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Spotlight On: Château Rieussec Sauternes 2001

The value of 2004's 100-point Wine of the Year is down significantly from auction high

Nick Suarez
Posted: December 17, 2008

As the 2008 Wine Spectator Wine of the Year was recently announced, it's a good time for a look back at a previous award winner to see how it is currently faring at auction. Château Rieussec 2001 (100 points, $80 release price, $113 current auction price) was Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 2004. It was the second dessert wine to take top honors.

As evidenced by auction prices, Sauternes, the sweet dessert wine from the Bordeaux region, flies under the radar of most collectors. But the wines are long-lasting and the 2001 vintage in particular is a good choice for laying down. The vintage exhibited ideal growing conditions, scoring in the classic range as a whole at 97 points.

The Rieussec 2001 began selling at auctions in the third quarter of 2004. The price moved steadily upwards reaching a high of $189 in the fourth quarter of 2007, a gain of 136 percent from its release price. However over the past year, the price has sharply fallen back down, creating a unique buying opportunity for a 100-point wine.

To make things even sweeter for buyers, Château Rieussec 2003 (95, $65, $65) is currently selling at its release price. Both the 2001 and 2003 currently represent great value for collectors, so be sure to look for them in upcoming auctions starting in early 2009.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart shows the average auction prices of Château Rieussec 2001 from the third quarter of 2004 to the fourth quarter of 2008.

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