Burgundy 2018 underway

Regional share of trade by value (10rd January - 16th January)

Trade maintained its vigour this week, as buyers took advantage of well-priced offers hitting the market. Not necessarily a sign of great confidence – the question of potentially new US tariffs still weighing heavily on sentiment – but the Liv-ex 50 did nudge marginally higher. Sterling’s weakness following a benign inflation report, certainly a contributing factor.

Burgundy (25.1%), Italy (17.1%), and the USA (8.5%) all increased their share of trade, as Bordeaux (40.8%) relinquished its. Trade in Burgundy usually increases in January, as the latest vintage is presented to the market.  The 2018 tastings were in full flow this week.

The USA’s share was largely made up of Napa Cabernet, particularly the 2014 and 2016 vintages. Italy’s share also rose, with all five Super Tuscans in the Italy 100 sub-index finding the bid.

Top 5: share of trade by value (10th January - 16th January)

The latest available vintage of Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino 2013 was the most active by value this week. Only made during the best years and aged for seven years in bottle, the 2013 vintage compares very favourably in price to the similarly scored 2010.

Angelus 2012, with its commemorative label, saw decent volume trade, as did several other 2012 Bordeaux – l’Evangile, Smith Haut Lafitte and Canon to name a few. Released at relatively good prices and entering its drinking window, the 2012 vintage seems to offer something for both buyers and sellers.

The Best of the Rest – Liv-ex 2019 Power 100

While the Top 10 wines of the Power 100 are always in sharp focus, names featured lower down the rankings often point to an emerging story. There are plenty of new entries, from less famous regions and non-familiar names, qualifying for the fist time. Perhaps one day wines from the best of the rest might simply become……the best.

2019: Merchant predictions vs. reality

Things rarely go to plan. That was the case with merchant predictions for 2019. Back in January 2019, Liv-ex members were asked to predict the indices changes and regional performance for the year ahead. Most proved to be too bullish, but then who could predict the headwinds of 2019?

Talking Trade – Bordeaux ’09 still strong

Trade rose this week, up by value and volume, as offices open, computers were dusted off and society switched back on.

Bordeaux’s (60.3%) share of trade was led by good parcels of the 2009 vintage, followed by 2010 and 2008. In the meantime, Burgundy 2018 tastings are underway, while the regions trade share is showing some verve, up from 14.0% to 16.6% on the week.

Italy (13.7%), USA (2.6%), and Rhone (1.8%) all doubled their previous weeks’ share, as Champagne’s festive cheer seem to come to an end.

Super Tuscans, Sassicaia 1985 and Solaia 2008, were both active this week. Both featured in the recently published 2019 Power 100, at 7th and 57th respectively.

Three Bordeaux’s – two First Growths – topped the list. While their trade (12×75) values greatly vary (despite near identical scores from Neal Martin) their price performances over the past five years are remarkably similar. Seen in the graph below, Lafite has marginally outperformed the two Pessacs.

2018 Bourgogne

In London, Burgundy week is in full swing. It offers a rare occasion to taste the latest vintage in bottle, as well meet the importers and producers. The 2018 vintage was a warm growing season and prices are expected to be even hotter. Will there still be inelastic demand?

Extensive coverage has begun. Neal Martin at Vinous, released his report on the vintage, “2018 Burgundy: Confounded Expectations.” Decanter also published a series of reports, helping consumers and all, navigate through the news. Likewise, Jancis Robinson released her En Primeur guide, making tasting notes available, as close to the tasting date as possible.

Liv-ex will soon be releasing its 2018 Burgundy report. It includes an overview of recent vintage performance and current market trends, looking beyond the current vintage to help you understand the past. To receive the report upon release, share your details below.

The best of the rest: Liv-ex 2019 Power 100

The fourteenth edition of the Liv-ex Power 100 – the annual list of the most powerful brands in the fine wine market – was published in the December’s issue of The Drinks Business. Armand Rousseau topped the rankings becoming the best-performing wine label of 2019.

The list of the top 100 wines was once again dominated by France, with 42 wines from Bordeaux, 34 from Burgundy, seven from Champagne and four from the Rhone. But looking at the total of 288 brands that met the criteria (representing 11% of the brands trading on Liv-ex in 2019), the market’s diverse nature becomes apparent.

