Have Sauternes prices crashed?

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John Morris
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Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#1 Post by John Morris » December 4th, 2018, 8:16 pm

Some friends were saying this evening that Sauternes prices have collapsed, both for current releases and back vintages on the secondary market. I don't really follow Sauternes. Is that right? I haven't seen any discussion of this here. Indeed, Sauternes rarely pop up here.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#2 Post by c fu » December 4th, 2018, 8:35 pm

can something that was never really high crash?
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#3 Post by YLee » December 4th, 2018, 8:39 pm

I think only sauternes that is high is d'yquem.
And i dont know if their prices crashed.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#4 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 4th, 2018, 8:47 pm

Crash isn’t the right term but they’ve gone down w bit over time.

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#5 Post by Fred Daniels » December 4th, 2018, 9:30 pm

Sauternes to me are really the last of the "old world" wines that has yet to see a resurgence in understanding and popularity. Many of the upper echelon sauternes are still very well made wines, and will last 20-30 years or more in top vintages. So yes, the prices are low, but my advice has always been find a few you like and buy them by the case (in halves if that is what you want) and bury them in your cellar. They are always good for cheese, light desserts, or just by themselves. Try with rich fish dishes or roast chicken. Foie gras or pate of any kind.

Because they are in clear glass they are susceptible to light and other wine enemies so keep them quiet, cold and dark. To quote Michael Broadbent: "they will see you out" ... i.e. still be young and fresh when you are long gone.

I don't drink them often, but I don't worry about them getting too old at all...and that is some kind of comfort these days when I'm trying wines in my cellar that are over the hill because I can't drink fast enough.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#6 Post by AAgrawal » December 4th, 2018, 10:09 pm

I buy and drink a lot of sauternes and haven't noticed any significant change over the past few years. No increase, no decrease. I will say that Yquem tried to sustain a large price increase starting with the 2005 vintage that has largely failed, as these wines (2005, 2007, 2009) came down to previous pricing levels within a few years. Their more recent releases (2011+) have reflected this reality.

Fargues is still trying this pricing experiment, which I don't think will be more successful.

Other chateau (Coutet, La Tour Blanche, Rieussec, etc) have been flat from a pricing perspective since 2011, despite a run of many great vintages.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#7 Post by Jayson Cohen » December 4th, 2018, 11:45 pm

Full bottles of Climens 1988 hammered for $75 and $76 last weekend at auction. That has typically been hovering around $120 at auction with $60-75 for half bottles. That is one of the best Sauternes of the last 50 years.

I recall buying the 1997 Climens in 750 on release for about $65 in NYC. In 1999 or 2000. It’s just above that now. A half bottle of 2011 a couple years ago was about $75 or $80 IIRC. Now $60-65.

Seems like something may be going on but we need more data.

Any more data points suggesting stagnation is now giving way to deflation?

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#8 Post by Cris Whetstone » December 4th, 2018, 11:57 pm

Full bottles of Climens under $100? Damn. I need to start paying attention.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#9 Post by Julian Marshall » December 5th, 2018, 12:21 am

Over here the prices seem fairly stable - Climens 97 is on sale for around 75€. Rieussec 01 is at the same price, more or less, which is the same as it was back in 2006. A Suduiraut 03 will set you back 45€, just as it would have at release. I'm always bemused to see these wines on sale EP - what on earth is the point?! True, you know where they've been, but there are so many fine cellars coming up for auction every year, with bottles in perfect condition, so it's hard to see the logic.
As to the question of a crash, I don't see any signs here, at any rate, just the usual indifference - basically, people buy what they need, when they need them.

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#10 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 5th, 2018, 3:15 am

2001 rieussec was about $100 for a half bottle and $175 for a full bottle here in 2012; it’s slowly dropped to ~65-70 for a half and ~130 for a full

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#11 Post by Sh@n A » December 5th, 2018, 5:20 am

I've been picking up a few older sauternes at auction, private collections -- and I love the purchasing experience. Not getting into bidding frenzies, maybe one other bidder (that I can tell). Chambers had a couple pristine 750s of Yquem of my birth year, and I had the luxury of waiting a few days to buy them versus the frenzy for nearly any other type of wine (e.g. that would have sold out as soon as it was listed, which was weeks ago). I picked up birth year coutet for my brother, older than me, for a whopping $60, and its one of the better Coutets. I've picked up a slew of 2001s to try and compare against each other, buying from local retail (Fargues, Suduirat). I've had mixed experiences on the 2001 Suduirat, and its great to just buy a 3rd bottle recently as I figure it out. Maybe I will like Tokaji more in the end, but I don't get this selection of Tokaji in the purchasing channels I currently frequent (probably a matter of time before I find those right channels...).
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#12 Post by YLee » December 5th, 2018, 7:07 am

