Wine news v13

Fine wine news roundup: 26 June – 2 July


Bordeaux 2020 goes out with a bang

The last week of the Bordeaux 2020 En Primeur campaign saw a final push of releases and more unprecedented price hikes.

  • Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse, released at €90 p/bottle ex-negociant – up 15.4% on 2019
  • La Consteillante, released at €156 p/bottle ex-negociant – up 30% on the 2019 release
  • Figeac, also released at €156 p/bottle ex-negociant – and also up 30% on the 2019
  • Chateau Trotanoy, released at £2,990 per case – 7% higher than the 2019’s current market price
  • Vieux Chateau Certan, released at €240 p/bottle ex-negociant – up a full 42% on last year


Zachys Hong Kong sale nets HK$49.6m

Zachys latest fine wine auction raised a total HK$49.6 million last week, with nearly 700 lots receiving fervent bidding over two days.

Highlights of the sale included: nine rare bottles of DRC’s Romanee-Conti, which sold for HK$1,058,250; a rare original 12-bottle case of Corton Charlemagne Coche Dury, which went for HK$547,800; and a rare wooden case of Latour1961, which sold for HK$522,900.

Terrence Tang, Zachys head of Asia said: “Aggressive absentee bids, online bids and telephone bids came in for renown single-owner collections The Crown Collection, Pioneers V, The Executive Cellar XV and others. Impeccable provenance is paramount when it comes to fine and rare wines and spirits.”

Zachys also revealed that it is already filling September 2021 auctions in Hong Kong and New York.


Robert Parker unveils ‘green’ search functions

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has launched two new search filters on its website, enabling users to search for wines that are certified organic and/or biodynamic. Selected wineries that have demonstrated ‘extraordinary efforts’ in the pursuit of sustainable practices have also been recognised by a new ‘Robert Parker Green Emblem’.

To qualify for the Robert Parker Green Emblem, a winery may or may not already be certified organic and/or biodynamic. Beyond certification, the producer needs to be an ‘outstanding proponent’ of sustainability looking towards long-term environmental protection and biodiversity.

Speaking to Harpers, Robert Parker Wine Advocate CEO Nicolas Achard said: “We are aware of the increased consumer desire for responsible and environmentally-committed viticulture, and for easier access to this information.

“In the Robert Parker Wine Advocate team, we share these concerns, which is why we decided to develop the Robert Parker Green Emblem to highlight the vineyards that combine richness of taste and sustainable viticulture. 

“We wish to facilitate the meeting between these committed winemakers, who prove to us how respect for the environment can glorify the terroirs and the vines without compromising the taste and the quality of the wines.”

The first Robert Parker Green Emblem in 2021 includes 24 wineries with ‘impeccable reputations’ for sustainability, with the list covering eight countries and five continents.


Vineyard frost damage linked to climate change

Weather patterns linked to climate change have made frost damage in French vineyards more likely, according to a new report developed by France’s national research institute, CNRS, and the University of Oxford.

Published in June as part of the World Weather Attribution Initiative, the report indicates that climate change has led to warmer winters, resulting in an earlier start to the growing season in general. This means that vineyards grow and mature faster, leaving them more exposed to eventual cold snaps.

Vines are particularly vulnerable after bud burst which is also taking place earlier, said the authors, who based their analysis on data from Champagne, the Loire Valley and Burgundy.  

Nicolas Viovy, a senior scientists involved in the research, said that these findings must serve as a warning. “If climate change gets worse, these changes will worsen too,” he said. “This will create challenges for farmers, the wine industry, and wine lovers everywhere.”


Stephen Fry stars in cinematic ‘love letter to Champagne’

A new documentary film, Sparkling: the story of Champagne has arrived in UK cinemas, starring British actor Stephen Fry and an all-star cast of producers and experts.

The film – described as a “love letter to Champagne” by its writer and director Frank Mannion – takes the viewer on a journey of all things Champagne and promises plenty of captivating anecdotes as well as a few tantalising revelations.

Mannion, who co-produced the documentary with Oxana Popkova, said his starting point was a fascination with the life of Dom Perignon, the Benedictine monk forever associated with the development of Champagne. “It’s such a vivid, evocative story,” he said. 

Also featured in the film are appearances from Vitalie Taittinger, Bruno Paillard and Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon (of Cristal and Louis Roederer). There’s also ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage of Fleur de Miraval, the new rosé Champagne from Brad Pitt.

The film is showing in select UK cinemas now, with a US debut planned for 13 August.

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