WINE PICK: Chateau Lafleur 2004

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-07-14

Spotlight on Lafleur 2004

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Golden bubbles

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-07-14

The performance of the Wine Owners Champagne Index has been nothing short of stellar - outperforming most other assets over the last 3, 5 and 7 years.

Over the last 12 months, however, the index has stagnated, registering a measly 0.5% growth.

Much was said of Champagne as an investment during the course of 2013. In sharp contrast to other fine wine regions, production quantities tend to be vast, but so is consumption. Analysing the performance of the Champagne market shows that appreciation is entirely driven by the very top vintages. With no stellar vintage such as 1996 or 2002 due for imminent release, we said in the first quarter of 2014 that the vintage Champagne market may drift over the next 1-2 years, though very top back-vintages may well benefit as supply dries up, and Champagne styles suited for long ageing such as Salon may continue to firm.

6 months on, this has indeed proved to be the case, with the top performers over the last 12 months to July 2014 being Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blancs Millésimé 1996 (+40%), Krug Clos de Mesnil Blac de Blancs 1996 (+28%) and Salon Cuveé ’S’ Le Mesmil Blanc de Blancs 1996 (+16.5%). This shows the value of relative scarcity, age and a top vintage - the perfect combination for future returns in a market otherwise dominated by exceptionally high volume production.

The poorest performers over 12 months have been Taittinger Contes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1996 (-9%) and 1998 (-28%), along with Dom Perignon 1998 (-11%).

Champagne Index 3y - Wine Owners

Champagne Index 5y - Wine Owners

Champagne Index - Wine Owners

WINE PICK: 2010 Masseto

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-07-09

Tenuta dell' Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT - 2010

Current Market Price: £4,540 per 12.

Tenuta dell' Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT - 2010

Wine Owners average score: 98/100.

Critics reviews: 'An utterly brilliant, focused Merlot, alive and vibrant' according to Antonio Galloni (Vinous Media), with 'a crystalline quality that I have never before seen in Masseto'. The Wine Advocate said it is 'truly monumental, leaving you breathless and wordless all at once.'

Tenuta dell' Ornellaia: 99 hectares of vines near the village of Bolgheri, Located near the sea and sheltered by the neighbouring hills, the microclimate guarantees perfect ripening conditions; gentle sea breezes temper the summer heat, and hills provide protection from the cold winter winds.


Highest Bid: £1,135 per 3 IB.

Best offer: £1,100 per 3 IB.

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When the best isn't the best

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-07-08

If a wine is from a first class vintage (serially dubbed  ‘the vintage of the century’) and has scored a perfect or near perfect score, surely that wine is likely to give the greatest thrill; after all it’s considered the best that there is.

Or is it? If pleasure is what you're after, pulling a cork on highly–rated wine may be the most disappointing choice, especially if it’s from a relatively recent vintage.

Take the example of 1996 classed growth Medocs. Pontet Canet 1996 has impressive depth and purity that is currently held in check by a slowly receding tannic frame and enduringly fresh acidity. But one day it will surely be a very great wine.

Wines from so-called ‘off vintages’ (also known as restaurant vintages, shoulder vintages, an overshadowed by …. vintage) may give far superior current pleasure than its more illustrious, fêted siblings. Sticking with the Pontet Canet example, take your pick from 2002, 2004 or 2006 for wines which today deliver greater visceral pleasure; whether you favour Asian spiced, sweetly grained or delineated and pure fruit.

Switching to burgundy, surely great pinot noir doesn’t require the long wait of the finest red Bordeaux? Not so. Anyone who’s tasted the very best that 1999 has to offer will know how un-evolved, fruity and dense those wines still are. Sure, they impress with their texture and depth, but at the dinner table can disappoint with their primary-ness.

That peacock’s tail array of scent and flavour will one day burst out of the glass, seducing and beguiling the drinker. But today these wines merely provide waypoints to their future destination.

