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Fine wine news roundup: 8-14 June


Bordeaux 2018 releases continue apace

More Bordeaux chateaux have made their 2018 releases, with the Right Bank dominating this week’s headlines. Notable labels include:

  • Ausone 2018, released at €565 per bottle – up 17.7% on 2017’s release price.
  • Belair Monage 2018, released at £1,400 per case of 12 – up 18.6% on 2017.
  • Carruades de Lafite 2018, released at €180 per bottle – up 33%.
  • Clarence Haut Brion 2018, released at €108 per bottle – up 5.9% on last year.
  • Chateau L'Eglise Clinet 2018, released at €210 per bottle – up 25% on 2017.
  • Chateau L'Evangile 2018, released at €180 per bottle – equal to last year’s release price.
  • Fleur Petrus 2018, released at £1,990 per case of 12 – up 12.2% on 2017’s release price.
  • Haut Brion 2018, released at €408 per bottle – up 17.2%.
  • Lafite Rothschild 2018, released at €470 per bottle – up 23.3% on 2017.
  • Margaux 2018, released at €408 per bottle – a rise of 17.2% on last year.
  • Mouton Rothschild 2018, released at €408 per bottle – a rise of 17.2%.
  • Pavie 2018, released at €282 per bottle – up just 2.2% on last year’s release price.
  • Pavillon Rouge 2018, released at €144 per bottle – an increase of 9.1% on 2017.
  • Petit Mouton 2018, released at €168 per bottle – up 16.7% on last year.


Christie’s latest London sale brings in £3.5m

Auctioneer Christie’s latest London sale realised more than £3.5m last week. Held across two days, the auction made a total £3,575,983, with the majority of that sum coming from a single owner collection of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Italian wines.

The top lot of the sale – which was 100% sold – was a six-bottle case of 1990 La Tache from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, which made £55,125. A case of 1990 Chateau Le Pin followed at £49,000.

Other highlights included a bottle of 1847 Chateau d'Yquem, which went for £42,875, six magnums of Philipponnat’s 1951 Clos de Goisses, which sold for £36,750 and 10 magnums of Selosse’s 1976 Grand Cru Blanc, which sold for £29,400.


Rioja wine board adopts far-reaching transparency measures

Rioja’s wine board has adopted a number of comprehensive new rules on legally binding bottle label references, in a bid to provide greater clarity and assurances to consumers.

Speaking to Harpers, Inigo Torres, managing director of Grupo Rioja, said the rules were designed to stamp out abuses of the system. “By using the new terms on bottle labels, producers have to demonstrate the veracity of their wine production. Otherwise they will be obliged to remove the labels and could be fined.”

The rules – which will come into effect in January 2020 – stipulate a number of conditions for the use of specific terms. ‘Vinas Viejas’ (old vines), can only be used if vines are at least 35 years old with the wine made from at least 90% of old vines, while ‘Vinas de Altura’ (elevated or high altitude vines) have to be vines planted least 550 metres above sea level.

Elsewhere, ‘Embotellado en la Propiedad’ (estate bottled) can only be used if the brand is owner of the vineyard and the vines have been in continuous production for more than 10 years.

Additional changes also mean that white and rose crianza wines are permitted on the market sooner than the previously stipulated minimum two years following barrel and bottle ageing. Wines can now be released in March instead of September, closer to their optimal consumption period.


Bonhams offers up top Napa wines at San Francisco sale

Bonhams San Francisco will have a wide variety of fine and rare Californian wines on offer at its sale this month.

The auction – which features over 500 lots – boasts Californian wines from every decade since the 1970s. Highlights will include 1978 Diamond Creek Lake Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 1974 Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Harlan Estate, 2013 Ridge ‘Monte Bello’, 2004 Dominus and 2016 Screaming Eagle.

The sale will also feature a number of top rate Burgundies and Bordeaux from Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite Rothschild.


Champagne Taittinger expands English vineyard ahead of first harvest

Champagne Taittinger has planted a further 8.5 hectares of vines at its Kent vineyard Domaine Evremond ahead its first commercial harvest this year. The additional hectares consist of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, and bring the total area under vine to 28.5 hectares.

Champagne Taittinger was the first Champagne house to plant vines in the UK, followed closely by Champagne Pommery. The site is said to be aiming for a production of 300,000 bottlers per year, with the first wines released in 2024.

Chairman of WineGB, Simon Robinson, referred to the news as “another milestone” for the industry, predicting that at the rate of current growth, the UK is set to produce around 40 million bottles of wine a year by 2040.

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