Tag: Champagne

Five icons that saw searches rise in September

The annual spate of releases in September has influenced this month’s gainers in online search frequency. For the third consecutive month, Dom Pérignon Vintage Brut has seen the largest increase in average monthly searches, which we calculate using three-month data from Wine-Searcher measured against the previous period. Dom Pérignon 2009 was released in early September, and the wine’s increase of 5,154 searches is the largest incremental monthly increase seen this year, taking it to 60,241 average searches per month: the highest of any Champagne and fifth highest of all wines.

Following last month’s narrowing of regions within the top five (only two were featured), the breadth in September significantly increased, with icons from California, Bordeaux, Piedmont, and Chile joining Champagne. The number of searches has also increased dramatically after the summer slowdown, with 19 wines seeing an increase of over 1,000 average monthly searches. The release of Opus One 2014 at the beginning of September – judged “a gorgeous wine” by our partner critic Antonio Galloni – has boosted interest in this Napa Valley stalwart, with an increase of 4,651 searches taking it to over 40,000 searches per month.

Search data_October

Château d’Yquem is another wine to see online search frequency rise on the back of a September release. The 2015 was released alongside Opus One 2014 at €250 ex-négociant.

The next in the table, Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, has the lowest search frequency of any of the wines above, with an average 10,075 per month. Nevertheless, with an overall Wine Lister score of 941/1,000 the wine is one of the great names of Barolo: the fourth best overall on Wine Lister.

Almaviva celebrated its twentieth anniversary in June, while its producer Viña Concha y Toro has recently entered the global ranking inside the Top 10 Beverages category within the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the first time. With the release of Almaviva 2015 in early September adding to the interest, the wine has seen an increase of 2,858 online monthly searches, taking it to 11,291.

Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006

Analysis of Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006, which has been released today in the UK at £100 per bottle, with a Wine Lister Quality score of 983 – its best ever:

Wine Lister Fact Sheet Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill 2006

You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006

 

The regions creating a buzz

Wine Lister’s Brand category measures a wine’s performance across two criteria: popularity and distribution. In conjunction with its Quality and Economic performance, this allows a holistic assessment of a fine wine. It also enables a comparison of the performance of entire fine wine regions. Below we look at the average scores over both Brand criteria of the top 50 wines in Bordeaux, Burgundy, California, Italy, and the USA.

Wine Lister Buzz Regions

Bordeaux dominates, with powerhouses Yquem and Mouton demonstrating the success of its classification system and the centuries-old global repute of its top crus. Its best wines are by far the most popular with consumers – searched for nearly four times more frequently on average than second-placed Italy. They are also the best distributed in the world’s most prestigious restaurants, present in 31% on average, and with 5 references per list.

Whilst Champagne comes second in terms of breadth of presence in restaurants, its top wines don’t achieve much depth in terms of vintages or formats listed – presumably because many of them are non-vintage.

Burgundy competes well in terms of restaurant presence, with the likes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru enjoying a strong showing in top restaurants. Meanwhile the region is fourth most popular in terms of searches each month on Wine-Searcher.

Italy is unique in that Sassicaia is both its most popular wine and also its best distributed. However, whilst its top wines are the second most popular overall, they also experience the second lowest level of distribution.

Finally, the USA’s best wines achieve a strong level of vertical restaurant presence, but come last in terms of both horizontal presence and popularity, suggesting the New World still has a way to go in terms of brand strength.

Download a PDF version here.

First published in French in En Magnum.

A sparkling end to summer

Champagne continues to find itself a popular tipple amongst summer drinkers, the latest Wine Searcher data shows. Each month we look at the last three months’ worth of search data, measured against the previous period, to see which wines have grown most in popularity. Last month’s data featured two Champagnes in the top five, and this month’s – looking at data from June to August – features three.

Search data_September 2017

For the second month in a row, Dom Pérignon Vintage Brut finds itself in first place, with an increase of 1,919 searches taking the wine to an impressive 57,000 searches on average per month. This also makes it the fifth most searched-for wine on Wine Searcher from June to August, beaten only by Bordeaux heavyweights Lafite, Mouton, Margaux, and Petrus.

The producer’s Rosé takes the second spot, although with 9,300 searches on average per month it falls some way behind the dizzy popularity of its sibling. Proving the unquenchable appeal of drinking pink Champagne in the sun, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé makes up this month’s trio. Starting from the lowest number of average searches of the five wines, at around 1,600 per month, it jumps to 2,300 searches with the latest data update.

The breadth of regions has narrowed this month, with the remaining two wines both Cabernet-based and hailing from Napa: Harlan Estate Proprietary Red and Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. The former is one of the region’s biggest names, a self-proclaimed “First Growth” of California, costing on average £665 per bottle. Caymus Vineyards, meanwhile, averages £100 a bottle but is a favourite amongst consumers, and with an overall score of 747/1,000 shows that high quality doesn’t always come with a high price to match.

Champagne and Californian Cabernets: the drinks of the summer. You heard it here first.

Top 5 Grands Crus Champagnes by Quality score

Wine Lister’s Quality score measures a wine’s performance across two criteria – critics’ ratings and ageing potential. This week’s Listed section features Wine Lister’s top five Grands Crus Champagnes by Quality score. Each achieving a Quality score of over 950 points, these five Champagnes are amongst the strongest on Wine Lister in the category. The top three also happen to be Buzz Brands.

Top 5 GC Champagnes by Quality image

Top of the table is Salon, whose outstanding score of 978 puts it among the 20 best white wines on Wine Lister for quality. With 45,000 bottles produced only in great vintages, and aged at the château until deemed ready to drink, Salon is by far the most expensive of the five. Proving that good things come to those who wait, Salon 2006 was released in July this year, achieving a Quality score of 988, with Antonio Galloni stating that it would be an “utterly compelling Champagne to follow over the next several decades”.

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is also uniformly highly rated by the critics. With 170,000 bottles produced of the wine each vintage, it has by far the highest average production of the five, making its excellent Quality score all the more impressive.

Proving that outstanding quality is not only found in vintage Grands Crus Champagnes, the last three spots are filled by non-vintage wines. Jacques Selosse produces two of them, with Substance Brut Grand Cru edging out Blanc de Noirs La Côte Faron Grand Cru by three points in terms of quality. Both wines are produced in tiny quantities, with just 1,250 bottles of La Côte Faron leaving the estate each year, and just over double that of Substance.

The fifth spot is filled by Egly-Ouriet V.P Vieillissement Prolongé Extra Brut Grand Cru. 10,000 bottles are produced each year of this wine, whose Quality score (951) significantly outperforms both its Brand score (608) and Economics score (323). Available at nearly a quarter of the price of equally rated Selosse La Côte Faron, it looks excellent value for money.

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.