Le Pin at auction: 2000 – 2008

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ci spiace, ma questo articolo è disponibile soltanto in Inglese Americano. Per ragioni di convenienza del visitatore, il contenuto è mostrato sotto nella lingua alternativa. Puoi cliccare sul link per cambiare la lingua attiva.

Le Pin is situated in Pomerol, Bordeaux. The vineyard is owned by the Thienpont family, owners of Vieux Château Certan, just down the road. Le Pin is one of the rarest fine wines – depending on the vintage only around 750 cases are produced each year from its 2.2 hectares, making it one of the smallest commercial estates in the world. In 2006, the quantity was even smaller, some 450 cases. The wine is now 100% Merlot but when Jacques Thienpont first bought the property the blend was approximately 92% Merlot and the balance in Cabernet Franc. The longevity of the wine is still open to question with current evidence pointing to a maximum ageing potential of 25 years in the best years. The scores for the wine (from a variety of critics), since the landmark 1982 vintage, have been consistently high (over 90 on a scale of 100), whilst the prices at which the wine has been released has varied considerably, following the trend in release prices from the top Bordeaux estates for the vintage as a whole. Most recently, starting from a relatively low point in 2004 (less than 500€ per bottle), it peaked in 2005 (over 1,000€) and has since decreased in line with most of Bordeaux's primeur offerings.

Le Pin's first vintage was 1979, although the wine was not released commercially until 1981. Although a few bottles of 1979 come on to the market they don't always attract buyers, although at a recent sale Note 1Acker Merrall & Condit, 18 October, 2008 a pair of bottles sold returning a bottle price of $2,118. Clearly, however, a historic vintage with more curiosity value than merit.

The graph shows the evolution in prices over the period 2000-2008. We have included large format and recalculated the bottle prices (US$ at the time of sale). The troughs indicate when the wine has failed to reach a reserve price.
The graph shows the evolution in prices over the period 2000-2008. We have included large format and recalculated the bottle prices (US$ at the time of sale). The troughs indicate when the wine has failed to reach a reserve price.

The 1982 vintage was the year that the American wine critics first enthused about the wine. The highest price yet paid at auction for this wine was achieved in 2003 when Sotheby's sold various lots of jeroboams for $33,108 per lot (the equivalent to $5,518 per bottle). Jacques Thienpont, owner of Le Pin, stopped making these formats in the mid 90s precisely in order to stop this kind of speculation. A recent sale organised by Acker Merrall & Condit in New York Note 218 October, 2008 achieved $10,890 for a magnum of 1982, the equivalent of $5,295 per bottle. However, earlier in the year a case of this wine was sold in Hong Kong for the equivalent of $8,571 per bottle Note 3Acker Merrall & Condit 31 May, 2008 – a record. Otherwise, other vintages from the 1980s seem to attract approximately $1,500 per bottle.

1990 was another landmark year for Le Pin and the auction market reflects this in the prices achieved. Christie's New York recently sold a magnum for $10,200 Note 415 October, 2009 London Sale no. 2245. The late 90s were a relatively healthy period for Le Pin and the wines, which should mature in a few years, have seen good prices at auction with 1998 leading the field Note 5A magnum selling for $5,808 by Acker Merrall & Condit on 7 November, 2008. 1997 (a lesser vintage) has significantly gone off the boil in the latter part of 2008 with a bottle (part of a six bottle lot) selling at Sotheby's in London Note 6Sotheby's Finest and Rarest Wines, Featuring Treasures from the Cellars of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 12 November, 2008 for a mere $307 – another casualty of the economic downturn. Amongst the vintages of the early millenium, not surprisingly 2000 attains the best prices with these coming from New York, where, one can imagine, the strongest focus and appreciation of this wine has emerged, with the Far East riding on the back of this notoriety. Most recent vintages such as the stunning 2005 failed to reach its reserve late last year Note 7Christie's New York, 17 November, 2008 which is an indication that the economic conditions were finally beginning to impact the wine market which had appeared to be so resilient.

