Margaux ’08 Falls to 13-Month Low as First Growths Face Pressure

Three cases of 2008 Chateau Margaux, a first-growth wine estate in the Medoc region north of Bordeaux, sold for 2,850 pounds ($4,680) each on Liv-ex in the past week, taking the vintage to a 13-month low amid selling pressure on the region’s top wines.

The 12-bottle trades, on Dec. 5, Dec. 9 and Dec. 10, were 13 percent down from the high for this year of 3,290 pounds on the London-based Liv-ex market in February, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

The Liv-Ex Fine Wine 50 Index has declined for seven of the past eight months, and its 2.4 percent drop in November was the biggest monthly retreat since July 2012, according to Liv-ex data. The benchmark, focused on recent vintages of Bordeaux’s five first-growth wines, has fallen almost 10 percent since mid-March as investors and collectors have turned more to lower-priced growers elsewhere in the region and beyond, or focused on older wines from the 1990s.

While prices have returned to a “reasonable level,” younger vintages aren’t ready for drinking yet and “there’s mountains of stock available,” Peter Lunzer, founder of Lunzer Wine Investments in London, said in a phone interview.

The 2008 vintage of Margaux has still risen 81 percent from the 1,575 pound price at which it traded in April 2009 when it first came to market, according to Liv-ex data. It has fallen 49 percent from its peak of 5,600 pounds reached in February 2011 at the height of the bull market in first-growth Bordeaux, and is trading at its lowest level since November 2012.

Left-Bank Estate

The 2008 Margaux ranks as the estate’s second-cheapest wine of the past five years, ahead only of the 2012 vintage, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.

The vintage was awarded a 94 rating on a 100-point scale in a May 2011 tasting note by U.S. critic Robert Parker, putting it above the 2007 vintage while leaving it trailing the 2009 and 2010 wines, according to the website.

A case of Chateau Margaux 2008 fetched $5,145 at a Christie’s International Plc sale in New York last month, according to the auction house’s website.

Greek retail magnate Andre Mentzelopoulos bought Chateau Margaux, whose wines have been sold in London since the early 18th century, in 1977. It has been run since his death in 1980 by daughter Corinne.

The estate has 80 hectares (198 acres) planted with red-grape vines of 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 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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