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Spotlight On: Second-Growth Bordeaux

Second-growth Bordeaux still underperform in the auction market as a sector

Nick Suarez
Posted: February 25, 2009

Bordeaux's second growths—traditionally a haven for Bordeaux drinkers wary of first-growth prices—continue to underperform at auction as a sector. They've fared better than the first-growths in this bear market for wine, dropping only 17 percent in value since the second half of 2007 in comparison to 21 percent for the first-growths over the same period. But over a longer period of time, they've also gained less than the first-growths on the Wine Spectator Auction Index.

While their gains and losses have been less volatile, they still post attractive comparative price points to the first-growths. Even though Château Margaux 1982 has dropped 37 percent since the third quarter of 2007, it still sold for an average of $654 per bottle in the fourth quarter of 2008. In comparison, most second-growths sell for under $200 per bottle.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 1995 (97 points) Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 1998, currently sells at $125, down 21 percent from the third quarter of 2008. Château Pichon-Longueville-Lalande 1995 (96 points) dropped 27 percent from its third-quarter 2008 average and currently sits at $143. Château Cos-d'Estournel 1989 (95 points) is selling at $120, down 19 percent from the previous quarter.

Look for many second-growths at the upcoming Zachy's Las Vegas auction on Feb. 27, where two cases of Cos-d'Estournel 2000 will be available. This was Wine Spectator's No. 2 Wine of the Year in 2003 and scored 96 points. The presale estimate of $1,000 to $1,500 for each lot is well below its current auction average of $145 per bottle.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. The average prices from each half have been indexed to 100 beginning in the first half of 2005. This chart plots the index value of the average price of second growths against that of the first growths tracked in the Wine Spectator Auction Index and the Wine Spectator Auction Index itself.

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