Evolution of Le Pin's sales' prices (for 75cl) 2000-2008
Vintage Auction price 2000* Auction price 2008* %
1982		$1,014			$5,312 Note 8Magnum sold by Acker Merrall & Condit in Hong Kong in November, 2008 for $10,625 		+424%
1990		$2,106			$3,385		+61%
2000		$1,532 Note 92005 sale figure			$6,857		+347%

*Based on the last auction figure available in 2008

Gold Note 10Jan 2000-Dec 2008		$282			$870		+208%

Landmark prices for lesser years
Vintage Format Price Auction house Date
1991		75cl		$650		Christie's	26 Apr 2008
1992		D.magnum Note 11Double magnum	$1,520		Sotheby's	12 Sep, 2007
1993		75cl		$1,626		Sotheby's	7 Nov, 2007
1994		D.magnum	$5,445		Acker Merrall	6 Sep, 2008
1995		D.magnum	$8,034		Sotheby's	5 Dec, 2008
1996		D.magnum	$6,400		Christie's	14 Mar, 2008
1997		75cl		$943		Sotheby's	9 Apr, 2008
Le Pin: Garage wines: the very name conjures up  images of an artisan wine being made in the confines of a small shed. There is a sense of confidentiality to the name that has an irresistible ring to the most jaded collectors and that wills these wines to be expensive.
Garage wines: the very name conjures up images of an artisan wine being made in the confines of a small shed. There is a sense of confidentiality to the name that has an irresistible ring to the most jaded collectors and that wills these wines to be expensive. © Fabian Cobb

The markets
Sellers: clearly the Far East is driving the prices and there's no question that collectors and auction houses will be turning more and more to sales in Hong Kong to achieve the results which other cities will have difficulty matching, despite the international nature of wine auctions which provide every facility for foreign buyers. Buyers: look for opportunities. Based on the track record of Le Pin, buy at en primeur prices (if you can obtain an allocation) for resale at auction seems a good option. Current prices for the 2007 are around £7,500 per case which is £625 (or $875) per bottle.

Future: garage sale or hold?
At the moment there is a big question mark hanging over all wine auctions with no one prepared to warranty prospects although undoubtedly this is a buyer's market for those with the cash and the willingness to wait for the turnaround. Our view is that the market will bounce back once 'bottom' has been reached in the global financial crisis. Le Pin, taking a view on the age of the wines, will be one of those which will see its values restored, notwithstanding the 'real' as opposed to 'perceived' quality of the wines. Many people have discussed the longevity of these wines although it is a truism of wines from Bordeaux these days that, in general, they are approachable much younger, with some notable exceptions. As Roy Richards, the UK importer states: "People have always said this [longevity] about Le Pin but we need to taste them again in 20 years. This may be true of poorer vintages e.g. 1989, 1992 but one could apply this axiom to any châteaux. Wines that have softer tannins are unlikely to hang in there than wines that have more. 1989 was too hot, Petrus had the edge. 1990 and 1991 are very good still. 1993 a lesser vintage is still good. 1994 very good. Even, 1981 in halves is drinking well. 1982 is a little less luxurious than it was but you could say the same about other wines too, for example, Cheval Blanc. The 1983s have held up rather better. Whilst the 1984 is not distinguished the 1986 is lovely."

Le Pin at auction: upcoming sales
Acker Merrall & Condit have a few lots for sale in their January, 2009 auction - 1986 (12 bottles | owc | high estimate $15,000), and 1989 (magnum | high estimate $5,000) and 1996. These estimates look high in the current climate and it will be interesting to see how they fare. 1986, not one of the top vintages but Le Pin is rated highly by some (and others not), has never really achieved more than $1,350 per bottle and it was doing this back in the year 2000 before going into a slump in the mid 2000s picking up only in 2008, so it has not proved a good investment if you were buying it a decade ago. 1989 was a good year for Le Pin albeit some think it has run its course. The best it has achieved recently (before the worst part of the economic debacle hit) was $4,235 Note 1218 October, 2008, Acker Merrall & Condit, New York.

