Wine Talk

Snooth User: tabednar

Liv-ex Bordeaux Classification

Posted by tabednar, Sep 27, 2011.

The Liv-ex Bordeaux Classification is a classification of Bordeaux wine compiled by the British internet and phone-based wine exchange, London International Vintners Exchange (Liv-ex) in March 2009, with an aim to recreate the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 in a modern economic context, 154 years after the original compilation.

Very interesting...

An Updated Classification in 2011


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 28, 2011.

I saw this as well, kind of a cool idea but at the same time fatally flawed. I really have an issue with wines be proclaimed "best" simply becasue they are the most expensive.

Yes the market is available to reward quality with higher prices but other issues come into play such as marketting efforts, rarity, overly influential critics to historical standards.

The whole concept of best is tenuous at best in any event. Best for what? The best wine to stain clothing is Petite Sirah, it's also the best wine for Jerk Chicken.


I am tempted to say, who cares, but at least as a curiousity evidently I do. I looked after all.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 28, 2011.

Some would say PS is the best wine period.  But not many.  I might, just to be contrary and because I do love a good one.

And, of course, if you are buying wine as an investment, as discussed elsewhere (and where that link also showed up), I guess you care. I'm with GdP on that, and on the idea that wine is to drink.  Maybe later rather than sooner, but eventually.  Stocks and bonds don't require climate control or take up a lot of space, and when I look at them, I am thinking about my future financial well-being, a necessary but not hedonistic concern.  When I crawl into the half-basement and look at the wine, I just like looking at it, anticipating how it will taste in a year, two, five or, in the case of those birth year bottles I got for my girls, 11 and 13 years.

I'm kind of interested just because the idea of a stock ticker with names of wines on it is actually a bit amusing. Trotanoy up 12%, Smith Haut Laffite off 2.  It's the antithesis of the unquantifiable pleasure (90 point wine websites notwithstanding) that is wine.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 28, 2011.

So many problems with that classification that I don't know where to start. Oh yeah, maybe the fact that it's based on current market price!

Looking through the rankings I have several immediate reactions. First, that the Bordelaise should be pleased with their marketing prowess. Second that there are some rank absurdities: Lascombes, for example, better than Les Forts de Latour, which isn't even on the list? How would the rankings change if a model were created to delete Chinese buyers from the equation? Etc., etc., so many that it fatigues me to think about listing them up.

However as a PR exercise for the exchange, this ranking is, patently, a success. Kudos to the guys who thought it up and pushed it out...

Reply by JonDerry, Sep 28, 2011.

Can't say I really mind the flagrant financial flexing going on here, Bordeaux is the glitz and glamour of the wine world.  Obviously, this exchange is good for determining value, and not so much for quality. 

I don't like how the right bank is excluded either, though it's not surprising.  The left bank has a case of their own "Left Bank Bias"

Interesting how they go with pounds as the measure. At least they kept it European. 

Dm, I'd have to agree with your points.  As with the Chinese factor, I think we know the big chinese market effect is pushing Lafite to the top. If you take their demand out and it probably slots in neatly with the Mouton and Margaux, making Latour the most sought after wine from all other markets.

Reply by EMark, Sep 29, 2011.

I'm sorry, but this is pretty silly to me.  Some clerk in London sat down with some catalogs and entered all these Chateaux and their associated prices into a spread sheet.  In a sterling manifestation of technical brilliance, he then sorted on the "Price" column.  Finally, he drew some horizontal lines in places that he thought looked good.  (Why four lines?  Well, why not four lines.)

I guess it's nice work if you can get it.  (Credit to Ira Gershwin.)

You guys know people and I know people who will point to this chart and say something like "Aha.  This wine is best because I found this proof off the internet."  You guys know and I know that we should always be very, very careful (I try to avoid the words like "never") with superlatives. 

And I'm the guy that started the thread on wines as an investment.  It was intellectual curiosity, only.  I was intrigued that some respondents posted links to wine mutual funds.  Maybe, I'll ask my financial advisor (who has proven himself to me over the last 16 years) what he thinks.  My guess is that he will laugh at me.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 29, 2011.

If he's smart but dishonest, he'll ask you to invest in some wine, drink it, and replace the wine with purple colored water.