Today we take a look at a selection of less familiar names in the secondary market that have qualified for the overall rankings for the first time in 2019.

First up is the Argentinian, Catena Zapata at 238th place. Two years ago Catena Zapata announced that two of its flagship wines, Nicolas Catena Zapata and Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae Malbec, would be sold through La Place de Bordeaux. The winery prides itself on its sustainability practices, a theme certain to be at the heart of the wine industry in the decade ahead. It has led the way in Argentina’s viticulture and its top wines are now finding their way in the market.

The end of the decade was successful for Keller, the Rheinhessen winery with a cultish following. Keller, considered a German Erste Lage (First Growth), made it into the 2nd tier of the Liv-ex Classification 2019 based solely on price. The label also met the Power 100 criteria for the first time, jumping straight to 149th place. Although Germany’s market share by value remains minute, the growing attention from the trade and the critics’ recognition of the diversity of its wines hint at a promising future.

(Liv-ex will be at ProWein 2020 – if you are planning on attending and would like to meet please do let us know).


Sena, the Chilean wine produced by Mondawi and Chadwick and sold through La Place, came 235th in this year’s rankings. The last five vintages have been highly praised by critics. The latest 2017 vintage was released in September 2019 and achieved 99 points from James Suckling, who praised its “harmony and balance”.

The Spanish Lopez Heredia also featured for the first time (227th place). The winery, founded in 1877 by Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, had a clear vision from the start: “to sell wine to those who owned cars, wore ties, spoke English and were connected to the Royal Household”. With increased trading on the secondary market, rising prices, and a firm place in this year’s Power rankings, Landeta’s expectations would seem to have been exceeded!

Talking Trade – Bordeaux Shines

Regional share of trade by value (27th December - 2nd January)

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 rose 0.25% this week with overall market activity, far livelier than the previous week in which Christmas Day squarely fell.

Bordeaux took a large share of regional trade by value (65.8%), thanks to several First Growths trading at a discount to market. Subsequently the market shares of Burgundy (14.0%), Champagne (8.9%), and Italy (6.4%) fell slightly while the USA retained its 1%.

Top 5: share of trade by value (27th December - 2nd January)

The top traded wine by both value and volume was Margaux 2009. Described by Neal Martin as a “Chateau Margaux that is only beginning to show what it can do. Brilliant.” He awarded the wine 97 points in his 2019 tasting. The wine is very active on Liv-ex with tight spreads over multiple pack sizes.

Champagne’s Louis Roederer Cristal Rose 2012 was also active this week, last trading at £3,480 per 12×75. Its older, white wine sibling – Louis Roderer Cristal 2006 – was the top traded wine by value on Liv-ex in 2019.

Additionally, read how the Liv-ex benchmark indices faired in their December close:

Liv-ex 1000 Index: Finished December down 0.65%

Liv-ex 100 Index: Closed 2019 down 3%

Talking Trade – Lafite Rothschild 2003 leads Christmas trade

  • Bordeaux leads Christmas trade
  • Lafite Rothschild 2003 most active
  • The broadening of the fine wine market
  • Fine wine in the news

Bordeaux led trade over the festive period, accounting for 57.5% of the total value, up from 46% the previous week. Burgundy (14.2%) and Champagne (10.4%) drifted slightly, while Italy (9.7%) and the Rhone (2.0%) remained steady.

The ‘Others’ category saw small uptick this week (5.2%): wines from Austria, Portugal, and Spain all found the bid, along with some Scottish whisky.

The top traded wines this week were from Bordeaux, Italy and Champagne, with Lafite Rothschild 2003 being the most active. Back in 2014 Robert Parker awarded the wine a perfect 100 points and said it “comes as close to perfection as any of the great Lafites made over the past three decades (1982, 1986, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010).” It last traded at £8,800 per 12×75 on Christmas Day.

The broadening of the fine wine market

Over 7,000 different wines traded through the secondary market in 2019, compared to 5,700 in the previous year. Since 2015, the number of brands trading alone has increased by 115%. Wines traded this year have come from Germany, Switzerland, China, England and Hungary – not regions commonly associated with a vibrant secondary market. Find out more.

