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Margaux 2015 – the best of the bunch?

7th February 2018


Back in November, it was announced that Chateaux Margaux 2015 would be released onto the secondary market in a special commemorative bottle.

Just a few days after this announcement, the price of a 12×75 shot up by almost £1000, and today it has risen by almost three times its En Primeur release price.

A special bottle for a special wine

In a statement in November, Margaux said: “By means of this unique bottle we wish to immortalise the 2015 vintage which seems to have been created for eternity and which will remain a fantastic vintage for all of us, tinged with very special emotion.”

The bottle is dedicated to the late Paul Pontallier, who died in March 2015 and was the chateau’s technical and managing director for 25 years, having joined the estate in 1983. As well as being Pontallier’s last vintage, 2015 also marked the estate’s 200th anniversary. The black bottle features a screen print of the chateau, its new chai, designed by Sir Norman Foster, and a dedication to Pontallier.

The wine itself was crowned “wine of the vintage” by Liv-ex members in the recent annual survey, appearing in almost two thirds of all respondents’ top five. It was also considered undervalued compared to other Margaux vintages in a Bordeaux 2015 report by Liv-ex in September last year.

When special bottles rock the market

It isn’t the first time a commemorative bottle has made a splash on the secondary market.

Mouton Rothschild’s 2000 famously weathered the storm of the 2011-14 market downturn, and now commands a higher price than even the critically acclaimed 1982 vintage. In November 2013, Liv-ex commented on “its striking black and gold ram label design”, which “ensures that it continues to appeal to an Asian market”.

In 2010, Lafite Rothschild announced that its 2008 vintage would feature the Chinese figure of eight, which represents good fortune. Before the announcement, the wine traded at £8,300 per 12×75. This was during the China-led bull market of 2009-11, perhaps helping to explain how the wine quickly rose to £13,888, a 67% increase in just over a month.

Angelus also released its 2012 vintage in a special black and gold bottle to celebrate its promotion to St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A. The result was rising prices in a market that, at the time, was mostly flat. Its trade price rose 31% by the end of the year, and it last traded at just under double its original release price.

Other Margaux vintages to consider

Those of our clients lucky enough to have obtained the Margaux 2015 En Primeur are very happy with their returns so far – but it is worth considering its performance in the context of other equally great vintages.

Four other Margaux vintages have received 100 points at some stage from either Neal Martin or Robert Parker – 2005, 2000, 1996 and 1990 – but their prices remain comparatively low.

The 100-point 1996 vintage, for example, is currently available at a 51.1% discount to the 2015.

Margaux 2015 becomes physical in the UK later this month, and the result will undoubtedly be increased trade. Now’s the time to switch vintages if you’re looking for a bargain.