This is an extended and updated version of the news report, which was published on decanter.com on Monday 8th October. It includes more details on some of the Burgundies that form part of the fund. Although I have only looked at a small sample of the Burgundies in the fund, it does suggest that the questions raised on the valuation of this fund extend beyond Bordeaux.
1900 Château Margaux
Curiously two parcels of 1990 Château Margaux are listed: 404 bottles valued at 916.75€ a bottle (total: 370,367€) and one of six bottles valued at 10267.67€ a bottle (total: 61,606€). wine-searcher's prices range from 9000€ to 10098.41€.
In only two instances are Nobles Crus' valuations lower than the average on wine-searcher. Sometimes they are considerably higher. Jayer’s 1987 Echézeaux was valued at 3025.86€ a bottle in December 2011. On 31st August the valuation was 4075.33€. On wine-searcher the most expensive price is 3262€ from Red Wine Exchange in Hong Kong.
Nobles Crus list 18 different Richebourgs from 2009 to 1962. A holding valued at 429,680.75€ or 410,859.50€ once the two large format entries with no data on wine-searcher have been excluded. This time the average price on wine-searcher is 4.64% higher – 429.926.72€, while the cheapest on wine-searcher totals 300,295.46€ – 26.91% lower than NC.
Montrachet Marquis de Laquiche
I also looked at the small parcel of seven different Montrachet Marquis de Laquiche from Drouhin covering vintages from 2007-2009 in various formats. As with the Richebourg the average wine-searcher price is a little higher than the NR valuation – by 8.94%, while the lowest price is 12.16% lower.
It is interesting that Nobles Crus defends its valuation saying that they are in line with the excellent wine-searcher, which lists retail prices around the world. Nobles Crus would appear to be assuming that they can sell their wines at retail price, which may be the case while the quantities they sell are small. During 2011 they sold 4.2% of the wine fund (total bottles on 31.12.11: 36,322 bottles) and achieved a price 1.39% above NC's valuation. With the exception of a parcel of 1995 Lafite all the wines sold were from the 2000 vintage or later.
Nobles Crus is an open fund, so it may be more difficult to achieve such high prices should there be a substantial number of redemptions, especially bearing in mind that 82% of the fund (as of 31.12.11) is in the hands of institutional investors: banks, wealth managment companies, financial advisers and insurance companies.
Fair comment but this means that Nobles Crus' valuations have yet to be put to the test should a significant part of the fund need to be liquidated.