Though the past year has not been kind to our regional economy, and social industries like hospitality have suffered greatly, a relatively strong market for fine wine has nonetheless persisted. In fact, although it took some real pain in March and April this year, tradeable fine wine is in the midst of a worldwide comeback, perhaps helped along by the strength of the 2019 Bordeaux vintage (even though the 2019 en primeur tasting week in Bordeaux itself was cancelled).
It should come as no surprise to anybody who’s spent time in Hong Kong wine circles that virtually all the most expensive wines in our market are from Burgundy, with marquee names like DRC’s Romanée-Conti, Leroy’s and Roumier’s Musigny’s and Jayer Cros Parantoux topping the list. Prices for which currently max out at an eye-watering US$81,854.
These highly desirable Grand Crus (and Premier Cru, in the case of Cros Parantoux) are unfortunately also among the most widely counterfeited. Any newcomer wanting to take a punt on these bottles had best turn to a highly reputable merchant, buy on release if possible (challenging as they are tightly allocated), and probably ask for a paper trail. Cros Parantoux, the last vintage of which was made in 2001 (Jayer passed in 2006) is especially tricky in this regard. The risk of being duped seems, though, seems to have done little to dampen the enthusiasm for these top Burgs.
It’s thus somewhat unexpected that Burgundy as an investment category has not performed especially well over the past year. Arguably it’s so absurdly expensive at this point that it has less room to grow, although I’ve heard that argument before (and the 5-year performance of Liv-Ex’s Burgundy 150 still trounces all the other indices with 76.99% growth vs. 30.56% for Bordeaux Legends).
Meanwhile, the only Liv-Ex indices that have seen growth over the past year are the Italy 100 and Champagne 50, though the latter has seen the weakest month-on-month growth of the various indices (it seems people just aren’t feeling especially bubbly of late). The Rest of the World 60 has likewise seen a bit of a bump in the past month and so we thought it might be worth taking a quick look at the “best of the rest,” i.e. the most expensive wines outside Burgundy. In a testament to the comparative affordability of both Italy and Champagne, neither of them makes the Top 5.