Category: Score updates

Value for money? Look to Bordeaux

One of Wine Lister’s four Indicators, Value Picks identify the wines and vintages which have the best quality to price ratio, with a proprietary weighting giving more importance to quality, thus giving the finest wines a look-in.

With the latest price data in, 28 new wines have recently qualified as Value Picks. While Value Picks are calculated using a three-month average bottle score for accuracy (in order to take into account any price fluctuations), we have shown the current price per bottle below for ease of comparison. Please note that the price shown is excluding duty and VAT, and often reflects prices available only when purchasing a full case:

Value Picks_2017

Bordeaux dominates the new Value Picks, filling 11 of the 28 spots. Margaux’s Prieuré-Lichine seems a particularly keenly-priced brand at the moment, with both its 2015 and 2016 vintages now Value Picks. With Wine Lister Quality scores of 891 and 912 respectively – very strong and amongst the strongest on Wine Lister’s 1000 point scale – and both priced under £30, they represent excellent value buys. Within Bordeaux, Pessac-Léognan is home to the highest number of new Value Picks. Of those, two are white, with Château Carbonnieux Blanc 2014 and Château Olivier 2015 achieving very similar Quality scores (809 and 806 respectively), and each priced at just £20.

The other wine to feature twice in the latest update is Domaine de Cristia Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with its 2010 and 2007 vintages. The former, which achieves a Quality score of 763, is available at just £18 per bottle. With plenty of life left in it, it looks like a great buy.

Three Piedmontese wines recently qualified as Value Picks – M. Marengo Barolo Brunate 2010, Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia 2010, and La Spinetta (Rivetti) Barbera d’Alba Gallina 2007. All three achieve powerful Wine Lister Quality scores of over 900 points. You might buy Giacomo Conterno’s wines to impress – the Barolo Cascina Francia is a Wine Lister Buzz Brand, but also averages £157 per bottle. If you’re looking for something more appropriate for a weeknight, the 2010 vintage of the same producer’s Barbera d’Alba, priced at just £30, would be an excellent Value Pick – a perfect example of how Wine Lister’s indicators can help you find the right wine for any situation.

Burgundy keeps on buzzing

Wine Lister’s four Indicators – Investment Staples, Value Picks, Hidden Gems, and Buzz Brands – were designed to enable users to find the perfect wine for any scenario in just a couple of clicks. Buzz Brands, the most talked-about wines, are sure to impress: they have strong distribution across the world’s top restaurants, show high online search frequency or a recent growth in popularity, and are identified by the fine wine trade as trending or especially prestigious.

Having recently expanded and updated Wine Lister’s restaurant presence coverage, 29 new wines now qualify as Buzz Brands, their global distribution broadening. To achieve Buzz Brand status, a wine must be among the top fifth of all wines that feature at least once on the menus of the world’s best restaurants – prized for their wine lists as well as their food.

Fine wine top buzz brands

Of the 29 wines above, 11 hail from Burgundy, confirming the region’s continued demand amongst the restaurant trade. Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair fares particularly well, with three of its wines becoming new Buzz Brands, thus suggesting it is a producer on an upward trajectory. These wines also benefit from a high online search frequency, as measured by Wine-Searcher, with the wine with the highest number of searches, Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Echezeaux Grand Cru, seeing 1,400 searches per month.

Champagne has also benefitted from the restaurant presence update, with four wines from the region gaining Buzz Brand status. Of this month’s new Buzz Brands, Bollinger Rosé now has the most impressive distribution, present in 17% of the world’s top establishments.

Piedmont sees four wines attain Buzz Brand status. Two new wines from La Spinetta now qualify as Buzz Brands, with Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche and Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia making up the quartet.

There are three new Bordeaux Buzz Brands, and one carries the accolade of being the most searched-for wine in the table. Château Saint-Pierre receives in excess of 3,700 searches per month, which in addition to appearing on 8% of the world’s very best restaurants makes it well-deserving of its new Buzz Brand status.

 

Restaurant presence: the wines taking over the world

As Wine Lister’s holistic rating system demonstrates, there are many factors (nine criteria, in all) to take into account when calculating a wine’s greatness. One of these is distribution in the world’s top restaurants, our measure of a wine’s prestige and clout on the international market. In order to identify the restaurants that count – not just for the food but for the wine – we have created a matrix of global restaurants with Michelin stars, 50 Best Restaurants, World of Fine Wine Best Wine List awards, and more. We take the most formidable combination of these as the basis for our painstaking analysis.

We are expanding our coverage constantly, and the latest instalment is now in. This year alone has seen an increase of 50%, to 150 restaurants analysed. New entrants come from across the globe, from New York’s Balthazar to Paris’s Carré des Feuillants.

The table below shows the 20 wines to have seen their restaurant presence increase the most since the last update in April:

Restaraunt presence blog

The top three wines are Champagnes: Salon Le Mesnil, Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, and Dom Pérignon Oenothèque (the last all the more impressive since the wine was re-branded a few years ago). None of them, however, is the wine with the largest restaurant presence. That accolade falls to Yquem, which saw its presence increase by 7.3% in the latest update, appearing on 69% of the world’s top wine lists – including Boulud in New York and Sketch in London.

Second most popular of the wines above is Mouton Rothschild, whose restaurant presence increased by 5.7%, and which overall features on 58% of the best restaurants, from The French Laundry in California to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong.

It is also interesting to note the wines that have relatively low overall restaurant presence but saw a significant increase in the latest update, suggesting that their stars are on the rise. These include Bordeaux Saint Pierre and Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Millésimé, which appeared on 2% of the previous restaurant lists but are now at 8% and 9% respectively. Meanwhile, Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge found its restaurant presence tip from 9% to 15% in the latest update.

