Liv-ex, the fine wine trading index, released its updated classifications of Bordeaux wines over the weekend and also launched a new set of “First Growths”, featuring wines from regions outside Bordeaux and the results are fairly predictable, with Burgundy taking 12 of the 19 new “Premier Cru” placings.
While the original 1855 Bordeaux classification was based on a variety of criteria, including reputation and trading price; Liv-ex’s sole criterion is more prosaic: price. To obtain a classification, a wine needed to have a minimum of five vintages traded over the 12-month period starting April 1, 2016. The average price – based on a 12-bottle case, priced in sterling – determines the final classification, with premier cru reserved for wines topping the £2500 ($3260) mark. The second growth category is for wines between £688 and £2499; third between £438 and £687, fourth between £313 and £437; and fifth growths are those between £250 and £312.
Seven regions outside Bordeaux are represented in the 19 wines newly classed as First Growths, withBurgundy taking the lion’s share of the places, naturally enough. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti fills six of the places, including the top two for the DRC Romanée-Conti and La Tache wines. The Richebourg, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Grands Echezeaux and Echezeaux wines come in fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth on the list.
The US breaks up the Burgundy stranglehold on the top nine wines, with Screaming Eagle debuting on the list at #3. The rest of the list is predominantly Burgundy, with Armand Rousseau taking three places for its Chambertin Clos de Beze, Chambertin and Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques wines.
Burgundy is also represented by the Domaine Comte Georges Vogüé Musigny Grand Cru Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, Ponsot Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, and the Domaine Jacques Prieur Musingy Grand Cru.
Other French regions recognized are the Rhône (Château de Beaucastel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grand Cuvée Hommage à Jacques Perrin), and Champagne, with Louis Roederer’s Cristal Rose breaking the required price barrier.
Australia manages two placings, with Henschke’s Hill of Grace Shiraz and Penfolds’ iconic Grange making the list. Spain is represented by Pingus and Italy by Massetto in the new classification.
The list of Second Growths offers plenty of interesting names, too, with Chile’s Almaviva making the list, putting it on the same level as Château Montrose and Pichon Baron. Opus One is also there, although it is heading towards First Growth status with a current price of £2259 ($2950).
In Liv-ex’s Bordeaux classifications, La Mission Haut-Brion maintained its place among the five traditional First Growths, following its promotion in 2015. Oddly enough, the ranking of the Left Bank wines was identical to their rankings in Wine-Searcher’s list of most expensive Bordeaux wines.
The Right Bank classification was unchanged from 2015 for the First Growths, but among the Second Growths, La Mondotte debuted as the second most expensive wine on the list with a case price of £1880 ($2450), putting it ahead of notable names like La Fleur-Petrus and Ausone.
The second wines of the traditional First growths all maintained Second Growth status in the classification, with only Château Palmer’s Alter Ego moving, dropping from a third to a fourth.
By Don Kavanagh | Posted Tuesday, 18-Jul-2017