This week’s Listed section ventures out from the Old World to look at Argentina’s top five brands. Wine Lister’s Brand score measures a wine’s performance across two criteria – restaurant presence and online popularity. The five Argentine wines, from three producers, all achieve scores that are either strong or very strong on Wine Lister’s scale, indicating that South America’s strongest brands are now established on the global fine wine market.
With a Brand score of 849, Argentina’s leading icon is Cheval des Andes. A joint venture between Saint-Emilion heavyweight Cheval Blanc and Terrazas de los Andes, it leads the way when it comes to restaurant presence, featuring on 14% of the world’s top wine lists – its closest rival in that criterion, Bodega Catena Zapata Nicolás Catena Zapata appears on 9% of the same lists.
Nicolás Catena Zapata (834) turns the tables in terms of online popularity. The only Buzz Brand of the group, it receives on average 2,349 searches each month on Wine-Searcher, 27% more than Cheval des Andes (1,853). It also achieves the greatest vertical restaurant presence of the group, with 2.7 listings on average per list.
Nearly 100 points behind is third-placed Achaval Ferrer Finca Altamira with a score of 739. Appearing in 7% of restaurants and receiving 999 searches each month, it achieves its best score in the Brand category, comfortably outperforming its Quality score (581) and Economics score (183).
The last two spots are filled by two more wines from Bodega Catena Zapata – Malbec Argentino in fourth place (694) and Adrianna Vineyard Malbec in fifth place (661). Both receive a similar number of searches each month (744 and 793 respectively), and are visible in 6% and 4% of restaurants respectively.
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.
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.
Earlier this month Wine Lister published its annual Bordeaux Market Study, and in recent weeks we’ve published a few nuggets from the 48-page long study on this blog (such as the top-scoring Bordeaux crus, and how to arrive at a 2016 release price). Today, we’re going to explore the popularity of Bordeaux’s individual appellations by looking at the online search frequency from our data partner Wine-Searcher for the six most popular wines of each.
Unsurprisingly, Pauillac – home to three of the five first growths – leads the way, with well over double the number of searches as nearest rival Margaux. If we exclude Châteaux Lafite, Mouton and Latour, the Pauillac average is just under 27,500 searches per month, still 29% ahead of Margaux.
Pomerol comes third, defying low production levels to achieve more average searches for its top wines than Saint-Julien. Pessac-Léognan benefits from the inclusion of Haut-Brion to help it edge ahead of Saint-Emilion, in spite of the latter’s four premiers grands crus classés A, while Saint-Estèphe and Sauternes & Barsac bring up the rear.
This is just a taster of the 2017 Bordeaux Market Study. You can download the full 48-page report from the Wine Lister Analysis page (subscribers only).
With the latest data now in from Wine Searcher, we took a look at which wines have seen their average monthly searches soar in the last month. The US boasts two wines in this top 5, with searches continuing to increase for Screaming Eagle, and Scarecrow seeing a significant uptick. Bottled relatively recently, Scarecrow 2014 scored 96+ from our US partner critic Antonio Galloni, who described it as “a wine of finesse.” At the end of February, Scarecrow 2014 was the top lot in a Premiere Napa Valley auction, selling for $200,000. The increase in searches has boosted Scarecrow’s Brand score from 868 to 885.
Latour was the only wine from France to see its popularity rise last month, with searches for the Bordeaux first growth no doubt increasing as a result of the ex-château release in mid-March of Latour 2005, for €670 per bottle ex-négociant. Latour has the highest Brand score of all the wines in the table, with a near-perfect 999.
The final two wines to have seen a rise in popularity are Spain’s Pingus, whose 2014 recently received a 100-point score in the Wine Advocate, and Italy’s Azienda Agricola Falletto (Bruno Giacosa) Barolo Rocche Falletto Riserva. In March, Antonio Galloni praised “the genius of Bruno Giacosa” in a vertical tasting, and the increase in searches resulted in the wine’s Brand score rising from 812 to 822.
How is the popularity score calculated and how does it fit into the overall Wine Lister score?
In the second blog exploring some of the findings from Wine Lister’s Tuscany Market Study – following on from our look at how the region ranks globally – we take a look at the popularity of Tuscany’s appellations. The chart below plots the average number of online searches received each month by the 50 wines in this study (based on data from Wine-Searcher), filtered by appellation.
Wines from Bolgheri DOC are by far the most popular amongst consumers, with, on average, more than twice the number of searches than their nearest competitor, Tuscany IGT. They are boosted by internationally established Super Tuscan brands such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia, which have stolen the limelight from more traditional neighbouring DOCGs such as Brunello and Chianti.
However, perception of each appellation’s popularity tells a different story. At the end of 2016, Wine Lister asked key members of the international fine wine trade about the relative popularity of Tuscan appellations amongst their clientele. Brunello di Montalcino – the third most searched for appellation – came out on top, with nearly 60% of respondents stating that it was very popular with their customers, followed by Chianti Classico.
Tuscany IGT and Bolgheri DOC trail slightly behind, emphasising that it has been the wines themselves, rather than the appellations, that have achieved fame.
In our final blog post on the Tuscany Market study we will focus in on the individual wines themselves: the trade’s view on which are the region’s consistent sellers and which are its rising stars. Wine Lister subscribers can read the full 35-page report here.
The Wine Lister Brand score algorithm has two components: Distribution and Popularity. The former criterion measures a wine’s presence in the world’s top restaurant wine lists. The latter measures the number of searches for each wine on the world’s most visited wine website Wine-Searcher, our Popularity Partner. We look at the number of times the wine is searched for over a rolling three-month period, and compare this to search frequencies of all other wines. The higher the relative search frequency, the higher the Popularity score.
Our latest score update includes updated Wine-Searcher data for October. The chart below shows the impact of new search data on Brand scores, showing the five biggest gainers:
Rioja and the Rhône come out top. The largest gain in Brand score is for Remelluri Rioja Gran Reserva which has seen a considerable surge in user searches (322 monthly searches compared to 172 before the update), as has fellow Rioja, Viñedos Sierra Cantabria Finca El Bosque. In third and fourth place are two wines from the Rhône Valley: Domaine Yann Chave Hermitage and Domaine Font de Michelle Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Etienne Gonnet. The fifth biggest gainer in Brand terms is Californian adventurer, L’Aventure Estate Cuvée.