Bordeaux still top regional wine at auction

16th January, 2014 by Rupert Millar

Bordeaux was still the top wine by volume for Sotheby’s in 2013 despite the Burgundy surge headed by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

Wine Ranking Image3DRC was the most valuable label sold by the auction house over the course of 2013 but Bordeaux still accounted for 60% of sales.

Burgundy held a 26% share and the two regions were far and away the most numerous fine wines to come up for auction.

Champagne, Spain and the Rhône each accounted for 3%, Italy and California 2% and “other” made up the final 1%.

In terms of buyers, 62% came from Asia, lower than in previous years. The majority (99%) bought from the Hong Kong auctions but 49% bought in London and 32% from New York.

The US registered a “significant increase in demand” over 2013 and made up 18% of the buyers.

UK and Russian buyers dominated in Europe which had a 17% share of spenders, while South American buyers were “increasingly active” with a 3% total.

Brazil remains the most important group followed by Mexico and most buy in New York.

Although the ten most valuable wines are listed elsewhere, when split into regions there are some more interesting additions to the line-up.

In Bordeaux for example it is surprising to see Yquem make the line-up though it would be intriguing to see if it was predominantly older vintages buyers chose to bid for considering the falling value of Yquem vintages since 2005.

Meanwhile, to see Salon quite so low on the Champagne list is interesting and likely due to the small quantities it produces coupled with the fact that Champagne is still largely bought to drink and not widely traded.

If Salon becomes more of a trading chip Champagne it would be no surprise to see it rise closer to the top in future.

Sotheby's Wine Ranking Image6

Sotheby’s wine ranking by region

Opus One topped the Californian entries, followed by Harlan, while Masseto, Ornellaia and Sassiccaia were Italy’s leading entries.

Although there is no mention of how much they made throughout the year, as they did not appear in the top 10 it is safe to assume they achieved less than $1.3m which was the figure Vega Sicilia hit in order to gain the number 10 spot.

The continuing strength of Left Bank estates at auction is unsurprising given their reputation and weight of production and the Sotheby’s results fairly accurately corresponds with Liv-ex’s end of year report.

Thus, Right Bank names have crept into positions of power in the Bordeaux chart, DRC, Jayer, Leroy and Rousseau are the best Burgundian performers, Champagne is dominated by the perennial favourites Dom Pérignon, Krug and Moët & Chandon and Super Tuscans lead the Italian contingent (though with a strong Piedmontese mid-order).

With the market expecting a rebound this year will the market stay so diverse or can the Left Bank regain some of the ground it has lost?

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