WineNews v8

Fine wine news roundup: 10-16 October


Bordeaux has ‘high hopes’ for 2020 vintage

There can be little doubt that 2020 has been an enormously challenging year for winemakers around the world, but Bordeaux’s Wine Council, the CIVB, has declared 2020 as a vintage “with excellent wines in prospect”.

While COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns proved to be a “severe test”, the year nonetheless provided an “ideal climate” for the region’s grapes. An Indian summer with hot days and cool nights through to September delivered “optimum conditions for achieving good levels of oenological ripeness before picking … giving high hopes for the 2020 vintage”, according to the CIVB.

The glorious sunshine favoured full ripening of the berries and hence good development of anthocyanins. The result is good balance between alcohol, acidity and tannins.” The CIVB added that, “without doubt, this new vintage will go down in the history of Bordeaux wines”.


Pol Roger releases Brut Vintage 2013

Champagne house Pol Roger has released its Brut Vintage 2013, which it has described as a very “specific” year.

Speaking during the launch’s webinar, Hubert de Billy – fifth-generation member of the Pol Roger family – explained: “After finishing our 2020 harvest, which has been the earliest harvest in the history of Champagne, 2013 would be classified as relatively late, starting on 24 September to 9 October. It was a specific harvest at a specific time.”

It was the first vintage created following the departure of former Pol Roger president Patrice Noyelle. Hot on the heels of the 2012, the house said it was wary of declaring back-to-back vintages, but the quality was such that it ended up producing a Blanc de Blancs and Churchill as well.

The wine follows the classic house blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, sourced from 20 Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards, with a dosage of 8g/l.

Pol Roger Champagne’s next vintage declarations will include 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and “probably 2020.


Veuve Clicquot launches La Grande Dame 2012

Champagne house Veuve Clicquot has unveiled the 2012 expression of its La Grande Dame prestige cuvee, the label for which has been designed by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

According to Veuve Clicquot chef de cave Didier Mariotti, the new release is a “very vertical wine” with great ageing potential.

La Grande Dame was first launched in 1972 with the 1962 vintage. Since the 2008 vintage, the house has made its top expression a 90% Pinot-based cuvee to emphasise Veuve Clicquot’s particular focus on this variety. The producer’s vintage and non-vintage Yellow Label Champagnes have a dominant proportion of Pinot Noir, with both containing around 55% of the grape.

The limited edition 2012 expression of the Veuve Clicquot prestige cuvee will be released in the UK on October 27th, priced at £160.


Italian police foil €2m counterfeit Sassicaia ring

Police in the Italian city of Florence have broken up a ring responsible for selling counterfeit bottles of Sassicaia worth €2 million.

After a year-long investigation, the Guardia di Finanza have arrested two fraudsters who have been bottling and labelling fake bottles of the famous Super Tuscan wine from different vintages between 2010 and 2015.

It’s estimated that the ring was selling around 700 cases of the fake wine per month worth around €400,000, from a warehouse in Milan. Customers allegedly included buyers in Korea, China and Russia, with thousands of orders placed for the wine which was priced 70% below market value.

Authorities are also investigating four other individuals thought to have been working with the two people that have been arrested. A fifth suspect, thought to have procured the wine that was used, is also being investigated. It’s thought that a total of 11 people have been involved in the ring.

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