A report on Vintage Champagne July 2021

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-07-27


(in which we discuss why this is such a good idea!)

Miles Davis, July 2021

WO Champagne 60 Index


Vintage Champagne has been a sound investment for the last ten years, with our index annualising a return of 8.6%. The index is comprised of all the top cuveés from the giants of this most celebrated of wine regions, Dom Perignon, Krug, Louis Roderer Cristal, Pol Roger, Salon, Taittinger et cetera, et cetera. Indices never contain costs but that is not something many people bother to point out!

Champagne is, quite rightly, associated with luxury, celebrations, and fun, and is a genuine mood lifter. It is sprayed across crowds, associated with brazen displays of wealth in society hot spots, served at all manner of celebratory events, whilst also being adored by genuine connoisseurs – it finds a home across multiple layers of society and across the globe. Most of us are introduced to it at quite an early age through Bond, James Bond. In ‘Goldfinger’ Bond drinks Dom Perignon ’53, and that is what did it for me, I was hooked, although it took a fair few years after that to get my hands on the stuff! Vintage Champagne can age for decades and as supply runs down, so the price goes up (see below). It is probably the steadiest performer of all the sub sections of the fine wine market and some Champagne should be in every single cellar, collection, or portfolio always and forever! Champagne has not really been treated as an investment staple within the wine world until relatively recently. The performance of famous brands and now the turnover in the secondary market makes it qualify for that description with consummate ease.

I have looked at these five vintage champagnes, based on their overall quality and their liquidity in the secondary market, from only the best vintages of modern times. Here are their prices (per bottle):

Vintage 1990 1996 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 Average
Current prices
Comtes de Champagne 462 376 156 225 104 90 125 220
Cristal 374 371 209 221 165 137 208 241
Dom Perignon 269 317 200 167 124 119 130 189
Krug 508 350 225 281 189 171 - 287
Winston Churchill 393 319 192 175 132 132 165 215


Comtes is made by Taittinger, Cristal by Louis Roderer, Dom Perignon by Moet Hennessy and Winston Churchill is Pol Roger’s top cuvée.

What is quite amazing is how similarly these are all scored, (using WO aggregated methodology):


Vintage 1990 1996 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 Average
WO Points
Comtes de Champagne 95 94 96 97 96 95 96 95.6
Cristal 96 95 93 94 96 95 98 95.3
Dom Perignon 94 95 93 97 95 95 98 95.3
Krug 96 97 94 96 97 97 - 96.2
Winston Churchill 96 94 95 96 93 96 96 95.1


Here are the PPP (price per point) scores, to establish what is good value:


Vintage 1990 1996 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 Average
PPP (Price per point)
Comtes de Champagne 4.9 4 1.6 2.3 1.1 0.9 1.3 2.3
Cristal 3.9 3.9 2.2 2.4 1.7 1.4 2.1 2.5
Dom Perignon 2.9 3.3 2.2 1.7 1.3 1.3 1.3 2
Krug 5.3 3.6 2.4 2.9 1.9 1.8 - 3
Winston Churchill 4.1 3.4 2 1.8 1.4 1.4 1.7 2.3


Although Vinous Media only has a range of between 93 points (2000 vintage, easily the weakest of this selection) and 97+ (2008) for the different vintages, those in the know realise that ’08 is a mega vintage with ’02 breathing down its neck, which is on a par with ’96, and all of those slightly better than ’04 and ’06 and this is already reflected in the prices. The wines are all superb, but some more superb than others. If the PPP is way below the average (in red) for any of the wines, I have little hesitation in recommending them. When thinking about possible returns I have compared prices from the ’02, ’04, ’06 and ’08 vintages relative to the ’96 price and adjusted for time (10 years for the ’06, 12 for the ’08) for example and have come up with the following numbers (obviously this is just a simplistic exercise but interesting nonetheless):


Vintage 2002 2004 2006 2008
Annualised ROI benchmarked to '96 price*
Comtes de Champagne 8.90% 17.40% 15.30% 9.60%
Cristal 9.00% 10.60% 10.50% 7.00%
Dom Perignon 8.30% 10.20% 8.50% 6.30%
Krug 3.70% 13.90% 7.40% -
Winston Churchill 10.50% 11.70% 9.20% 5.70%

*No dealing, logistics or storage costs factored in

And lastly, a look at the production levels; the Champagne houses are notorious for keeping their levels of productions under wraps, but I have gleaned some information (not necessarily 100% accurate):


Production levels (across all top cuvées, white and rosé) Bottles
Comtes de Champagne 140,000 2002 = 60,000
Cristal 400,000 2009 = 800,000
Dom Perignon 1 mill
Krug 200,000
Winston Churchill 120,000


Of these names, Krug is on top of the pile in reputation, stature and price, Cristal and Dom Perignon are next, are truly international (and are made in huge quantities) and Comtes and Winston Churchill are more the sensible man’s choice for the price/quality ratio. I think they all make sense in their own different ways. Obviously, there are many more choices out there and grower Champagne is becoming ever more popular, but these names are dependable and highly liquid. And taste just so darn good… in case we forget!


Wine Owners - Winston Churchill




The Wine Market Investment Report 2nd Quarter 2021 (in which we discuss how boring the wine market is, and why boring is good!)

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-07-19


Miles Davis, July 2021

If you are a regular reader, I would not be offended if you stop here as I am only likely to be repeating myself. The overall market is dull, unexciting, but mainly just plain boring. Sure, there are excitements here and there, an attractively priced en primeur release for example, see a snapshot report of that here, but let us stick to boring. What I mean by boring is that the market continues to be slow and steady and gently rising, not booming and busting, peaking and troughing etc. etc. It is calm, well underpinned by global demand - and a good place to be. To date, my two best investments (not including fine wine obviously!) have been in businesses that, could possibly have been described as boring: pensions administration and company records management - what a snore! They never shot up, or plunged, they just gently attracted more clients and more revenue, month by month, year by year, and have both done very well indeed. So, as you can see, I like boring.


Obviously, I jest but the message is clear. Recently I have even found myself telling clients desperate to sell something to hold on – what sort of a salesman does that!? And of course, I could turn out to be wrong. But… I happen to think the market has had its shock absorbers tested to the max and has survived and prospered in this low interest rate environment. In the last couple of years, we have had political turmoil in Hong Kong, the madness of Trump and his trade tariffs (now all lifted), Brexit and the dreaded C word. Clearly people are still drinking fine wine, perhaps possibly finer wine than normal, as less hard-earned cash is being spent in restaurants. The undercurrent to the whole market is firm, blue chip Bordeaux is well bid and is enjoying its best time for quite a while, and all of this is being achieved in an unfriendly exchange rate environment. GBP strength normally stifles wine prices in the secondary market, and vice versa.  



