Finally, the First Growths’ 2017 releases hit the market with Mouton Rothschild out of the starting blocks at a 17% discount to 2016, but also with a reduction in the volume released.
One of the most highly rated First Growths of the vintage, Mouton’s initial release price was at €348 per bottle ex-negociant and with 15% less supply than the previous year’s. This reduction in first release en primeur supply is noted as a strategic position as opposed to a response to the frost damage in 2017, which the famous estate avoided entirely.
Mouton Rothschild 2017 was rated by Neal Martin at 94 – 96 and James Suckling scored it 97 – 98 points. Martin claims it to be “unashamedly classic” though lacking some of the panache of its 2016 stablemate. Liv-ex merchant members voted Mouton 2017 as their 6th favourite wine of the vintage in terms of their average scores and Lafite and Mouton seem to be contesting the market’s First Growth top quality ratings, the price strategy will determine which is the campaign leader of its class.
The great estate’s second wine, Petit Mouton also released at a 40% volume reduction on 2016 but at a premium, up 9.1% on last year’s price. Petit Mouton, like Lafite’s second label Carruades, has enjoyed buoyant times over the last year, prices up 24.5% thus, even though the 2017 is its highest ever release price, it is still currently the cheapest vintage on Liv-ex, with the next best buy price being the 2016 vintage at an additional 10 %.
Pontet Canet and Leoville Las Cases both released at circa 20% discounts to their 2016 offerings. Pontet was particularly highly scored by Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perotti-Brown MW at 96 – 98, whilst Galloni rates the Pauillac estate’s 2017 wine at 93 – 95. The 26% discount on 2016 is felt to be a significant step to engage the market.
Strategically, the chateaux appear to be recognising the need to make some concession on price for the vintage compared to secondary market prices for prime back vintages – but will it be enough? Furthermore, how much wine is being held back for better times? With the back drop of unusual geopolitical activity and economic uncertainty, ‘safe assets’ like fine wine may well see significant demand in the 12 months which the chateau may also wish to benefit from.
This is only the start of the key wine releases for investors, further First Growth and Right Bank Classe A’s expected imminently. For more information call us now on 0203 384 2262