Interest in Bordeaux first growths continues to fall, as buyers diversify and look for more affordable wines from both the Left and Right Banks.
While the five first growths, including Château Latour and Château Margaux, still account for one in every two bottles of Bordeaux wine sold on the fine-wine exchange Liv-ex, their sales have dropped by more than 6 percentage points to 50.1 percent in the first seven months of 2012.
The second wines of the first-growth producers such as Carruades de Lafite and Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux, which experienced phenomenal price increases in 2010 and early 2011, appear to have lost their appeal in the past 12 months. They have fallen from almost 8 percent of Bordeaux trade on Liv-ex to less than 5 percent.
Prices also suggest that the surge in second wines was a passing phase. In the past year, 2009 Carruades has dropped by more than 50 percent in price to £1,880 ($2,935) a case (Fine+Rare market data) while recent vintages of Pavillon Rouge have also decreased significantly.
The first growths’ lower share was driven by dwindling interest in Château Lafite Rothschild. “Leading the market up when Asian demand escalated, the super brand has also directed its fall,” said Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch Report for August 2012. In the past year, Lafite prices fell by more than 41 percent, compared to 28 percent for the exchange’s Fine Wine 100 Index.
There is good news for some. Right Bank and Médoc properties with lower-priced but high-scoring wines have taken up the slack. Bordeaux’s major movers in July were Pomerol's 2001 Château l'Église-Clinet, rising more than 21 percent in price to £1,456 ($2,273) a case, and Saint-Émilion's 2006 Clos Fourtet – up nearly 10 percent (albeit from a small base) to £364 ($568) a case.