Tag: France

Pontet-Canet 2016

Bordeaux 2016 en primeur analysis of Pontet-Canet 2016, which has been released this morning at €108 ex-négociant, an increase of 44% on 2015, with a UK RRP of £114.40, an increase of 73% on 2015:

Wine Lister Pontet Canet 2016

You can download the factsheet (from which you can access the wine page and the interactive chart) here: Wine Lister Factsheet Pontet-Canet 2016

The Bordeaux brands in the world’s top restaurants

Today’s blog continues to explore some of the findings from the Bordeaux Market Study, by taking a look at global restaurant presence. A fine wine’s prestige and clout on the international market is demonstrated by its distribution across the world’s top restaurants, hence this is one criteria that feeds into our Brand score. (Remember that you can read exactly ‘how it works’ on our eponymous page).

As shown in the chart below, sweet white Yquem dominates: just as it did in the 2016 study (now available to all here). Next comes indomitable fifth growth Lynch-Bages – a wine that the trade has cited as one of the best-selling Bordeaux brands – ahead of all the first growths. Lynch-Bages has overtaken Latour and Margaux since this time last year. Mouton has also moved up the ranks, present in 52% of restaurants compared to 50% in last year’s analysis. Meanwhile, Gruaud-Larose is a new entry into the top 15, replacing Montrose.

Bordeaux restaurant presene

This is just a taster of Wine Lister’s 48-page Bordeaux Market Study – subscribers can download the full report from the Analysis page.

The view from Bordeaux – Lafite’s first tranche

Yesterday saw the release of the first tranche of Château Lafite-Rothschild en primeur. It was a surprising move, hinted at late last week, but early for a first growth to release in what is set to be a long campaign. People were momentarily excited – the campaign seemed to be taking off, with a seemingly reasonable price for a first growth that has historically gained in price after release. However, it very quickly became clear that with just half last year’s volume released, and the promise of a second tranche at a higher price, Bordeaux négociants preferred to hold fire and wait it out.

One courtier said, “to my mind it is not a real release of Château Lafite 2016 because [the price of] a part of the volume en primeur is not known.”

The tranche system for Bordeaux en primeur releases was born of two rationales. First, a way of testing the market with an initial, reasonable price on a portion of the volume produced. Second, tranches are a politically adept method for the five Bordeaux first growths to maintain the appearance of releasing at the same price – as has historically been the form – with the possibility thereafter to diverge significantly in price on subsequent tranches.

There are several négociants whose policy is to adhere to the châteaux’s multi-tranche approach, selling on the first at a corresponding price, and the second at a higher price, and so on. However, those négociants had second thoughts yesterday. If they sell the first tranche at the lower price while other négociants await the second tranche and sell at an average price across the two tranches, they will be stuck with a second batch of wine to sell at a higher price than the rest of the market.

That is why the vast majority of négociants yesterday decided not to sell on their Lafite 2016. One négociant explained that the “volume makes it difficult to offer out,” adding “we’re just waiting for the second tranche to offer in one bunch, at an average price.”

So as the entire Place de Bordeaux waits for the second tranche, after which it will sell on the stock at a pro rata price taking into account the price of both tranches, this begs the question: what was the point of separate tranches at all? Had today’s release been on a larger volume, it could have been the touch paper for a sizzling 2016 en primeur campaign. At 50%, unfortunately, it has proved the opposite.

Reports from the Place are that after the Lafite release early yesterday afternoon, not only were there no further releases, but sales on all other wines slowed right down as the local market let Lafite’s move sink in. Not surprising when you consider the importance for a négociant of a first growth’s release in the scheme of an en primeur campaign: it represents a huge sum compared to selling the lesser crus. If yesterday’s events put other châteaux off releasing today, then with the Thursday bank holiday in France, and many bridging to a long weekend, “a whole week of the campaign could be lost,” lamented another négociant (although this is unlikely with another major wine set to release this morning).

Meanwhile, many importers are frustrated by their inability to actually acquire any of the wine and offer it to their customers. One UK merchant concurred, “it’s not a real release,” clarifying, “until the Bordeaux négociants know what their total volumes are – and what their average cost will be – they can’t really offer the wine to the trade so customers are unable to buy it.”

And so we all await the second tranche. One courtier has been led to believe this will be next week, while Château Lafite itself declines to advise on timing.

