A wine’s reputation for quality cannot be determined by one vintage alone – the very best must be consistent, year-in, year-out. Today, we’ve analysed our data to determine which wines have the most consistent Quality scores (one of the three categories, alongside Brand and Economics that feed into Wine Lister’s holistic wine ratings).
Assessing all the wines in our database for which there are Quality scores for more than 30 vintages, we analysed the standard deviation of these scores from vintage to vintage. The top 10 wines below are the most consistent when it comes to quality:
Unsurprisingly, these are all big names that have been able to invest in the newest technologies to see them through the more challenging years. Their reliability is testament to their status as great wines. Seven of the world’s top 10 most consistently qualitative wines are French, although of the five Bordeaux left bank first growths, only Margaux, Latour and Haut-Brion make the cut, joined by Petrus and Cheval Blanc from the right bank. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is the only producer to boast two wines in the table: La Tâche and Romanée-Conti, also the two most expensive.
Perhaps unexpectedly, the most consistent wine is also the most affordable. At an average price per bottle of £124, Californian Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello sees limited fluctuation in Quality scores between the years, with the vast majority of vintages scoring between 960 and 990. It is followed by Spain’s Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Unico – whose Quality scores on Wine Lister stretch right back to its 1920 vintage, proving almost a century of consistent winemaking.
Earlier this month Salon Le Mesnil 2006 was released, the Champagne house’s 40th vintage. Described as “a fascinating, utterly compelling Champagne” by our partner critic Antonio Galloni, we summarise all the key data below:
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Factsheet Salon 2006
You may have noticed a subtle re-design today on the Wine Lister homepage. This includes moving up and expanding the scope of the “Listed” section: a changing Top 5 of wines from around the world, updated each week.
You can now explore the five most recent Top 5s, even if you’re not yet a subscriber to Wine Lister. For as long as the list is live, this includes access to all the underlying vintage-level data that feeds into one of our Listed wines, including critic scores, restaurant presence, search frequency, and price performance. Simply click on the Listed wine that takes your interest, then select from the drop-down of vintages at the top right of the wine page. What’s more, this allows you to play with tools such as interactive price history and vintage value identifier charts.
Our Listed section addresses a variety of tastes and priorities – some weeks you will see our best Value Picks from a particular region, other weeks will focus specifically on wines with top Brand or Economics scores, or wines of the highest quality from a specific vintage.
To access independent wine ratings, tools, and analysis for all of the thousands of wines and vintages in our database you’ll need to subscribe – or why not try a free 14-day trial?
The latest online search frequency data is in from Wine-Searcher, and with it we can see which wines surged in popularity during June. As with May’s results, the effect of the 2016 en primeur campaign is evident, with four of the five spots filled by Bordeaux crus that released their 2016 vintage on or after 31st May.
However, if the en primeur effect is to be expected, the likely reason for Giuseppe Quintarelli Alzero’s appearance at the top of the table could not have been foreseen. On 18th June, NBA star LeBron James posted a photo on Instagram of a bottle of Giuseppe Quintarelli Alzero 2007 that he was enjoying, having spent the day hosting his son’s birthday party. To date it has received well over 200,000 likes, surely contributing to its 168% increase in online search frequency. It appears that whilst La Place de Bordeaux is the fine wine world’s premier marketing machine, it is no match for LeBron James and his 31.8 million Instagram followers.
Returning to the en primeur effect, Canon 2016 was released at £73.35 per bottle on 1st June to great acclaim, having achieved its second-best Quality score ever. The leap in search frequency confirms its upward trajectory. Figeac repeats its May performance, surging even further in popularity in June. The 2016 vintage – Figeac’s best since 1989 – was released on 13th June, its 67% increase on the 2015 sterling release price signalling its clear intent to reposition itself.
Calon Ségur and Les Carmes Haut-Brion both comfortably achieved their best ever Quality scores with their 2016 offerings, and sold out quickly, no doubt prompting their surges in online search frequency during June. The next step is to get a famous sportsperson to post a photo of themselves drinking it.
In today’s blog, we’ve taken a look at the relationship between price and quality for seven leading wine regions. The chart below compares the regions’ average three-month market prices to their Quality scores, with the data calculated from each region’s 50 best-scoring wines (in terms of overall Wine Lister score).
While six regions are clustered relatively close to each other, Burgundy finds itself at the extreme top end of the scale: its wines outperform on quality and have the prices to match. The top 50-scoring wines in Burgundy average a whopping £1,330 per bottle, driven by the likes of DRC La Romanée-Conti at £10,776 and Domaine Leroy Musigny at £7,805.
The Rhône’s wines have the lowest average Quality score but not the lowest prices: at £188 per bottle on average, they are the fourth most expensive of the group. California and Bordeaux display a very similar profile, appearing just above the trendline, indicating that these wines command high prices not simply on account of quality – brand also plays a part.
Champagne and Piedmont, meanwhile, fall below the line, suggesting that as regions they tend to offer value for money. Piedmont’s ranking is particularly impressive: second only to Burgundy in terms of average Quality score, its wines are available for a tenth of the price on average.
A couple of months ago we looked at which Bordeaux 2016s received the best Quality scores, calculated from scores given by our three renowned partner critics: Jancis Robinson, Antonio Galloni, and Bettane+Desseauve. Such quality comes with a price, however, and if the £430 per bottle for Lafleur (Quality score 990) is a little beyond your price range, then we hope this blog is useful. Below are the nine wines from the vintage which qualify as Wine Lister Value Picks.
None of the Value Picks was among the top 15 in our previous blog. Nevertheless, they all enjoy strong or very strong Quality scores on the Wine Lister scale. Fombrauge scores 898, and was described as “rather opulent” and “very successful” by Jancis Robinson. Available at just £16 per bottle, it represents excellent value for money.
Even the wine with the highest Quality score, sweet white Doisy-Daëne (899), is only £25. Those wishing to spend slightly less on a sweet white might also consider Filhot, which achieves a Quality score of 709, and is available at just £14 per bottle.
Please see our previous blog for further information on Wine Lister’s Value Picks.
Like Buzz Brands, which we explored last week, Value Picks are one of the four Wine Lister indicators, designed to highlight particularly interesting wines for our subscribers by isolating sub-sets of data. The Value Pick indicator helpfully identifies the wines and vintages which have the best quality to price ratio (with a proprietary weighting giving more importance to quality, thus allowing the finest wines a look-in).
This month, five of our eight new Value Picks are from France – but with a Sauternes, Riesling and left bank Bordeaux to choose from the options are still diverse. Most affordable is Domaine Cauhapé La Canopée Sec 2011, from Jurançon, at just £16 per bottle and with a Quality score of 733.
The most expensive wine – but still at only £34 per bottle – is one of the two Italians that feature this month: Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra Vigna Casa Maté 2004, which has an exceptional Quality score of 971. The other wine in the table with a Quality score above 900 is Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris 2007, from Alsace, priced at under £30 and with a Quality score of 906.
Please see our previous Value Pick blog for a note on prices.