Why Big Red Diary?

analysing the sales numbers from the 158th hospices auction

As promised (late) on Sunday evening, a little, more thoughtful analysis of the statistics of the 158th Hospices de Beaune, sale.

  • Here is a list of the ‘top lots.’ (pdf)
  • Whilst these are, at the outset, domaine wines, the sale should still be viewed in the context of a market where the bulk prices – at least at regional and communal levels – are beginning to soften: The softening is unsurprising following two vintages with a reasonable supply of wine, though with a backdrop of empty cellars. But given a market where demand exceeds supply for the highest value wines, we are unlikely to see a reduction in contract prices for those.
  • It’s interesting that on the one hand the President’s barrel fetched only half the value of the previous year, yet on the the other hand the Côte de Nuits grand crus and particularly the Bâtard-Montrachet grand cru of the Hospices increase in price each year by leaps and bounds. The Corton grand crus never exhibit the same cachet.
  • On a per barrel basis, the wine was still cheaper in 2018 than in 2015, but as you can see, roughly three times more expensive than in well-reputed vintages with a similar yield of barrels, such as 2005 or 2009.
  • For a vintage where a lot of hype is building, equally interesting is that the price per barrel is relatively consistent with 2017 and still some way below the value produced by the 2015s.
  • Given the vintage hype, it seems reasonable to attribute the higher barrel price (over 2017) to that, as opposed to irrational market exuberance, though the jury will be out for the best part of a year re the eventual quality of the reds and particularly the whites:
    Vintage Sale Total € millions* Price per barrel** Number of barrels
    ***2005 €3.79 million €4,803 789
    2009 €4.99 million €6,250 799
    2015 €11.3 million €18,880 575
    2016 €8.4 million €13,833 596
    2017 €13.5 million €16,657 787
    2018 €13.95 million €16,850 828

    *Ex Christies, without commissions, the President’s Barrel, Marc de Bourgogne or Fine de Bourgogne…
    **Ex Christies, without commissions…
    ***I remember when I thought those prices very high!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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