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Fine Wine Prices Take an Unusual Fall

Fine Wine Prices Take an Unusual Fall
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Prices usually go up in January, but not in 2014, and lack of interest in Bordeaux first-growths is the culprit.

For the first time in 12 years, January has seen a fall, not a rise, in fine wine prices.

For more than a decade, the Liv-Ex Fine Wine 100 index, which represents the price movement of 100 of the most sought-after fine wines, has risen in January. But the Index fell 0.9 percent this January, continuing a steady two-year pattern of decline; prices are down 12.2 percent from two years ago.

The 100 Index represents Bordeaux wines, for which there is a strong secondary market.

High-end buyers also seem to be weaning themselves off Bordeaux first-growths, which have previously accounted for up to 66 percent of the financial value of wines traded. By the end of January, this had sunk to 18 percent. "The market's interest in the Bordeaux Premier Crus [sic.] is at its lowest in almost eight years," explained the Cellar Watch report.

Wines including Châteaux Pavie, Montrose and Pontet Canet have filled the void left by the first growths while Sassicaia, Opus One and DRC have also taken trade away from Bordeaux's best.

Wines from Italy continued to perform well in the first month of 2014, accounting for 7.1 percent of the fine wine market by value, outperforming Burgundy, which dropped to 6.5 percent of trade. Recent rave reviews from critics including Antonio Galloni and Steven Tanzer have given Italy's finest a boost.

The strongest individual wines in the past month were 1996 Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne, up 11.6 percent to $4,321; 2011 Chapoutier Le Pavilion Ermitage, up 11.1 percent to $2,244; 2000 Bollinger Grande Année Champagne, up 11.1 percent to $1,502; 2000 Antinori Tignanello, up 10.2 percent to $958; and 2008 Dominus Estate, up 10 percent to $1,974.

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