Wine Owners


Champagne continues to attract a lot of interest and we have traded significant chunks of Krug ‘04, and Bollinger Grand Année Rosé ’12 recently. As I have written before, I very much like Pol Roger’s Winston Churchill cuvée as it not only delivers on the great price/quality ratio, but it is made in tiny quantities compared to its peers. The ’08 has done very well indeed for followers in recent months, up 20% in the last year (price is 12x75cl):


Wine Owners


The 2006 now looks good value in comparison at c.£800 per 6 with stocks dwindling, and I have no hesitation in recommending that. I drank the ’02 recently and it was sensationnel! (C. £1,050 per 6). The ’04 also looks to offer value.

It would appear Rosé Champagne is having a great time of it, with Sainsburys reporting sales growth of nearly 200% recently. I mused on the subject a few weeks back (read the article here), and fear I have been missing out over the years!

Highly priced trophy Burgundy has been selling well again after a bit of a lay off through ’19 and ’20 and sensibly priced DRC, Rousseau etc. do not remain on the platform for long. The gap between the very top level of superstars and the middle tier seems to be widening again, surely pointing to value in the more mid division?

White Burgundy deserves another mention, especially given some reasonably heavy frost damage in the region earlier this year. This will lead to lower supply levels and therefore higher pricing. Load up on 2017s from the best stables if you can find them! The best stables continue to outrun the pack, but can this continue for ever? I doubt it.


Wine Owners


Highly priced Piedmont has been slightly disappointing of late, whereas lesser money bets in the area have been rewarding. Surprisingly, superb releases from 2016 from some of the biggest names in the region are still available to buy at release price levels, notably Giacomo Conterno’s Cascina Francia and Bruno Giacosa’s Falletto. The former is extraordinary given Conterno declined to make a Monfortino in 2016 due to ‘stylistic’ matters, seems weird to me! Monfortino, acclaimed as Italy’s greatest and certainly most expensive wine, is made from vines within the Francia vineyard and the latest release from 2014 is offered at £750 a bottle, the Cascina Francia ’16 (an epic vintage in case anyone needs reminding!) at £200. I understand that it will never be a Monfortino, but still…There is still a lot of relative value in Italy, as described herewith mega points for little money readily available. For more money and mega points, the Super Tuscans keep  travelling well.


Wine Owners


 Faring much better in recent months is the performance of wine prices from the Rhone Valley, not surprising given that wines from this region have a lot in common with the Italian theme I mention. There are some mega stars, Guigal’s single vineyard Cote Roties, producers such as Rayas and Bonneau (both Chateauneuf du Pape) Jean Louis Chave (Hermitage), Allemand (Cornas), and Jamet (Cote Rotie) to name a few that trade for big money, but otherwise there are some very affordable high scoring monsters that come (very) relatively cheaply. Even the big money wines trade at a massive discount to their Bordeaux and Burgundy equivalents. The one wine that really sticks out for me is Hermitage La Chapelle from Jaboulet. This extraordinary terroir is capable of producing the very finest wines ever made, the ’61 and ’78 for example (discuss). The last eleven vintages have averaged 97 points and are offered at an average price of £125 per bottle, an absolute snip in fine wine terms!! They also offer a fine second wine, La Petite Chapelle, for those who want a gentle introduction. Seasoned investors have had the Rhone pushed at them before and it has not really worked for them, but I think we live in different times now.


Wine Owners


Having said that, the last part of the quarter was stifled by an uninspiring 2020 Bordeaux en primeur campaign and most merchants seemed relieved when it was over. The Covid induced price cuts of 2019 genuinely sparked interest in the old dog, but it was largely back to business as usual from the Bordelais and the bashing started all over again. The campaign started well with a great release from Cheval Blanc but by the end the crowd were throwing fruit and veg onto the stage. As diversity spreads there are more and more stages to consider, and good returns are derived from proper opportunity. I am very pleased to see the grand vins of Bordeaux performing well in the secondary market as it lifts the market as a whole but the slavish obsession that the wine industry pays en primeur saddens me – so, it’s back to other business!


As always, please feel free to call to discuss, or bowl me some fast balls. And have a very lovely summer!

Miles 07798 732 543


Shock news torpedoes St Emilion classification system?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-07-11


Will Cheval Blanc and Ausone no longer be Grand Cru Classé ‘A’ as from the 2021 vintage?

If so, it won’t be because of the Commission de Classement. The closing of the Saint-Emilion classification applications took place on June 30 and neither Cheval Blanc nor Ausone returned their copies.

Unlike the left bank classification system of 1855 that is pretty much immutable (with the exception of Mouton’s promotion to Premier Cru in 1973), the St Emilion classification is reviewed approximately once every 10 years, permitting a periodic revaluation of quality and performance. It’s not all been plain sailing; the 2006 reclassification was plagued by accusations of impropriety and was eventually annulled. Consequently, tastings conducted for the 2012 reclassification were outsourced to independent groups from across France to rehabilitate the process.

Cheval Blanc and Ausone, the first St Emilion producers to be awarded Classé A classification in 1954 when it was created, are effectively leaving the classification system.

The Classé A incumbents evidently concluded that the system is no longer sufficiently discriminating to reflect the ranking of their respective properties compared to their peers.

This bombshell threatens to undermine the kudos and financial benefits of promotion to Classé A, and in turn the market pricing potential of those that are elevated. Not to mention it raises questions of the credibility of the St Emilion classification system more broadly.

So what does the two colossus’s departure say about the process of decennial review? How does this reflect on the composition and process of the Commission de Classement?

Is Grand Cru Classé A about to lose its lustre; devalued by ambitious properties busy erecting glitzy edifices? Concrete and stone, some say, matter more than they ought to compared to the brilliance of the wines and their track record.

Or, is Classé A promotion a reflection of the qualitative transformation we see taking place in St Emilion - given the strongly weighted preconditions of a sustained track record of exceptional results and market recognition - and therefore are not elevations thoroughly deserved?

Let’s see what happens over the coming weeks. Can Cheval Blanc and Ausone be courted back into the fold, or is their departure (by omission of submission) a fait accompli? Assuming the latter, perhaps we'll see more promotions next year than we might have otherwise. What effect this all has economically on those producers who attain Classé A classification is now more uncertain than ever.


The snappiest snapshot of the 2020 en primeur campaign

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-07-08


Top seller:

Cheval Blanc, came out early and flew out the door


Relative value analysis winners (based on JancisRobinson.com scores)

Batailley

Beau Séjour Becot

Clinet

Du Tertre

La Gaffeliere

Laroque

Latour Martillac Blanc

Please see our full analyses of the vintage's releases and identification of great buys (some from 2020 and many more from comparative back vintages) on the Jancis Robinson forum here.


