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Liv-ex new 1855 classification: Domaine de Chevalier, Haut Bailly gain

Liv-ex has published its bi-annual reworking of the 1855 classification that it first released in 2009.

Aimed at identifying trends in the wine market across the Left Bank of Bordeaux, the ranking examined average prices of cases of in-bond OWC wine across the Médoc and Pessac Léognan sold on the secondary market from 2009-2013.

Liv-ex does not, of course, have the power to officially change the Bordeaux 1855 Classification, which is 160 years old this year, but its report aims to put the ranking in context according to prices and secondary market demand.

All five first growths remain at the top, joined by Mission Haut-Brion, as since 2009 – although all six had seen price drops on the Liv-ex trading exchange since the 2013 ranking, led by Chateau Lafite Rothschild with a 22% decline.

Upward movers included Haut Bailly from 3rd Growth in 2013 to 2nd Growth in 2015, while Malescot Saint Exupery, Grand Puy Lacoste and Domaine de Chevalier all also moved up one ranking from the last 2013 issue, from 4th Growth to 3rd. Chateaux Gloria and Phelan Segur made their first entry, as 5th growths.

‘The movers are generally recognized by merchants and wine lovers as estates that have invested heavily and made great efforts with quality,’ liv-ex director Justin Gibb told decanter.com. ‘The estates’ own release price of course has an impact to some extent, but by measuring resales we are really seeing indication of quality achieved not just priced asked by the chateau’.

As the brokers did in the 1855 Classification (and Liv-ex did previously in 2009, 2011 and 2013), wines were ranked according to price band, which for 2015 were:

  • 1st Growths: £2,000 a case and above
  • 2nd Growths: £550 to £1,999
  • 3rd Growths: £350 to £549
  • 4th Growths: £250 to £349
  • 5th Growths: £200 to £249

As to whether this will ever translate into a reworking of 1855, Gibb was less certain. ‘Inevitably self-interest would come into play. It might be a little too like an EU summit – where everyone says they are working towards the same goal but really has their own agenda.’

Read more about the 1855 Classification:

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