Other wines to look at:
Vieux Château Certan
Château La Conseillante
Château Pétrus
Château Clinet
Château l'Eglise-Clinet
Château Lafleur
Clos l'Eglise
Le Bon Pasteur
Château Trotanoy
Château L'Evangile

Other relevant articles about Le Pin on Fine Wine:
VCC and Le Pin
Garage wines: myth and marketing

Producer: SCA Château du Pin

UK shipper: Richards Walford & Company Ltd
Bordeaux négociants: Bordeaux Millesimes | Wings

This article is based on 334 auction transactions of Le Pin sold at auction between the years 2000 and 2008.

© Fabian Cobb, 2009. No part of this article may be reproduced except without express written authority.

Le Pin is situated in Pomerol, Bordeaux. The vineyard is owned by the Thienpont family, owners of Vieux Château Certan, just down the road. Le Pin is one of the rarest fine wines – depending on the vintage only around 750 cases are produced each year from its 2.2 hectares, making it one of the smallest commercial estates in the world. In 2006, the quantity was even smaller, some 450 cases. The wine is now 100% Merlot but when Jacques Thienpont first bought the property the blend was approximately 92% Merlot and the balance in Cabernet Franc. The longevity of the wine is still open to question with current evidence pointing to a maximum ageing potential of 25 years in the best years. The scores for the wine (from a variety of critics), since the landmark 1982 vintage, have been consistently high (over 90 on a scale of 100), whilst the prices at which the wine has been released has varied considerably, following the trend in release prices from the top Bordeaux estates for the vintage as a whole. Most recently, starting from a relatively low point in 2004 (less than 500€ per bottle), it peaked in 2005 (over 1,000€) and has since decreased in line with most of Bordeaux's primeur offerings.

.../continued...you need to upgrade your subscription if you wish to read this content.

Le Pin is situated in Pomerol, Bordeaux. The vineyard is owned by the Thienpont family, owners of Vieux Château Certan, just down the road. Le Pin is one of the rarest fine wines – depending on the vintage only around 750 cases are produced each year from its 2.2 hectares, making it one of the smallest commercial estates in the world. In 2006, the quantity was even smaller, some 450 cases. The wine is now 100% Merlot but when Jacques Thienpont first bought the property the blend was approximately 92% Merlot and the balance in Cabernet Franc. The longevity of the wine is still open to question with current evidence pointing to a maximum ageing potential of 25 years in the best years. The scores for the wine (from a variety of critics), since the landmark 1982 vintage, have been consistently high (over 90 on a scale of 100), whilst the prices at which the wine has been released has varied considerably, following the trend in release prices from the top Bordeaux estates for the vintage as a whole. Most recently, starting from a relatively low point in 2004 (less than 500€ per bottle), it peaked in 2005 (over 1,000€) and has since decreased in line with most of Bordeaux's primeur offerings.

.../continued...you need to subscribe to be able to view content from Fine Wine magazine.

Subscribe HERE to Fine Wine magazine to read the rest of this content or log yourself below in if you are already a member and you will be returned to this page.

'%%previous%%')); } ?>

References   [ + ]

1. Acker Merrall & Condit, 18 October, 2008
2. 18 October, 2008
3. Acker Merrall & Condit 31 May, 2008
4. 15 October, 2009 London Sale no. 2245
5. A magnum selling for $5,808 by Acker Merrall & Condit on 7 November, 2008
6. Sotheby's Finest and Rarest Wines, Featuring Treasures from the Cellars of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 12 November, 2008
7. Christie's New York, 17 November, 2008
8. Magnum sold by Acker Merrall & Condit in Hong Kong in November, 2008 for $10,625
9. 2005 sale figure
10. Jan 2000-Dec 2008
11. Double magnum
12. 18 October, 2008, Acker Merrall & Condit, New York

0 thoughts on “Le Pin at auction: 2000 – 2008

  1. Postscript: 1986 Le Pin realised $806 per bottle – just below the low estimate. 1989 (magnum) realised $3,872 – just above the low estimate, and shows a decline of 8.5% on the most recent sale price last year. The 1996s made it over their high estimates at $3,630 (Lot 792) and $3,146 (Lot 793). The 2000 vintages (Lots 793-795) on offer were bought in never realising their low estimates of $15,000 for 6 bottle and 3 magnum lots.

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *