Measuring the number of searches on the world’s most visited wine site, Wine-Searcher, provides a unique insight into a wine’s real consumer demand. With the latest online search data now in, we can determine whether there are any new “Buzz Brands”: one of the four Wine Lister Indicators, which were developed to isolate sub-sections of search criteria for our users. A Buzz Brand is a wine with strong distribution, showing high online search frequency or demonstrating a recent growth in popularity, and identified by the fine wine trade as trending or especially prestigious.
As shown in the chart below, three new wines achieved Buzz Brand status in June. To qualify, a wine must either be among the 20% most searched-for wines, or a wine whose search growth has significantly exceeded the rest of the group over the last six months. Domaine Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru saw an impressive 27% increase in average monthly searches over the last six months and also excels in terms of quality, with an average Quality score of 948.
The other two wines, Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Luchets and Domaine Ponsot Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru, saw their search frequency increase by 18% and 16% respectively over the latest six-month period. The latter has the highest overall Wine Lister score of the three, with 879/1000, and is the most expensive: £201 per bottle on average. Noticeably, all three wines are from Burgundy, a region whose online searches have been on the rise for some time.
Now that all our partner critics’ scores have been published, we have been able to feed them into Wine Lister’s bespoke algorithm to arrive at Quality scores for the Bordeaux 2016 vintage. The top 15 wines are shown below.
Wine Lister’s Quality score combines the ratings from our partner critics, three of the most respected critics in the world – Jancis Robinson, Antonio Galloni, and Bettane+Desseauve. A small weighting is also added for a wine’s ageing potential.
Ironically, the top wine of the vintage is Latour, not available to buy en primeur since the château withdrew from the system in 2012. The Pauillac first growth surged 34 positions up the table from last year, to 992 points for its 2016 Quality score.
Lafleur is just behind on 990, closely followed by Haut-Brion, Petrus and Vieux Château Certan. In fact, all the usual contenders make an appearance in the top 15, including the five first growths, their right bank equivalents such as Le Pin, Cheval Blanc, and Ausone, and Sauternes’ own first growth, Château d’Yquem.
Less obvious showings that are likely to represent better value include Calon Ségur, which improved a mammoth 51 places on last year, as well as Figeac and Pontet-Canet, in joint 15th position.
The top 40 2016 Quality scores will be listed in our upcoming Bordeaux market study, due for release later this week, and available to subscribers here. Alternatively, see the full ranking on the website.
Wine Lister’s French partner critics, Bettane+Desseauve, released their Bordeaux 2016 en primeur scores today. Here is a first look at thier top-scoring wines:
Bettane+Desseauve awarded no potentially-perfect scores, but seven wines score 19-19.5 points. One is Château Ausone, which receives this rave review:
“Refinement of texture and fullness of body. An Ausone of immense depth, broader shouldered than usual but with the same majestic, finessed tannins. A giant.”
As for fellow Saint-Emilion premier grand cru classé A Cheval Blanc, Michel Bettane calls it “the greatest wine from the property, at least as a baby, for at least 20 years!”
All the left bank first growths score 19 or above, as do Petrus and Yquem. Otherwise the top scorers shown above are all first growth equivalents or second growths, apart from Calon-Ségur, a third growth which made a standout wine in 2016.
These scores complete Wine Lister’s partner critic triptych, allowing us to compute Quality scores for the Bordeaux 2016 wines. More detailed analysis will be published next week in this year’s Bordeaux study, which will be available to subscribers here.
Wine Lister’s US partner critic Antonio Galloni, of Vinous, released his scores for Bordeaux 2016 en primeur in a comprehensive article at the end of last week, and these now contribute to Wine Lister’s Quality scores for Bordeaux 2016 wines.
Galloni describes the vintage as one of balance and harmony, yielding “absolutely remarkable wines.” He awarded seven potential 100-pointers, including two first growths – Châteaux Margaux and Latour, as well as three top Pomerol wines – Lafleur, Le Pin, and Vieux Château Certan.
He was particularly impressed by Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, which he found “a deeply emotional, moving wine.” He also had his head turned by Saint-Emilion premier grand cru classé A, Château Pavie, which has shifted towards a more elegant style since 2014, and particularly this year, when Galloni calls it “seamless, sumptuous and super-expressive.”
