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.