Sh@n A wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 5:20 am
I've been picking up a few older sauternes at auction, private collections -- and I love the purchasing experience. Not getting into bidding frenzies, maybe one other bidder (that I can tell). Chambers had a couple pristine 750s of Yquem of my birth year, and I had the luxury of waiting a few days to buy them versus the frenzy for nearly any other type of wine (e.g. that would have sold out as soon as it was listed, which was weeks ago). I picked up birth year coutet for my brother, older than me, for a whopping $60, and its one of the better Coutets. I've picked up a slew of 2001s to try and compare against each other, buying from local retail (Fargues, Suduirat). I've had mixed experiences on the 2001 Suduirat, and its great to just buy a 3rd bottle recently as I figure it out. Maybe I will like Tokaji more in the end, but I don't get this selection of Tokaji in the purchasing channels I currently frequent (probably a matter of time before I find those right channels...).
Mind sharing this auction place?
-Yong

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#13 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 5th, 2018, 7:09 am

K&L has very good Sauternes that have been spectacular quality bottles. I bought a few 01 and rieussec that were pristine.

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#14 Post by Sh@n A » December 5th, 2018, 7:11 am

They show up at all auction sites. No secret sauce. Sweet wines just out of favor, and me myself I may actually prefer tokaji more (but limited experience I’m trying to grow).
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#15 Post by John Morris » December 5th, 2018, 7:12 am

Jayson Cohen wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 11:45 pm
Full bottles of Climens 1988 hammered for $75 and $76 last weekend at auction. That has typically been hovering around $120 at auction with $60-75 for half bottles. That is one of the best Sauternes of the last 50 years.
One person was saying last night that he's been able to pick up a number of '88s for very low prices recently.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#16 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 5th, 2018, 7:13 am

I picked up 01 d’yquem for ~200 and 09 for 180 in half lately.

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#17 Post by Sh@n A » December 5th, 2018, 7:17 am

I picked up the birth year Yquem for 225. Not an outstanding year. But still aged for multiple decades, from a reputable store - and a 750ml!
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#18 Post by Jay Miller » December 5th, 2018, 7:35 am

I've definitely noticed an additional softening of what has always been a soft market.

Finally picked up a bottle of 2001 Climens (which I always wanted to try) recently for noticeably less than it was going for on release when the scores hit.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#20 Post by Paul Jaouen » December 5th, 2018, 8:00 am

I don't drink much sauternes but would love to get some 1975 Yquem at less than the $500+ I usually see it go for.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#21 Post by Jeff Leve » December 5th, 2018, 8:03 am

John Morris wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 8:16 pm
Some friends were saying this evening that Sauternes prices have collapsed, both for current releases and back vintages on the secondary market.
I have not seen or heard of a collapse. But the market for Sauternes and probably all sweet wines have been soft for well over a decade. As a guess, 2001 was probably the last strong vintage. Demand has been slowly declining since then. It is sad really. They are the hardest and most expensive wines to produce in Bordeaux and they have never been more consistent or better. But they are hard to sell.

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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#22 Post by John Morris » December 5th, 2018, 8:17 am

I just looked at the pricing charts for older vintages of ~10 different producers on WineBid (link to search), and most of the charts look roughly like the ones below for the '01 Rieussec in 375ml and a 750ml of '75 Rieussec, respectively.

The charts don't show a collapse in the last couple of years, but most of the older wines are selling for the same price or a little less than they did a dozen years ago. So, in inflation-adjusted terms, they've fallen about 20% since 2006. (Link to inflation-adjuster source. Inflation has been about 25% over that time; $1 in 2006 = $1.25 today. I inverted that to get the decline; i.e., 1/1.25 = 80%, or a 20% drop in real terms.)
Attachments
2001 Rieussec 375ml.JPG
1975 Rieussec.JPG
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#23 Post by Sh@n A » December 5th, 2018, 9:51 am

And versus wine inflation, they are even much cheaper. E.G., new release pricing for a lot of wine is up more than 20% over that period of time.
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Re: Have Sauternes prices crashed?

#24 Post by R. Frankel » December 5th, 2018, 10:24 am

From the perspective of a consumer, I don’t find this the least bit sad. A set of world class wines that haven’t skyrocketed in price since the last recession? If only there were more! For me, other than onesy-twosy purchases, I’ve bought a case or so of older Sauternes this year to enjoy and get educated. Very happy I didn’t go broke doing it. One of which is a 750 of ‘88 Climens waiting for the right setting.
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