Cristal tops November rises

Cristal 2002 was the chief riser on the Liv-ex index in November as trade for the prestige cuvée picks up.

Earlier this year, it was Taittinger’s 2002 Comtes de Champagne that grabbed headlines as it picked up some slack left by a fall in trading of Dom Pérignon and Cristal.

Cristal has bounced back however, rising 9.4% to reach £1,302 a case in mid-November.

Jack Hibberd, head of data and research at Liv-ex, told the drinks business that there is still strong demand for Comtes, Cristal and Dom Pérignon.

He added that Chamapagne saw its biggest dip between 2008 and 2010 and since then has climbed back up to its 2008 price – and this in turn usually makes it attractive when compared to fine wines from regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy.

“They’re still wines people want and want to drink,” said Hibberd, “It’s also probably the case that it’s the oldest, widely available vintage”.

Bordeaux Index (which has seen a renewed Champagne-buying surge this year) recently held a 10 year retrospective of 2002 Champagnes and invited trade and clients alike to rank their preferred Champagne from the tasting, while Bollinger came out as the best value, Cristal was named best overall.

Buyer Gareth Birchley told db: “At the top end Champagne is under-priced, especially when its compared to flagship wines from other regions. Even back vintages such as Krug 1985 costs around £250 a bottle. Similar quality from Bordeaux would be in the thousands of pounds.

“In the early 90s, Bordeaux was cheaper than Champagne at the very top, now it’s the other way round.

“People are realising that and that realisation coincided with people buying Champagne for drinking and having as a serious wine, with meals and not just with canapés or on its own.”

Other top risers in November included 2005 Palmer up 8.7% and Mouton Rothschild 1998, up 8.4%, boosted by good Robert Parker scores, time in bottle and sub-£3,000 price.

On the other hand the month’s biggest faller was Mouton 2006, down 7.3%, followed closely by Latour 2009 and 2003 down 5.7% and 6.6% respectively and with the 2009 still around £10,000 a case, it may yet have further to fall even as prices begin to stabilise.

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