Haut-Brion, Mouton Hold Price Increases for '16 Wines Below 10%

  • Price rises for Bordeaux first-growths are below some rivals
  • Dillon sales campaign also features recently created Quintus

Chateau Haut-Brion, a Bordeaux wine estate on the southern edge of the city, and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, further north up the Gironde estuary, held price increases to less than 10 percent for their 2016 vintage, compared with double-digit jumps set by rival growers, according to Liv-ex data.

Haut-Brion boosted the price of its 2016 wine from Bordeaux merchants by 9.1 percent from 2015 levels, while Mouton raised its price 9.4 percent, according to Liv-ex. The moves took the prices of both wines to 420 euros ($474) a bottle in bond. The price of Haut-Brion’s sister estate Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion was raised 12 percent to 336 euros.

Bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion 2016 during tastings in Bordeaux in April 2017.

Photo: Guy Collins/Bloomberg.

The price increases, while at the lower end of raises announced so far, reflect the trend toward higher valuations for a vintage that growers and critics have said is the best for at least six years following hot, sunny weather in the latter part of the season. U.K.-based buyers face additional costs because of the 12 percent decline in the pound against the euro since the U.K. vote to leave the European Union a year ago.

For Mouton, “the 2016 vintage is entering the market with the highest critic score of recent vintages, placing it on a level with the highly rated 2010,” Liv-ex wrote in its Insights blog. “This offer is coming out as a single tranche, and rather unusually for this campaign, at the same volume as last year.”

The pace of price increases for the Bordeaux 2016 vintage has picked up in the past month, with Chateau Pavie and Chateau Angelus in Saint Emilion rising 17 percent from 2015 to 294 euros a bottle each, and Chateau Palmer in Margaux gaining 14 percent to 240 euros, according to Liv-ex data.

What growers and buyers are saying about the 2016 vintage

Chateau Lafite Rothschild released a first tranche of wine last month at 455 euros a bottle, up 8 percent from 420 euros in 2015, while Chateau Gazin in Pomerol raised its price to 60 euros, a 32 percent increase. In contrast, two top Saint Estephe estates, Chateau Cos d’Estournel and Chateau Montrose, have kept prices unchanged from 2015 at 120 euros and 102 euros a bottle respectively, according to Liv-ex. Sweet white wines from the 2016 vintage in Sauternes also have generally been priced at the 2015 level.

For Domaine Clarence Dillon, owner of Haut-Brion, this year’s sales campaign also has been marked by the recent bottling of the 2015 vintage of its newly created wine estate in Saint Emilion, Chateau Quintus, a vineyard which is starting to establish its own track record.

Dillon bought Chateau Tertre Daugay in June 2011 and adjacent Chateau L’Arrosee in October 2013. The aim was to restore wine-making at the two vineyards to its former level, bringing expertise and financial muscle to the exploitation of prime land neighboring top estates including Angelus and Chateau Canon.

Bottles of Saint Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Quintus.

Photo: Guy Collins/Bloomberg

“We are literally creating an estate from scratch,” Prince Robert de Luxembourg, president and chief executive officer of Domaine Clarence Dillon, said at a presentation in Paris last month marking the landmark fifth bottling of Quintus. “Both properties were considered first growths of Saint Emilion in the first half of the 20th century” and had “huge potential.”

The main wine of Chateau Quintus currently retails in the U.K. for about 90 pounds ($116) a bottle excluding tax, exceeding the cost of many of its more established grand cru neighbors. London merchant Fine+Rare this week cited a price of 1,121 pounds per 12-bottle case in bond for 2016 Quintus wine futures, very close to the 1,125 pounds quoted for the now-bottled 2015 vintage and up from 717 pounds for the 2014 wines.

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