However, there are a few things to consider when analysing POP, and it certainly should not be considered a gospel guide to investment.Firstly, when discussing Champagne investment, Liv-ex typically uses American wine critic Antonio Galloni’s tasting scores. Whilst he is undoubtedly one of the principal and most respected wine critics, not just in America but globally, basing an investment decision (or even merely providing investment advise) solely on the opinion of one man, is risky business. Wine investment is usually a large financial commitment, with a minimum investment of £5,000 – £10,000 suggested by most advisers. That in mind, I know if I was considering investing thousands of pounds, I’d certainly like a more in-depth and robust measurement of value than something that revolves entirely around one chap’s nose and palate…World’s Best Wine Critic or not.
So, what happens to the POP scores of recent Dom Pérignon vintages, when we aggregate the scores of several top wine critics, instead of just one? Let’s take a look. Below are the POP scores for the last seven released Dom Pérignon vintages, calculated solely on Antonio Galloni’s scores (noted under ‘AG score’).
|Dom Pérignon POP scores by vintage|
|Vintage||Av. case price||AG score||POP|
So let’s all head to The Finest Bubble homepage and invest in Dom Pérignon 2004, right?! Well, maybe not. If we take the scores from Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson MW, arguably the top three voices in the world of wine, and aggregate their scores for the Dom Pérignon vintages, then recalculate the POP scores based on this more representative reviewing, which vintage comes up trumps?
|Dom Pérignon POP scores by vintage|
|Vintage||Av. case price||Av. score||POP|
As you can see above, whilst the general pattern of declining POP scores is unaltered, the finer figures tell a different story than before. Here, the vintage with the lowest POP score is Dom Pérignon 2002, at 60.0, compared to Dom Pérignon 2004’s score of 61.3. A small difference, yes, but according to these figures, the 2002 now offers the best value for money.
Important also to note is that fine wines, and particularly the leading brands of Champagne, are constantly being tasted and re-tasted by the world’s top wine critics, and for very good reason – as we all know, Champagne matures and improves with age. Antonio Galloni himself, upon revisiting Dom Pérignon 2002 four years after release, upped his original scoring of 96 points to 98 points. Thus, figures regarding the value of wine, especially relative to a critics scoring, are subject to change: potentially to improvement, yes, but also potentially to depreciation.
Frustratingly, this updated version of POP, although more representative, is not without its flaws. Most notably, Jancis uses a 20-point system when scoring Champagnes, whereas both Galloni and Parker score them out of 100. Thereby, data mis-comparison could occur when translating Jancis’ rating into a 100-point score (here, we have multiplied Jancis’ scores by five, e.g. an 18/20 = 90/100). By rating Champagnes out of 20, Jancis doesn’t have the option to acutely distinguish between Champagnes of a similarly high quality, whereas Galloni and Parker do. The result is that Jancis’ scoring may be distorted when converted to a 100-point range and thus has the potential to abnormally alter the average.
The lesson here is not to ignore the facts and figures popularly quoted by merchants and brokers in the wine industry; it’s to take them with a pinch of salt. Investing in Champagne is fairly simple and can yield high returns, but only specific brands and particular vintages will accrue value. Do your research, read around the subject carefully, and seek expert advice on the areas you don’t fully understand. Once you feel comfortable with the topic and you’ve looked at the relevant and representative figures, then you can head to The Finest Bubble homepage and invest in Dom Pérignon 2004.