Five Times Robert Parker Moved the Bordeaux Market

  • Anthony Maxwell, Liv-ex Director

  • 12 Jun 2019 | News & Views

With the recent news of Robert Parker's retirement, Liv-ex looks back at just five times—of very many—that the famed wine critic moved the Bordeaux market. 

2009 Haut-Bailly

Parker first published his 100-point review of the 2009 Haut-Bailly in the Hedonist’s Gazette (Nov 2014) following a private dinner at the Château. The market responded rapidly: three days after the score was announced, its trade price had increased from £775 per 12×75 to £1,125—a 45.2% gain.

Six months later, the wine saw a further uptick after the review was officially added to The Wine Advocate archives.

2005 Bordeaux
Parker’s influence on Bordeaux 2005 began months before his 10-year retrospective review of the vintage was even due to be published (June 2015).

In the six months leading up to the report’s publication, Liv-ex observed a period of increased trading activity for the vintage—and rising prices. Upgrades for several 2005s in late 2014 and early 2015 led to speculation that further upgrades would follow, resulting in a “ripple effect” of price gains across the vintage.

When the report was eventually released, it emerged that several wines tipped for an upgrade didn’t achieve three digits. The 2005 Mouton Rothschild, for example, received 97 points and saw its price drift over the months that followed.

The 2005 Mission Haut-Brion was a beneficiary of Parker’s 2005 report, as it was upgraded from 98+ to 100 points. “Pure perfection” and a “modern-day legend,” Parker comments. “This is a fabulous wine and a great effort from this hallowed terroir.”

Parker had hinted at an upgrade back in August 2012 (“If everything comes together in 10 to 15 years, this brilliant 2005 should merit a triple digit score”). With buyers anticipating a bigger score, its price began to creep up at the beginning of 2015. Between January and June 2015, when the score was revealed, its trade price moved from £3,200 to £4,506—a staggering 47.7% increase.

The upgrade for the 2010 Montrose came at the end of a period of declining prices for the wine: between March 2013 and May 2014 its trade price dropped 32.3%—from £1,600 to £1,100 per 12×75.

Parker increased its score by just one point—from 99 to 100—in August 2014, calling it “among the greatest vintages ever made in Montrose.” What the wine lost in over a year, it regained in a single day following Parker’s announcement: on the day of the upgrade, it traded at £1,650.

Parker has been effusive in his praise of the 1989 Haut-Brion, publishing 100-point scores for the wine on six separate occasions—as well as 98-100 in barrel. He calls it “one of the immortal wines and one of the greatest young Bordeaux wines of the last half-century...a seamless, majestic classic.”

As the chart below shows, this Parker favorite commands a significant premium on other Haut-Brion vintages: its market price is 139% above the 2005, the next highest of the last 20 vintages.

Parker concludes: “Life is too short not to drink this wine as many times as possible!”

Readers should take note that the views of this author represent those of a company with an interest in the wine trade. Liv-ex operates the global marketplace for fine wine. It offers trading, data and settlement services to professional buyers and sellers of fine wine. Private collectors can view Liv-ex prices and value their portfolios using Cellar Watch and find regular market analysis on the blog. The opinions of Liv-ex are their own and do not represent those of Robert Parker Wine Advocate or Wine Journal. Liv-ex contributes articles to Wine Journal that we feel are of market relevance to readers, but we do not specifically endorse this company.

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