We recently prepared a brief vintage overview for the Institute of Masters of Wine’s 2013 Claret tasting. Analysing the performance of the basket of wines included in the tasting, Wine Lister’s holistic and dynamic approach allows us to not only see which appellations produced the vintage’s best wines, but also demonstrates if and how the market has since reacted to each appellation’s relative quality.
You can download these slides here: Wine Lister Bordeaux 2013 vintage overview
Watch this space for further regional vintage reports over the coming months.
Bordeaux is renowned for its reds and sweet whites, but its best dry whites should not be forgotten. While the majority of Bordeaux’s top dry whites are not the flagship wine of their respective châteaux, they still achieve overall Wine Lister scores that are amongst the strongest or very strong on Wine Lister’s scale. Furthermore, as part of some of the most prestigious châteaux in Bordeaux, they all achieve Buzz Brand status.
Leading the way is Château Haut-Brion Blanc, with a score of 902. It is by far the most expensive at £569 per bottle. This puts it 62% above the current market price of Haut-Brion’s red, presumably because just one sixteenth the number of bottles are produced each year.
In second place is Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc (891). Relabelled in 2009, this was formerly Laville Haut-Brion. It has the best Quality score of the group (908), the result of very strong ratings from each of Wine Lister’s four critics and the longest ageing potential of the group – the last six vintages bottled under the Laville Haut-Brion label will still be drinking well until at least 2020.
Next comes Y d’Yquem with a score of 887. Whilst it can’t match the quality of the botrytised Sauternes for which the château is best known – not many can – it is available at a 34% discount, making it an excellent way of enjoying an iconic producer on a different occasion.
Margaux’s Pavillon Blanc achieves the fourth-best score (878). The only straight Bordeaux AOP in the group, Pavillon Blanc comprehensively outperforms its red counterpart in the Quality category (895 vs 771). That said, Pavillon Rouge has a stronger Brand score (944 vs 831) and Economics score (953 vs 920), in spite of a slightly lower price (£122 vs £138).
Confirming the dominance of the Graves when it comes to Bordeaux’s best dry whites, the last spot is filled by Domaine de Chevalier Blanc (868), the third Pessac-Léognan wine of the group. By far the cheapest of the five (£59), it is an absolute steal given its consistent high quality and ageing capacity. It also achieves the best Brand score (909), thanks to outstanding restaurant presence – it is visible on 23% of the world’s best wine lists.
Analysis of Fargues 2014, which was released recently at €120 ex-négociant, the same as the 2013 release price, with a Wine Lister Quality score of 874:
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Fargues 2014
Analysis of Yquem 2015, which has been released this afternoon at €250 ex-négociant, the same as 2014, with a UK RRP of £264, an increase of 11% on 2014:
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Yquem 2015
As Wine Lister’s holistic rating system demonstrates, there are many factors (nine criteria, in all) to take into account when calculating a wine’s greatness. One of these is distribution in the world’s top restaurants, our measure of a wine’s prestige and clout on the international market. In order to identify the restaurants that count – not just for the food but for the wine – we have created a matrix of global restaurants with Michelin stars, 50 Best Restaurants, World of Fine Wine Best Wine List awards, and more. We take the most formidable combination of these as the basis for our painstaking analysis.
We are expanding our coverage constantly, and the latest instalment is now in. This year alone has seen an increase of 50%, to 150 restaurants analysed. New entrants come from across the globe, from New York’s Balthazar to Paris’s Carré des Feuillants.
The table below shows the 20 wines to have seen their restaurant presence increase the most since the last update in April:
The top three wines are Champagnes: Salon Le Mesnil, Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, and Dom Pérignon Oenothèque (the last all the more impressive since the wine was re-branded a few years ago). None of them, however, is the wine with the largest restaurant presence. That accolade falls to Yquem, which saw its presence increase by 7.3% in the latest update, appearing on 69% of the world’s top wine lists – including Boulud in New York and Sketch in London.
Second most popular of the wines above is Mouton Rothschild, whose restaurant presence increased by 5.7%, and which overall features on 58% of the best restaurants, from The French Laundry in California to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong.
It is also interesting to note the wines that have relatively low overall restaurant presence but saw a significant increase in the latest update, suggesting that their stars are on the rise. These include Bordeaux Saint Pierre and Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Millésimé, which appeared on 2% of the previous restaurant lists but are now at 8% and 9% respectively. Meanwhile, Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge found its restaurant presence tip from 9% to 15% in the latest update.
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.
What makes the perfect wine?
Using the entirety of a 1,000-point scale, Wine Lister’s scores are calculated using nine criteria that define iconic wines. These fall into the categories of Quality, Brand and Economics, giving a 360° view of the finest wines in the world.
Unlike wine critics’ scores, which sporadically feature a perfect 100/100, a perfect Wine Lister score of 1,000/1,000 is practically, though not theoretically, impossible. The perfect wine would have to be the best in the world across every single criterion – a magical combination of ingredients.
The perfect wine does not belong to any one region. In terms of quality, it has the perfect critic score of Sauterne’s unsurpassed Château d’Yquem (1), and the ageing potential of Cockburn’s Vintage Port (2). Its brand is legendary: like Dom Pérignon, it is found throughout the world’s top restaurants (3), and its online monthly searches rival those of Lafite (4).
The perfect wine outperforms on price. Already with a price per bottle to match that of Romanée-Conti (5), its vintages see price increases in both the short- (6) and long-term (7), without undue fluctuation (8). Finally, like Mouton, the perfect wine is traded in large volumes (9).
Download a PDF version here.
First published in French in En Magnum.