Highly rated back-to-back vintages tend to spark endless debates among collectors; the Bordeaux vintages of 1995 and 1996 are no exception. In a recent retrospective tasting, senior editor James Suckling reaffirmed his preference for the 1995s, noting "the 1995s are [generally] fresher, fruitier and better structured than the 1996s [and will] need more time to open and lose some of their firm tannins."
Château Margaux was the top-performing Bordeaux across both vintages. Suckling awarded 100 points to the 1995 (a perfect score on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale) and 97 points to the 1996. Yet the 1995 is currently trading at a lower price.
At auction, the 1995 and 1996 vintages from Margaux have tracked along similar price lines, with the two vintages vying for the top spot. In fact, the two wines were selling at the same price as recently as the first quarter of 2004 ($245). But the 1996 has lately emerged as the leader, rising sharply in price in 2006 and early 2007.
Additionally, with the 2005 Margaux, potentially rated in the classic range, already priced around $775, and the 2000 (score 100, release price: $423) surpassing the $1,000 mark in a recent sale, the $435 going rate for the 1995 begins to look like a bargain.
For those in the market to buy, a case of the 1995 is due to come to auction at Morrell's on Saturday, May 5. The high estimate for the lot is $4,200, which translates to $350 a bottle.
|This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart plots the prices of 1995 Margaux against 1996 Margaux.|