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

The brands to watch…

Each year, this survey throws up a brand that stands out for its emergent status; a label that’s ‘one to watch’. Last year it was St-Emilion’s Château Péby Faugères, which had risen by almost 34% in price during a 12-month period. And this year it was another Right Bank Bordeaux: Château Canon. Like Péby Faugères before it, Canon has risen just shy of 34% in price on the secondary market in 12 months, proving that it has suddenly become highly collectible. Indeed, the brand has been catapulted into the top 100 at 59, from 139 last year, a remarkable performance that can be attributed to its 2015 vintage release, which gained Canon a ‘perfect’ 100-point score from James Suckling, and 98-100 from Neal Martin. As a result, the 2015 vintage saw a price rise of 120% after release, while the 2016 has also done well, rising by around 50%. But it was the 2015 that was the “breakthrough” vintage for Canon, and followed the appointment in 2014 of technical director Nicolas Audebert – former winemaker at the LVMH-owned Argentine fine wine brand, Cheval des Andes. Rather than produce a blend for critics to taste en primeur for its 2015 release, the property invited visitors to pick a barrel and taste it, such was their confidence in the wine. The approach was also “a genius piece of marketing”, says Liv-ex director Justin Gibbs. Currently classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé B, the St-Emilion property is tipped for an upgrade to ‘A’ status in 2022 – like Pavie and Angélus in 2012. “So, it is not too bold to suggest that the Canon story, despite a 30%price performance this year, is at the beginning,” believes Gibbs.

Since 1996, Canon has been owned by the Wertheimer Family (owners of luxury brand Chanel), who also own Château Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux. Canon covers 34 hectares and produces 7,500 cases on average of its grand vin, and a further 6,000 cases of a second wine, called Croix Canon.

However, the biggest mover in terms of average case price on the secondary market is in fact Carmes Haut-Brion. Another ‘one to watch’, this ‘jewel’ of a property neighbours Haut-Brion and has benefitted from brilliant ratings for its 2016 release. With a new owner in 2010 (Patrice Pichet), followed by a new winemaker (Guillaume Pouthier, ex-Chapoutier), and a new cellar (Philippe Stark), it was already a crowd pleaser, but the latest blend has really put it on the map. “It’s been heavily invested in and now it’s producing the goods, and everyone’s watching it,” comments Gibbs.

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