Ausone and Cheval Blanc’s place in the market

  • Ausone and Cheval Blanc leave the Saint-Émilion classification.
  • Prices for both wines have risen over the past year.

Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc have officially withdrawn from the Saint-Émilion classification, which is due to be updated in 2022.

The original classification, created in 1955, listed Ausone and Cheval Blanc as the only two estates with the honour of Grand Cru classé ‘A’ status. In 2012, Château Angélus and Château Pavie joined them in the top ranks.

The Times and other papers have reported that the two estates felt that the classification criteria had strayed from the importance of terroir, wine and history of the estate, with the evaluation now putting greater emphasis on marketing and social media presence.

Some have already questioned the consequences of this decision – particularly when it comes to prices.

Secondary market performance

But sentiment towards both estates has been positive. Prices for Ausone and Cheval Blanc have risen in the past year.

Their wine indices, which track the price movements of the last 10 physical vintages, have outperformed the broader Bordeaux market, as represented by the Bordeaux 500 index.

Cheval Blanc is up the most, 16.1% over the past year. The Ausone index has risen 10.2%. Meanwhile, their parent Right Bank 50 index has increased 7.9%, a touch above the Bordeaux 500, up 7.4%.

And when it comes to trade share, the two Right Bank estates have firmly cemented their place on the global market. Ausone and Cheval Blanc both feature in the top 15 most traded Bordeaux wines by value (LWIN7) in 2021.

Ausone and Cheval Blanc were also two of the successes during the 2020 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign.

Cheval Blanc was the first to release its wines this year, pricing the 2020 Grand Vin in line with Liv-ex’s Fair Value. The 2020 wine was offered in the UK down 3% on the 2019 current Market Price and sold out quickly.

With or without classification status, demand for the two Right Bank powerhouses is certainly here to stay.

More analysis coming soon – our En Primeur Closing report will be released for Liv-ex members next week.

You can also read our opening report, “Bordeaux 2020: A sense of déjà vu”, which is now available to all via the form below.