale in London last month, while 12 bottles sold for 2,340 Swiss francs ($2,620) at a Christie’s International Plc sale in Geneva in May, according to the auction houses’s websites.

The 2003 Montrose is the estate’s third highest-priced vintage of the past 20 years, according to merchant data collated by Liv-ex.

It scored 97+ points from U.S. wine critic Robert Parker in a tasting note in April 2006, putting it among the grower’s top four vintages of the past half-century, according the eRobertParker website. Parker said in a 2005 online tasting note that the wine comprised 62 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, 34 percent Merlot and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Chateau Montrose has been owned since 2006 by Martin and Olivier Bouygues, who run Paris-based construction and media company Bouygues SA. The estate is ranked as a second-growth vineyard in the Bordeaux classification drawn up for Napoleon III’s 1855 Paris Exhibition. That puts it among the top 20 producers in the Medoc region, which is to the northwest of the city.

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