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#Wine as an #investment

Bordeaux’s premiers crus require utmost patience, writes Jim Jones

 


It promises to be one of the best investment opportunities of the past half century. But unlike Krugerrands, where you can take physical delivery on the turn, with this investment you can’t take delivery until, at the earliest, 2012.

ASK SOMEONE WHO KNOWS: Bordeaux's 2009 premiers crus reds could turn out to be the best of this century Picture: REUTERS

And even then you will be hit with a tax bill, so you might want to hang fire for 30 or 40 years.

It’s an investment that you might not live to enjoy. And, no matter how rich you are, you’ll be lucky to get an allocation.

Over the next couple of weeks the Bordeaux premiers crus red wines will be up for sale – 2009, possibly the greatest vintage since 1982 according to Gérard Basset, arguably the world’s most gifted sommelier, or wine taster.

Certainly the 2009 vintage shows signs of being the best of this century – a century that has produced the remarkable 2000, 2003 and 2005 vintages.

Some of these wines will be selling at the equivalent of an after-tax price of à 1000 a bottle or about R2000 a glass when you come to drink it some time towards the middle of the century. And just to get into the game you’ll be buying a 900 l barrel, so we are talking about an investment approaching R10-million for starters.

Get in touch with one of the major Bordeaux dealers, or négociants – Wine & Co, Millésima or others. They’ll advise the serious investor.

Before tax you might want to consider Cheval Blanc – that’s White Horse in French and has nothing to do with a blended Scotch – the top-notch Saint-Emilion producer. Its 2009 is on offer at a pre-tax price of à600 a bottle.

Château d’Yquem (a white Sauternes), Margaux and Mouton Rothschild might just set you back marginally less.

Bordeaux wine dealer Jean-Christophe Mau says that at these prices most of the top 2009 vintage will be for export – much of it to Chinese billionaires.

So is investment worthwhile? Well, the 2005s from the likes of Haut-Brion are now changing hands at twice their release price. And, if we trot across to the Champagne producers on other side of France, 30 bottles of 40-year-old pink Dom Pérignon were recently auctioned for just short of à140000 by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. That’s somewhere in the region of R50000 a bottle once you’ve paid the auctioneer’s fees.

Buy now, and you have to wait 30 years or so. 2009’s Bordeaux vintage might go down well with people at your wake – but they’ll be very grateful to you and will remember you for years.

 

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