Monfortino event with A. Galloni and R. Conterno.

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-05-16

What was truly historic about this tasting was that every wine served was from magnum. Since Monfortino was not bottled in magnums every vintage (Roberto's father shied away from larger formats because they had to be hand-bottled) this tasting was of EVERY Monfortino vintage EVER bottled in mags.

The magnums all came from a collector in Italy, known to Roberto, and acquired by Antonio some time ago. Theoretically, because the wines have been stored in exactly the same conditions since release, what you were therefore tasting is the vintage differences, with the exception of the 1970 which was made from bought-in grapes as was the custom of the time. Cascina Francia was bought by Roberto's father in 1974.

The flights were arranged thematically. This was an inspired choice, with warmer vintages grouped together, cooler shades, modern day classics etc.

The magnums were decanted 4 hours in advance of the start of the dinner.

The wines were poured in advance of each course arriving, so that the wines could be tasted alone and with matched dishes.


Flight 1: To Start

Served with crispy chicken thighs and charred lettuce.


Ripe, expressive nose, sweet and pronounced pepperiness. Pale brick rim, limpid ruby core. Really thick glycerol. Grippy and bright, with a persistent citric thread. Mouthwatering finish with tertiary leafy notes.

An hour later a bit loose-knit.


Cool nose. Pure creamy fruit, subdued pepper, orange brick rim with a deeply coloured core. Fresh, intense fruit, orange zesty, progressive cedar notes. A little closed on the mid-palate then blooms into a very long finish.

An hour later rich, confit, firm and excellent.

Wine of the flight.


Sweet nose, elegant, fruity and floral. Pale pink rim with orange tinge. Fluid, integrated palate, crystalline and precise.

An hour later, very complete. Grippy, heady fruit, masculine.

Flight 2: The warm vintages

Served with a layered Foie gras terine, pomegranate, sauternes gel.


Warm pepper nose, powerful and spirity. Translucent rim. So young on the palate, with an amazing entry that is grippy with thrilling acidity. So young.

An hour later less grippy but still super-fresh and exciting. Another decade?


Very overt nose; subtle blueberry notes followed by macerated cherries and summer pudding. Blueberries on the entry, texturally dense with a lifted mid-palate, mouthwatering. Vivid fluid palate and finish. Very expressive yet fine.

An hour later, nose has calmed down beautifully, stunningly layered palate with floral notes. Wine of the flight.


Creamy nose, white pepper, liqueur. Pale orange rim, shining ruby core. Warm entry, a little less precision than the preceding wine, softly spiced fruit, confit aftertaste and a vibrant, fabulously driven finish.


Rye bread nose, spirity, herbal and fresh, with pinot-like undertones. Pink-tinged, strawberry-coloured core. Supremely elegant palate, soft yet dry. Aside from the nose, you would never guess this was the product of warm vintage.

Flight 3: cooler shades

Served with beef Fillet Tataki, pickled onion and something called Wakame.


Rich, heady nose, deep colour, pink tinged rim. Energetic and intense, dramatic yet elegant. Floral mid palate, powerfully and progressively builds to an endless finish. Perfect balance.

Wine of the flight (head)


Not a good bottle sadly. Oxidative Bovril nose, fresh and mouthwatering , sherbet finish, short and un-knit. This was the better of the 2 bottles opened apparently, the first being corked (not served).


Sweet, perfectly poised nose of red and soft fruits. Reminiscent of pinot within the strawberry flavor spectrum. Sweet, gentle pastille fruit. Very long. Beautiful and one for burgundy lovers. Adorable.

Wine of the flight (heart)


Macerated fruit nose. Savoury notes with grippy cool tannins then dark brooding fruit with a sour twist to the mid-palate, before pushing on to an enduringly deep but firm finish.

An hour later, perfectly resolved.

Flight 4: the epic vintages

Served with cannon of lamb and lamb belly, cauliflower pureé and lentils - a masterpiece.


Very alluring savoury nose. Surprisingly deep colour. Slightly gamey, intense and powerful, complex and perfectly poised. Flavours contained by the evident structure of the wine. The wine sings properly with the lamb.

Wine of the flight.


Saline nose, faintly oxidative before it blows off then pure sweet fruit. Slightly volatile, very bright sexy fruit, very intense confit character lifted by a powerful freshness.


Darkly fruited nose, very pure. Translucent scarlet colour. Such a lovely balance. Grainy palate. Elegant, deeply veined fruit.


