Haut-Brion ’05 at $6,830 a Case Reaches Seven-Year Low

Twelve bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion 2005, a first-growth Bordeaux, sold for 4,100 pounds ($6,830) on Liv-ex this week, its lowest price since 2006 as demand for recent vintages from top estates remained restrained.

The sale on Feb. 19 was 21 percent below last year’s high of 5,160 pounds a case in March, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. This week’s low fell within 5 percent of the November 2006 level of 3,920 pounds. A further six bottles fetched the per-case equivalent of 4,200 pounds on Feb. 19.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index has dropped 1 percent since the start of this year after falling 3 percent last year, 10 percent in 2012 and 17 percent in 2011. Muted investor demand for top Bordeaux cut the proportion of first-growth wines traded on Liv-ex to 18 percent of trade by value at the end of last month from a more typical level of 35 percent.

“The poor sentiment towards brand Bordeaux prevalent since mid-2011 will end at some point,” Miles Davis, a partner at London-based Wine Asset Managers LLP, wrote in a market blog. “Exactly when remains uncertain.”

The vintage peaked in June 2008 at 7,900 pounds and has declined 48 percent since then, according to Liv-ex data. It is still 42 percent up from the level of 2,880 pounds a case in June 2006, as it started trading on the Liv-ex market.

Clarence Dillon

Haut-Brion is one of the five left-bank first growths in Bordeaux’s 1855 classification, and the 2005 wine is the third most expensive of the past 10 available years, 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. It is situated in the Pessac-Leognan region on the south side of the city.

The 2005 wine scored 98 points from U.S. critic Robert Parker in April 2008, making it the third-highest rated vintage of the past 10 years, according to the eRobertParker website.

Haut-Brion’s most expensive wine of the past quarter-century remains its 1989 vintage, which was awarded a perfect 100-point score by Parker. One case sold for 10,925 pounds at a Christie’s International Plc auction in London in February last year while another fetched 10,810 pounds at a Sotheby’s U.K. sale the same month.

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