Rhone 2016 En Primeur is approaching, and early reviews of the quality of the vintage are positive. A recent Wine Advocate report focused on the 2015 and 2016 vintages in Southern Rhone. 2016 is tipped to be an outstanding vintage in the South, better than the 2010 and 2007, both of which carry a vintage score of 98 from the publication.
For collectors of Rhone wine, recent times have been less exciting. The Liv-ex Rhone 100 Index is the slowest rising sub-index of the Liv-ex Fine Wine 1000, up 5.42% year-to-date. However, the performance of the index masks the fact that the market price of a number of wines have made significant gains over the period.
As the table below shows, the top performer over the last year is Paul Jaboulet Aine, Hermitage Chapelle 2010 (WA 97+). It is interesting to note the top risers are from the older vintages – 2010 and earlier – where supply is scarce. Among the younger vintages, performance has been rather mixed.
While the best performers over the last year are evenly split between the Northern and Southern Rhone, over the last ten years the Southern Rhone index has edged slightly ahead of the North. There are two possible reasons for this. On the one hand wines from Chateauneuf du Pape are on average a third the price of their more expensive cousins from the North. Given this lower starting base, these wines have made more rapid gains as buyers have searched for value amongst those wines with higher scores and relatively low prices.
On the other hand, the opening level of some of the Northern Rhone’s finest wines, especially from the 2009 vintage, was quite ambitious and has held back the index’s performance. This was a theme explored in August 2016’s Cellar Watch.