After waxing lyrical about many of the wines from the 2016 vintage, Galloni turns his attention to the campaign, and to pricing, echoing the positive signs discussed in our recent blog post on this topic. Galloni concludes that given the quality of the vintage, “if the 2016s do not sell well, it will be a damning indictment that one or more things is seriously wrong with how the wines are sold.”
Galloni also appeared on Bloomberg TV to discuss whether 2016 is the Bordeaux vintage of the century. Watch his interview here.
Wine Lister’s UK partner critic Jancis Robinson has released her scores for Bordeaux 2016 over a series of tasting articles, and these can now be found on Wine Lister’s individual wine pages.
While 2016 has been hailed by some as a left bank vintage, Robinson found much to enjoy across both sides of the Gironde. In Pomerol, she praised “those who waited and managed the difficult business of judging picking times correctly”, and more 19-point wines came from this appellation than any other. She singled out Vieux Château Certan 2016 for setting “the standard for the appellation” and noted its “lovely ripeness and nobility.” In Saint-Emilion, 19-point Figeac 2016 was “Zesty and confident and of the place”, while Canon 2016 had “real lift and drive.”
On the left bank, three of the first growths were among Robinson’s top scorers. As Wine Lister has already noted, 2016 was a tricky growing season, and Robinson reports that at Haut-Brion, Jean-Philippe Delmas “pointed out that the vintage was saved by the cool nights that retained the grapes’ and therefore wines’ freshness.”
From Pauillac, Latour 2016 significantly had “much more finesse than traditional Latour”, while Robinson described Mouton Rothschild 2016 as “bone dry and utterly embryonic compared with most of the 2016s (with the notable exception of Las Cases).” Léoville Las Cases 2016 also received 19 points from Robinson.
Notably, amongst Robinson’s top scorers there are no dry whites – a category she described as “the least exciting section of the Bordeaux 2016 vintage” – and only one sweet white (Yquem 2016), a group for which Bordeaux 2016 “won’t go down in history.”
With the latest data now in from Wine Searcher, we took a look at which wines have seen their average monthly searches soar in the last month. The US boasts two wines in this top 5, with searches continuing to increase for Screaming Eagle, and Scarecrow seeing a significant uptick. Bottled relatively recently, Scarecrow 2014 scored 96+ from our US partner critic Antonio Galloni, who described it as “a wine of finesse.” At the end of February, Scarecrow 2014 was the top lot in a Premiere Napa Valley auction, selling for $200,000. The increase in searches has boosted Scarecrow’s Brand score from 868 to 885.
Latour was the only wine from France to see its popularity rise last month, with searches for the Bordeaux first growth no doubt increasing as a result of the ex-château release in mid-March of Latour 2005, for €670 per bottle ex-négociant. Latour has the highest Brand score of all the wines in the table, with a near-perfect 999.
The final two wines to have seen a rise in popularity are Spain’s Pingus, whose 2014 recently received a 100-point score in the Wine Advocate, and Italy’s Azienda Agricola Falletto (Bruno Giacosa) Barolo Rocche Falletto Riserva. In March, Antonio Galloni praised “the genius of Bruno Giacosa” in a vertical tasting, and the increase in searches resulted in the wine’s Brand score rising from 812 to 822.
How is the popularity score calculated and how does it fit into the overall Wine Lister score?
Trading volumes are a key measure of a wine’s success in the marketplace. To evaluate these, Wine Lister uses figures collated by Wine Market Journal from sales at the world’s major auction houses, looking at the total number of bottles sold of the top five vintages traded for each wine over the past four quarters.
A change in trading volumes impacts a wine’s Economics score. The chart below pulls out the biggest gainers in the last quarter of 2016, comparing auction data from the 12 months leading up to the end of Q3 2016 to data for the calendar year.
Wines from a variety of regions saw their Economics scores boosted by auction sales in the final quarter of 2016, suggesting a healthy broadening of interest in addition to the usual suspects.
Gaining most was Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain, which saw trading volumes from January-December 2016 increase tenfold. Its Economics score remains relatively low, at 420/1000.
Australia and the Loire also made an appearance. Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance enjoys a very strong Economics score of 796/1000, and also excels in terms of Quality and Brand, leaving it with a very strong overall Wine Lister rating of 856/1000.
Burgundy is still on the rise at auction, and was the only region to feature twice, with Maison Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Lavaux Saint-Jacques and Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny.