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Montrose ’10 still not closing the gap

The gap between Montrose’s 2009 and 2010 vintages still stands at 18% in favour of the 2009 despite both wines having 100 points.

Montrose 2010 was elevated to 100-points by Robert Parker just over a year ago during a mini-vertical tasting in which he declared it one of the “greatest” wines from the second growth and worthy to join the 100-point club with the 2009, 1990, 1947 and others.

Before then it had stood at 99-points and the price gap between it and its already “perfect” 2009 sister was a sizeable 38% – the 2010 being close to £900 a case cheaper than the 2009 despite the one point deficit.

After its elevation the market moved quickly and that gap, along with a slump in the price of the ’09, was cut to 15% with the 2010 costing £1,650 a case to the ‘09’s £1,950.

Since then little has changed except that the ’09 has pulled away slightly to increase the gap to 18% in its favour.

Why do two wines from the same estate with the same score have such different prices?

Liv-ex has postulated three reasons for this intriguing situation.

  1. Scores: Parker may have given the two wines the same scores but other critics have not done likewise. The 2009 was given 100-points by James Suckling, 97 by Steven Tanzer and 18.5 by Jancis Robinson MW but the 2010 received 97, 94+ and 17 respectively from those same critics. The ’09 is therefore still viewed as the “better” wine, driving demand.
  2. Longevity: 2009 is generally regarded as an earlier-drinking vintage which means supplies are likely to diminish sooner pushing up prices as the wines become harder to find. Buyers may feel no need to rush with the ‘10s.
  3. Distribution: The 2009s formed perhaps the most profitable en primeur campaign ever and marked the high water mark of the Asian-driven bull market. The 2010s by contrast were released into a declining market yet with higher prices than the 2009s (Montrose 2010 was €132 p/b ex-négoce, 22% more expensive than the ’09) the wines are generally concentrated in greater volumes in fewer hands. Coupled with perceptions of the 2009’s qualitative superiority (real or imagined) and greater desire from buyers to get their hands on it, stocks of the 2010 are therefore harder to shift leading to a general stagnation of prices. Furthermore, the higher the price on release the longer it usually takes to appreciate.

This situation is unlikely to last however and buyers with an eye for a top wine from an excellent vintage and/or with long-term investment in mind would be well advised to pounce now before it goes over £2,000 a case – which it invariably will.

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