By contrast, the under-appreciated burgundy vintages of 1997, 1998 and 2000 provide some incredibly succulent current drinking, including Engel’s Vosne-Romanée Brûlées 1997, Ghislaine Barthod’s Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1998 and Denis Mortet’s Gevrey-Chambertin Champeaux 2000. There are countless others to pick from.

Thinking of arguably the greatest modern-era Italian, Roberto Conterno’s Monfortino, how can one compare the delicate 2002 with the blockbusting 1999? 2002 was a year in which most of sodden Piedmont suffered badly. Yet here is a sweet, perfectly poised wine showing soft red fruits and noble length. In contrast the 1999 is stunningly defined and intense, and a future monument for 10-20 years hence. But I’ll drink the 2002 now in preference.

What good is a cellar full of great vintages if you end up broaching so many of them in their infancy? Raise a glass for under-appreciated vintages. So often they will surprise and delight you, and may even win your best wines of the year awards!

Looking for ideas?

Leoville Barton 2002 - £450 (12x75cl) including duty and VAT

Chateau Leoville Barton Saint Julien Deuxieme Cru Classe AOC 2002 - Wine Owners

Montrose 2002 - £550 (12x75cl) ) including duty and VAT

Chateau Montrose Saint-Estephe Deuxieme Cru Classe AOC 2002 - Wine Owners

Malescot St. Exupery 2004 - £350 (12x75cl) In Bond

Chateau Malescot St. Exupery Margaux Troisieme Cru Classe AOC 2004 - Wine Owners

Louis Jadot Corton Les Greves Grand Cru 2001 - £150 (6x75cl) In Bond.

Louis Jadot Corton Les Greves Grand Cru AOC 2001 - WIne Owners

What's so great about a fine wine exchange?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-07-02

What is so great about a fine wine exchange

You might also like our first infographic: The 9 Commandments to Wine Collecting

A taste of Rhone

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-07-01

Wine Owners celebrated the start of the summer with a Rhone dinner for collectors and enthusiasts at our favourite Farringdon local the Quality Chop House. With everyone bringing an interesting bottle along, this was a great chance to explore the region through the work of some great producers. Particularly exciting was the inclusion of so many white wines from the region, which are often overshadowed by the reds.

Many thanks to all who came and brought wines for the night, and a big thank you to the staff at QCS for looking after us so well!

The wines…

Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2011

Fresh and mineral in style with lively acidity and notes of ripe lemon and fresh tarragon with red apple and fig tree. Very nice, but very much a lighter style of Chateauneuf.

Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2012

Clos des Papes was much more typical of the region, with a classic marsanne nose of peach and apricot, with overlaid savoury notes of sourdough bread and a leavening hint of anise

M. Chapoutier Hermitage “Chante Allouette” 2004

A good bottle of this, now fully mature with a characteristic deep gold colour and a nose of honey and heavy floral notes with hints of smoke and toasted nuts.

Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf du Pape 1998

Fully resolved now, and exhibiting quite animale character. Not a huge amount of fruit left here, and reminiscent primarily of earth and soft leather. Most agreed this bottle was very slightly corked.

Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf du Pape ‘Les Quartz’ 2003

Very nicely layered dark cherry fruit with hints of licorice and leather. Fresh acidity and very ripe tannins, lovely at the beginning of its drinking window, the previous wine being perhaps at the end

E. Guigal Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis 2005

Powerful and structured, seemed initially slightly closed after an hour plus of decanting, but opened up in the glass to reveal considerable depth – game, herbal notes and bacon fat were all picked out as references, beneath thick layers of dark fruit.

E. Guigal Hermitage 2003

Displaying more lifted red fruit character than the Cote Rotie, Hermitage was nevertheless by any standards rich and opulent, with an admirable freshness and floral character. Opinion divided on preference between this pair!

Pierre Gaillard “Fleurs d'Automne” Condrieu Vendange Tardive 2009

Big flavours of ripe peach and apricot, mixed with tropical fruit, but backed with refreshingly high acidity that prevents this wine from seeming overly and cloying.


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