Bordeaux’s Right Bank properties are this year’s most powerful brands in the fine wine market, outgunning rivals on the Left Bank and Burgundy’s most coveted for the first time ever.
Château Pavie sits at no. 1 – up two places compared to 2012 – followed by fellow St.-Émilion estate Chateau Angélus, which has risen 21 places. The new ratings are contained in the eighth annual Power 100 list from from London-based fine wine exchange Liv-ex.
The pair’s rise to the top of the power ladder follows their promotion to the highest ranking in the 2012 St.-Émilion classification, which has seen increased demand for their wines along with rising prices.
Soon after the reclassification, Pavie’s owner, Gérard Perse, said: “The move up to A will no doubt increase the value [of our wines]." Indeed, in the month following their promotion, both Pavie and Angélus experienced major trading.
The promotion has also led to en primeur price hikes. In an interview with Wine-Searcher earlier this year, Perse's wife, Chantal, said: "We increased our price by around 58 percent to reflect our new classification. If we hadn't done it, it would have been ridiculous. I believe it's important to define the difference between classifications."
Making it a 1, 2, 3 for the Right Bank comes the current darling of the wine auction scene, Petrus, in third. The Pomerol producer was also the third most-searched-for wine on Wine-Searcher in October.
While the power list is dominated by Bordeaux properties, Penfolds Grange spoils a Bordeaux top 10 whitewash. Its jump up the rankings follows a perfect 100-point score for the 2008 vintage from The Wine Advocate.
However, there are only three other New World entries in the list: Dominus drops 41 places to 69, Argentina’s Catena is a new entry at 86, and Screaming Eagle falls a massive 77 spots to 88. Despite boasting the 4th-highest case price at an average 13,178 pounds ($21,000) and some of the highest average scores at more than 97 points, Screaming Eagle's average price per case has fallen by more than 3,000 pounds ($4,795), affecting its overall ranking.
Mixed fortunes in Bordeaux
Back in Bordeaux, the list's strongest climber was Bernard Magrez’s Château Pape-Clement, which rose an insurmountable 93 places to no. 4. Thanks to a perfect 100-point rating for the 2010 vintage earlier this year, the Pessac-Léognan estate was one of Liv-ex’s major market movers in March, jumping from 923 pounds ($1,409) per case to 1,347 pounds ($2,057) in one month alone. However, given that its rapid rise is based on the exceptional score awarded to one wine, the estate is likely to fall back in next year’s rankings.
Although Lafite-Rothschild has failed to recapture the heady prices achieved in 2011, it remains the most traded wine in both volume and value, accounting for 18 percent of all trades on Liv-ex and 6.5 percent in dollar terms.
While DRC has continued to achieve the highest prices of any estate in 2013, borne out by an average case price of 22,576 pounds ($36,000), last year’s most powerful brand has fallen to no. 15. Liv-ex reports that “a faltering price performance suggests the brand’s power may be waning.”
It appears that fine wine buyers are looking beyond DRC, with seven Burgundy producers entering the top 100 for the first time, including Comtes Lafon, Georges & Henri Jayer, Jean Grivot and Bonneau Martray.
* View Wine-Searcher's list of the 100 most-searched-for wines in the world.