We are thrilled to announce the addition of Jeannie Cho Lee MW as Wine Lister’s fourth partner critic, representing the Asian market.
Wine Lister gathers data from multiple sources to assess thousands of wines on a truly holistic basis. Scores are made up of three main categories: Quality, Brand, and Economics. Critic ratings form a vital part of the Quality category, providing reliable scores and drinking window information.
Jeannie Cho Lee is an independent wine critic, a university professor, and an award-winning author who in 2008 was the first Asian to become a Master of Wine. Based in Hong Kong, she writes about wine on her website, www.jeanniecholee.com, and has also published several books, including Asian Palate.
Adding to our unique collaborations with three of the most reputable wine critics in the world’s major fine wine markets – Jancis Robinson (UK), Antonio Galloni (Vinous) (USA), and Bettane+Desseauve (France) – we are delighted to welcome Jeannie Cho Lee to represent the key Asian fine wine market. This careful addition will help us in our goal of providing ever more reliable and accurate ratings and analysis, while crucially maintaining the high standards of this elite pool of critics. Jeannie Cho Lee’s scores have been added to those of our existing partner critics, and fed into Wine Lister’s bespoke algorithm to produce a Quality score out of 1,000 points. Wine Lister takes each critic’s minimum and maximum wine ratings and spreads these back out over the entire scale. As each wine critic scores differently (not just on a different scale), we also account for the frequency of ratings and normalise scores for fair comparison. Each critic is weighted equally.
You may notice that some scores have changed for wines that have not been rated by Jeannie. In order to meet our goal of having the most comprehensive and up-to-date information, and the most rigorous rating algorithm, we have increased the sample set of scores upon which we carry out the normalisation between critics. This now includes the 18 months’ worth of new critic scores since our launch.
In an attempt to squeeze every last drop out of summer, this week’s Listed section features Wine Lister’s top 5 rosés by Quality score. Whilst the Côte d’Azur might seem a long way away, these five Provençal wines serve as a reminder of warmer climes and long sunny days.
Wine Lister’s Quality score measures a wine’s performance across two criteria – critics’ scores and ageing potential. Whilst these wines perform relatively well with the critics, they are not built with longevity in mind, and have an average predicted drinking window of just three years – compared to 17 and 16 years respectively for the top five whites and reds for Quality.
Domaines Ott Château de Selle Rosé Coeur de Grain tops the table with a very strong Quality score of 764. Currently priced at around £21 per bottle (depending on the retailer), it is the second-cheapest of the five, and represents excellent value for money.
Garrus, the first of three wines from Château d’Esclans, comes next with a Quality score of 743. At £74 it is by far the most expensive of the group – over twice as expensive as is its close relative Les Clans, with a Quality score of 696. Both these wines divide the critics, performing well with Antonio Galloni and Jancis Robinson, but less favoured by Bettane+Desseauve.
In fact, the French duo are considerably less enamoured with these five rosés than Jancis Robinson in general. Perhaps still rosé has a way to go before it is considered a serious vinous offering in France.
Château Simone Palette Rosé fills the fourth spot with a score of 657, followed by a third wine from Château d’ Esclans – Whispering Angel. Whilst it has a modest Quality score of 506, and is by far the least expensive of the group, it has by far the best Brand score (805). Proof that formidable branding can propel a wine beyond where its intrinsic quality level might suggest (though we certainly wouldn’t turn our noses up at a chilled glass of Whispering Angel on a sunny day like today).
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 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.
What makes the perfect wine?
Using the entirety of a 1,000-point scale, Wine Lister’s scores are calculated using nine criteria that define iconic wines. These fall into the categories of Quality, Brand and Economics, giving a 360° view of the finest wines in the world.
Unlike wine critics’ scores, which sporadically feature a perfect 100/100, a perfect Wine Lister score of 1,000/1,000 is practically, though not theoretically, impossible. The perfect wine would have to be the best in the world across every single criterion – a magical combination of ingredients.
The perfect wine does not belong to any one region. In terms of quality, it has the perfect critic score of Sauterne’s unsurpassed Château d’Yquem (1), and the ageing potential of Cockburn’s Vintage Port (2). Its brand is legendary: like Dom Pérignon, it is found throughout the world’s top restaurants (3), and its online monthly searches rival those of Lafite (4).
The perfect wine outperforms on price. Already with a price per bottle to match that of Romanée-Conti (5), its vintages see price increases in both the short- (6) and long-term (7), without undue fluctuation (8). Finally, like Mouton, the perfect wine is traded in large volumes (9).
Download a PDF version here.
First published in French in En Magnum.
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.”
As we know, the quality of a wine is not set in stone. Just like our Brand and Economics scores, Wine Lister’s Quality scores are also updated over time as wines evolve and new vintages are released.
Our algorithm analyses Quality by aggregating ratings from our three partner critics: Jancis Robinson, Bettane+Desseauve and Vinous (Antonio Galloni). It also comprises a small weighting for a wine’s longevity, based on the critics’ combined drinking windows, with the drink-by date updated regularly as our partner critics retaste and reevaluate.
In this post we look at the 10 biggest gainers in Quality over the course of 2016:
Huet’s Le Mont Moelleux improved the most last year, adding over 20% to its score, taking it to 917. This is down to a score of 18/20 for the 2015 vintage from our UK partner critic JancisRobinson.com.
Also partly thanks to a new score of 18 from the same critic, in second place is the fortified Ramos Pinto Quinta do Bom Retiro 20 Year Old Tawny Port. The wine was also deemed to be eight years longer-lived than had been previously thought, contributing considerably to its Quality score surge.
Château Simone’s Palette Rouge received a higher-than-average score from Bettane+Desseauve for its 2012 vintage, making it the third-highest gainer for the year.
Improvements were also enjoyed across a wide range of other regions, from Bordeaux to Champagne, and in the New World.
Who will be 2017’s biggest Quality gainers? Only time (and tastings) will tell.