At the end of last month, the 2011 edition of the Liv-ex Bordeaux Classification was published on our blog. The listing recreated the 1855 Classification by ranking top Left Banks according to price (the same criterion that was used in 1855). As well as revealing individual rises and falls, the 2011 Classification highlighted wider market trends. In 1855, for example, the most successful commune in terms of its wines' position in the classification was Margaux. But is this still the case today?
To find out, we assigned each level – or price band – a score between one and five (with five being the highest and one the lowest). We then used each band's total score to rank the communes by price. This analysis revealed that Pauillac is now by far the most successful commune, though it was once ranked third after Margaux and St Julien.
Pauillac's success can be attributed to the strength of its brands, many of which have strong followings in Asia. Wines such as Fourth Growth Duhart Milon and Fifth Growths Lynch Bages and Pontet Canet have all seen tremendous price rises in recent years and are now trading at Second Growth prices.
By contrast, a number of Crus Classes from Margaux no longer command the same level of demand as they once did. In fact, the majority were downgraded in the 2011 Classification. The only wines that managed to maintain their positions were Fifth Growths Dauzac and Tertre, Third Growth Malescot St Exupery, and First Growth Margaux. Palmer was the sole climber and moved up the ranks from a Third Growth in 1855 to a Second Growth (based on current prices).
Despite Asia's taste for Crus Classes, Second Growths Rauzan Segla and Rauzan Gassies are still trading at Third and Fifth Growth prices respectively. If you believe in the power of brands over Parker score, Margaux may present some solid buying opportunities.
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