With Chinese New Year fast approaching, we take a look at four lucky fine wines whose names take on a whole different meaning when written in Chinese characters.
木桐Mouton: Chinese parasol (good luck)
A Chinese proverb says that “if you see a parasol tree, you’ll see a phoenix”. While owners of Mouton Rothschild 2000 may not have spotted this mythical bird, they would have seen steady returns on their investment. The First Growth’s 2000 vintage – which has a special gold label – traded at an all-time high this month of £19,400 per 12×75, an 782% increase on its release price of £2,200. Good luck indeed.
Other vintages from the chateau that have been popular in China include the 2008, which features a moon on its label – an artwork created by the Chinese artist Xu Lei. Since its release, the wine has seen a flurry of trade on Liv-ex. It last traded at £4,485 per 12×75, an increase of 156% on its release price.
龙船酒庄 Beychevelle: dragon boat
The nautical theme of this wine has not only been reflected in its Chinese name, but also in its French. The word ‘Beychevelle’ is derived from the French phrase, “baisse voile” – a term for lowering sails as a mark of respect. The wine’s front label also depicts a ship with the head of a griffon, which according to Greek mythology is the guardian of Dionysus’s wine goblet.
Some might say that life doesn’t get much luckier that drinking a Dionysian wine, but perhaps it does in the case of this Bordeaux Fourth Growth. Beychevelle has been one of the best performers on the secondary market this year. It jumped 20 places in the Liv-ex 2018 Power 100, up to 32nd place. The Beychevelle index has also risen by 4% in the past year, outperforming both the Bordeaux 500 and the Left Bank 200 indices.
侯伯王庄园 Haut Brion: Lord (rich and honour)
Haut Brion is another lucky Bordeaux First Growth. It was among the most active First Growths last month, accounting for over half of their trade in the week before Christmas.
In particular, its 2005 vintage led First Growths trade by value in December. The 100-point Robert Parker wine last traded at £6,500 per 12×75, a 86% increase on its release price.
Still, other Bordeaux wines have seen higher price rises over the past year. Some off-vintage Bordeaux – Petit Mouton, for example – have leaped by over 140%. If you have invested in the Lord ’s wine, however, then the 2015 (100 LPB, 98-100 NM) has been the best performer, with a rise of 13.5%.
康色扬 La Conseillante: good health and high spirits
La Conseillante promises to bring good health and high spirits when written in Chinese. It was not originally included in the 1855 Classification, which overlooked wines from the Right Bank, but ranked as a Second Growth in the 2017 Liv-ex Classification. Every two years, Liv-ex produces a classification, which ranks wines by price as the Bordeaux Brokers Union did 164 years ago. The next is due to be released in July 2019.
The average Liv-ex trade price is calculated using actual trades on Liv-ex over a year period. To warrant a classification, at least five vintages of a wine must have traded.
Looking for more?
Last year, we looked at eight other wines with good messages for Chinese New Year. You can find them here.