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Value to be had from Haut-Brion?

Wines from Haut-Brion since 2008 offer some of the best value of all the first growths when prices and scores are taken into consideration.

Liv-ex has compared all of the first growth vintages over the past 15 years (see below), in three groupings, and shown that the wines of Haut-Brion 2008-2012 not only have some of the lowest prices per case but also the best average scores from Robert Parker – helped along by “perfect” 100-point scores in 2009 and 2010.

With an average price of £4,225 per case and average scores of nearly 97, the recent wines of Haut-Brion offer some of the best relative value of the first growths.

Similarly, the wines from 2003-2007 have an average price of just over £3,000 a case yet have average ratings of 95.

The vintage bracket 08-12 also shows good value potential in Mouton Rothschild and Margaux and the increase in average scores for all three properties shows the ever-growing quality and consistency of the wines.

Mouton’s wines in this period are very close to Haut-Brion in price although with a slightly lower average score of 96, while Margaux has the most expensive average price (nearly £4,500) but still a 96-point average.

Judging by the chart, Mouton’s offerings between 1998 and 2002 show less relative value when comparing scores and pricing, with average scores of 93, yet average prices of over £4,500 – particularly as Margaux and Haut-Brion’s wines from the same period have higher scores of 94 but cost less than £4,000 on average.

However, Mouton has been one of the darlings of first growth buyers in recent times, with the 1996 and 2004 making waves at the end of last year and this spring, as well as second wine, Petit Mouton, defying the general slump in second wine prices and retaining its value.

Latour and Lafite have the most consistent scores of all, 96 for every category save Latour’s 98-02 period, which scored 95 on average.

However, Liv-ex noted that while Lafite exhibited a classic trajectory with older vintages being more expensive than younger years due to diminishing supply; Latour was the opposite, its older vintages being far, far cheaper than those of 08-12 by nearly £2,000.

It is clear from the chart that the average case price of Lafite’s 98-02 wines are matched by Latour’s five most recent offerings.

Liv-ex speculated that Latour’s withdrawal from the en primeur system had “squeezed prices”, even if, as merchants told the drinks business at the time, the premium Latour is asking for is “too high”.

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