Stretching from the Atlantic coast in the West to Pouilly-sur-Loire in the East, the Loire Valley extends half way across France, and is home to some of the country’s great white wines. Reflecting the diversity of the region, the Loire’s top five whites comprise two dry Sauvignon Blancs, two sweet Chenin Blancs, and a dry Chenin Blanc. However, whilst these wines are diverse in style, they share several key characteristics – they are all produced biodynamically, in small quantities, and by cult winemakers.
Leading the way are two Pouilly-Fumés from Domaine Didier Dagueneau – Silex and Pur Sang. One of Wine Lister’s Buzz Brands, Silex achieves excellent scores in each of Wine Lister’s three categories. However, it enjoys particularly strong brand recognition, present in 39% of the world’s best restaurants and receiving on average over 4,000 searches each month on Wine-Searcher. Pur Sang achieves its best score in the Economics category, thanks to strong price performance – with a three year CAGR of 14% and a six month growth rate of 13%.
Moving West to Vouvray, Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance comes next. Produced only in great vintages, this botrytised Chenin Blanc has the best Quality score of the group (981), and the 14th highest of all white wines on Wine Lister.
Continuing further down the valley, Clos Rougeard Brézé is in fourth place. The most expensive wine of the group, it has a remarkable three year CAGR of 33%, confirming that it is a wine on a strong upward trajectory. The fifth wine is Nicolas Joly’s Coulée de Serrant. Produced in the most westerly appellation of the group – Savennières Coulée de Serrant – Brand is its strongest category, present in 31% of top establishments.
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Trading volumes are a key measure of a wine’s success in the marketplace. To evaluate these, Wine Lister uses 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 traded for each wine over the past four quarters.
A change in trading volumes impacts a wine’s Economics score. The chart below pulls out the biggest gainers in the last quarter of 2016, comparing auction data from the 12 months leading up to the end of Q3 2016 to data for the calendar year.
Wines from a variety of regions saw their Economics scores boosted by auction sales in the final quarter of 2016, suggesting a healthy broadening of interest in addition to the usual suspects.
Gaining most was Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain, which saw trading volumes from January-December 2016 increase tenfold. Its Economics score remains relatively low, at 420/1000.
Australia and the Loire also made an appearance. Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance enjoys a very strong Economics score of 796/1000, and also excels in terms of Quality and Brand, leaving it with a very strong overall Wine Lister rating of 856/1000.
Burgundy is still on the rise at auction, and was the only region to feature twice, with Maison Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Lavaux Saint-Jacques and Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny.
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.