Top buys for an immediate return:

Carruades

Carmes Haut Brion


Possible St Emilion reclassification bets (due 2022 in order of likelihood):

Figeac #1

Canon #2

Belair Monange #3


Top First Growth of the vintage:

Margaux


Wines to watch:

Durfort Vivens

Finally getting noticed with commensurate scores. 2016 was a watershed vintage of great harmony and precision, and the first major Bordeaux property to qualify for both biodynamic certifications. 2018 was an epic qualitative success, even though it was a disaster commercially due to rampant mildew that swept the vineyard in June - the biodynamic treatment regime unable to keep up with the excessively humid conditions. Only 583 equivalent full cases were made and the quality compares to 1945 and 1961. 2020 is another success with modestly reduced yields. The attack in particular is gorgeous, dripping with juicy black cherry fruit, but 2018 is the one to seek out.

La Gaffeliere

For those who missed the Figeac boat before it left the harbour, La Gaffeliere is still at anchor in terms of price, and with every prospect of setting sail with a bit of time. Great terroir next to Ausone, seriously elegant, with layer upon layer of complexity to seduce the connoisseur.


Best commune bets in 2020?

St Emilion

Margaux

Pomerol


Themes of 2020

Black bottles with gold engraving. What Chateau Margaux started off, in 2015 as a fitting tribute and wonderful enduring memorial to the late Paul Pontallier, became ubiquitous in 2020 in honour of all sorts of anniversaries. The black bottle salesperson was probably not referencing their list of ‘wins' in 2020 with their prospects, for fear of undermining the hoped-for premium packaging premium.

Modest increases at the beginning of the campaign over the very well priced 2019s (as is so often the case) ended with a frenzy of price increases for the late releases of between 25%-c40%. Sellers will have had to bank on Giffen’s Paradox to sell through at the top end of price hikes.


2020 vs 2019

There were still values to be had in 2019 at the start of this campaign. Better priced 2019s that were down on their 2018 release prices and which hadn’t budged since last year’s release price got snapped up as this year's campaign played out. There are still plenty to pick from. Overall 2019 is likely a more consistent vintage than 2020, and perhaps rather more balanced in the Medoc notwithstanding plenty of low alcohols in 2020 (partly due to rain which most affected the top half of the Medoc notably St Estephe, Pauillac, a bit less in St Julien, and quite a bit less in the heart of Margaux). Left bank wines’ stats offered up a paradoxical combination of moderate alcohols and very elevated pH values (denoting low acidity in spite of tasters' visceral sense of freshness). The Right Bank got spared the later downpours and so are richer; many with the higher trademark alcohols of a hot vintage (notably the 100% Merlots) but with pH values closer to norms.


Italian values

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-06-30


As mentioned in our recent and well received offer of the incredibly well priced Montepeloso Eneo 2010 (there are a few left), we promised a closer look into the relative value of Italian wines. I know I have been banging on about Italy for quite a while now but there is every reason for it – there is some terrific value to be had, and so on will I bang!

The facts are that there are only a handful of Italian wines that trade at, what we are going to call here, ‘silly money’ compared to vast swathes of wines from their rather posher neighbour - namely La Belle France. It is true that the same can be said for Spain, and for most of the New World. The U.S. is an exception, as like France, it has many an offering at ‘silly money’. But for my pound, I say sweepingly, these regions do not offer such a vast variety of quality wines that appeal in quite the same way (I should qualify at this point I am really talking about top quality red wines).

What Italy offers, unlike everywhere else, is a multitude of wines at relatively affordable prices with absolutely massive ratings. There are two variables here, the prices and the ratings; the simplest explanation for the comparatively lower pricing is that Italian wines have not yet been recognised, and accordingly priced, as truly international brands. Put another way, Asia has not got to grips with it yet. Other than a few ‘Super Tuscans’ and the top labels from the likes of Giacomo Conterno, Bruno Giacosa and Gaja from Piedmont, very little starts life close to £100 a bottle. There have been half a dozen EP releases every day last week from Bordeaux that qualify for that prize! In Burgundy a hefty percentage of premier crus start there and for some more sought-after growers, your £100 only buys you a taste of a lowly village wine.

The ratings are, rather obviously, dished out by the critics. It is worth remembering that each region is scored on its merits in a peer group fashion. The wines, as are the vintages, are reviewed in the context of that individual region or vintage. What has happened, however, is that tones have been set for different areas which do seem to vary from each other. Burgundy, for example, tends to harbour rather conservative scoring where anything over 95 is a massive achievement. Prices for these trophies are also massive. It is different in Italy. There are countless Brunelli with huge scores and even people in the trade ask, ‘how come there are so many 100 pointers we’ve never heard of’?

A possible explanation is that the bar has been set so high, and for so long, by the likes of DRC and Rousseau that a mere premier cru from someone like Dujac or Roumier is only worthy of 90/91 points. So, perhaps a cleaner canvas for the critics to assess has led to some more generous brushstrokes? Or perhaps it is a more generational thing; France has long been understood, consumed, and pontificated upon by the old guard, who might not quite understand the Italian way? An old friend of mine, an experienced wine merchant recently said to me “I don’t really get Italian wine” (Burgundy and Sauternes are more his bag!) and then confused me further by saying “except I couldn’t possibly eat Italian food without Italian wine”. I understand exactly what he means with the latter statement (but not the first), and this goes from pizza level all the way to Piazza Duomo, a three star Michelin in Alba – quite good by the way! Either way, some of the scores in recent times and particularly for the amazing ’16 vintage, in all of Italy, and the ’15 vintage in Tuscany, have drawn truly flamboyant landscapes from the young masters – and for not many Lira either!

The other thing to remember is that the critics live and die by their reputations, so if they are going to award high nineties or even the magical triple digits, you know the wines are going to be very good indeed – within the context of their peer group.

Obviously, we would love to hear from you to discuss the opportunities further and there will be offers to follow based on this theme. In the meantime, you may want to engage with the ‘Advanced Search’ button or take in some of these names which spring to mind:

Piedmont: Alessandria, Cavallotto, Grasso, Sandrone, Scavino, Vajra

Tuscany: Fontodi, Fuligni, Grattamacco, Il Poggione, Isole e Olena, Pertimali, Montepeloso

Ciao for now! Miles 07798 732 543



Producer Spotlight - Fratelli Alessandria

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-06-17


Luke MacWilliam, June 2021

It is well documented that Piedmont is attracting more attention than ever before and activity in the secondary market has become increasingly frequent. 

Comparisons can be drawn between Burgundy and Piedmont in terms of quality and scale (no politically motivated 1855 classification here). Your regional Nebbiolo or Barbera (Langhe, d’Alba etc) equate to a Bourgogne rouge, your straight Barolo to a village cru and then your single vineyards to Premier Cru Burgundy. The most lauded single vineyards from the best producers can mix it with the Grand Cru big boys!  Pay particular attention to Cannubi, Bussia, Brunate and Rocche dell’Annunziata and Monvigliero.

