Wine News 00E

Fine wine news roundup: 6-12 March



Pol Roger launches Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 2012

Pol Roger Champagne has released the 2012 vintage of its top-end expression, Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill.

It is the nineteenth vintage released by the house since the cuvee was launched at Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, in 1984 with Champagne from the 1975 harvest.

The blend is a closely guarded family secret, although the wine is made almost entirely from Pinot Noir with a small proportion of Chardonnay. It’s made in only the best vintages, with future expressions expected to include 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020 – but only if they receive the blessing of the Churchill family, who must approve the cuvee before it’s released.

The latest expression is described by the house as having “a broad and impressive nose”, with “notes of Pink Lady apples, Manuka honey and lightly toasted hazelnuts”. It will be on sale in the UK for just under £200.


Ultra-rare Melchizedek of Boerl & Kroff Champagne to go on sale for £173,000

A 30-litre bottle of hyper exclusive Champagne from Boerl & Kroff is to go on sale for £173,000.

This 30-litre bottle, known as a Melchizedek bottle, is one of just four produced by the house from the 1995 vintage, making it one of the rarest investment-grade Champagne on the market. The wine is made up of 90% Pinot Noir, 7% Chardonnay and 3% Pinot Meunier. The bottle up for sale was disgorged in 2012.

The bottle itself cost €4,000 to create at a glass-blowing facility in Italy, and holds enough Champagne for 350 glasses. As such, Boerl & Kroff’s CEO, Stephane Sese, says it would be perfect to “celebrate a special wedding or party with this bottle”.

The unique bottle – complete with its own stand – is on sale for £173,000 from investment firm Oeno, which is anticipating “a high level of interest” in the trophy wine.


Initiative launched to support world’s oldest vines

The world’s oldest vines are set to get extra support thanks to the launch of a new initiative designed to highlight the important contributions these vines make to the global wine industry.

The Old Vine Conference is a non-profit organisation seeking to highlight the work of old vine pioneers, advocate the scientific and oenological case for old vines, help build old vine wines into a recognised category amongst consumers and slow the loss of important old-vine vineyards worldwide.

The initiative will begin this month with a conference hosted and moderated by Tim Atkin MW, Dr Jamie Goode and Sarah Abbott MW, marking the first in a series of events scheduled to take place throughout 2021.

“In recent years, a group of old vine pioneers around the world have made immense efforts to preserve viticultural heritage, highlight the science of old vines and re-invigorate local communities of small growers,” said Abbott. Those, she said, were “some of the most important initiatives” in the industry.

“Our research has shown that many otherwise passionate wine lovers still don’t understand or value old vines, often dismissing the term as a marketing gimmick,” she added. “The result is unbalanced industry economics and the loss of irreplaceable old vines year after year. If you are passionate about heritage, science and taste, please work with us to create a new wine category and sustain the world’s most valuable old vines”. 

The conference will be free to attend.


Study shows that a higher price tag can enhance the taste of wine

People are likely to enjoy a wine more if they’re told it’s more expensive than it really is, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, saw 140 participants take part in the blind tastings of three Italian wines, priced at £7.74, £25 and £50 per bottle. The vast majority of participants said they drank wine regularly, but did not consider themselves to be tasting experts.

Researchers found that the cheapest wine was rated as more pleasant when presented as four times its actual retail price, while no effect was found when decreasing the price label of the more expensive wine.

The researchers also asked drinkers to rate the wines’ intensity, and found price changes didn’t have much impact on participants’ feedback here, either.

However, the researchers admit that their findings do not present a complete picture of the link between wine price and taste, and have called on others to replicate their work for a more comprehensive understanding of the matter. They suggested future work could focus on different aspects of wine tasting, such as intensity of taste, colour and smell – not just overall ‘pleasantness’.

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