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Hitting the bottle: the 10 best performing wines

We share the top 10 best performing wines over the past three years, according to Cult Wines, along with commentary on what sets them apart.

Wine is appealing for many reasons, one of which is the stellar investment performance of certain bottles.

According to fine wine investment services provider Cult Wines, from 2015 to 2018, a portfolio that included its speciality as an alternative asset would have delivered a risk-adjusted return of 8.63% compared with one without.

The firm's investment director, Olivier Staub, said that the collectable's 'low correlation to other asset classes (including other alternatives) and the excess returns generated indicate that exposure to fine wine provides resilience in tough market conditions combined with the opportunity for capital appreciation'.

We showcase the 10 vintage labels Cult Wines identified, using FTSE and Liv-ex data, as offering the biggest three-year returns as of 31 March, along with commentary on what sets them apart.

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Wine is appealing for many reasons, one of which is the stellar investment performance of certain bottles.

According to fine wine investment services provider Cult Wines, from 2015 to 2018, a portfolio that included its speciality as an alternative asset would have delivered a risk-adjusted return of 8.63% compared with one without.

The firm's investment director, Olivier Staub, said that the collectable's 'low correlation to other asset classes (including other alternatives) and the excess returns generated indicate that exposure to fine wine provides resilience in tough market conditions combined with the opportunity for capital appreciation'.

We showcase the 10 vintage labels Cult Wines identified, using FTSE and Liv-ex data, as offering the biggest three-year returns as of 31 March, along with commentary on what sets them apart.

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10. Latour 1999

Region: Bordeaux

Three-year return: 48.5%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'One of the five classified first growth (premier crus) wines of Bordeaux, Chateau Latour needs little introduction.

'There are many people in Bordeaux that consider those 47 hectares close to the chateau to be the best terroir in all of Bordeaux. Now 20 years old, the 1999 vintage it is entering its drinking window and will last for another 20 years.

'In 2012, Chateau Latour announced they would no longer be selling their wine as En Primeur and would instead release wines when they felt it was “ready”. This means decreasing access to new vintages and increasing appeal for older vintages.'

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9. Tignanello 2010

Region: Italy

Three-year return: 63%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Tignanello is the flagship wine of Piero Antinori who helped revolutionise the Italian wine scene and in the wine making region of Tuscany and one of the wines qualified as "Super-Tuscan" i.e. the very best of the region.

'It has global brand power with strong demand across the globe and demand is ever increasing.'

 

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8. Haut Brion 1989

Region: Bordeaux

Three-year return: 68.8%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Undeniably one of the greatest wines ever made in Bordeaux, it has acquired a legendary status.

'Wine critic Robert Parker rated it 100 (i.e. perfect) and described it as immortal and prodigious. Being a 30y old wine, the number of cases available is constantly diminishing and one such case recently traded at £25,000.

'Scarcity will most probably continue to drive the price up with very few lucky owners prepared to let go of such a collectors’ dream wine. Haut Brion is one of the very top brand in Bordeaux alongside Lafite Rothschild and Margaux.'

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7. Salon Mesnil 2002

Region: Champagne

Three-year return: 72%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Connoisseurs consider Salon to be the quintessentiel Blancs-de-Blancs Champagne.

'Salon is 100% Chardonnay and therefore the volume produced each year is restricted, which alongside the infrequency of production compounds its rarity and cachet.

'Only 62,000 bottles of the highly regarded 2002 vintage were produced. 7 years on from release, there are fewer cases available in the market as it enters into its long drinking window.'

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6. Harlan Estate 2003

Region: USA

Three-year return: 80%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'US wines are becoming more popular and are increasing their market share. Demand for wines like Harlan matches that of leading Bordeaux estates.

'However, Harlan epitomises the term "Cult Wine", with fewer than 2,000 cases produced per annum and second only to the Screaming Eagle in terms of critical acclaim – boasting 6x100pts vintages.'

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5. Krug Clos Mesnil 2000

Region: Champagne

Three-year return: 80.7%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Vintage Champagne is currently the most exciting and fastest growing area of the market and when it comes to champagne, Krug is right up there in brand and quality.

'Less than 1000 cases of this Clos Mesnil 2000 were produced, making it an incredibly rare and desirable champagne.

'Nineteen years old, it is still far from reaching its peak (2015-2035) and as the first new millennium vintage it has extra collectible status.'

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4. Petit Mouton 2007

Region: Bordeaux

Three-year return: 114.3%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Carraudes de Lafite and Petit Mouton are the second labels of First Growth estates, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild.

'Underpinned by the prevailing brand power of these estates, the second wines have a proven track record of performance and they have become an integral part of our Bordeaux asset allocation.

'So much so, that in recent years there has been more demand for Petit Mouton than Mouton!'

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3. Carruades de Lafite 2012

Region: Bordeaux

Three-year return: 119.9%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Over the past 10 years grape selection at First Growth estate Lafite Rothchild has become ever more severe, with fewer grapes making it into the Grand Vin.

'As a result, the quality of the second labels has improved markedly. Improvements in quality, earlier drinking access and the added weight of history on their side means these wines are immensely popular in Asia.'

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2. Echezeaux, DRC 2009

Region: Burgundy

Three-year return: 183.2%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Although cult followers of Leroy may dispute this, Domaine de La Romanée-Conti (DRC for short) is the most famous, prominent producer of Pinot Noir in the world.

'Currently accounting for 8 out of 50 of the world’s most expensive wines, their flagship wine Romaneé-Conti holds the number one spot. A behemoth of a wine brand which has attracted new wealth created particularly, but not exclusively, in Asia.

'Similarly to Leroy, the Grand cru vineyards (of which there are 8) are produced in tiny quantities, controlled through very tight distribution and therefore highly coveted amongst wine consumers around the world.'

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1. Domaine Leroy, Chambertin 2006

Region: Burgundy

Three-year return: 633.10%

Cult Wines' analysis:

'Much has been written about the investment credentials of Burgundy and in recent years the Burgundy market has led the way. In 2018 it posted growth of 35% and in 2019 it continues to be a focal point for fine wine collectors and at auction.

'Lalou Bize Leroy, more affectionally known as the Queen of Burgundy, needs no introduction to wine lovers around the world. She has done no less than push the very boundaries of what Burgundy wine can be, and the prices of her wines are a testament to this. Domaine Leroy produces < 100 cases (~1,067 bottles) of Chambertin and this is one of her most coveted 9 Grand Cru vineyards.

'There is simply not enough supply to match the demand and as a result, Leroy has been one of the highest performing stock picks of its category'

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