One producer I’d like to place under our spotlight is Fratelli Alessandria. A 150 year old estate, Fratellis Alessandria  has 30 acres to its name, and produce a portfolio of wines from “simple” Langhe Nebbiolo right up the Premier and Grand cru equivalents in San Lorenzo, Gramolere and Monvigliero.

Wine Owners


Last January - following a trip to Piedmont our very own Miles Davis noted the following:

Wine OwnersThe same week, I attended a Monvigliero focused Barolo tasting at 67 Pall Mall and was blown away by the ethereal elegance, approachability and precision of Fratelli Alessandra’s wines (Diego Morra, Roset and Sordi also shone, but I’ll leave those for another day). Don't mistake “youthful approachability” as “lack of ageability” - it’s still Nebbiolo we are talking about - the structure is there to go 20-30 years. The killer combination of approachability, ageability and affordability is exactly why any self-respecting wine lover should buy into them, you can enjoy the evolution for years to come without getting involved in bonkers Burgundy money (yet). 

Fratelli Alessandria are moving forwards, and as demand increases for quality Barolo so are prices of the top crus and top vintages (investment anyone?) but on relative value terms they are still an absolute steal. 

Take their regular Barolo 2016. £175 + comms IB per 6 and earning a whopping 96pts from Monica Larner. Could you imagine such a write up for a village burgundy?

'The 2016 Barolo opens to tight elegance and a nervous quality that pits red fruit energy over lean fruit weight. The results are graceful, lithe, fragile and lasting. The wine's aromas unfolded slowly and seductively, revealing wild berry, cassis, bitter cherry, toasted almond and blue flower. This is a dreamy wine that promises more beauty as it continues its bottle evolution. An ample 20,000 bottles were produced. This is one of the very best values found anywhere in Barolo.' 96pts, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate

It doesn’t stop there, moving up to Gramolere 2013 (premier cru equivalent) at £215 + comms IB per 6.

'This is a wine of beauty and intensity. The Gramolere cru in Monforte d'Alba is distinguished by the focused and sharp nature of its aromas. The 2013 Barolo Gramolere is a textbook expression of the cru, with deeply delineated aromas of wild berry, rose hip, rosemary sprig and licorice. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth with good structure and firmness to add to that sense of purity and sharpness. The wine's profound depth is what stands out most.' 94pts, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate

And finally to Monvigliero:

'The 2010 Barolo Monvigliero shows a pretty degree of color salutation with brilliant garnet and ruby highlights. The bouquet is broad and wide-sweeping with a healthy succession of red berry, sweet almond, stone fruit, medicinal herb and crushed mineral. Fruit thrives from 220 to 280 meters above sea level with full southern exposures facing La Morra. They own 1.5 hectares of the 20-hectare single vineyard. Fratelli Alessandria keeps its Barolo in oak casks for three years, instead of two. The wine shows light spice notes with distant touches of dark fruit. The tannins are silky and long. The wine is amazingly expressive now, but promises great aging potential. Drink: 2017-2033.' 95ptsMonica Larner, Wine Advocate

From a relative value perspective, scores are high across the board. 2010 and 13 are the vintages that have begun to move upwards in price, 2016 has rocketed too. Value can be found in 11, 12, 14 and 15 where quality remains consistent.


Wine OwnersP.S For the adventurous out there - seek out their Pelaverga Speziale for something utterly different. Pelaverga is a local variety made almost exclusively around Verduno. My notes start with “Wow. Weird.  So floral….not like anything I’ve tasted before” and my attention was grabbed immediately.

A historic producer who embraces tradition and local identity, but also strives to improve and improve in a changing world ticks all the boxes for me. 


Pink Champagne - misunderstood?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-06-10


Miles Davis, 10th June 2021

Whilst writing the offer for Bollinger Grand Année Rosé 2012 (still some available here!) this week, I started thinking about pink fizz in a different context. Before now, I had never stopped to think about it seriously, it had always been something for immediate, and possibly immature, pleasure. I have never taken it seriously or given it the respect it deserves – more fool me!

 

Harking back, my first introduction as a rather inexperienced taster (at circa 15 years of age) was when an older sibling brought back a couple of bottles of Laurent Perrier NV Rosé from France for a Christmas treat. I remember, very clearly, being absolutely blown away, and that was just the concept of it – champagne that is pink, surely not!? Suffice to say it was heartily enjoyed but then a few Christmases later, rather easily surpassed, by another Champagne, a white this time but by the name of Dom Perignon. Obviously comparisons between the two are not fair but in many ways the damage was done. I was aware there was a Dom Perignon Rosé but that was another chunk up on an already expensive price tag, which was a step too far. Instead of considering rosés, I became used to buying special cuvées and vintage white champagne for the big occasion, and the odd Sunday lunch! Ironically I believe I was thinking that rosés were just not as serious or interesting as their white counterparts, yet when you start looking at the various critics and ratings between the different offerings from the same stables it is clear that this is not the case at all.



Vintage rosés are not produced as often as whites and are often more ‘vinous’ or ‘gastronomique’. They are made either by either skin contact through maceration from the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grape varieties or by blending typically 5-20% of red wine with the still white wine and before the 2nd fermentation in bottle. Bollinger’s Grand Année Rosé, for example, is made using 5% of red wine derived from their La Cote Aux Enfants vineyard.

When I was managing wine investment funds, a few vintages of white Krug and Dom Perignon found their way into the portfolio but we did not even consider rosés at the time. Now the wider wine market is growing ever broader and more tradeable, it would be foolish to ignore them. Some of the smarter money is already in and demand is growing. The best wines can age gracefully for a long, long time and the prices for top Champagnes (of both colours) from top producers and vintages only travel in one direction.

Some of the producers who produce top quality rosé Champagnes:

Krug

Dom Perignon

Bollinger

Billecart-Salmon Philipponat (Clos des Goisses)

Taittinger (Comtes de Champagne)

Ruinart


How can I be sure I am pricing my wine correctly?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-06-08


Why is price transparency important?

Pricing data that is up-to-date, reliable and actionable supports the buying and selling process. By keeping buyers and sellers informed, it breeds confidence in making decisions. In turn, confidence boosts sentiment.

Whilst pricing data would have only been accessed through specialist catalogues or conversations with individual merchants previously, key information such as the provenance of the wine, pricing information and availability can now be accessed in an instant. Our Wine Passport for example encourages users to record as much information about the wines they own as possible, enabling a more informed and transparent trading decision to be made.

With fast-growing demand from private buyers for sourcing directly from collectors, it has never been more important to rely on a simple, visual and informative interface to ensure competitive pricing.


How do we make sure we provide you with the most up-to-date and reliable data?

We have been in partnership with global wine price discovery website Wine-Searcher for many years, which has enabled us to create and maintain our referential database of over 385,000 wine entries.

Instead of spending hours trawling through data in order to calculate a realistic selling price, our algorithm processes millions of rows of pricing data to ensure you stay as informed as possible about the state of the market. Equipped with this information, you can easily and confidently determine the correct selling price to be competitive and attract buyers' interest.


