The $800 price tag for the Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto 2001 (100 points, $250 release price, $797 current price)--the wine James Suckling called "a monument to Italy"--is steep for a Tuscan wine. The auction history of Sassicaia 1985 (99 points, $48, $1,989), however, may help to give perspective, as the two wines have posted similar rates of gain in the last year and a half.
The Sassicaia 1985 jumped from $276 to $757 from the first quarter of 1996 to the third quarter of 1997, and continued to rise steadily after that. More recently, a swell of momentum has pushed the price from $949 in the third quarter of 2005 to its current value of $1,989, proving that Tuscan wines have the potential to accumulate value at auction.
In comparison, the average price of the Masseto 2001, after stalling around $500 for a year from the fourth quarter of 2004 to the fourth quarter of 2005, has escalated in recent auctions at nearly the same rate as the Sassicaia 1985, to $797.
For those in the market for a Tuscan wine at a lower price point, the Masseto 1999 (96 points, $300 release price, current auction price $271) is still trading below its release price and should be approaching its peak drink window. Acker Merrall & Condit's Sept. 7 sale features case lots of the 1999 as well as six packs of the 2001.
|This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. The prices have been indexed to 100 beginning in the first quarter of 2005. This chart plots the index value of Masseto 2001 against Sassicaia 1985.|