Fine wine in focus: 2006 Bordeaux

Ten years on, what are the best-performing wines from across the Left and Right Bank estates in Bordeaux?

Château Latour Liv-ex has recently run a series of blogs on its website analysing the performance of the 2006 Bordeaux wines from the first growths and leading estates from the Médoc and Libourne.

This follows close on the heels of the annual ‘Ten years on’ tasting held by fine wine merchant Bordeaux Index which this year featured the 2006s.

The conclusion of the tasting was that in terms of quality the vintage was more “Kilimanjaro than Everest”, particularly when compared to the 2005s but that there were a number of extremely good wines to be found and, as one might expect, often at something of a discount to the more famous preceding vintage.

Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Petrus were considered the most stand-out wines at the tasting, with Pomerol, Pauillac and Pessac-Léognan generally perceived as the most consistent appellations.

Co-organiser Michael Schuster also picked out Léoville Barton, la Conseillante and Figeac as three particularly good examples of wines from the vintage with “a delicious core of fruit” and represented, “good to excellent value in the current claret market.”

So how have they been performing? Liv-ex notes that 34 of the 50 wines from 2006 on its various Bordeaux indices have gained or held value since release, with the average price positive change being 5.5%.

The second wines (that is the second labels of the first growths) have been among the best-performers – which ties in with more analysis from both the drinks business and Liv-ex on how consistently these wines are performing – while Sauternes, unsurprisingly, has lagged the most.

First growths
As one might expect, Lafite has been the most active of the 2006 first growths since release. It has also experienced the most varied price performance, rising from £3,000 a case to £8,550 between 2008 and 2011 and then dropping back to £4,600 today – which admittedly is still 43.8% above its release price.

Latour, Mouton and Margaux have performed reasonably, with Latour just over its release price, Mouton breaking even and Margaux ever so slightly below. All are under £4,000 a case though which in the case of Latour and Mouton (95 and 96 Robert Parker points respectively) may be of interest to buyers.

The worst performer has been Haut-Brion, which at under £3,000 a case is 13.6% below its release price – yet it has a solid 96-point Parker score.

Second Wines
Among the second wines it is Carruades de Lafite that has, like its parent wine, made the most gains, up a full 351% since its release and in fact is even 52% off its peak.

Also like its parent wine, Bahans Haut-Brion (to be renamed ‘Clarence’ the following year) has gained the least though it has still registered a rise of 96%.


Left_Bank_200_2006Left Bank
The wines from the Left Bank 200 (a selection of second to fifth growths) have been among the most consistent performers, again little surprise when one considers the recent news that the index has been a driving force for Bordeaux of late.

Seventeen of the 20 wines on the index have gained since release, with 11.6% being the average return – Calon Ségur’s ’06 is at its highest ever price.

La Mission Haut-Brion, Léoville Las Cases and Pape Clement are the three labels that have regressed since release – La Mission rather considerably, down 49.2%.

Palmer is the most expensive wine of those that have made returns (despite its drop La Mission is still more expensive at around £1,500 a case) but Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Lynch Bages and Beychevelle have shown the greatest returns.

Right Bank
Petrus was voted one of the top wines of the BI tasting and it has gained in value since release, as has Le Pin – up 7.1% and 7% respectively.

However, the Right Bank 50* presents an intriguing picture. Petrus and Le Pin are the two lowest-scoring wines on the index (93-points each from Parker) yet they are the only one to have appreciated to date.

The 95-point Lafleur and Cheval Blanc and 98-point Ausone are all down post-release particularly Ausoe which has dropped 46.7% from close to £8,000 a case to £4,000.

Unfortunately Sauternes continues to struggle. Yquem has seen the steepest drop since release – 53.6% – and at around £1,500 a case is now less than half its opening price.

Then again Yquem has been struggling in the secondary market for some time now ever since LVMH’s ‘price adjustment’ in 2005.

The remaining wines in the Sauternes 50** have also all decreased by varying degrees – Climens having dropped the most from around £500 to a little over £300 a case.

All the wines in the index for 2006 have 92-points or more (97 in the case of Yquem), yet the non-Yquem wines are all available for under £400 a case.

*Petrus, Le Pin, Cheval Blanc, Ausone and Lafleur
**Climens, Rieussec, Suduiraut and Coutet

One Response to “Fine wine in focus: 2006 Bordeaux”

  1. William Grey says:

    Haut Brion 2006 under 2000 GBP a case – surely not.
    I’m a buyer @ 2400 GBP

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