Primary nose of pure fruit, edgeless. Primary colour with the merest hint of a maturing rim. Stuningly defined, intense but balanced fruit. So refreshing. The ultimate food wine and a future monument for 10-20 years hence.

Future icon of the night.

Flight 5: modern day classics

Served with cheese.


White pepper nose, pure and pale rimmed, limpid ruby, pretty medium weight.


Ripe, fleshy and overtly fruity nose. Deep colour, purple-rimmed. Structured, powerful, grainy palate.


Peppery, fruity, fresh cool nose. Classic form. Very pretty ruby colour. Glycerol drenches the side of the glass. Stunningly pure, linear fruit

Wine of the flight.


2009 Chateau Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-05-09


Beausejour Duffau is a great success story of recent years, especially if you are one of the buyers lucky enough to have secured an allocation of the 2009 (in particular) and 2010, both of which received price-boosting perfect ratings from Wine Advocate. The 2009, for example, which has been trading at £2850 has shown nothing but upside since release. The opening EP price here was £800, which is enough to deter the casual buyer, but those who fell in love with the wine from barrel samples have had their faith well rewarded by a market price of £3000, an increase of 270%, which is truly remarkable in an otherwise relatively stale market, and vastly outstrips the performance of pretty much anything else.

Buyers of the 2010 show an increase of around 30%, still very much bucking the trend, but slightly less favoured than the 2009, with an equivalent market price of £2652. Given the release price of the 2010, close to £2000 per case, buyers in that vintage were in a sense late to the party, the chateau having had the confidence to price quite aggressively in its second consecutive great vintage. The pricing performance here is probably also coloured by the fact that the 2009 was given a range of 96-98+ in initial tastings by Parker, while the 2010 was offered a marginally more confident 96-100, both being respectively upgraded and confirmed in a 100 point score.

Lucky owners of the 2009 are left in the enviable if awkward position of having to decide whether to take their £2000 per case profit now, or hold in anticipation of future increases (the last perfect score for Beausejour Duffau was 1990 which now trades at £7,500+ per case and has consistently risen since 2006).

There is always the option of laying it down for future drinking in the knowledge that it’s a 100 point wine for which they paid well below the odds on release. Given 2009 is in all likelihood a decade away from entering its maturity plateau, how many savvy buyers will be prepared to drink a case of wine that might be valued at £7,500-£10,000 by then?

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Buzz 500 Index

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-05-08

The Buzz 500 was always meant to be a bit of fun. Away from the serious business of formulating the fine wine equivalent of the FTSE100, and key region of production tracker indices, we thought it would be interesting to create a ‘popular’ index.

So we took the 100 most searched for wine names on Wine-Searcher, selected 5 vintages per wine that differed according to region, and turned that list into an index. Well, why not?

We wanted answers to the question: are those wines that are most searched for on Wine-Searcher also those that perform the best over the medium term? Will the most searched-for wines tend to be the most demanded? Does most researched translate into purchases, and does that lend support to, or underpin market pricing?

We kicked off the Buzz 500 at the start of 2013, and from that point onwards, it’s outperformed the WO150. That’s not entirely surprising given the strong Bordeaux representation in the latter index. But actually the Buzz 500 has plenty of claret represented too, just different wines. This highlights the first conclusion: there are always outperformers in any segment, and there is a correlation between the most searched for wines in a category and their performance versus other birds of a feather.

You can Review the constituents of each of the indexes here.

But just because hot wines within a category will outperform other wines in the same category, there’s no substitute for market momentum: and nowhere has that been greater than in burgundy these past three years.

So comparing the Buzz 500 to the Blue–chip Burgundy index is – well, rather predictable.

Whilst Burgundy has risen 40% in the last 3 years, the Buzz 500 has managed a paltry 5.5%. That’s still a third better than the poor WO150, weighed down by its First Growth constituents.

If you're a Burgundy officianado that may be good news, or conversely may have put whole classifications of wine out of your drinking reach. And whilst the scarcity of Burgundy is a huge market driver that may point to inexorable upwards momentum, who’s to say it will continue?

The wine market is characterised by myopia – unable or unwilling to see an end to positive trends, and morose in the extreme when sentiment turns . Neither are helpful for collectors.

One behaviour that is consistently predictable is that when wine markets become disconnected with the value in those purses that consume it, the trade and consumers search for better value, Hence the positive kick enjoyed by Northern Italy. More about that in my next index analysis.

WO Buzz 500 Index

3 records

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