The Classés of 2012: Trends over the past year

It has been over a year since the chateaux of Saint Emilion gained a new classification. As we have reported previously, the ranking is not without its discontents, nevertheless the 2012 Classification stands intact. The headline-grabbing change was the upgrade of Angélus and Pavie to the highest rank of Premier Grands Crus Classés ‘A’ to join the Right Bank royalty alongside Cheval Blanc and Ausone. With the benefit of a year’s worth of trading data we can now see how the upgrade has affected wine prices for the two estates – at least in the short term.

As the Liv-ex Blog reported last week, prices for ten vintages (2000 – 2009) of both estates have shown a strong upward trend, with Angélus showing an even greater level of growth than Pavie. Neither however has yet reached the prices of their Classé A stable mates Ausone and Cheval Blanc. Indeed, it would be somewhat troubling for the market if a wine jumped from around £2,300 a case (such as Angelus 2005 in September 2012) to the region of £12,000 a case (Ausone 2005 in the same month) in a single year!

Yet it does indicate the impact of classification, not just critical rating, on wine prices. The Robert Parker scores for all vintages up to 2009 were known for both Pavie and Angélus, yet a change in ranking has still significantly affected the price the market is willing to pay for them.

In another earlier blog post, Liv-ex also indicated the relative strength of the Right Bank 100 index compared to indices that emphasised Left Bank wines – a condition no doubt strengthened by the reclassification in Saint Emilion. A comparison of six wines, all from the 2009 vintage, all given 99 or 100 points by Robert Parker, shows the recent trends between these difference Bordeaux regions over the past 12 months. The top three wines are Left Bank while the bottom three wines are all from Saint Emilion:

While showing strong growth over a two-year period, the Left Bank wines have moved up only by 2-3% in the past 12 months. In contrast, the Saint Emilion wines in the table above have all shown double-digit growth in the same time period. While some eyes in the market are looking outside Bordeaux (to Tuscany, California and elsewhere) it’s important to remember the different recent trends in prices within Bordeaux itself.



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