Fine wine news roundup: 2-8 May



Yquem 1975 leads Sotheby’s sale

Sotheby’s latest online fine wine sale raised a total of $821,748. A 12-botte cache of Chateau d'Yquem 1975 went for more than double its pre-sale high estimate, taking the top spot at $11,780.

Other lots also beat their high estimates by a considerable margin. Two bottles of Domaine Armand Rousseau's Chambertin Clos de Beze grand cru 2002 went for $7,440, having been earmarked for a high of $5,000. Meanwhile, three bottles of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair's ‘Aux Reignots’ premier cru 2003 from Vosne-Romanee fetched $3,472, compared to its high estimate of $2,000.

Elsewhere in the sale, 12-bottle cases of Chateau Latour and Chateau Margaux 1996 each sold for $8,060 against high estimates of $6,500, and a 12-bottle case of Mouton Rothschild 1998 fetched $5,580 against a high estimate of $4,800.


South Africa welcomes ‘exceptional’ harvest

South Africa’s 2020 harvest is up 8.2% on last year, with producers throughout the region reporting a very high quality, according to South African wine trade body Vinpro.

Despite crop losses in the Northern Cape following frost damage, the overall crop is estimated to be around 1.35 million tonnes.

“We are excited about the exceptional wines that will flow from the 2020 wine grape crop, with Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay leading the pack,” said Conrad Schutte, Vinpro consultation service manager. “The early cultivars showed very good acidity, and the colour and tannin analysis in the red wines promise full wines with concentrated flavour profiles.”

The welcome news follows a period of confusion and uncertainty around South Africa’s wine exports, due to the ongoing global coronavirus situation. After a temporary ban, exports were finally permitted to resume on 1st May.


Krug releases 168th Edition Grande Cuvee Champagne

Krug has unveiled the latest edition of its Grand Cuvee multi-vintage blend – the 168th in the Champagne house’s history.

The blend comprises 198 different wines spanning 11 years. The oldest is a 1996 Pinot Noir picked from the grand cru village of Verzenay, with the youngest hailing from 2012. Speaking on the length of time the wine has remained in Krug’s cellars, winemaker Julie Cavil said: “You need 20-25 years to craft a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee.”

According to Cavil, the blend – which comprises 52% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 13% Meunier – is centred primarily around the 2012 vintage, which she says is a “very good vintage”. However, she does say that it “tested the nerves of the growers” due to the wide range of “climatic incidents” taking place during the season.

The house describes the Champagne as an aromatically complex mix of “flowers in bloom, ripe, dried and citrus fruits as well as marzipan and gingerbread”, with a palate that “reveals flavours of hazelnut, nougat, barley sugar, jellied and citrus fruits, almonds, brioche and honey.” It will be released on Friday 14th May, for £150 per bottle.


US wine sales figures give industry reasons to be optimistic

Wine sales in the US continue to maintain pre-pandemic levels, fuelling hope that the wine trade may be spared the serious damage currently ravaging the hospitality and travel sectors.

The new US COVID-19 Impact Report from Wine Intelligence shows that wine consumption has largely increased as people embrace the ‘new normal’, with already-engaged wine drinkers spending more per bottle than usual.

Lulie Halstead, chief executive of Wine Intelligence, said: “Our data supports other evidence that shows that US wine drinking is holding up, and that sales will continue to be solid once lockdown ends.

“Looking ahead, the US wine drinker is understandably quite cautious about their household finances and the idea of getting on a plane. Thankfully for the wine category, their intention seems to be replacing big treats like vacations and big events with small treats like a nicer bottle of wine.”

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