Wine News

Fine wine news roundup: 14 - 18 October


Haut-Batailley releases second label

Bordeaux fifth growth Chateau Haut-Batailley has announced the launch of its new second label wine, ‘Verso’.

The first vintage, the 2017, was planned when the Cazes family – which already owns Lynch-Bages – took over the property in March 2017.

The estate’s 2017 Grand Vin was subsequently released at €42 a bottle ex-negociant, signalling a clear jump from previous vintages and the family’s intention to reposition the estate under their management.

The new second label – priced at €25 per bottle – is no doubt a bid to fortify that effort.


Penfolds celebrates 175th anniversary with special bin release

Australian wine producer Penfolds marked its 175th anniversary with a special gala event and the release of its first Clare and Barossa Valley blend.

The Special Bin 111A Clare Valley Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016 is the first special bin release from the estate in almost a decade. Special bins are only produced in exceptional years from particular parcels of land.

Peter Gago, Penfolds chief winemaker, said the reveal of the new wine “created a moment I’m sure will be remembered for years to come. We await the next 175 years – the journey continues, and it’s a privilege to witness its progression.”


Beaujolais leads French exports

The growth of Beaujolais exports to the UK has far surpassed that of any other French region in the first eight months of 2019, with imports rising 34.5% in volume and 19.6% in value compared to the same period last year.

Dominique Piron, president of Inter Beaujolais, said: “For several years now, Beaujolais wines have been following a positive trend. The figures back that up.

“At a time when red wine drinking tends to be losing steam in favour of whites and roses, Beaujolais wines are showing good potential for the coming years, worldwide. The 2019 harvest will be a strong asset in continuing to attract consumers.”

Nonetheless, the 2019 vintage proved challenging in Beaujolais, with officials reporting a 25% yield decrease on the five-year-average due to frost, drought and hail.

However, Bertrand Chatelet, director of SICAREX (Beaujolais Institute of Oenological and Viticulture Research), noted that, “The wines are supple and round. The vintage is definitely moderate in quantity, but very noteworthy in quality. We’re in a run of good vintages.”


iDealwine to offer ‘unprecedented’ natural wine sale

Online wine auctioneer iDealwine is hosting an ‘unprecedented’ sale of natural wines from a single private collection.

The auction, which comprises 1,300 bottles including mature vintages and large formats, includes wines from established and in-demand producers that use biodynamic vinification methods. Names include Overnoy, Ganevat and Domaine des Miroirs from Jura; Prieure-Roch and Bizot in Burgundy; Domaine de l’Anglore and Thierry Allemand in the Rhone; Selosse and Ulysse Colin from Champagne; and Benaudeau and Clos Rougeard in the Loire.

Cyrille Jomand, CEO of iDealwine, said: “These auctions will be particularly coveted by wine enthusiasts as it offers an unprecedented, top-quality selection of the best natural wines of today. These references are often produced in limited quantities and are therefore highly difficult to source. Many of the lots are made up of one single bottle.”

The auction began online on Friday 11th October and ends on Wednesday 23rd October.


Climate change pushes Bordeaux to plant southern grape varieties

Bordeaux is readying itself for what could be the biggest change to its vineyards since the outbreak of phylloxera in the 1800s.

Authorities have officially voted in the use of seven new grape varieties, known for their greater resilience to extreme weather conditions. Reds include Touriga Nacional, Marselan, Castets and Arinarnoa, while whites comprise Albarino, Petit Manseng and Liliorila. All hail from areas in southern France, Spain and Portugal.

The new varieties – which only require ‘rubber stamp’ approval – will be planted next year.

According to the CIVB, plantings of Petit Verdot and Carmenere are also on the increase, as they are better equipped to withstand hot conditions than the likes of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Speaking to Harpers, CIVB president Allan Sichel warned: “What we can’t do is not do anything in the face of climate change – it is happening, with all prediction saying more warming, gaining another 1C° to 1.5 C° in next 20 or 30 years, which we can’t ignore.

“We need to adapt the vineyard to a makeup more suited to warmer temperatures – new grape varieties that will maintain the Bordeaux style of wine, based on fruit quality and harmony and structure and balance.”

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