It is the news we have all been waiting for – investors are finally returning to the fine wine marketplace.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 – the industry’s “benchmark” index – has closed March up 2.69%, its fourth consecutive monthly rise and the index’s largest month-on-month rise since February 2013, when it rose 3.05%.
“With just days until the release of Bordeaux 2015 – considered to be a good to very good vintage – the market is braced for price rises.” says Liv-ex director Justin Gibbs. “Having seen prices fall for five consecutive years, buyers seem to be making the most of physical stock available.”
It was a similarly good month for the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50, the First Growth price tracker, which closed the month up 3.3% – its highest month-on-month rise since January 2013.
Investment wine: top movers in March
Over 80% of the wines on the Liv-ex 100 saw price gains last month. Three of March’s top movers were First Growths, with the 100-point scoring Lafite 1996 seeing a 10% rise.
|Top wines||March movement|
|DRC, Tache 2009||13.9%|
|Mouton Rothschild 2006||7.7%|
Source: Liv-ex blog
DRC La Tache and Sassicaia are the exceptions, both doing extremely well and testament to the strong ongoing competition from Burgundy and Italy.
A falling sterling against the Euro and Dollar has fuelled motivation among buyers across the globe in recent months, although in March the pound remained relatively stable and prices continued to rise.
Fine wine merchant expectations for 2016
In January, Liv-ex asked its merchant members to predict the closing level of the Fine Wine 100 Index in 2016. The average prediction is 251.21, which would represent a 5.4% improvement on the previous year’s closing level of 238.26.
As of the end of March, the index stands at 250.25 – a 6.55-point increase on February and just 0.96 points below the merchants’ predicted closing figure for 2016.
It will be interesting to see how the following months pan out and whether or not the index will confirm merchants’ expectations for 2016.
Tasting Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1996
As one of March’s top movers and a wine we naturally see a huge amount of activity for on our sales floor, here is a snippet of Robert Parker’s gushing interpretation of the 1996 vintage wine.
“Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate’s greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot).
This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations).
The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years.”
Source: Robert Parker, Wine Advocate 1999.