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Second wines surge in price

Although it still holds a significant lead, Carruades de Lafite’s well-documented price rise appears part of a wider trend towards appreciating second wines from Bordeaux’s most famous estates.

Among the latest to increase in cost are Le Petit Mouton and Forts de Latour, proving the halo effect of powerful grands vins brands in emerging fine wine markets, even in lacklustre vintages.  

According to Liv-ex data, recent vintages of Mouton’s second wine are in high demand, with 2008 up 12% since March to £536 per 9l case, and, interestingly, the poor-scoring (RP 84-87) 2007 up 50% in the last six months to £618.

Similarly, Forts de Latour 2007 (RP 90) has seen a price increase of 92% since March, and by the end of July it was trading on the Liv-ex platform at £1,200 per case.

Carruades de Lafite 2007 (RP 83-84) over the same period has also continued to rise, up 39% in price, just ahead of Lafite itself, which has increased by 38%.

By August, Carruades from this vintage reached a new high of £2,479 (12x75cl), according to trades on Liv-ex.

Interestingly, it is the 2007s that have enjoyed the greatest price increases as the Far East’s favoured first growth brands from this poor-scoring vintage begin to mimic the performance of better and more famous years.

The vintage’s sudden price appreciation may also be connected to its physical availability – Asian customers still appear uncomfortable with the en primeur concept.

As for the future, as the fine wine exchange asks on its blog, “Is it time to keep an eye on Clarence (née Bahans) Haut Brion?”

For more on Haut-Brion, see August’s drinks business or click here.

Patrick Schmitt, 19.08.2010 

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