The latest search frequency data is in from Wine-Searcher, and with it we can see which wines enjoyed the greatest popularity gains during July. After the en primeur campaign fuelled the big surges of May and June, July’s top five gainers witnessed more modest gains. There is also more variety this month, with two Champagnes and a Napa joining two Bordeaux right bank heavyweights.
Experiencing the greatest increase in popularity during July was Dom Pérignon Vintage Brut – particularly impressive considering it started from an already extraordinarily strong average of over 54,000 searches each month.
Next came Cheval Blanc, whose 2016 vintage was released in early June, before July saw the release of Salon Le Mesnil 2006. Described by Wine Lister partner critic Antonio Galloni as an “utterly compelling Champagne to follow over the next several decades”, its rise in online popularity suggests that consumers have already started to track its progress.
The last two wines are both produced on very small scales. Le Pin, notoriously rare, released its 2016 vintage in late June, which likely contributed to its increase in online popularity, at least among those lucky few with both an allocation and requisite funds. About 6,000 bottles of Napa Valley’s Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon are produced each year. As we saw in our recent post on California’s most expensive wines, production levels play a big role in the region’s prices. Perhaps the rarity of Abreu Madrona, the region’s eighth most expensive wine, is helping to boost its caché.
Measuring the number of searches on the world’s most visited wine site, Wine-Searcher, provides a unique insight into a wine’s real consumer demand. With the latest online search data now in, we can determine whether there are any new “Buzz Brands”: one of the four Wine Lister Indicators, which were developed to isolate sub-sections of search criteria for our users. A Buzz Brand is a wine with strong distribution, showing high online search frequency or demonstrating a recent growth in popularity, and identified by the fine wine trade as trending or especially prestigious.
As shown in the chart below, three new wines achieved Buzz Brand status in June. To qualify, a wine must either be among the 20% most searched-for wines, or a wine whose search growth has significantly exceeded the rest of the group over the last six months. Domaine Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru saw an impressive 27% increase in average monthly searches over the last six months and also excels in terms of quality, with an average Quality score of 948.
The other two wines, Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Luchets and Domaine Ponsot Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru, saw their search frequency increase by 18% and 16% respectively over the latest six-month period. The latter has the highest overall Wine Lister score of the three, with 879/1000, and is the most expensive: £201 per bottle on average. Noticeably, all three wines are from Burgundy, a region whose online searches have been on the rise for some time.
With the latest online search frequency data in from Wine-Searcher we can now see which wines caught the public’s attention in May. Results demonstrate the effect of the 2016 en primeur campaign – now coming to a close – with Bordeaux brands taking four of the five top spots.
Cos d’Estournel saw online searches rise the most last month: the brand was one of the first out of the blocks with its 2016 release, which came in late April, maintaining the same price as its 2015. Exactly one month later, Lynch-Bages released its 2016 for €96 ex-négociant. Despite a 14% increase on 2015, the release went down well on the Place de Bordeaux, perhaps due to the wine achieving the highest Quality score of the century.
Montrose, which saw the third largest increase in searches in May, released its 2016 mid-month. With its Quality score up on 2009, 2010 and 2015, but, like neighbour Cos, releasing at the same price as 2015, Montrose 2016 looked like one of the vintage’s better buys. Figeac also saw searches soar in May but is something of an anomaly in this table – it only released its 2016 on Tuesday 13th June, too late to influence May’s search statistics. Nonetheless, the brand may well be garnering interest due to its exceptional Quality score, as rated by our three partner critics (Jancis Robinson in the UK, Bettane + Desseauve in France and Antonio Galloni in the US).
The final wine of the table, providing some respite from Bordeaux, is a heavyweight from Burgundy: DRC La Tâche. Two auctions in May – one from Sotheby’s and one from iDealwine – saw a number of bottles of La Tâche for sale, which may explain the boost in searches.
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.
We’ve updated Wine Lister scores to incorporate the latest search frequency data from Wine-Searcher. The higher the relative search frequency of a wine, the higher the popularity score and consequently the better the wine’s Brand score.
The chart below shows the impact of the new online search data on Brand scores, showing the top five biggest gainers.
The brands on the rise in November were spread between several regions, with only the Rhône boasting two in the top five. Gaining most in terms of online searches month on month was Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné Cornas Domaine de Saint-Pierre. This saw a recent surge in average monthly searches, from 278 average monthly searches in the three-month period up to the end of October, to 639 now. This resulted in its brand score increasing by 65 points, up to 584 /1000.
Parusso Barolo Mariondino searches also increased substantially in the same period, from 140 to 270, taking its brand score to 434 – still below the average brand strength for wines on Wine Lister.