Our Blog

The Irresistible Rise of Haut-Brion?

  • Featured

After being touted as perhaps the best first growth on the strength of its points and prices two years ago, is Haut-Brion finally moving into the limelight?

Chateau Haut-Brion copyIt is a well-recorded fact that Lafite’s former premium versus its fellow firsts (driven by a rapacious Asian market) has been falling steadily since 2011 (now down 47% overall), and the gap has narrowed from a peak of 130% four years ago to just 35% last month and with signs it will yet slide further.

As Liv-ex relates though, Lafite’s recent dominance is not backed up by historical pedigree. Haut-Brion was the leading estate in the early 20th century and the booming US market with a thirst for Margaux in the late 1990s did as much to boost that particular property as China did for Lafite.

“Are we beginning to see another shift?” asked Liv-ex.

Certainly Haut-Brion and Mouton Rothschild have profited the most from Lafite’s slump with the Pessac estate climbing the furthest – 7.7% – from June 2014 to August of this year.

As was pointed out in October 2013 and is still true today, of all the first growths Haut-Brion has the cheapest average case price between 2003 and 2012 (£3,421) and yet it has the highest average Robert Parker score of 96.4 along with Latour – which also has the highest average case price (£4,997). By way of further example, the 2010 from Latour and Haut-Brion both have 100 Parker points but the former has a market price of £8,600 and the latter £5,600.

Haut-Brion’s 2005 was one of just 12 wines recently up-graded to 100-points by Parker and its 2012 scooped the best marks in the “nose of Maryland’s” in-bottle scores for the 2012s this summer as well with 98-points.

Using its “points over price” (POP) ratio, Liv-ex has shown that of the 10 first growth wines “appearing to offer best value”, half are from Haut-Brion, four from Margaux and one from Mouton. On the basis that the lower the POP score the “better” the value, Haut-Brion’s 2012, 2008, 2006, 2011 and 2003 vintages all score lower than 200 (as do the 2012s from Margaux and Mouton), while, to give some sort of perspective, the 100-point 2010 Latour mentioned above has a POP of 430.

Looking at the 2003-2012 vintages between June 2014 and August 2015, one can see that only the 2011 has declined – down 5.9% from a mid-price of £2,550 to Haut Brion 2003-2012 £2,400.

The biggest riser – buoyed no doubt by Parker’s 100-point benediction – is the 2005 which has climbed 25.4% to a mid-price of £5,150. The next biggest climber has been the 2008 – rising 9.6% – followed by the similarly recently elevated 2012, up 6.6% over the course of the last year.

The rest of the risers can be seen:


Although many might ask where Lafite is going to be next year, perhaps more might tax themselves with the question: “What about Haut-Brion?”

21st September, 2015

Rupert Millar

The Drinks Business

Tags : [sharebar1]

Discover our range of wines

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!