Wine Investment Friday

This newsletter is designed to bridge the gap between trade and the investor. Each week we aim to help investors better understand the nuances of why some cases appreciate and some standstill. We will unpick the characteristics that construct financial potential to help your money work smarter. 
 


This week we are analysing a case of:

Auguste Clape, Cornas – 2012


Exploring what it takes for a traditional estate to compete in an age of ever increasing technology within the wine making process. Reviewing arguably one of the very best and why in the best years this could be an extremely lucrative pick for your portfolio. 


Beneath the Label: 

Described by Parker as “the guardian of tradition”, there are few winemakers in the world whose reputation sees an appellation associated with their life, rather than an entire oenological history. Auguste Clape’s reverent insistence on letting the appellation of Cornas speak was not always admired by critics. However, as the wine trends of the world move back to this hands-off, purist approach, the discreet visionaries son and grandson now operate an estate dripping in heritage at the very top tier of the global wine scene.

Critic Score: 98 Points – Wine Advocate
“The Cornas of the vintage… elegant, seamless and effortlessly pure. More approachable than the 2010.”

Region Rating: Cornas – 91E
The vintage score is entirely average making the score of 98 points simply outstanding.The second highest score ever made from mediocre weather!

Drinking Window: 2017 – 2037
While the optimal drinking may well sit in this window, the longevity of this wine in true Northern Rhone style will extend far further.

Production Volume: 2,000 cases
This production level parallels the minute totals from the very smallest estates around the world. 

Summary:
When looking at this wine from a quality and provenance perspective it is really hard to find a fault. This iteration is the second highest scoring of all time, made in tiny volumes with the capacity to age and therefore trade for decades. If we were to be picky a more memorable meteorological environment to spike the region rating would help. However we believe this is more than negated with the critic score and rhetoric, “more approachable than the 2010”, the best Cornas ever…


“Blockbuster texture, thrilling mid palate depth and a decadent finish, yet never loses focus or seems over the top in any way”

Jeb Dunnuck


Money Matters:

Brand Power: 84/100, rank 29th in JF Tobias Brand Power Metric
With a discreet and traditional estate such as Clape there are no gimmicks, the brand is built purely on reputation. Years of putting the land and vines first with the singular goal of producing the purist expression of the estate was not always the most lucrative path. However this commitment has created a cult of loyal and enamoured fans. 

Liquidity: 60%
Unlike most top end Rhone this wine sells well. The pricing is yet to hit the same levels as Guigal remaining within a more reasonable bracket.. for now. 

Inter-Trade Price Volatility: n/a
Like with top Burg’s this micro production rarely trades on an exchange. There is no need with so many motivated buyers. This does however create ever increasing positive volatility as listings reduce and prices become more unclear, ultimately handing power to the seller. 

Price History: 

Summary:
This wine is a pick to exploit a niche audience within the wine world. Rhone wines typically appeal to a smaller consumer base once you transition from table wine into the higher price tiers. Perhaps caused by perception of a lack of refinement, or even a snobbish inability to separate the great wines of the region, from the mass produced “plonk” the general public adore. Regardless it is a fact to consider. All of which combines to require a strict entry criteria, the pick needs to really stand out from a historical and quality perspective to ensure demand from the fanbase willing to pay for the case.


Position for Profit:

The reason for including this wine in your portfolio is clearly demonstrated by simply reviewing the price to points ratio. The following clearly show this wine to be underpriced and holding significant upside potential.

2001 – 93 points – £2,208 per 12 = £23.7 per point
2005 – 91 points – £2,076 per 12 = £22.8 per point
2009 – 97 points – £1,905 per 12 = £19.6 per point
2010 – 99+ points – £3,290 per 12 = £33.2 per point
2012 – 98 points – £1,280 per 12 = £13.0 per point
2015 – 97 points – £1,625 per 12 = £16.7 per point
2016 – 96 points – £1,400 per 12 = £14.5 per point

The divergence creates a reasonable argument for this wine containing the potential to grow significantly if held for long enough.

The lowest estimation- in line with the ’09 vintage, the ’12 holds a better critic score, but perhaps not the same notoriety attached with the vintage. A 48.8% increase in value. 

The top estimation – reasonable to suggest the price could sit equidistance between ’09 and ’10 as the critic score does, creating a price of £2,597.5. A 102.9% increase in value. 

The Author

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Jake Leighton