Consorzio Collio 2024 (175x100)

Liv-ex Classification 2021: the ultimate leap forward for Italian fine wines

83 overall, 11 at the top: Biondi Santi, Masseto, Bruno Giacosa (2), Gaja (3), Bartolo Mascarello, Burlotto, Giacomo Conterno and Soldera

For many years, the collector's wine market has had a point of reference recognized by everyone - collectors, wine merchants, auction houses, companies - created at the beginning of the third millennium to make the fine wine market transparent, efficient and secure: Liv-ex, founded by James Miles and Justin Gibbs, two brokers from the City who are passionate about wine, for which today performance and new quotations are passed on through the analysis of the trend of thousands of labels from all over the world (there are currently 16,000 on the list, ed.). Since 2009, they are collected in a classification that follows the most prestigious, that of Bordeaux in 1855: five categories, divided, just like then, by price ranges. A classification that, every two years, is revised and updated, opening the doors to more and more territories and wineries, among those that - between July 2020 and June 2021 - have seen at least 15 exchanges of 5 or more vintages. Compared to 2019, the Liv-ex 1000, the index that aggregates all the others, has grown overall by +6.36%, with the evolution of average prices that have moved up the bar of entry for all five categories of the new “Liv-ex Classification 2021”: in the fifth one goes from 306 to 382 pounds per case (strictly from 12 bottles, ed.), in the fourth from 383 to 535 pounds, in the third from 536 to 841 pounds, in the second from 842 to 3. 059 pounds and in the first from 3,060 pounds and up.

In all, there are 349 wines classified by Liv-ex, from 8 countries (France, Italy, USA, Australia, Portugal, Spain, Chile and Germany), with 83 Italian wines, more than double the number compared to 2019, to photograph the enormous growth, in this two-year period, of fine wines from Italy on the market, led mainly by Brunello di Montalcino and Barolo, respectively with 18 and 21 labels in the new classification. Among producers, the top ones for Italy are Gaja (8), Antinori (4), Casnova di Neri (3), Bruno Giacosa (3) and Produttori del Barbaresco (3). In the first category, among wines costing from £3,060 per case upwards, there are 72 labels in all, including no less than 11 Italian ones, eight more than in 2019, despite the overall drop: there were 77 wines in the first category two years ago. In addition to the confirmations of Bruno Giacosa Barolo Vigna Rocche Riserva (£4,601 per case), Masseto (£5,716) and Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (£3,441), there are Bartolo Mascarello’s Barolo (£3,444), Bruno Giacosa’s Barbaresco Asili Riserva (£3. 653 pounds), Barolo Monvigliero Comm. G. B. Burlotto (4,325 pounds), Barbaresco Costa Russi (3,142 pounds), Barbaresco Sorì San Leonardo (3,216 pounds) and Barbaresco Sorì Tildin (3,147 pounds) from Gaja, Barolo Monfortino Riserva from Giacomo Conterno (8,816 pounds) and Soldera Case Basse (4,661 pounds).

The first category, as we will see, is also the only one where Piedmont is present with more wines than Tuscany, also thanks to 4 labels coming from the second category. Since the top of the new classification, it can be noticed the decrease of Bordeaux, passed from 14 to 10 labels, one less than Italy, whereas Bourgogne, by far the most present in the first range, loses even more ground, passing from 44 to 31 labels (-29.5%). On the contrary, besides Italy, with 8 labels from Piedmont and 3 from Tuscany, California grows a lot, arrived at 10 wines (from 6 in 2019). The second category is by far the most full-bodied, with 152 wines traded on Liv-ex at a price ranging from £842 to £3,059 per case, from a considerable number of countries and territories, from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne in France to Tuscany in Italy, from California to Portugal, from Germany to Chile and Australia. Here, too, the number of Italian labels is growing, and by a lot, coming in at 38, up from 23 in 2019, equally divided between Tuscany and Piedmont, with the average prices of the two regions symbolic of Italian wine standing at £1,420 and £1,348 per case, respectively.

Starting from Piedmont, in the second bracket there are Bruno Giacosa’s Barbaresco Asili (£1,355 per case) and Barolo Falletto (£1,336), Cappellano’s Barolo Pie Rupestris (1. 989 pounds), Ceretto’s Barbaresco Asili (976 pounds) and Barolo Prapo (851 pounds), Chiara Boschis’ Barolo Cannubi (851 pounds), Gaja’s Barbaresco (1,403 pounds), Barolo Conteisa (1,448 pounds) and Barolo Sperss (2,096 pounds), Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Francia (2. 331 pounds), Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio’s Barolo Monprivato (1,254 pounds), La Spinetta’s Barbaresco Gallina (896 pounds), Barbaresco Starderi (876 pounds) and Barbaresco Valeirano (941 pounds), Barolo Aleste (950 pounds) and Barolo Vigne (1. 392 pounds) from Luciano Sandrone, Barolo La Serra from Roberto Voerzio (1,670 pounds), and Barolo Lazzarito (1,510 pounds) and Barolo Ravera (1,716 pounds) from Vietti.

