Wine news 007

Fine wine news roundup: 14-20 March


Bordeaux En Primeur testing week postponed

In a move that will likely not surprise anyone in the wine business, Bordeaux wine officials have postponed the upcoming En Primeur tasting week for the 2019 vintage, due to increasing concerns over the outbreak of coronavirus.

The event was due to take place between 30 March and 2 April, but organiser Union des Grandes Crus (UGCB) has told merchants it has been put on hold for now. In an email to Bordeaux negociants, the UGCB said that its teams were “working on solutions that will allow us to taste the 2019 vintage a later date”.

In a further statement, the organisation said: “We are sure that, given the current situation, everyone will understand and agree with our decision.”

The announcement comes amid a slew of other event cancellations and postponements throughout the wine industry, with Germany’s Prowein trade show and Burgundy’s annual tasting week among those called off due to coronavirus.


Chateau Latour pushes back 2012 release

Chateau Latour has postponed the release of its eagerly-anticipated 2012 vintage to the autumn.

The Pauillac First Growth had planned to release the new grand vin – the first to come from its cellars in eight years – this week, as well as the 2014 vintage of its second label, Les Forts de Latour. Both releases have been postponed due to the impact of coronavirus in France, which has led to lockdown in many parts of the country.

The release will be the first since the estate announced it was opting out of the En Primeur system in 2012, when it stated it would only release wines when it felt they were ready.


Wine Searcher reveals world’s most wanted Burgundies

Wine market platform Wine Searcher has revealed the most sought-after Burgundies on the planet, and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti not only leads the pack, but accounts for six separate spots among the top 10.

The list – which is based on the number of searches for Burgundy wine across the year – was last updated in 2017. According to Wine Searcher, “it's been a while since we ran this list, mostly because it was so predictable and unchanging that it was pointless”.

Not that there have been many changes to the names on the list – rather, the order of things has shifted slightly.


The top 10 list in its entirety, with average prices per bottle:

  1. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru - $19,846
  2. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru Monopole - $4,675
  3. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-St-Vivant Grand Cru - $2,529
  4. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru - $3,154
  5. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru - $2,157
  6. Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru - $2,782
  7. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grand Echezeaux Grand Cru - $2,455
  8. Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Cuvee Vieilles Vignes - $845
  9. Domaine Armand Rousseau Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru - $1,095
  10. Domaine du Clos de Tart Clos de Tart Grand Cru Monopole - $525

As Wine Searcher notes, back in 2017 a bottle each of the 10 most searched-for Burgundies would have set you back $32,379, or around $3,238 a bottle. Today, that average cost per bottle (based on each wine's worldwide average price) would be $4,006, marking a rise of 23.75%.

“And that's in an environment where the annual increase in price for top Burgundy is slowing down,” says Wine Searcher’s Don Kavanagh. “While the prices are still rising, they are not rising as fast as they have previously, suggesting that even Burgundy might have a price ceiling for investors.”


Jancis Robinson compiles list of wine retailers delivering to self-isolators

There are many things to be disgruntled about during the global crisis that is coronavirus, but going without a bottle of your favourite wine because you can’t get out of the house is not one of them.

This week, wine critic Jancis Robinson spotted a tweet from an individual currently in lockdown in northern Italy, suggesting social media users compile a list of the independent wine retailers happy to deliver to those currently in self-isolation. Robinson then asked her followers for suggestions to add to the pile, and what has since emerged is a comprehensive list of more than 200 indie retailers around the world prepared to deliver their wine wares to those sequestered at home.

The list features retailers from the UK, USA, Australia, Asia, Europe, South Africa and South America, along with details of each retailer’s delivery policy. Some will deliver locally for free, others will ask for a minimum order amount.

What better time to explore some new wines – or even just enjoy an old favourite – than now? And indeed, how better to do it than by supporting a local independent business.

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