How does it work?

When you offer your wine for sale, you are presented with a live feed of current European marketplace offers for the wine in question, current Wine Owners offers and current Wine Owners bids, as seen below. You will also be able to view the latest bids and offers. If you are unsure or in the case where wines have gone through sharp price changes, it’s worth giving our trading desk experts a call, who will be able to advise you.


Keep in mind that the buyer will be paying an additional 2.5% + VAT buyer’s premium. We recommend you offer your wine for sale at around 2.5-3% below the best market price if you want to be shown on Wine Searcher as being the best offer. As around 20% of our new buyers are redirected from Wine Searcher, it is well worth your offer being at the top of their list.

If you’re in doubt, give us a call or email us contact@wineowners.com and we'll be happy to help!


Mr Ostrich - a cautionary tale

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-06-03


Luke MacWilliam, June 2021

It pains me to say that there are some rogue traders in the wine industry, and an approach that we come across all too often is from a victim of such scamming.

“Mr Ostrich” has had his head buried in the sand for the last 5 years, ever since he first realised his “investment” had gone south. The “company” from which he bought that case of Mouton 2008 has gone into liquidation and the directors are currently awaiting trial. Thankfully, he was one of the lucky ones whose stock was recovered, but this doesn’t change the fact he paid double the going rate for those cases in the first place. 

“I keep getting these storage bills and don’t really know much about wine. I wish I’d never got involved in the first place and just want to get out now, but I want to recover as much of my losses as possible”.

“I’ve been offered £19k for the whole portfolio but I think it’s worth more than that. I don’t want to get scammed again”. 

You’ve come to the right place Mr Ostrich. Wine Owners gives you total control of the price you want to offer at and you can benefit from some of the lowest commission rates around with our Collector subscription, 4% + vat. 

Our live Wine Searcher feed enables you to see other offers for your wines across the market, to assist you in setting your prices, and I’m more than happy to offer some suggestions/advice if you are still uncertain. 

Over the following 12 months, Mr O sold through his 15 cases, and netted £21,691 after commission. Yes, he had lost out overall, but left the market on a positive rather than a negative. Lesson learnt, but damage minimised. 


Bordeaux en primeur 2020 release prices

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-06-02


Wednesday 9th June

ST PIERRE

Recent vintages are on the sweet side of the middle, a modern but balanced take on St Julien. If it was a Savile Row suit it would be more Richard James than Huntsman.

Price and points

Relative value

GLORIA

A Chateau I’m quite familiar with going back to the early 80s, since my stepmother was called Gloria. 2009 pips it with a big RECENT score from Jancis and a decade’s worth of storage under its belt, making the £9 premium per bottle worthwhile.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

LA GAFFELIERE

Up and coming. If you missed out on the smart pricing of Figeac in the period 2012-2014 before it took off, then this just might be the next right banker from grand terroir to buy into at similarly attractive pricing for the quality.

There’s little point in going back in time further than 2018 given the recent transformation. Although 2020 is a full 20% up on 2019’s release price, that won’t be the last of the hikes over the next 5 vintages or so. Meantime the secondary market price of 2019 has shot up 20% since release, so the 2020 release price is equivalent.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Tuesday 8th June

CLERC MILON

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 92-94

James Suckling:  95-96


CANTENAC BROWN

A 3rd Growth Margaux that is on the rise and attracting some big scores.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Now, just for giggles, let’s compare this up-and-coming 3rd Growth Margaux with another ambitious 3rd Growth, to the south of Margaux, and which therefore finds itself an outcast of the better-known appellations, dumped into the lower-priced catch-all that is the Haut-Médoc (even if it’s not very Haut-up-the- Médoc).

La Lagune is biodynamic (hence no 2018 due to rampant mildew).

Price and points

Relative value analysis

I shall let you take your pick.


Other critic ratings:

James Suckling:  96-97

Vinous, Antonio Galloni: 94-97

Vinous, Neal Martin: 94-96


BRANAIRE DUCRU

With a 17 point score, Branaire Ducru 2020 does shoot to the right. Given the inconclusive scoring schism, which way to go? If offered at the equivalent of £25/ bt vs release price of £31, that would certainly encourage.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 91-93+

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


GRAND PUY LACOSTE

GPL epitomises the current challenge with EP. Beautiful wine, and 9% less money than the 2010 release, which has barely budged since its first release. If - like me - you bought 2010 GPL and dutifully stored it for the best part of a decade then it feels even less sensible. My total cost of ownership being £760 a dozen and current replacement price being £710. In fact it’s a little embarrassing, not in terms of my impeccable good taste, but the evident idiocy of subsidising ownership over that period of time by not far off 10%. Not to mention the opportunity cost of not being able to doing something useful with that money, such as dinner for one at 67 Pall Mall or filling up the tank… Lovely wine but for heaven’s sake just buy 2009 or 2010 from people like me, start pouring, and get to feel smug.

GPL 2020 is 21% up on 2019’s release price of £45/ bt. That does feel like worthwhile value and the chart agrees.

Price and points

Relative market value

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

Decanter: 95

James Suckling: 96-97


Monday 7th June

FERRIERE AND HAUT BAGES LIBERAL

I do have a bit of a soft spot for HBL as 1988 was one of the more accessible bottles that helped me to fall in love with claret in the early 90s. Since then it’s come on leaps and bounds, along with the Lurton & Villiers portfolio (that also includes the historically underperforming but recently transformed ‘jewel in the crown’ Dufort-Vivens Margaux 2nd Growth). The reason for shoving these first two together is that I thought HBL was rather good this year, and rather more appealing with its finely woven tannins than La Ferriere. More importantly so did James Lawther. By the way the character of Durfort Vivens stands head and shoulders above HBL, as it should for the money, but bear in mind that in the half point difference between the two lies a chasm in class. In turn I didn’t think 2020 Durfort Vivens is in quite the same category as the extraordinarily deep yet tremendously balanced 2018 borne of tiny yields (as a result of losses to mildew). We’ll analyse Durfort Vivens separately when it is released. If this year’s 15% hike of HBL is anything to go by, I’d guess a release price of around £45/ bottle. The analysis reveals the relative value represented by the slightly less expensive HBL comparative to its sibling.

Price and points

Relative Value analysis

Other critic ratings FERRIERE:

Vinous: 94-96

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 95-96


Other critic ratings HAUT BAGES LIBERAL:

Vinous: 93-95

James Suckling: 95-96


CAMENSAC

Camensac 2019 can still be had for £16-17 a bottle. Camensac 2020 is a little over £20 per bottle, so 2020 is at a £40 per 12x75cl premium to the cheapest secondary market offers, or a 20% hike.

