Cristal
By George Stewart

The year is winding down, there’s a bite in the air and many of us are thinking more about what wines we’ll be drinking with the Christmas Goose rather than trading, but the final quarter of 2019 has been a busy one on the Fine Wine Market. We look again at the most traded wines by both volume and value and see what we can learn from the months behind looking ahead to this time of year in 2020.

In September we looked at the third quarter and noticed a number of surprising, low cost entries on the list of wines traded on the exchange, namely entry level light reds, Provence rosés and the like. Our working theory at the time was that they made their way onto the list by virtue of summer drinking. This quarter the lowest cost item on the volume list was the iconic cru Beaujolais, Foillard Morton Côte du Py 2017.

As a long-lived new release and a legendary and genre-defining superstar from this up and coming wine region I think we can safely say that this is not appearing simply to satisfy drinkers’ demand. Also give it is among the most expensive producers in Beaujolais, it is reasonable to believe that it is a more strategic development for those looking to establish a long-term position on an in demand wine.

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“Eight out of twenty wines on the volume rankings were Champagnes from the most popular grandes marques.”

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Eight out of twenty wines on the volume rankings were Champagnes from the most popular grandes marques with Cristal proving once again that it remains a remarkably liquid wine even as its price climbs. Leoville Barton 2016 is also present on the list, showing further that large volumes of top Bordeaux continue to trade once physical, though this in particular has gotten excellent coverage given it was named the wine of the year by Decanter in October. Short term speculators clearly would do well to follow the press and be prepared to react quickly.

In terms of value we have seen continued dominance from traditional powerhouses, with two vintages of Cristal; 2008 & 2007, finding their way onto the list, albeit the much hyped 2008 ranking considerably higher in 11th place, while 2007 landed in 20th. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2007 is the other prestige cuvée Champagne to make it onto both lists, a wine we can attest to has proven incredibly popular over the past year as a whole.

More so that last quarter the list is utterly dominated by Bordeaux. 16 out of 20 wines listed are Bordeaux. The top spot may go to Sassicaia 2016 but blue chip Bordeaux remains the stalwart of the top traded by value rankings. One surprise however is that “off” vintages like 2006, 2007 and 2008 have found themselves well represented alongside the likes of 2009, 2015 and 2016, as collectors look for wines with more upside for appreciation, potentially wary of fully priced vintages.