Mouton and Petrus top list of Bordeaux crus

In our third blog post exploring findings from Wine Lister’s recently released Bordeaux Market Study, we look at the top scoring Bordeaux crus as at 28th April 2017. These are the overall Wine Lister scores comprising the three category scores for Quality, Brand, and Economics. They are applied at wine level (an average of the last 30 vintages, with the highest weighting for the most recent vintage – 2016 – and so on).

Top Wine Lister scores Bordeaux

Nine of the top 25 are from the right bank, and 16 from the left bank. As in last year’s study, the top eight spots are occupied by the five left bank first growths, as well as Petrus, Yquem, and Cheval Blanc, but with a significant reshuffle among these wines. Mouton gains 18 points and climbs two spots to join Petrus at the top of the table this year.

Haut-Brion comes third, one position higher than in 2016. Next come Margaux and Lafite, separated by just one point, although Margaux has surged up the ranking this year, gaining four places.

Yquem, the only white wine in the top 25, drops four places this year, while Latour and Cheval Blanc are also down on last year’s positioning. Ausone comes ninth, up three places from last year, and Léoville Las Cases rounds out the top 10 as the highest placed deuxième cru.

The two newer Saint-Emilion premiers grands crus classés A also feature in the top 25, although Angélus and Pavie have dropped two and eight spots respectively since 2016. Meanwhile Pichon Comtesse and Figeac make their debut into the top 25 this year.

This is just a taster of the Bordeaux Market Study, but you can download the full 48-page report from the Wine Lister Analysis page (subscribers only).

Trade’s confidence in Bordeaux grows

In last year’s inaugural Bordeaux study, Wine Lister recapped the region’s recent turbulence and concluded that Bordeaux was moving into a more positive phase. This year’s study – published this week, and available for subscribers here in English and French – continues that analysis, examining the region’s global positioning in the market before drilling down into its appellations and more than 100 of its top wines.

We’ll be revealing a few of the report’s findings over the coming weeks, beginning here with the trade’s view. Earlier in the year we surveyed our Founding Members (49 key fine wine trade players from across the globe), for insight into their confidence in Bordeaux’s individual wines. None got a perfect 10/10, but eight received 9/10, compared to only three last year (Latour, Margaux and Petrus), highlighting the trade’s surging confidence over the last 12 months:

Bordeaux_trade's view_confidence_9

While the majority of wines moved up one place from an 8/10 rating last year, Canon has greatly improved its position within the trade, leaping ahead three points from 6/10. Its 2015 vintage was declared by many to be the estate’s best: our US partner critic Antonio Galloni called it “one of the undisputed stars of the vintage” and awarded it an in-barrel score of 96-98/100. Canon 2016 has also been lauded by the critics, scoring 18.5/20 from our UK partner critic Jancis Robinson.

Bordeaux_trade's view_confidence_8

Meanwhile, 21% of the 108 wines surveyed received a confidence rating of 8/10, up from 18% of wines last year. Those whose standing has leapt significantly include Domaine de Chevalier, Haut-Bailly, Petit Mouton, Smith Haut Lafitte and Talbot, all up from 6/10 last year.

Visit Wine Lister’s Analysis page to read the full 48-page report, ‘2017 Bordeaux Market Study – A true return to form?’, available in both English and French.

Bettane+Desseauve’s top Bordeaux 2016 scores

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:

B+D top Bordeaux 2016 scores

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.

Online searches soar for major wine regions

Measuring the number of searches on the world’s most visited wine site, Wine-Searcher, provides a unique insight into an individual wine’s overall popularity. Following on from last week’s blog on wine searches we have aggregated two years’ worth of this data at region level, to put popularity in perspective and map fine wine market trends over time.

Wine Search Frequency

Above, we have taken the 50 most searched-for wines from the leading fine wine regions in France and Italy and tracked their changes in search frequency over two years. Despite natural peaks and troughs – including large spikes for Champagne during the festive season – the last six months show an acceleration in searches for wines of every region.

Several wine regions have seen searches more than double in the last two years, with Tuscany, Piedmont and Burgundy as the stand-out performers. Meanwhile, Bordeaux – the most searched-for region in real terms – has struggled to engage new audiences at the same rate as its counterparts. For more on Tuscany’s rising global clout, see our in-depth regional study, available to subscribers on the Analysis page.

To view the popularity of individual wines, simply search for your wine of choice on Wine Lister and explore the Brand score sub-criteria.