There’s an obvious problem with this, and you can see that right from the bold title of the table introducing you to such delights – the table is by value, not by volume. Of-course a few of the wines in the table have decent volume too – Ponsot’s Clos de la Roche is not bad, 3.3 hectares and at a rough 30 hl/ha that’s about 13,000 bottles – a big cuvée for Burgundy. The Clos des Lambrays and Clos de Tart are even bigger cuvées – no surprise for grand cru (sometimes quasi) monopolies – even the Rousseau Chambertin is not so bad – but that’s where the volume stops, there are wines in this list that often produce 1-2 barrels – yes – 1-2 barrels. A table based on such things has no real perspective.
I do not deny the rise of worth of Burgundy, that would be a ridiculous standpoint, but today the chance of buying full 12-bottle cases, indeed 6-bottle cases of important wines shrinks by the year – it is already a few years since importers introduced the 3-bottle case, and there’s a queue for those too! I know that the superstars bring the headlines – DRC, Leroy – but at least DRC has some volume, Leroy is the typical poster-child of this ‘investment perspective’ – “The preponderance of Leroy in this adjusted top 10 and its strong price performance overall is the reason why it was ranked as the strongest brand in this year’s ‘Power 100’ list” – bombastic – no? They may have 0.5 hectares of the Chambertin that is noted, but they rarely produce more than a couple of barrels, indeed they produce only 1-2 barrels of many things, but no more.
A real indicator would be all the grand crus sold at major auctions, and their price tracked – of-course it would still be skewed by a big DRC sale, or single bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti sold for $0.5 million. But then there is at least a volume of transactions behind a number that you can track each year. Of-course I’m glossing over the fact that less than 4% of the Côte d’Or’s production is grand cru, closer to 1% if you look at burgundy wine as a whole. But when a single 6 pack of Leroy Chambertin (and there are not many of those) is traded twice in a year, but makes 20% less on the second occasion – it depends on who is in the room, bidding – does that mean that the market has tanked?