Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chateau Mouton Rothschild - 1982-2010 QPR

Which vintage of Chateau Mouton Rothschild offers the best quality to price ratio (QPR)?  I looked at the modern vintages first:  2010 received 97 points from Wine Advocate (WA) and is available for future delivery at $700 (Premier Cru).  2009 is WA 99 and can be bought today for $900 (Gary's Wine Marketplace).  It seemed that the market values modern great vintages of Mouton at $100 per WA point above 90.  To if the pattern persisted with older vintages, I made a table of the top 8 vintages back to 1982:

Vintage Points Price Cost/Point over 90
2010 97 $700 $100
2009 99 $900 $100
2005 96 $500 $83
2003 95 $400 $80
2000 96 $1150 $192
1996 94 $400 $100
1986 100 $750 $75
1982 100 $1000 $100

For my money, the 1986 is the wine to buy.  In absolute terms, it is cheaper than the 2000 and the 2009, both of which have lower scores.  In relative terms, its cost per point is lower than any of the recent great vintages.

The 1986 Mouton Rothschild was not always a $750 wine.  It traded at around $1000/bottle both in 2007 and 2011, so there is precedent for higher prices.  I would expect prices on the older vintages to rise when the current group of 2009s and 2010s have been sold.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2011 Sine Qua Non Dark Blossom Allocation

Sine Qua Non's August 2013 allocation is for six Syrah and three Grenache, all named "Dark Blossom".  Buy your entire allocation.

Antonio Galloni gave the Syrah (95-97) points from barrel, and the Grenache (94-96).  Prices have ticked up slightly to $160/bottle.  Don't forget to include shipping and local taxes when calculating your final price.  If you pay 8% local wine tax (California's rate is 8.2%), then your cost is $173.  Shipping will probably cost you about $10/bottle, so your final price to drink these is about $180-$185.

If you want to sell some to pay for the one you drink, then you are probably in for an uphill battle.  If the Wine Advocate confirms the Galloni ratings, then private party sales are probably your best bet - and it may take several years to get your money back.  For example, Sine Qua Non's 2008 Syrah, B-20 got 95 points from the Advocate, and can be purchased today for $220 (wine-searcher).  If you sell through a traditional auction house which takes 20% of all sales, a final price of $222 returns your $185.  A final price of $235 would also cover your cost to ship the wine to the auction house.  A wine-commune pre-arrival offering of Dark Blossom at $285 went unsold.

If the 2011 Sine Qua Non Dark Blossom gets a better Advocate review, like 99 or 100, then higher prices would be expected.  A final auction price of $252 will return $210 to the seller.  Make it $260, if you want to pay for your cost to ship the wine to the auctioneer.  Prices like this are supported by past offerings, such as the 2005 Atlantis series, in which the 100 point Syrah is $260-$300 on the secondary market.

Even if the 2011 Dark Blossom offerings turn out to be "only" 95-96 points, it is still worth it for a wine speculator to buy these and stay on the allocation list.  Sine Qua Non has a strong track record and is a good bet to release more 100 point wines in the future.

Note:  This post was updated on 9/5/2013 to correct errors in the release price.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Screaming Eagle Second Flight Prices

Screaming Eagle Second Flight wine is finding its way onto the secondary market, and the prices are becoming clear.  The bid/ask spread appears to be $400/$500 for any given bottle of the 2006-2009 vertical.  The Screaming Eagle winery introduced Second Flight in September, and offered the 8-bottle packs for $250/bottle (price includes tax and shipping to New York; your mileage may vary).  The highest "bid" for Second Flight appears in the WineCommune.com pricefile at $400; other bids were generally North of $350.  As of this writing, 128 bottles have been sold on WineCommune, with an average price of $376/bottle.

Wine-searcher.com revealed the cheapest "ask", currently $499/bottle from Wally's in CA.  Other asks are currently not higher than $675.

Second Flight has not yet been rated by any professional wine critic, so there remains at least one obvious opportunity for price movement.   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Second Flight - Screaming Eagle Introduces a Second Wine

Screaming Eagle has introduced a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc dubbed "Second Flight".  The 8 - bottle offering consists of 2 - bottles each vintage  '06, '07, '08, and '09.  The 8 - bottle lot is offered only to those  individuals lucky enough to be on the Screaming Eagle allocation list.  Interestingly, the offer does not describe these wines as being made from the fruit of either young vines, nor is this wine that was rejected for blending in the grand cuvee.  Rather, the winery states "For the last eight years, we’ve been making a different wine based on our top Merlot and Cabernet Franc lots."  If true, then Second Flight might be every bit as good as Screaming Eagle itself.  Bear in mind that the estate was sold in the spring of 2006, and the addition of additional labels might have been part of the buyer's plan.