Fine wine in the news

December was a busy month in the press for the fine wine market, with several outlets such as the Financial TimesDecanterHarpers and Barron’s Penta picking up on its performance in 2019. The drinks business, on the other hand, offered a selection of fine wine labels to watch in 2020.

The impact of technology: record number of active wines in 2019

In 2019, the total value of live bids and offers on the market reached record-breaking levels, surpassing £70million at the end of July.  

Meanwhile, the number of active markets (wines with either a bid or an offer on themsurpassed 14,000. Thiis a reflection of both the broadening market for wine and increased engagement among wine merchants, as we discussed in our summary report of the market in 2019 

At present, over 470 wine merchants globally trade on Liv-ex. Transactions are instant, and all bids and offers are firm commitments to buy and sell against the listed price, condition and time frame. 

Technology is a major contributor to the record-breaking figures achieved in 2019. Automated trading, in particular, has helped to clear some of the bottlenecks faced by the wine trade and allowed for a greater number of wines to be offered to a greater number of people, from wholesalers through to consumers. Today, around a third of trade on Liv-ex involves automation.  

Total value (£m) and number of active markets 

Members who sell on Liv-ex using automation sell over twice the volume as other members, at an 8.8% higher price, and without any additional admin or risk. At the same time, those who enable their customers to buy on Liv-ex using automation are giving them access to many more opportunities. The acceleration they can expect as a result is a six-fold increase in trade by volume and a three-fold increase in trade by value. 

Bordeaux 2019 as seen from space – a Saturnalia report

The team behind Saturnalia, at Ticinum Aerospace, wish to offer a different perspective on vineyards with the help of satellite data. They automatically collect, aggregate and process data with the aim of providing accurate early wine quality predictions, scores and price trends.

Below is a summary of their methodology and their Bordeaux 2019 harvest report, which Liv-ex members can access in full. For details, please email your Account Manager. For more information on how to obtain the report if you are not a Liv-ex member, click here.

According to the team, Bordeaux 2019 looks like a very-good-to-excellent vintage, with the best-performing regions being Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Pomerol.

To reach these conclusions, Saturnalia collects and analyses satellite images of vineyards throughout the growing season. They then use a proprietary algorithm that combines these images with weather data, vine growing periods and vigour estimate. The algorithm classifies the vineyards in terms of vigour, from very low to very high. High vigour is typically connected to lower quality. However, as there is no simple linear correlation between vigour and quality, the algorithm also takes into account other data, such as the amount of rain in different periods of the year, the amount of heat available for growth, diurnal temperature differences, aspect, altitude, etc.

To illustrate this in practice, Saturnalia provides the example of Margaux AOC. As the chart below shows, 63% of the region’s vineyards were classified as having ‘high’ vigour in 2019. By comparison, for the 2016 vintage in Margaux, 58% were classified as having high vigour. 2018 – considered a high-quality vintage, shows lower vigour, with 32% of the vineyards classified as medium, which also suggests higher ripeness and alcohol content. 2019 seems to be more classic in this respect, and more similar to 2016 in quality and style.

Saturnalia’s full 2019 harvest report includes detailed analysis of other Bordeaux’s appellations such as Pauillac, Saint Estephe, Pessac Leognan, St Julien, Pomerol and St Emilion.

Other than vintage reports, based on technology, Saturnalia provides scores and monthly updates on predicted price trends using Liv-ex data. Data shown are for illustration purposes only and do not provide investment advice.

Burgundy Release – Domaine Leflaive 2018

One of the most famous white Burgundy producers, Domaine Leflaive, has released their 2018 vintage in the UK this week. “A new benchmark.” Domaine Leflaive placed 13th in the 2018 Power 100, a list of the most powerful fine wine brands in the secondary market. Brice de La Morandiere – the great grandson of Joseph Leflaive, the founder – described the overall 2018 crop as “a pleasant surprise, for its abundant quantity as well as its exceptionally high quality.”

