Analysing the trends from 2017’s Liv-ex Power 100


Top 10 biggest movers by Power 100 ranking

2016 2017 2016 Rise
NA 23 Prieuré Roch NEW
NA 63 Francois Lamarche NEW
NA 74 Guy Roulot NEW
163 25 Jacques Prieur 138
130 6 Ponsot 124
135 47 Etienne Sauzet 88
115 29 Georges Roumier 86
139 59 Canon 80
180 118 Philipponnat 62
160 99 Henri Gouges 61

Gibbs notes that a record 218 brands qualified for power brand status in 2017, up from 199 last year, while Liv-ex traded as many as 769 different brands in 2017, up from 405 in 2015. “We have seen a 90% increase in the number of brands traded over the past two years, so the market has broadened significantly,” he says. Indeed, Liv-ex saw the first trades in the past 12 months for a Chinese wine (Ao Yun) and English fizz (Nyetimber), while the merchant notes the increasing popularity for a wider range of labels from Italy and Champagne, along with fresh interest for the great Bordeaux blends from Chile (Sena, Almaviva).

But no analysis of the fine wine market would be complete without a close look at Bordeaux. Like last year, this region is home to the world’s most powerful fine wine brand: Château Lafite. “It is number one again,” says Gibbs, adding that it has even extended its lead on its fellow first growths: Margaux, Mouton, Latour and Haut-Brion. It represents almost 14% of all the wine traded on Liv-ex by value, and, with a rise of around £1.3m, it had traded more than £5.2m in 2017, almost double that of Mouton-Rothschild, which comes in second place according to trade share, but third behind Margaux in terms of overall score. “Margaux has jumped ahead of Mouton,” says Gibbs, a result that can be partly attributed to a 100-point score for the property’s 1996 vintage from Robert Parker following a retrospective tasting in October. “Margaux 1996 moved from £5,000 a case to £6,000 in a week,” he says. The other reason for Margaux’s rise in 2017 was its 2015 en primeur release: it was widely declared to be the wine of the vintage.

As for the growth in value traded of Lafite, this, says Gibbs, is thanks to the continued weakness of sterling after the Brexit vote, encouraging buyers in Europe, the US and Asia to buy stock through the UK-based merchants. “Lafite has traded a lot while the pound is cheap; it is very sterling-sensitive,” says Gibbs.

Biggest movers by Power 100 ranking

2016 2017 Wine Fall
45 78 Grand Puy Lacoste -33
35 69 Fleur Petrus -34
49 84 Eglise Clinet -35
59 96 Giacomo Conterno -37
28 66 Gruaud Larose -38
36 75 Duhart Milon -39
18 58 Pape Clément -40
34 77 Vega Sicilia -43
43 87 Clerc Milon -44
50 94 Domaine Leroy -44

This is also an upwards trend that Staples in particular sees continuing, with the news that the current head of LVMH’s wine division, and former boss of Cos d’Estournel, Jean-Guillaume Prats, is to take over the management of Lafite next year. Staples says: “I think there will be one superstar [in 2018] and that will be Lafite Rothschild, with the glorious return of my old sparring partner. I think he is going to cut and polish this raw diamond into possibly something that Bordeaux has never seen. I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen.”

For now though, Gibbs says: “The average trading price of a case of Lafite when you combine the grand vin with [second wine] Carruades is £3,800, and it’s got the volume, plus it’s done well in terms of trade and price performance: it is still the world’s favourite fine wine brand.”

Meanwhile, Latour is “the worst-performing of the first growths”, says Gibbs. He believes this stems from the property’s decision to hold back stock and release it in bottle, rather than sell it en primeur. “Latour’s performance is below the other first growths because it releases wines ‘ex-château’ at prices above the marketplace, and that stifles growth. While the ex-château price premium works for the Asian market, it doesn’t for others, because they already have perfect provenance.”

Beyond the first growths, the rankings of Bordeaux’s leading brands this year are reflective of their performance relative to Burgundy. “We are seeing Left Bank second to fifth growths falling down the rankings, such as Cos d’Estournel, Lynch-Bages or Pontet-Canet, but at the same time brands like Rousseau and Leflaive are coming up – Bordeaux is still seeing growth in price performance, but it is lagging behind Burgundy, which is 20%- 30% up.”

Of course, important for the success of Bordeaux is the take-up for its wines en primeur. And, following the disastrous campaign with the 2013 vintage, Bordeaux has been gradually clawing back sales of wine before it is bottled. “The top 20 UK merchants sold roughly£32 million [worth of Bordeaux en primeur] in 2015 [with the 2014 vintage];£58m in 2016 [with 2015] and £85m this year [with 2016],” says Gibbs. “The success of en primeur has a lot to do with the UK market, and, on the face of it, Bordeaux is fairly affordable; Bordeaux is back for the traditional markets,” he adds.

Top 10: Trading price

Avg. Trade Rank Brand Avg. LX Trade Price
1 DRC £21,580
2 Petrus £21,556
3 Screaming Eagle £19,157
4 Pin £17,530
5 Domaine Leroy £12,704
6 Auvenay £11,800
7 Harlan £7,050
8 Armand Rousseau £5,672
9 Comte Liger Belair £5,592
10 Masseto £5,136

Top 10: Price change

Price Perf. Rank Brand Avg. Market Price Chg
1 Carmes Haut-Brion 39.53%
2 Georges Roumier 34.93%
3 Canon (Saint Emilion) 39.53%
4 Mommessin 33.20%
5 Tertre Roteboeuf 32.19%
6 DRC 31.12%
7 Tertre 28.28%
8 Anne Gros 27.39%
9 Haut Batailley 27.02%
10 Raveneau 26.67%

Top 10: No. of wines traded

No. Wines Rank Brand No. Wines Traded
1 Guigal 72
2 DRC 65
3 Domaine Leflaive 64
4 Joseph Faiveley 55
5 Margaux 52
6 Armand Rousseau 50
7 Lafite Rothschild 50
8 Latour 49
9 Haut-Brion 48
10 Mouton Rothschild 47

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