LE GAY and LA VIOLETTE

Last vintage of La Violette I tasted was 2015 and was definitely violetty in the same way that Beychevelle is this year, turned up to full throttle. Hedonistic, modern, compotty, but La Violette has been performing well in the secondary market as it only makes 400 cases a year, and there is a market for their style, even if it’s not mine (or yours). La Violette 2020 is up 9% on last year, and at £240/ bt it’s pretty clear with whom they would like to be compared - ie a couple of Pomerol properties that make 400-600 cases per year each, notwithstanding they’re a full-on stylistic alternative.


Friday 4th June

CLOS DE MARQUIS

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93+

Decanter: 92

The Wine Advocate: 93-95


MEYNEY

My enthusiasm for Meyney was reignited with their fabulous 2016 (in particular). It was so gorgeous I’m including it in the analysis here. But it’s hard to see how you could go very wrong with 2020 at £20/ bt. Or the 2015 or 2016 for that matter…

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


MALARTIC LAGRAVIERE ROUGE

Although 2015 is vying with 2020 in the value for money stakes, I’d give the nod to 2020 since the vines are not the oldest and the wines are getting finer.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate: 920

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 94-95


GRAND PUY DUCASSE

Some excitement here within the merchant/ retail community, due to an improving estate, with prices that reflect historical underperformance of a Classified Growth.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 90

James Suckling: 94-95


Thursday 3rd June

PEDESCLAUX

A property that’s benefitted from significant architectural investments, not to mention a state of the art winery and the same consultant who also visits upon the 3 Pauillac First Growths. 2020 is the first vintage that’s certified organic.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 95-96


GAZIN

This is becoming a bit of a pattern. 9% up on 2019. And for the first time ever no Cab Franc. 2015 on the other hand was and is a full, sweet mouthful with a classic finish, tasted numerous times over the years. But because it’s Gazin, and it would be non-U to make claret too sweet, it is a wine that thrives on an edge of restraint.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis:

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 96-97


LASCOMBES

Same price as last year’s release. If you were in for Lascombes, why wouldn’t you buy into the marvellously magical Margaux year of 2015?

Price and points

Relative value analysis:

CHEVALIER ROUGE

Third vintage in a row where the Merlot ABV was high as in the whole of Pessac, offset by the lower alcohols in Cab Sauv. Excellent as 2020 is, 2018 impressed all the critics and garnered a high 18 points from Jancis.

Price and points

Relative value analysis:

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

Wine Advocate: 95-97+

Decanter: 95

James Suckling 96-97


CHEVALIER BLANC

“weightier and richer than most previous vintages” says Jancis.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings


Wednesday 2nd June

BEYCHEVELLE

Out first thing Wednesday 2nd June.

In the new Uber-polished style. This year it’s all violets and “mulberry perfume”. It’s so overt it’s almost like walking onto the ground floor at Harrods, minus the mink. Violets for your furs. My 21 yr old youngest daughter commented “ooh, I like that, it’s sweet”!

“Silky tannins and marked freshness. Neat and the opposite of opulent” concludes Jancis.

Yet another wine where 2019 still stands out as rather better value relative to its younger sibling. 9% up on last year’s release price. With the releases yesterday in mind, is this now the trend for 2020? Will that lend further support to 2019s?

Price per points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 94-95

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 94

James Lawther: 95-97

Vinous: 94-96


CANON LA GAFFELIERE

9% up on 2019 release and with offers in the market at or very close to last year’s release price it’s hard to see any advantage that 2020 might have.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 95-96

Decanter: 94

Neal Martin: 93-95

Vinous: 94-96+


Tuesday 1st June

LAGRANGE ST JULIEN

A wine that consistently outperforms its peers as demonstrated time and again at ‘blind’ lunches and dinners organised by Matthieu Bordes. The wine seems to have stepped up a gear too with the superb duo of 2015 and 2016. The great thing about Lagrange is it’s never flash nor obvious, but with time impresses with its purity and depth. That doesn’t mean it’s a must buy at EP necessarily, and the excellent 2019 remains a fair bit cheaper in the secondary market. They think they’ve made something pretty special in 2020 which is why the release price is up by 19%. My guess is 2020 will stick around at this price for a couple of years. I’ll still argue that if you don’t have any Lagrange in your cellar yet, a vintage like 2016 is a worthy addition that will repay cellaring, and can be had at the same price as 2020.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 93 

Vinous: 93-94


D’ARMAILHAC

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 93-94

Decanter: 93

Vinous: 92-94


Saturday 29th May

LATOUR MARTILLAC - RED and WHITE

Let’s start with a good value WHITE that will be trickier to find in the secondary market and has been well received this year.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

On the other hand the red wine isn’t the best of buys.

RED


Price and points

Relative value analysis

Friday 28th May

LA LAGUNE

Last year La Lagune 2019 stood out as a great buy. Not only was it very well priced, but none was made in 2018 as a result of the fully biodynamic vines having been decimated by mildew. Unlike Dufort Vivens and Palmer, 2 biodynamic estates which salvaged a measly 10% of their crop in 2018 (and made monumental wines), La Lagune was a total wipe out. 2019 is the most successful vintage since going fully dynamic in 2016. 2020 appears to be a notch below, and 9% above the 2019 release. 2019 can still be had, as of today, at its opening price. I doubt it will stay at that level beyond late autumn, and is clearly the one to buy. The terroir is capable of producing long-lived classic claret with breeding. A bottle of 1975 opened in 2018 was fully on song.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

DU TERTRE

Low yields of 25 hl/ha, less rain in Margaux than higher up the Medoc peninsular, and an evident classism to the sample. Julia’s a fan, and clearly no lipstick’s been applied. Sounds like proper claret to me, and the charts suggest another sub-£30 a bottle Classified Growth (5th) that looks like excellent value.

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 94-95

Decanter: 93


GRAND CORBIN DESPAGNE

If I’m right in estimating UK release price of £21.50 per bottle from the French market release of €24.80, then it potentially edges the success of 2018. Secondary market prices over the last 5 years have been relatively static i.e. in line with this release price. Let me know if anyone has received a UK offer of this release and if so at what price.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

GRAND MAYNE

A quarter Cab Franc in the blend. Effectively priced though a tad higher than 2019. Some strong scores across the critics will lend support.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Thursday 27st May

CANTEMERLE

Steady pricing and a dependable ‘club claret’. The '19 edges it for value as rated half a point higher.

