WineNews 1 v2

Fine wine news roundup: 20-26 March



Sotheby’s announces three-day spring sale in Hong Kong

Auction house Sotheby’s will hold a three-day wine and spirits sale in Hong Kong next month, expected to raise an estimated HK$65-95 million.

The sale will open on 16 April with the second part of Joseph Lau’s cellar, featuring fine French wines including Petrus , Henri Jayer and Chateau d'Yquem dating back to 1865.

Adam Bilbey, Head of Sotheby’s Wine & Spirits, Asia and Europe, said: “The scale and depth of the very finest wines is what sets Mr Lau’s cellar apart from the rest…The ability to source these wines on this scale and with great provenance is almost impossible today, and this is a testament to his vision and determination to focus on the very best.”

The second day of the sale will see a total of 941 lots on offer, ranging from ‘drinkable classics’ to rare gems. Highlights include all the First Growths in various vintages and formats, an assortment of Liger-Belair La Romanee vintages, and a vertical line-up of vintages from Ornellaia’s Archivio Storico.

Elsewhere, bidders can expect 50 lots of legendary Henri Jayer from the 1970s to 1990s, including one bottle of the mythical Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1978, four magnums of Cros Parantoux 1986 and two bottles of Richebourg 1986.

The event will conclude with Sotheby’s inaugural live spirits sale in Hong Kong, featuring the long-awaited complete Black Bowmore single malt whisky collection direct from the Bowmore distillery, among other lots.


Latour releases 2013 vintage for first time

Bordeaux First Growth Chateau Latour has released the 2013 vintage of its Grand Vin for the first time. With a release price of €355 per bottle ex-negociant, it’s only slightly above last year’s 2012 release price of €350.

Last year’s release of the 2012 vintage marked the first time Latour released wine as a mature stock, following its decision to bow out of En Primeur. The chateau completed its last campaign in 2011.

The 2013 is likely to be a tricky sell. According to Wine Lister it is Latour’s least high-quality wine since the 2002 vintage, and scored only reasonably well with critics. Neal Martin awarded the wine 91 points, commenting that the chateau had done well in what was a difficult vintage year.

“While it doesn’t have Latour’s signature backbone or gravitas, it is approachable and harmonious. It’s about as good as the Left Bank gets in this vintage,” Martin said.

However, the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown recently reassessed the vintage, and said it was “ageing gracefully” and is “absolutely delicious to drink right now”.


Perrier-Jouet released Belle Epoque 2013

Perrier-Jouet has released the 2013 vintage of its prestige cuvee, Bell Epoque.

Made from a blend of 50% grand cru Chardonnay, 45% grand cru Pinot Noir and 5% Meunier, the 2013 vintage embodies the delicate floral style that has come to define the house.

Severine Frerson – Perrier-Jouet’s first female cellar master – describes the Champagne as “pale gold in colour, with subtle glints of apple green”, and notes of “ripe pear, grapefruit zest, ginger, tangerine and a hint of green pepper”.

She noted that 2013 had been a cool year with late flowering in July, creating particularly good conditions for Chardonnay. “Lime blossom expresses the character, personality and texture of the 2013 vintage”, she said, adding that the Champagne has a “delicate salinity” to it.

The vintage, which was aged for six years on its lees and disgorged in March 2020, is now on sale for £159 per bottle.


Work begins on pioneering Cites du Vins projects

The first stones have been laid for three brand new cultural and tourism-related wine centres across Burgundy.

The Cites du Vin project – a joint effort between BIVB (Bourgogne Wine Board) and the Association for the Climats of Bourgogne – will boast 6,000m2 of “entertainment and discovery” to immerse visitors in the world of Burgundy winegrowing.

The three Cites will be located in Macon, Chablis and Beaune (where work has already begun), and will differ in terms of size and design. However, they each share the same aim, according to the BIVB: “To promote the culture of winegrowing in Bourgogne with as many people as possible, through a wide range of offers and services focusing on the world of vines and wine”.

Despite the similarity in name to Bordeaux’s La Cite du Vin, which takes a global look at the culture of wine, Burgundy’s three Cites des Vins aim to deliver a regional experience for visitors and was allegedly named before Bordeaux began its project, the BIVB says.

Work is expected to be completed by early 2022.


Space-aged Petrus develops floral aromatics

Back in January it was reported that 12 bottles of premium Bordeaux had returned to Earth after spending 14 months on the International Space Station. Now, it’s been revealed that the wine in question was Petrus 2000, and that its time in orbit has yielded some interesting effects on its flavour.

An initial tasting at the University of Bordeaux’s wine institute, the ISVV, saw 12 expert tasters receive 30ml samples of the Petrus vintage that had been in space, as well as samples of from Earth-based bottles.

According to Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent Jane Anson, “The Earth wine was exactly how you would expect it to taste.” The ‘space wine’, however, appeared to be two or three years more developed. “There were more floral aromatics and the tannins were a bit softer and more evolved,” said Anson, who added that she had tasted from just one bottle and therefore couldn’t rule out the possibility of bottle variation.

Samples of the wines are also due to undergo chemical analysis in addition to tastings, to allow researchers to explore variations in their make-up.

Space Cargo Unlimited, which led the voyage, said that the choice of wine – which until now had been a closely-guarded secret – had not involved Chateau Petrus, and that the wines had been purchased independently from a Bordeaux broker.

The experiments was part of the start-up’s ‘Mission Wise’ programme, which seeks to contribute to the understanding of sustainable agriculture.

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