Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Nectar of the Gods

    There are numerous references to the "nectar of the gods" throughout history and mythology. It refers to different things at different times. This time however, I'm specifically referring to part of my investment portfolio - wine investment that is. Recently I was given the opportunity to increase my portfolio with a case of Chateau Ausone 2013 en premeur. Prior to purchasing the wine, I did a little research. I figured that writing about it in my blog will help me remember what I found and serve as a point of future reference. So here goes...
    As far as I'm aware, there are two major classifications of Bordeaux (French) wine (there are many more but I'll focus on the major two). On one hand, we have the Official Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855. On the other hand, there is the Saint-Emilion Classification.
    The 1855 Classificaton came about when Emperor Napoleon III ordered the best Bordeaux wines to be identified for display to visitors of the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris. The wines were first ranked according to their trading price and chateau's reputation; which at that time was synonymous with their quality. The best reds were the first growth (crus) wines and extended to the fifth growth. There were originally four first growth wines; namely, Chateau Lafite (now Chateau Lafite Rothschild), Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, Haut-Brion (now Chateau Haut-Brion). In 1973, after tremendous lobbying, Chateau Mouton Rothschild was elevated from Deuxiemes Crus to Premiers Crus. All these were from the Medoc region except for Chateau Haut-Brion, which is from Graves. Whites were classified separately. 
My first foray into this asset class was with Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion from Graves. This chateau is considered a potential First Growth, especially after Robert Parker gave the 2000 wine the maximum 100 points; the sixth time this has happened.
My La Mission Haut-Brion 2007 bonded in the warehouse
    One hundred years after the 1855 classification, the wines of the Saint-Emilion region were classified, Unlike the 1855 classification, the Saint-Emilion Classification is more dynamic as it is updated every ten years or so. The best in this classification are termed Premiers Grand Crus Classes A, followed by Premier Grand Crus Classes B (18 Premier Grand Crus Classes) and Grand Crus Classes (64 in all). There are currently four Premier Grand Crus Classes A wine, namely, Chateau Angelus, Chateau Ausone (sounds familiar?), Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau Pavie.
    When investing in wine, it is best to buy it "En primeur". This is when the wine is bought before it it bottled, when the vintage is still maturing in the barrel. This happens a year to 18 moths before bottling. It is akin to buying a condominium before the T.O.P. date. Most of the time, it is considerably cheaper at this time as compared to when it is released to be drunk.
    There we have it; details on the classification and a quick intro into wine investing. Feel free to contact me for a more in death discussion. =)

No comments:

Post a Comment