There's a lot of silliness out there.  Witness the first dot-com bubble, and a big chunk of the current one.  The guys at GroupOn are probably wishing they had taken that offer from Google.  The guys at Yelp, not so much--they have an actual money-making site already. 

Hmmm. Proven himself over the last 16 years, eh?  Who thinks that long-term anymore? In any case, sounds like someone worth knowing.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 29, 2011.

Oh, change that to "invest in some wine, store it with him, drink it...

Reply by tabednar, Sep 29, 2011.

As a person that will probably ever have the money or opputunity to try to majority of those wines...are there any on that list that are actually worth the price in your opinion? This whole thing just made me curious to why these particular wines have been set so high in price to began with. I understand that the history and the age of the vines and the terrior make a large difference and so forth but what makes these wines nearly unattainable to the avergage wine appreciator? For those who have had one of these, would you spend the money again on it? Just wondering...

Reply by EMark, Sep 29, 2011.


I have had a some of the wines on the list--including a couple in the First Growth category.  Make no mistake they are wonderful wines.  All these instances were some years ago when the prices were much more reasonable.  However, I don't have the wherewithal to spend money like that.  So be it.  There is no direct relationship between cost and quality.  There might be some correlation, but it is nowhere near 1.   

I know I am not the most sohisticated drinker/taster, but I have been involved with more than one tasting (disguising the bottles) with friends where $30 Napa Cabernets were favored over $200 (as you might guess, a few years ago) Premier Cru Bordeaux. 

It's the exact same with many buying decisions:

  • Is a $5,000 Rolex watch worth it when you consider that a $30 Timex does the exact same thing? 
  • Is a $100,000 BMW worth it when you consider that a $25,000 Honda will, basically do the same thing.  You might argue that the Bimmer has superior engineering or features that, while not really necessary to perform the automotive function, do add value to the car, and, so, there is an incremental premium to the price.
  • Is a $100,000 custom high-end stereo set up worth it compared to a $1,000 Sony system from a retail store?  This one might be the closest to the wine example because here we are talking about very personal sensory perception.

The owner of the Rolex, the BMW and the custome stereo would all argue "Yes, it's worth it." (In the case of the stereo system, I would have to admit to being jealous of that guy.)  You know what?  They're right.

In all honesty, I don't know if I'm making any valid points.  My feeling is that if a person has the money and wants to buy the wine, then he should do so.  If you have shelter, feed and clothe your family, then make sure you do that before plunking down multiple 100s of dollars on a bottle of wine that is near the top of some price list.

Reply by JonDerry, Sep 29, 2011.

@ Tabednar - The 2nd growth that's really hot right now is Pontet-Canet.  Many of the more experienced posters on this site remember when Pontet-Canet was considered a 4th or 5th growth, and could be had on the cheap.  However, considering the near perfect to perfect ratings by the major critics for their 09 and 10 releases, you could argue it represents some value at $200 or below, at least as compared to some of the other wines.

One value play I like at around 326 pounds/case? is Giscours. 

Reply by duncan 906, Sep 30, 2011.

I have always thought wine is for drinking rather than some sort of investment vehicle.If you like the bottle you are drinking then it is a good bottle regardless of whether it is a Grand Cru Burgundy or Classed growth Bordeaux costing hundreds of pounds or some special offer in a Calais supermarket costing only a couple of Euros.The titles Grand Cru ,Classed Growth or some writer like Robert Parker's score is only somebody elses opinion.I happen to like claret but I once had a bottle of 2007 Clos de la Cure and did not like it at all although somebody else must have thought it was good because the label bears the title St Emillion Grand Cru.Many people seem to regard the famous 1855 Bordeaux Classification as some sort of venerable and revered gospel but you must remember the way it was done.Napoleon the Third wanted to classify the wines of France so he could show off the best at his Paris exhibition.His assessors only actually went to Bordeaux where they found that many producers did not bother filling out the necessary forms because either they could not see the point of the exercise or they did not approve of the politician Napoleon the Third.Instead of conducting blind tastings the assessors simply visited the Bordeaux wine merchants and asked about prices.They missed out the Right Bank and St Emillion entirely and they were made to include Chateau Cantermerle in the second edition when the lady owner pointed out that she was getting a good price for her wine but not from the Bordeaux wine merchants visited

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