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Quiet Christmas

Eighties vintages outperform younger wines, while upgraded Margaux 1982 feels the benefit

ACTIVITY in October saw the usual seasonal upturn but retained its sluggish feel from September.  It is usually one of the best months of the year for the trade as Christmas buying peaks, but this year proved far quieter than usual.

Trade through the exchange was up 20% on September and flat year on year.  The Livex 100 composite was up 0.8% for the month while stock held by the UK’s leading stockholders was down 3.5%.

The table (right) shows the major movers for October and, as last month, older eighties vintages benefited at the expense of younger wines.  The news that Parker upgraded his rating for 1982 Margaux from 94 to 100 at a recent tasting has led to heightened interest in this First Growth.

With Christmas almost upon us, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at four fairly unfashionable Bordeaux drinking vintages and compare prices and scores in order to establish where the value lies.  The vintages in our analysis are 1985, 1993, 1997 and 1999.  The wines selected are of 2nd to 5th growth quality.

The table below uses our POP analysis, a loose measure of value, which divides the market price of each wine by the relevant number of Parker points to ascertain how much one is paying per point.

As you can see, the average POP for the now relatively rare 1985 is 64, while for the more abundant 1999 it is a mere 24.  In fact, interestingly, despite low prices the 1999 vintage is actually more highly rated than any of the other vintages in our analysis.

The best value wines from each vintage are as follows: 1985, Lagrange, Léoville Barton, Pontet Canet; 1993, La Lagune, Léoville Barton, Léoville Poyferre; 1997, Branaire Ducru, Lagrange, Pontet Canet; 1999, Léoville Poyferre, Pontet Canet, Branaire Ducru.

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