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Bordeaux Classification Comes A-Live with Liv-ex

Posted: Friday, 14 July 2017 18:09


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Bordeaux Classification Comes A-Live with Liv-ex

July 14: For Bordeaux and Burgundy Connoisseurs, Collectors and Simply Snobs, who like to drink price in the bottle, London based Liv-ex has devised a system which defines the 'Growths' based on the prices, but interestingly, the biennial classification started in 2009 with the last part so far of the 2017 version released on Thursday, shows there are a few changes in the 1855 Classification but there are opportunities to spot value-for-money wines, writes Subhash Arora who is particularly impressed with the new Rest of the World List where Burgundy and DRC in particular rule the roost

Liv-ex 2017 Bordeaux Left Bank Classification

The 1855 classification was prepared up by the Bordeaux Brokers Union. It was based solely on price, and included only the major estates of the Left Bank. But for Mouton Rothschild which was upgraded to First Growth in 1973, the system still remains intact and any effort to change it is thwarted, even though the market prices of many of these Classified Growths estates have fluctuated within the rankings, over the last many decades.

To account for the market price change, Liv-ex which ‘operates the global marketplace for fine wine and makes fine wine trading more transparent, efficient and safe for the benefit of its members and the market as a whole’ recreated the 1855 classification in 2009 by ranking major Left Bank wine estates based on the prices of the Top Chateau wine. The Exchange updates the information every alternate year and has released the 2017 data- the 5th time since this ‘classification' started.

It has also extended the scope by including wines from the Right Bank which were not originally classified in 1855. This year a new classification has been created to include wines from the rest of the world-including Burgundy, USA, Italy etc, with another list from Spain and Australia to be released soon.


According to their website the average Liv-ex trade price is calculated using actual trades on Liv-ex from May 2016 to April 2017. To be considered for their classification, at least five vintages of a wine must have been traded during this period. The average Liv-ex trade price is expressed for a 12x75cl unit in GBP and is volume weighted. The Liv-ex Bordeaux 500 index has moved 25% since the 2015 reclassification. Price bands have been adjusted accordingly.

The wines have been grouped according to the prices per case of 12 bottles. The resulting classes defined as:

• 1er Cru – £2,500+
• 2eme – £688- £2,499
• 3eme – £438- £687
• 4eme – £313- £437
• 5eme – £250- £312

2017 Bordeaux classification highlights – Left Bank

All the five First Growths comfortably find a place in this list for Left Bank, including Mouton Rothschild though there is a price variation from £5533 for to £3781 from Lafite to Haut Brion. Mission Haut Brion is the only non First- Growth included in the list as a borderline case. With an average trade price of £2,500 (volume weighted), the wine barely makes the cut for the top category. The 3rd Growth Palmer continues to lead the Liv-ex line up of ‘second growths’ at £1853 , while Fifth Growths Lynch Bages and Pontet Canet also hold their spots in the second category. Beychevelle has moved from 4th to 3rd position at £676. The second growth Léoville Barton which was previously a third tier has risen back to the second tier. But the second growths Rauzan Segla and Lascombes have slipped to the 3rd level.

The full rankings can be found in the table below.

Right Bank

The Classification of 1855 ignored the Right Bank of Bordeaux. But Liv-ex has tried to correct the situation – if only to bring the wines at par with the Left bank in terms of prices. Therefore, the price band has been kept the same for the Right Bank as well by Liv.

As one can see both Petrus at £18,961 and La Pin at £16,415 a case, tower over the other First tier wineries-with Angelus fetching £2696 only. Incidentally, Angelus had entered the list only on 2015. Unfortunately, despite also being elevated to St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A in 2012, Pavie has not found itself elevated to the first tier status and has to be content with a second category as it misses the cut of £2500 by £135 a case.

The full rankings can be found in the table below:

Rest of the World

Wines from six countries have achieved places in the classification: France (Rhone, Champagne, Burgundy), Italy, Spain, the USA, Australia and Chile.

There are 19 First Growths and Burgundy dominates, accounting for 13 of the ‘first growths’. Unsurprisingly, DRC Romanée Conti tops the table. Screaming Eagle is the only First Growth from the USA and is the highest-priced non- Burgundy.
Masseto is Italy’s only First Growth while Pingus represents Spain. Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace show that Australia is capable of producing wines that can compete with the best of Bordeaux in the secondary market.

There are 37 Second Growths, with Chile represented here by Almaviva. This ranks it alongside Bordeaux’s Pichon Baron and Leoville Poyferre. Chilean Clos Apalta has achieved a place among the Fourth Growths. Italian contingent has the following wines entering the ;honours list’:

• At 5120 Masseto tops the list of Italian wines and is the only first growth.

• At £2,005 Gaja Sori San Lorenzo is the top second growth

• Followed by Giacomo Contorno Barolo Cascina Francia at £1,227 , Solaia (£1.343), Sassicaia (£1,226), Ornellaia ( 1,146) are all second growths.

• Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato ( £842),Tignanello (£582), Fontodi Flacianello Pieve from Chianti Classico area (£527) are the 3rd growths.

• Petrolo Galatrona, Valdarno di Sopra DOC wine is a Merlot from one of the newer Tuscan appellations. At £452 it also makes it to the 3rd tier.

The full rankings can be found in the table below:

Second Wines

As may be expected, there is not much of a room for the Second wines from Bordeaux because the price band has been kept uniform. Thus, there is no surprise to see Carruades de Lafite right at the top with £1,749, followed by Forts de Latour (£1536) and then Petit Mouton at (1485). Also in this category are Le Clarence de Haut-Brion and La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion, at £729 and £490 respectively. Chapelle d’Ausone is at the 3rd level while Alter Ego de Palmer has been downgraded a notch at 4th level respectively.

The full rankings can be found in the table below:

Subhash Arora

Left Bank    Right Bank   Rest of the world    Second Wines

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Tags : Bordeaux, Burgundy, Liv-ex, Bordeaux Brokers Union, Mouton Rothschild, Liv-ex Bordeaux 500, Lafite, Haut Brion, Mission Haut Brion, Palmer, Lynch Bages, Pontet Canet, Beychevelle, Léoville Barton, Rauzan Segla, Lascombes, Petrus, La Pin, Angelus, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe, Pavie


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