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 93-94

Decanter: 93


MONTLANDRIE

It would appear that Noémie Durantou is successfully slipstreaming father Denis and continues the good work. As a reminder this is from the L’Eglise Clinet stable which also includes Les Cruzelles, La Chenade, and Saintayme. These are well made wines and generally represent great value year in year out, but here are the charts in any case. Interestingly it would appear that all the 2019 has disappeared off the market in the last month.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 92-94

Decanter: 93


Wednesday 26st May

BERLIQUET

Under the exquisitely designed Chanel umbrella the quality here is being pushed ever higher, as are the prices. A premium to existing vintages is being asked for in light of this. This estate is likely to follow the way of Canon and Rauzan Segla.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 95-96

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 93


PRIEURÉ-LICHINE

Consistent scoring from this Chateau over the last few years but a slightly lower price in ’19 makes that vintage slightly better value.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 95-96


MARQUIS DE TERME

It’s Margaux morning, the appellation, not the Chateau. Marquis de Terme is more volatile on points scoring but pricing is consistent, making the ‘18 vintage appear much the better value of recent releases.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling94-95

The Wine Advocate: 90-92

Decanter: 92-94


KIRWAN

Kirwan is consistent in both scores and pricing, making it a photo finish on relative value analysis charts. Will there be a steward’s enquiry?

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 94-95

The Wine Advocate91-93+

Decanter: 92-94


Saturday 22nd May

GRAND-PONTET

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93


LA LAGUNE

La Lagune is a Chateau known for fair pricing but the graphs point to more value to be found from the ’19 vintage. Family Frey continue their good work however.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93

The Wine Advocate: 92-94

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


Friday 21st May

AROMES DE PAVIE

I remain a bit unconvinced by second wines outside of the First Growths when they are priced at this sort of level. I was fine paying £375/ 6 for Pavillon Rouge 2014 en primeur which seemed very good value for the quality, but the same sort of money for the second wine of Pavie does not do it for me, especially when there’s no obvious financial advantage to buying as a future. So I’d say wait. In 3-4 years’ time you’ll be wealthier too if I understand you are a student :slight_smile: and it’ll be available not far off release price.

If I was compelled to buy a well-priced 2020 St Emilion now for drinking pleasure, as a preference, I would not hesitate to instead go for La Gaffeliere, an up-and-coming producer from great terroir (Grand Cru Classé B) next to Ausone. It’s not the flashiest St Emilion - the style is rather Burgundian and it wouldn’t stand out at a trade event - but tasting a cask sample of 2020 over the course of 2 days was quite interesting. Fresh, relatively delicate but with a multi-layered palate, moderately fine grained but definitely insistent structure and with a properly dry finish. I’d stump up £42 a bottle for this any day over £60 a bottle for Arômes. The label is old school and nondescript, the bottle doesn’t weigh a ton, but inside there is class.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 90-92


ANGELUS

Modestly tagged Le Sublime by the estate due the “exceptional quality of the merlot”. Strong set of points all round this year, as you’d hope for a little over £250 a bottle. Stylistically I suspect it’s still a bit more James Bond than Le Carré. Polished.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 98-100

Decanter: 97

James Suckling: 98-99


BATAILLEY

Pauillac stood out as a particularly successful appellation in 2020, reminiscent of the harmony of 2016, perhaps without quite the same degree of dry extract. Yet in 2020 Pauillac presented as consistent pretty much top to bottom, and Batailley has just hit a home run with its fair pricing in line with last year’s release. A wine worth buying en primeur this year for the very clear discount it WILL offer early buyers for future drinking.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 93-95

The Wine Advocate: 89-91+

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 94-95


BRANAIRE DUCRU

Having said that, whilst Branaire Ducru has done very well in recent hot vintages, this year’s samples were disappointing. In Jancis’s words “a bit tart on the finish and just a little skinny”.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

The Wine Advocate: 91-93+

Decanter: 93

James Suckling93-94


LYNCH MOUSSAS

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93


Monday 20th May

LA DOMINIQUE

I have fond memories of La Dominique ever since I had to hurtle down the M4 to pick up my case of 1990 bought en primeur from Hungerford. I’d been tipped off by a London merchant they were about to go bust (red braces and all) so stalked the shop til my boot was filled. On the other hand this year it’s well and truly gazumped by Laroque, and their 2018 was a success in the vintage and by the looks of it relative to 2020 as well.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 93-95


RAHOUL

Excellent value everyday drinker, or proper wedding wine for when we can do parties of more than 30? The value advantage of the younger vintage does assume you’ll pop the cork as soon as the wine becomes physical since otherwise you’re paying out almost 12% of the value of the EP purchase in storage charges each year. Does the secondary market price of back vintages simply reflect that cost of ownership? Not sure at this level a wine lends itself well to relative value analysis… One final thought of the day. Ch Beaumont 2014 this morning made available by The Wine Society at £13.95 a bottle, duty and tax paid, and delivered. Pretty hard to beat that. Sold out quickly, with a terrible product rating due to lots of grumpy yet otherwise civilised Wine Society members p*ssed that they missed out. Hysterical. Literally.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 87-89


LA CLOTTE

Another up and coming St Emilion estate. The commune is so full of ambition and belief these days, with thankfully a good proportion of those committed to modern classicism. With the attractively plump 2015 in the market at the same price and given we’re not quite in ‘store of value’ territory, I think that the back vintage edges it.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 93


SUDUIRAUT

They’re going to hate me for saying this, but there’s something rather retro these days about Sauternes, belonging to an époque of fatty foods, feasts and binges. Nothing wrong with any of that of course, and maybe we’re on course for a reprise as we come out of Covid and go crazy…in which case buy 2009, or even better 2008.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate93-95

Decanter: 96

James Suckling: 97-98


LAFON-ROCHET

Good value chez Basile Testeront, whose wines have been on a roll over the last few vintages. “Balance, ripeness and vitality” and a price that is DOWN on 2019. Unsurprisingly that makes it an attractive buy. Maybe not another 2016 judging by the notes (which was a grand success) but still proper claret.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


Thursday 20th May

LAROQUE

It does look like a total no brainer, pretty much the first one of the year, and I am most taken by Jancis’s “unflashy nose” and “bone dry” yet “silky finish”.

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 93-95

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 92

James Suckling: 94-95


Wednesday 19th May

LANGOA BARTON out at a smidgen under £30 a bottle.

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

James Suckling: 93-94

The Wine Advocate: 93-95

Decanter: 92


PAVIE

Power AND elegance. 18 points. Who knew. The bottle might still have shoulder pads, but within that broad-cut, chiselled physique lies an altogether more sensitive soul from this great terroir, one that is ‘beautifully poised’. The chart doesn’t lie…:slight_smile:

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

The Wine Advocate97-99

Decanter: 97

James Suckling: 98-99


BELLEVUE MONDOTTE

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 90-92

The Wine Advocate: 96-98

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 94-95


PAVIE DECESSE

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate: 95-97

Decanter: 95

James Suckling: 96-97


Tuesday 18th May

LEOVILLE BARTON out 8.5% up on 2019’s secondary market price, labelled ‘majestic’ by Jancis. He liked it so much he wanted to drink it. Whatever next. But Price and points

Relative value

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate93-95

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 96-97


Tuesday 13th May

LABEGORCE

At the drinking end of the En Primeur spectrum, here’s an interesting Margaux with a super note from James Lawther that made my mouth water. Is juicy black cherry a Margaux characteristic in 2020? Durfort Vivens was dripping with them.

