2014 has not been Bordeaux’s year. So far half of the wines in the Liv-ex Bordeaux 500 index have fallen 5% or more and just six are posting gains. One of these is Rieussec, which we wrote on last week. The best performance has come from Clos Fourtet.
Clos Fourtet has climbed 7.7% year-to-date, but what is even more impressive is the wine’s performance since the market’s peak three years ago. Since May 2011 the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 index has fallen 37.4% and the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 has fallen 32.3%. Clos Fourtet has risen 53.1% during this time; it is marginally off the record high that it touched in February this year. The wine has far outperformed its parent index, the Right Bank 100, which itself saw 13 months of consecutive gains before it began to drift in September 2013.
Clos Fourtet’s feat appears remarkable in a falling market, and if we break down the wine’s performance by vintage it becomes clearer why it has invigorated traders. In February 2012 Robert Parker declared the newly physical 2009 vintage “one of the greatest young Bordeaux I have ever tasted” and scored it 100 points. Within two months the 2009’s market price had jumped from £690 per 12×75 to £1,700.
Parker’s praise for Clos Fourtet has not stopped with the 2009. He awarded 98 points to the “unctuously textured” 2010, and even the 2012 – from an average vintage – has an in-barrel score of 93-95. Parker’s tasting note on the former noted that “this property has been on fire, qualitatively speaking, for well over a decade”; his note on the 2012 observed that the vineyard “has witnessed a profound transformation of quality over the last decade or more.” With prices for back vintages climbing 30% or more in the last three years, it would seem that the market has come round to his view.