Champagne corks a-popping in July

The latest search frequency data is in from Wine-Searcher, and with it we can see which wines enjoyed the greatest popularity gains during July. After the en primeur campaign fuelled the big surges of May and June, July’s top five gainers witnessed more modest gains. There is also more variety this month, with two Champagnes and a Napa joining two Bordeaux right bank heavyweights.

July search frequency blog image

Experiencing the greatest increase in popularity during July was Dom Pérignon Vintage Brut – particularly impressive considering it started from an already extraordinarily strong average of over 54,000 searches each month.

Next came Cheval Blanc, whose 2016 vintage was released in early June, before July saw the release of Salon Le Mesnil 2006. Described by Wine Lister partner critic Antonio Galloni as an “utterly compelling Champagne to follow over the next several decades”, its rise in online popularity suggests that consumers have already started to track its progress.

The last two wines are both produced on very small scales. Le Pin, notoriously rare, released its 2016 vintage in late June, which likely contributed to its increase in online popularity, at least among those lucky few with both an allocation and requisite funds. About 6,000 bottles of Napa Valley’s Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon are produced each year. As we saw in our recent post on California’s most expensive wines, production levels play a big role in the region’s prices. Perhaps the rarity of Abreu Madrona, the region’s eighth most expensive wine, is helping to boost its caché.

Investment Staples: new wines (and whites!) for your portfolio

Certain wines are a safer store of value than others. One of our four Wine Lister Indicators – Investment Staples – enables you to spot these instantly. The bespoke algorithm identifies wines of a high quality level, long-lived and not too old, above a certain price (therefore soaking up the frictional costs of collecting wine), with proven price performance, stability, and liquidity.

This last criterion is measured using the number of bottles traded at wine auctions globally. With the latest quarterly data in from Wine Market Journal, 16 new wine and vintage combinations (across nine producers) have recently become Investment Staples. These wines are all over £50 a bottle, with the majority falling under £400, but the most expensive – Roumier’s 2013 Musigny – costing £4,851.

Several of the new Investment Staples have displayed an upward price trend over the last six months, in particular Leroy’s Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées 2013 and Roumier’s 2008 Musigny, both of which have seen increases upwards of 30%.

Wine investment is not often associated with white wines, but six of the new Investment Staples are just that. All possess staying power, and are young enough to have room for improvement. What is more, they are made by some of the finest wine producers there are, allowing them to challenge some of their red neighbours in terms of investment fundamentals. Of these, Roulot’s Meursault Charmes 2012 has the best six-month price performance, plus one of the longest drinking windows based on the average assessment of our partner critics. Jean-Marc Roulot has been a rising star for several years now, but his wines are still in the ascendancy.

The new Investment Staples nearly all hail from Burgundy, with just a handful of entries from Piedmont and the Rhône. Those seeking something a bit different that still possesses the criteria of a solid investment might look to Italian white, Gaia & Rey 2012 from Gaja, which has a drinking window of 2015-2025, 6.3% six-month price performance, and price tag of £124.

August Investment Staples Image

To search for more Investment Staples, subscribers can click here, filtering by country, region, type, style, price, and score, to drill down exactly into what wine you’re after.

Latour’s trade at auction is on the rise

The latest trading data is in, and it is evident that this quarter one region’s wines have had particular success at auction. We’ve calculated which wines have seen the greatest incremental increases in bottles traded by using 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 for each wine over the past four quarters.

In contrast to last quarter’s data, which saw wines from a variety of regions see trading volumes rise, all five wines in the table below are from Bordeaux. Four are from the left bank, with first growth Haut-Brion benefitting the most from increased trade, while right bank Ausone also makes the cut.

Latour is the only wine to feature two quarters running. This presents an interesting counterpoint to the château’s reported fall in trading volumes on the wine exchange Liv-ex. Since its decision in 2012 to withdraw from the en primeur system, Latour has held back its five most recent vintages. It seems unsurprising, therefore, that the wine is less present than its fellow first growths on trading platforms, where recent vintages tend to attract high volumes of trade. However, this has not affected the wine’s success on the auction market, which favours older vintages, and therefore arguably makes for a fairer comparison.

Volume changes June

Latest search data: basketball beats Bordeaux

The latest online search frequency data is in from Wine-Searcher, and with it we can see which wines surged in popularity during June. As with May’s results, the effect of the 2016 en primeur campaign is evident, with four of the five spots filled by Bordeaux crus that released their 2016 vintage on or after 31st May.

June Search Frequency image v2

However, if the en primeur effect is to be expected, the likely reason for Giuseppe Quintarelli Alzero’s appearance at the top of the table could not have been foreseen. On 18th June, NBA star LeBron James posted a photo on Instagram of a bottle of Giuseppe Quintarelli Alzero 2007 that he was enjoying, having spent the day hosting his son’s birthday party. To date it has received well over 200,000 likes, surely contributing to its 168% increase in online search frequency. It appears that whilst La Place de Bordeaux is the fine wine world’s premier marketing machine, it is no match for LeBron James and his 31.8 million Instagram followers.

Returning to the en primeur effect, Canon 2016 was released at £73.35 per bottle on 1st June to great acclaim, having achieved its second-best Quality score ever. The leap in search frequency confirms its upward trajectory. Figeac repeats its May performance, surging even further in popularity in June. The 2016 vintage – Figeac’s best since 1989 – was released on 13th June, its 67% increase on the 2015 sterling release price signalling its clear intent to reposition itself.

Calon Ségur and Les Carmes Haut-Brion both comfortably achieved their best ever Quality scores with their 2016 offerings, and sold out quickly, no doubt prompting their surges in online search frequency during June. The next step is to get a famous sportsperson to post a photo of themselves drinking it.