Cheval Blanc ’04 Bordeaux Advances to Six-Month High

A case of 2004 Chateau Cheval Blanc, a Saint-Emilion estate, sold for 2,763 pounds ($4,600) on Liv-ex, its highest level for six months, amid some signs of investor and collector demand for Bordeaux right-bank wines.

The sale yesterday, following a yearlong price slide in top Bordeaux, was 4 percent above the level of 2,650 pounds to which the vintage fell at the end of last year, according to data on the London-based market’s Cellar Watch website.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top claret, fell 1.2 percent in February, its sixth straight month of declines after drops of 3 percent last year and 10 percent in 2012. Investors deterred by prices of recent Bordeaux vintages have looked to older wines, as well as to growers beyond first growths on the left bank of the Gironde, for diversification.

“The bulls in the wine story point to the fact that Burgundy has generally risen in price and so have a handful of wines on the Bordeaux right bank,” Peter Lunzer, founder of Lunzer Wine Investments in London, said in a market report.

This week’s price was 16 percent below the 3,275-pound level which Cheval Blanc ’04 reached on Liv-ex in June and July 2011, when Asian demand for top Bordeaux was driving prices.

It is still more than double the 1,360 pounds for which it sold in February 2007 as it started trading on the Liv-ex market.

Cabernet Franc

The 2004 Cheval Blanc ranks as the estate’s cheapest wine of the past 10 years, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website.

The vintage was given a rating of 90 points on a 100-point scale by U.S. wine critic Robert Parker in an online tasting note in June 2007, making it the second-lowest rated of the past 10 years, according to data on the website.

Cheval Blanc is rated among the top four growers in Saint-Emilion in the 2012 rankings. It has the status of Premier Grand Cru Classe A alongside Chateau Ausone, Chateau Pavie and Chateau Angelus in the classification, which replaced one dating from 1996.

Cheval Blanc has 58 percent of its vineyard planted with Cabernet Franc and the remaining 42 percent with Merlot, according to the estate’s website. The average age of the vines is more than 40 years.

The estate is one of the top wines marketed by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the world’s largest luxury-goods company, along with Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Krug and Veuve Clicquot Champagnes and Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes.

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