From Tuscany, in the second tier, again a lot of Brunello, but not only: Solaia (£2,122 per case) and Tignanello (£922) by Antinori, Colore by Bibi Graetz (£1,819), Brunello di Montalcino by Biondi Santi (£1. 033 pounds), Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto by Casanova di Neri (2,324 pounds), Apparita by Castello di Ama (1,481 pounds), Flaccianello by Pieve di Fontodi (920 pounds), Messorio by Le Macchiole (1,300 pounds), Le Pergole Torte by Montevertine (1,639 pounds), Ornellaia (1. 449 pounds), Brunello di Montalcino Rennina (1,013 pounds) and Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille (993 pounds) from Pieve Santa Restituta (Gaja), Brunello di Montalcino (1,188 pounds) and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (2. 251 pounds) from Poggio di Sotto, Brunello di Montalcino Cerbaiola from Salvioni (1,025 pounds), Percarlo San Giusto (868 pounds), Sassicaia from Tenuta San Guido (1,936 pounds), Redigaffi from Tua Rita (1,451 pounds) and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna Piano from Valdicava (1,247 pounds).

The third bracket also expands, to include 62 wines (there were 50 in 2019), with 20 new entries and as many as 12 coming down from the second. He leads, here too, Bordeaux, with 26 labels, always followed by Italy, at 17 with no less than 9 new entries, and confirmation that fine wines tricolour not only come from Tuscany and Piedmont, as shown by the presence of Valentini’s Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (£761 per case) and San Leonardo (£636), from Trentino Alto Adige, alongside: Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli by Altesino (£649), Bolgheri Guado al Tasso by Antinori (£777), Testamatta by Bibi Graetz (£576), Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova by Casanova di Neri (£830), Saffredi by Fattoria Le Pupille (£552), Cepparello by Isole and Olena (£540), Bolgheri Paleo Rosso by Le Macchiole (£594), Galatrona by Petrolo (557 pounds), Alceo by Castello di Rampolla (825 pounds), Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne by Siro Pacenti (783 pounds), Luce by Tenuta Luce della Vite di Frescobaldi (792 pounds), Brunello di Montalcino by Valdicava (640 pounds), Barolo Gavarini Chiniera (653 pounds) and Barolo Ginestra Casa Mate (590 pounds) by Elio Grasso and Barolo Bricco delle Viole by G. D. Vajra (693 pounds).

Growing, significantly, the fourth bracket, with 51 wines, 38% more than in 2019, when there were 37 labels, 30 from France, 12 from Italy, 4 from Portugal, 3 from Spain 1 from USA and Australia. Precisely the Belpaese, whose index, the Italy 100, was the best performing in 2020, continuing to grow in 2021 as well (+3.8% since the beginning of the year) saw a fourfold increase in the number of labels, which were just 3 in 2019, confirming both the sustained growth of average prices and that of traded volumes. Lots of turnover among Bordeaux wines, with several labels “dropped” from the third tier, while the presence of Burgundy is limited to just four labels, given the very high average prices. Coming back to Italy, they are all new entries: from Piedmont, Barbaresco Montefico Riserva (£461 per case), Barbaresco Ovello Riserva (£445) and Barbaresco Rio Sordo Riserva (£405) from Produttori del Barbaresco; from Tuscany, Casanova di Neri’s Brunello di Montalcino (£399), Fuligni’s Brunello di Montalcino (£521), Petimali - Livio Sassetti's Brunello di Montalcino (£428), Montevertine (£502), Orma (£405), Castello di Rampolla's Sammarco (£421), and Setteponti’s Oreno (£443); from Umbria the Cervaro della Sala of Castello della Sala di Antinori (404 pounds) and from Campania the Terra di Lavoro of Galardi (470 pounds).

Finally, the lowest bracket, the fifth, where there are only 12 wines, half of 2019, divided between France (six from Bordeaux and one from the Rhone) and Italy (four from Tuscany and one from Piedmont): Vietti’s Barolo Castiglione (£340 per case) and Ornellaia’s Bolgheri Le Serre Nuove (£353) are joined by Altesino’s Brunello di Montalcino (£329), Felsina’s Chianti Classico Rancia Riserva (£356) and Tua Rita’s Giusto di Notri (£347).

Taking a global look at the “Liv-ex Classification 2021”, and summarizing the composition of the classification, of the 349 wines present, 72 are in the first range, 152 in the second, 62 in the third, 51 in the fourth and 12 in the fifth. In total, there are 100 labels from Bordeaux, 71 from Bourgogne, 83, as we have seen, from Italy (including 45 from Tuscany and 34 from Piedmont), 28 from Rhône, 23 from Champagne, 22 from the US, 6 from Australia, 6 from Portugal, 5 from Spain, 2 from Chile and one from Alsace, Loire and Germany. In the top ten of the most expensive bottles, and not according to online researches or prices found in some e-shop, but on the real secondary market, where the top wine merchants operate, all registered and affiliated to Liv-ex, the top is dominated by Burgundy. At the top, of course, is Romanée-Conti Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (£162,883 per case), followed by La Tache Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (£36,893) and Richebourg Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (£28,284). In fourth position is Screaming Eagle’s Cabernet Sauvignon (£27,397), followed by Petrus (£26,475), Le Pin (£25,528), Domaine Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin Grand Cru (£23,893), Krug’s Clos d’Ambonnay (22. 999 pounds), Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru Marey-Morge Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (20,852 pounds), and Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (20,654 pounds) rounding out the top ten most expensive wines in the “Liv-ex Classification 2021”.

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