Tag: Quality

The best wines money can buy?

This week’s Listed section focuses on the five Burgundy Grands Crus with the highest Quality scores. As previous analysis has shown, Burgundy’s greatest wines display better quality than those of any other major fine wine region. These five – all rare wines from some of the world’s most famous domaines – enjoy uniformly outstanding Quality scores. Unsurprisingly, they are also some of the most expensive wines in the world.

Top 5 Burgundy GCs

Leading the way is Domaine d’Auvenay Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, the only white. The first of three wines in the top five overseen by Lalou Bize-Leroy, only 500 bottles of this rare wine leave the estate each year. Its wine level Quality score of 991 is the third-highest in Wine Lister’s database, behind two sweet Rieslings, while its average price per bottle of £2,523 is actually one of the more affordable in this list.

Moving up to the Côte de Nuits, next come Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti Grand Cru and Domaine Leroy Chambertin Grand Cru, each with a Quality score of 990. Once again, low yields command high prices, with the former costing on average £11,267 per bottle. Proving that the reputations of two of the world’s most prominent fine wine producers are built upon firm foundations, these wines achieve the highest Quality scores of any red wine on Wine Lister.

The “Queen of Burgundy” continues her dominance with fourth-placed Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, which achieves a Quality score of 985 points. With Henri Jayer Echezeaux Grand Cru just two points behind, these Burgundy brands comprise four of the six top red wines for Quality Score on Wine Lister.

The best wines for quality, year after year

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:

Quality consistency_Top 10 wines

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.

Bordeaux 2016: arriving at a release price

In today’s blog we continue to explore some of the findings from our new in-depth study on Bordeaux, available for subscribers here. Having looked at the wines in which the trade has most confidence, we now turn our attention to Bordeaux 2016, and a key question: how might a château arrive at an appropriate en primeur release price?

Using average figures for 79 of the top Bordeaux crus, we explore two approaches. First, simplistically, we look at release prices of previous vintages, and apply the trade’s suggested decrease of 4% (see here for more) to the average 2015 release price. This is represented by the dotted line.

However, Wine Lister Founding Members were canvassed before having tasted the 2016 vintage, now considered to be excellent, and so the average suggested decrease of 4% on 2015 prices seems unrealistically low. Some châteaux have already released maintaining their 2015 price, which has been well received by the trade, while others have applied increases in euro terms, which in turn are amplified by the current exchange rate when converted into UK offer prices.

For each wine, it is also necessary to take into account the reception by the market of last year’s price, as well as this year’s relative quality.

Bordeaux 2016 arriving at release price

The second, more sophisticated approach, involves comparing the average Quality scores from the last eight vintages to the current market price for those vintages.

The closest quality rating to 2016 is 2015, but as this vintage is not yet delivered, the most appropriate vintage for comparison is 2010. As such, we have applied the quality to price ratio from 2010, in order to arrive at a derived future market price for the 2016 vintage on average, according to its current quality assessment.

The average price per bottle could be expected to reach €161 in the marketplace in due course.

Margins taken by the négociant and then importers tend to amount to around 25-30%, although this varies from wine to wine.

That would take us to around €117 per bottle at release. Then we apply a 10%-20% “discount” to the consumer for buying en primeur, before they receive the physical product. This suggests an average ex-château release price of €93 to €105 (see chart).

In general, this would mean that 2016s should be priced below current market prices for 2015, and well below 2010 market prices.

For further detail, or to enquire about price analysis on specific châteaux, please email team@wine-lister.com.

Bordeaux 2016 top wines by Quality score

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.

2016 Top Quality Scores 2

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.

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.

Antonio Galloni’s top Bordeaux 2016 scores

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.”

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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.

Piedmont dominates new Value Picks

The latest price data is in, enabling Wine Lister’s algorithm to award new Value Pick status to those wines that achieve the best quality to price ratio (with a proprietary weighting giving more importance to quality, thus allowing the finest wines a look-in).

Wine Lister Value Picks April 2017

This month, the new Value Picks include a Champagne, a Port, and a sweet white Bordeaux, but it is Piedmont that dominates, with three of its wines achieving Value Pick status: Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi 2008, Luigi Pira Barolo Marenca 2007 and Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia 2010.

Each wine is priced at £44 per bottle or less – with half under £30 – and all have impressive Quality scores (based on ratings from our three partner critics) of 845 or above.

Prices per bottle are provided by our price partner, Wine Owners, whose own proprietary algorithms process millions of rows of incoming price data from Wine-Searcher to calculate a more realistic market level price – the price at which a wine is likely to find a ready buyer – based on market supply and spread models. As lower retail prices are likely to sell first, the prices you see on Wine Lister may be below the Wine-Searcher average in some instances.