The offer is priced at a hefty $1800, expect to pay $2000 when shipping and local sales taxes are included.  Final cost is $250/bottle.  Recognize that an auction house would need to sell this to someone else for slightly north of $300 (including 20% buyer's premium), for a speculator to break even.

Buy your entire allocation.  The Second Flight has no track record and only the Screaming Eagle brand to recommend it.  In this soft wine market, very few allocations make sense for wine investors or wine speculators, but Second Flight is one to buy.  Skeptics are invited to consider two other CA cult wines to have second offerings in recent years.  Scarecrow's M. Etain debuted at $125 before tax and shipping.  Most speculators would take a small loss re-selling that wine ($170 is currently the lowest retail price on wine-searcher).  Scarecrow admits that M. Etain is wine that didn't make it into the final blend.  However Sine Qua Non's Next of Kyn went from a $220 allocation price to a $575+ resale price.  Sine Qua Non was very clear in pointing out that Next of Kyn is a new wine made entirely from the Cumulus vineyard, and not the second offering of any of its existing labels.  There are no guarantees that any wine can be re-sold for a profit, but I would gladly take my chances with Second Flight.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2008 Sine Qua Non Estate Allocation

The 2008 Sine Qua Non (SQN) Estate allocations have been announced.  They are 3 x Syrah “The Duel” (WA 96-98) and 3 x Grenache “The Duel” (WA 95-98) all sold together for $1320.  Plus, there is a white wine “The Monkey” (WA 92-94), which is a Rhone-style blend of Roussanne, Viognier, and Chardonnay.  Allocations of “The Monkey” range from three to six bottles at $100 each. 

Buy “The Duel”; it’s a no-brainer for both the speculator and the consumer.  Past years of Eleven Confessions Syrah and Grenache sell for $450 and up, and 2008 SQN “The Duel” should be no different.  A speculator could reasonably expect to sell four of these at auction, paying the 20% auction house commission, and let the profits pay for the last two.  As for SQN “The Monkey”, buy it only if you want to drink it.

Followers of the ratings will notice that the barrel sample scores for the 2008 SQN “The Duel” are a couple of points lower than past years.  Don’t worry, it’s the same great wine, just a different critic.  The WA reviewer for the 2008 SQN is Antonio Galloni, not Robert Parker.  Galloni is taking over responsibility the Wine Advocate reviews for California and Washington.  Buy the 2008 SQN Estate bottlings with confidence.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2009 Futo Allocation

The 2009 Futo allocation is announced.  The deadline for buying your allocation is February 21st.  The wine got 96 points from Wine Advocate (WA), and is sold by allocation for $225.  By the time you pay local sales tax and shipping, expect your cost to be around $250.  If you sell, expect to by clipped for 20% auction house fees, so a final price of $300 is what you will need to break even.  You will also need to pay to have the wine shipped to the auction house.

Does this make sense?  For the 2004 vintage, (RP 96, first vintage) the lowest ask on wine-searcher is $300.  The 2007 Futo (RP 98) is also a $300+ wine.  All the other Futo vintages scored either 95 or 95+, and it appears that all can presently be bought for under $250.  It is worth noting, that the cheaper vintages (2005, 2006, and 2008) all appear to be in low supply at the sub-$250 level; there are many more offers above $300.  Buying the 2009 Futo to flip immediately does not make much sense.  I would expect to come close to breaking even.

However, a speculator might be willing to take a small loss on the 2009 vintage to ensure an allocation for the potentially better scoring (WA 95-98) 2010 vintage.  Alternatively, the 2009 Futo can be held for a few years.  Futo is very close to greatness.  If it can pull off a couple of 100 point vintages in the future, it could very well push all older vintages up to the next price level.  Futo has never earned less than 95 points from the WA, and annual production is only around 1000 cases.  My recommendation is to buy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2009 Quilceda Creek Allocation

The 2009 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is available January 9th for $135/bottle.  Parker gave this wine (99-100) from the barrel.  Buy your entire allocation. 

The 2009 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is expected to cost more on the secondary market.  All Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from 2002-2009 received either 99 or 100 points.  The cheapest wine-searcher price for the 99 point wines (2008, 2006, and 2004) is $180 for 2008 and 2006, and $200 for the 2004.  The 100 pointers from 2005 and 2007 cannot be obtained for less than $220.  Patient buyers of the 100 point 2002 and 2003 vintages can close the deal for about $250. If you are buying 2009s to drink, buy them now.

If you are buying to flip, consider that you will pay for shipping – both to you and then to the auction house, plus sales tax and auction premium.  A $135 bottle will break even if sold for $185 (including buyer’s premium).  This is still worth it, if the sale will allow you to stay on the list.  If you can afford to hold the wine for about 5 years, so much the better.