A less than desirable picture was emerging from the Liv-ex 50 in November 2015, with First Growths down 40% since the market’s peak. First growths and top Sauternes have struggled slightly, together with the second wines of top Chateaux that showed so much promise in recent years. However this is not the full picture – when we look at the second, third, fourth and fifth growths, we start to see some very positive signs for the year ahead, and reminds us once again that there is much more to Bordeaux than just the First Growths.
Life beyond Bordeaux
Similarly, we are reminded that there is more to fine wine investment than just Bordeaux! Among the top ‘risers’ of 2015 (according to Liv-ex) were wines from the Rhone, the USA, Italy, Burgundy, and surprisingly, a vintage port (Taylors 1994). While Bordeaux’s Chateau Angelus 2005 led the way with an extraordinary 39.9% price rise, it seems that the main story to emerge from 2015 is one of a marketplace that is becoming vastly more diverse than ever before.
Why not diversify your portfolio?
If you are interested in diversifying your portfolio, here are some key regions to consider:
The Rhone Valley – Robert Parker turned his attention to the Rhone over a decade ago and shone a spotlight on the fantastic Syrah and Grenache based reds of the region. Look out for Hermitage and Cote-Rotie from the North. Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the top producers is also worthy of investment as demonstrated by the 37.2% price rise on Domaine du Pegau 2010 – one of Liv-ex’s best risers of 2015.
Super-Tuscans and top Barolo from Italy
Italy’s top wines have incredible longevity and have begun to perform extremely well at auction. The ‘Super Tuscan’ wines are often blends of indigenous grapes like Sangiovese with Bordeaux grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon. Barolo is the finest wine made from Italy’s Nebbiolo grape, a real rustic beauty that is known for its ageing potential.
Big Californian reds
California’s best known superstars include Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle – two of Robert Parker’s perpetual top scorers. These two are notoriously difficult to get your hands on but wines like Opus One, which is much more widely available, are highly investible also and the 2006 was one of Liv-ex’s top risers last year.
While port has fallen out of fashion in recent years, it is exciting to see the ’94 Taylors among the risers and demonstrates that Port will always be the investor’s friend – more age worthy than its non-fortified counterparts, it is a serious wine for the cellar whose best vintages are utterly captivating.