Champagne has been one of the biggest casualties of the recent correction in fine wine prices, with Liv-ex’s Champagne 50 index down -17.3% since its peak in October 2022.
Such a decline is unprecedented over the past 20 years, but probably represents a healthy adjustment after an unsustainable run-up in prices in 2021 and 2022. The last 11 months have brought prices back down to the long-term trendline, and hence fine Champagne is once again approaching the ‘accumulation zone’.
As we show at the end of this note, the long-term performance of Champagne is still quite remarkable (even post recent pullback), and the fundamentals of the market remain sound.
What caused the drop in prices? Talking to market participants, it seems like a good old-fashioned inventory correct cycle. At the tail end of the pandemic, the supply chain got too complacent about ongoing demand and price rises, loaded up on too much inventory, and is now having to unwind positions in the face of slightly lower demand.
Value is Returning to Champagne Markets
After the recent pull-back, value is re-emerging in Champagne markets. Of course, prices could overshoot on the downside, but collectors with a long-term view should start positioning for the next up cycle now.
We have screened over 3,100 Champagnes to find the most attractive opportunities today. We apply four criteria to find the best of the ‘fallen angels’:
- An average critic score of 96 points or higher (i.e. the very best quality).
- Very long drinking window (at least 15 years from today).
- High producer name recognition.
- Price down more than -20% from its 2022 peak.
Below are (what we believe) the Top 15 most attractive Champagnes to start accumulating now:
Top 15 Most Attractive Champagnes Today – Based on Price Reduction and Quality
|Champagne||Vintage||Critic Score (avg.)||Case Size||Price Oct. 2022||Suggested Bid Price||Price Reduction from Oct. 2022 Peak||Drinking Until|
|Dom Pérignon||2002||96.8||6x75cl||£1,550||£1,050||32.30%||2042||Place Bid|
|Dom Pérignon X Lady Gaga Rosé||2008||96.4||4x75cl||£1,885||£1,405||25.50%||2048||Place Bid|
|Dom Pérignon Luminous||2008||97.1||3x75cl||£1,015||£675||33.50%||2058||Place Bid|
|Henri Giraud Argonne Brut Grand Cru||2012||97.4||1x75cl||£595||£380||36.20%||2045||Place Bid|
|Jacques Selosse Extra Brut Grand Cru Avize 'Les Chanteraine'||NV||96||1x75cl||£1,360||£1,050||22.80%||N/A||Place Bid|
|Louis Roederer Cristal||2002||97.5||6x75cl||£2,230||£1,750||21.50%||2050||Place Bid|
|Louis Roederer Cristal||2008||99||6x75cl||£2,360||£1,750||24.20%||2050||Place Bid|
|Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut||2008||97.2||6x75cl||£1,500||£1,200||20.00%||2058||Place Bid|
|Ruinart Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs||2006||96.8||6x75cl||£1,150||£820||28.70%||2046||Place Bid|
|Salon Le Mesnil||2007||97||3x75cl||£3,400||£2,700||20.60%||2047||Place Bid|
|Salon Le Mesnil||2012||97.9||3x75cl||£3,300||£2,550||22.70%||2050||Place Bid|
|Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs||2006||96.7||6x75cl||£925||£595||35.70%||2046||Place Bid|
|Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs||2012||96.6||6x75cl||£1,095||£630||42.50%||2055||Place Bid|
|Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé||2009||97.3||3x75cl||£645||£495||23.30%||2042||Place Bid|
The ‘Golden Rules’ of Picking a Market Bottom
Most readers will know that picking a market bottom in a relatively illiquid market isn’t always easy.
Five simple rules are key to success:
1. Buy the best quality names first.
2. Buy the wines which have fallen the most in price. When the turn comes, these should bounce first.
3. Buy wines with high scores and long drinking windows (only).
4. Pick a conservative entry price and bid for it! Don’t chase offers.
5. Be patient. It is possible that the market has further to go down. Your first purchases might be underwater for a time. But over a 3-year (plus) time frame, you should be rewarded.
Buying Strategy: Gently does it…
Buying one case of each of the list will cost around £17,500.
The bid prices we suggest are at the lowest end of the current market. It is very possible you won’t buy everything at these prices. But in a down market, it is better to start conservatively. There are undoubtedly some merchants with excess inventory, and these are inclined to sell into realistic bids at the moment.
The Long-Term Trend is still your Friend
Despite the recent pull-back, Champagne’s long-term remains exceptionally good:
The long-term drivers of Champagne’s performance are well established. Champagne has the highest consumption rate of any fine wine category. Champagne’s global recognition and association with celebration is only growing, especially in faster-growing economies.
Structurally, there is still a huge shortage of the best Champagnes. It might not seem so right now, but the current choppy market is (we believe) just a classic inventory cycle: people in the supply chain got a little greedy, and prices got ahead of themselves. These cycles don’t usually last that long.
Our savviest clients are already sniffing out opportunities. Wines like Dom Pérignon 2002 look hugely interesting, down -32.3% from only a year ago. Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball, and prices can always go lower, but for longer-term holders, the risk/return equation in Champagne looks more attractive now than it has done for several years.