Domaine Leflaive, Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru, a widely traded wine on Liv-ex, was released at £6,400 per 12×75, an 8.5% increase on the 2017 release price (£5,900).

When describing the Chevalier Montrachet, the UK agent said “its [the palette’s] latent mineral presence asserts itself in a flare of intricate acidity and tension on the finish which is extraordinarily long”. Although no mainstream critics have yet to assess the wine, the release price, using Liv-ex Fair Value analysis suggests a score range of 94-96.

Domaine Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet Clavoillon Premier Cru was released at £1250 per 12×75, a 5% increase on the 2017 release price (£1190). “There is a remarkable intricacy of insinuating elegance to the finish. The best Clavoillon to date”, says the agent.

Leflaive, Batard Montrachet 2018 was released at £5180 per 12×75, an 8% increase the 2017 release price (£4780) while Bienvenues Batard Montrachet was released at £4740 per 12×75, also an 8% increase over 2017 (£4380).

The wine with the largest year-on-year increase is the 2018 Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes (£2420 per 12x75cl), rising 15% over the previous vintage release price (£1990).

Talking Trade – DRC 2016 most active

  • DRC 2016 active

Trade by both value and volume held steady this week. The Liv-ex 50 – the First Growth index – drifted lower over the week as Sterling continued to strengthen into yesterday’s UK election. Burgundy’s share by value reached 26.2% just shy of record levels (29.7%), set in April this year. Bordeaux share fell again from 49.2% to 43.5%.

Italy (12.1%), USA (3.3%) and the Others category (6.0%) continue to add to their increasing annual regional share of trade value.

The most active wines this week were from Burgundy and Bordeaux, with the Super Tuscan, Solaia also making its presence felt. DRC, Romanee Conti 2016 (NM 98) and DRC, Richebourg 2016 (NM 95) both saw active trade while DRC Tache 2016 is currently in play with a tight 3.3% spread between buyer and seller. Other Burgundy wines to feature this week included the Grands Crus of Meo Camuzet, Rousseau, Leroy, Leflaive and Vogue.

Solaia 2008 took the second spot by both value and volume, with a last trade price of £1,620 per 12×75. Two other Super Tuscans, Ornellaia, 2009 and Masseto, 2010, fell just outside the top 5 trade share by value.

Neal Martin recently tasted Haut Brion 1989, calling it “one of the outstanding achievements of the decade” awarding it 100-points, saying, “it consistently flirts with perfection.” It traded at £19,500 per 12×75, down slightly on its previous level of £19,800.

Jeb Dunnuck names his #1 wine of the year 2019

Bordeaux 2016 is enjoying the spotlight these days. Two weeks ago, Wine Spectator named the 2016 St Julien, Leoville Barton, its #1 wine of the year. James Suckling also announced his top 100 French wines of the year this week, giving Cos d’Estournel 2016 the top prize.

In a report published yesterday, Jeb Dunnuck disclosed his favourite 100 red wines reviewed in 2019, placing the 2016 Saint Emilion, Chateau Sansonnet, in the top spot.

The 2016s from Napa Valley and Bordeaux dominate Dunnuck’s list, which is “based on combination of overall quality, price, availability, and a little bit of Wow Factor”.

Dunnuck’s Wine of the Year has already seen trade this morning. In his tasting note, the critic claimed that the Sansonnet 2016 is “a gem in the vintage and is well worth a case purchase”. The wine displays “a saturated ruby color as well as a beautiful bouquet of macerated black cherries, blackcurrants, smoked earth, spice, and tobacco”.

Other wines from the highly acclaimed Bordeaux 2016 vintage that make up Dunnuck’s top ten include Lynsolence, Poesia (Saint Emilion) and Calon Segur.

Two 2017s from the Southern Rhone, a vintage Dunnuck describes as ‘terrific’, also feature in the table above. Saint Prefert, Chateauneuf Du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier in second place is “just about perfection in a glass”, according to the critic, while Clos Saint Jean in tenth place is “structured, focused [and] age-worthy”.

The top wines of the Southern Rhone continue to offer the cheapest entry point for still wines into the fine wine market.

To see Dunnuck’s full rankings of the top 100 red wines of 2019, click here.