Allegrini 2018

The right destination for wine investments is Bolgheri, with Masseto and Sassicaia

The fine wine market slows down, the international context penalizes the French, and investment funds focus on the quality of Bolgheri

After a long period of growth, in the last months of the year, the indications that come from the Liv-ex are those of a market of fine wines that takes a breath, held back by dynamics greater than those that concern the world of wine. The weak pound, for example, is a problem not to be underestimated, even if, as Philip Staveley, head of the researchers at Amphora Portfolio Management, one of the main investment funds dedicated to wine in the United Kingdom, remembers in his analysis, since October 10 it has returned to earn 5.4%. And then, there are the tensions between the European Union and the United States, which have led to the first tranche of duties on agricultural and food imports, including those of wine. These dynamics have proved to be, in the last two months, a real perfect storm for Bordeaux. But there are also spaces that open up for the Belpaese, as demonstrated by the excellent performance of Bartolo Mascarello's Barolo 2014, which rose from 1,767 to 1,857 pounds per box (+5.1%), and Giacomo Conterno's Barolo Riserva Monfortino 2010, which rose from 12,346 to 12,780 pounds per box (+3.5%).

Leaving aside for a moment the Langhe, the territory on which to focus with closed eyes, according to the experts of Amphora Portfolio Management, however, is another: Bolgheri. Starting from Masseto, on the crest of the wave thanks to the two 100/100 consecutive assigned by Robert Parker, influential signature and capable of declaring the global success of wine, to the years 2015 and 2016. Excellent harvests for Bolgheri wines, with average scores of 95 and 96/100, just under the mythical 2009, which was anything but unforgettable for Masseto: too hot for a Merlot capable of aging, so much so as to deserve just 94 points from Robert Parker and 16/20 from Jancis Robinson, and lower prices than the most recent vintages. Which, instead, can be compared to 2006, even if in terms of investment, according to Amphora’s algorithm, the 2015 vintage is decidedly more profitable, which “generates”, according to Amphora’s algorithm (which takes into account the status of the area, brand power, quality of the vintage in the Region, Robert Parker’s scores and average scores of other titles, Google and Wine-Searcher rankings, production levels, market availability and ageing capacity) 6.28 units of value per pound invested, compared with 4.64 units of value in 2006.

In this sense, however, the Sassicaia 2013 is still the best possible investment among the wines of Bolgheri, with an affordable price and a very high quality. However, the average quality of the vintage does not always have a direct effect on the price: Sassicaia 2015, for example, although it has obtained the same scores as 2013, in an identical Bolgheri context, higher quotations appear. And even more representative, in this sense, was the celebrated 2010 vintage of Bordeaux, where in reality, on closer inspection, Margaux and Pomerol reached average scores of 95/100, lower than many years of Bolgheri, but enjoyed, on the market, the positive reflection of the 98 and 99/100 achieved by the wines of Pauillac and Graves.

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