Price and points:

Other critics ratings:

Vinous: 91-93

James Suckling: 92-93


ANGELUS

ANGELUS released, up 9% on 2019, continuing with the same 40% Cabernet Franc in the blend as 2019.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

On the face of it 2015 stands out as value, but hasn’t l’Angelus stepped up a little in terms of refinement and balance in those intervening years?

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate98-100

Decanter: 97

James Suckling: 98-99


Tuesday 11th May

CHEVAL BLANC breaks rank! This is most unusual, since they are typically one of the very last to release (last year they came out June 8th), and at a price above the 1855 First Growths and Mouton. What is less unusual is that their release price is far from shy. Release is up on 2019 (+3%), 30% less vs the 2018 release price, and 20% less than the current secondary market for Cheval 2018.

Price per points

It has to be said James has not given Cheval 2020 a glowing review, worrying that “the tannins overwhelm the fruit at present”.

Relative value analysis, unsurprisingly, does not suggest 2020 as a must buy at this stage, though this is based significantly on the low score from James Lawther.

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 99

James Suckling: 99


LE PETIT CHEVAL

Price per points

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 93


Thursday 13th May

D'ANGLUDET

Price per points:

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97


Saturday 8th May

HOSANNA, POMEROL

Here’s the market price vs points analysis, showing the 2020 release pricing bang on the market price (and release price) of 2019, a fraction cheaper than 2018, and 20% below the less well-rated 2015. This would suggest Euro release price is around 3% up on 2019 given Sterling is up by that amount. From my perspective, being a fan of Cab Franc, the 2019 has almost third in the blend versus a quarter in 2020. Who knows how that difference may pan out over time, but all else being equal, I’d personally favour the 2019 blend.

And here comes the relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

James Suckling99-100

James Lawther: 17.5


Friday 7th May

CHATEAU BOURGNEUF POMEROL released this morning.

Here’s the market price vs points analysis:

And here comes the relative value analysis.The longer the bar, the better the value relative to those it compares with.

This is an exciting conclusion with my drinkers hat on. It says beat a path to Wilkinson’s door to grab the last well priced case of Bourgneuf 2009 in the market. Failing that take your pick from a number of competitively priced offers of Bourgneuf 2015. Buy, pour, kick back and enjoy a classic, refreshingly styled Pomerol, feeling smug about your canny purchase considering what great value it is compared to current release. Bordeaux back vintages can be such good value.

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

James Suckling: 94-95


Wednesday 5th May

Continuing with the Asian theme, BELFONT BELCIER, Grand Cru Classé since 2006, is now backed with Chinese investment, and has just released. With a quarter Cab Franc in the blend, James is making this sound most appealing with his references to fresh, vibrant, touch of leaf and spice, dances on the palate with juicy fruit…

Here’s the market price vs points analysis:

  



And here’s the relative value analysis. Longer the bar, bigger the gap, the more compelling the buy.

Yet, if there’s been a shift to a more refined approach, judging by the difference in reviews from 2015 and 2020, comparison with back vintages becomes less relevant.

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 91-93

Decanter: 93

James Suckling96-97


Tuesday 4th May

BEAUMONT

No Cos or Pontet Canet breaking ranks this year so far, but who needs them when you have Beaumont? Unfortunately for them, their release has my full attention. This campaign we are comparing 2020 with 2019, 2018, 2015 and 2009, all hotter vintages to varying degrees, and going back far enough in time to figure out if buying the same wine en primeur is a smart move - or not. Here’s the market price vs points analysis for them all, showing that once in bottle Beaumont does move up in price. Compared to 2015, 2020 is a full 33% cheaper! That’s a big gap if we’re talking Lafite. But for Beaumont we’re talking about £4.40 per bottle.


Notwithstanding the 33% difference in price between 2015 and the 2020 new release, the 2015 shows as the better buy because of it’s whopping 17 score, compared with the 2020’s 15.5 points. So unless you’re a buyer for an Oxbridge college with Chinese student fees burning a hole in your tweed pocket, maybe hold fire.

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 92-93

Julia Harding MW: 15.5


Saturday 24th April 

I’m looking forward to contribute analyses of value for each major release as last year’s Bordeaux EP campaign. We’re hearing it’ll be another early campaign and I’m excited to see the notes and perspectives on the wines and the vintage from Team Jancis when they get published next week. Many thanks to Jancis for inviting me back!

I was in Bordeaux last summer and although part of July had a heatwave, August didn’t seem out of the ordinary and nights were fresh. We’ll have to see!

My first thought of the campaign is perhaps somewhat predictable, prompted by Jancis’s Bordeaux Primeurs free for all article last Thursday, when she wrote:

It may well turn out that the price reductions that helped make the 2019 primeur campaign such a success were a pandemic-inspired one-off. As I outlined in The ‘miracle’ primeur campaign 4, perhaps it really was a miracle that so many Bordeaux château owners were prepared to reduce their prices.
I do hope that doesn’t prove to be the case. I’m looking at secondary market prices of 2019s and there are broadly exactly where they were at first release. Admittedly, post-primeur action doesn’t generally kick in til the wines are bottled and the critics re-taste the final blend under cork. Still, it will take a brave (or very rich :slight_smile: ) proprietor to jack up prices on the back of an overall tentative Bordeaux market performance over the last few years.

Wine Lister’s Bordeaux 2021 16 study also warns of the ongoing risks to Bordeaux’s flagging attractiveness, whilst acknowledging the effect astute pricing had on the success of last year’s campaign.

Consumers have been spending big on wine this past year. Following a very quiet period during March and April 2020 at the start of Covid, fine wine buying took off again, with an extremely strong showing at the affordable level of everyday drinkers as well as at the collecting end of the market. Italian 2016 releases were extremely sought after and buyer exuberance culminated in a febrile atmosphere around the feted 2019 Burgundies, a campaign that felt like a real scramble, even though the wines themselves were a bit inconsistent.

I’m speaking with more retailers than ever before now that my business is focused on software as a service 6 for the wine trade. What I’m hearing from wine retailers is that the last year has been exceptional for those businesses focused on the consumer, exciting new e-commerce brands have been launched, and even those merchants who have been historically dependent on hospitality have made up for their annihilated On trade sales with the tsunami in consumer activity.

Will the spending spree carry on, to the benefit of Bordeaux 2020, or are there signs that the fine wine buyer is a little weary, not to mention wary? The next couple of months will tell, and I’m excited to be sharing the analyses here as the releases come out with our relative value analysis charts.

I’ll be sponsoring the London Wine Fair May 17-19 so my colleague Miles Davis will be on standby for when I’m tied up with conference and meetings with wine businesses on how they can make themselves more efficient and continue to prosper in the post-Covid world that we are gradually entering.

A step back into the familiar, yet forward into the unknown, and into a re-energised world that does feel incredibly exciting - and in some ways may well have changed forever!



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