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Fine wine news roundup: 11-17 April



LVMH creates prestigious collectors case to help support restaurant trade

Luxury brand LVMH has created a limited edition case of its most prestigious wines – including Chateau d'Yquem and Cheval Blanc – in a bid to raise more than €500,000 for the shuttered restaurant trade in the UK, US and France.

Some 300 numbered six-bottle cases will be produced, inscribed with the message ‘Together with the hospitality industry’. Each mixed case will include a single bottle of Y d'Yquem 2017, Chateau d’Yquem 2015, Chateau d’Yquem 2009, Cheval Blanc 2009, Cheval Blanc 2015 and Clos des Lambrays 2016.

Each case will be priced at €2,300, with all proceeds going to Hospitality Action in the UK, the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund in the US, and La Fondation de France, which are working to support the hospitality sector during the coronavirus lockdown.


Wine investment bounces back in China

The volume of high-end wine sales in Asia jumped 25% in March, according to global trader BI Fine Wine & Spirits, indicating that “confidence is returning to the region” as China and some of its neighbours begin easing lockdown restrictions.

BI’s global sales figures for March reveal that while overall like-for-like sales in 2020 were similar to 2019, there was a geographical flip with Asia accounting for 60% of the company’s total sales, and Europe – in an increasingly tightened lockdown – accounting for 40%, reversing the typical sales spread seen in 2019.

Speaking to Harpers, BI managing director Gary Boom said that while there was a softening demand in Asia at the start of the year, “there has been an exceptional bounce back” in recent weeks. “At the same time, fine wine has been exhibiting its trait of having little correlation with other asset classes during challenging market periods,” he said. “We are now seeing this stability driving renewed interest in wine investment.”


Tim Atkins launches inaugural Uruguay report

Leading wine writer Tim Atkins MW has launched his first report on Uruguay wine, following a visit to the country earlier this year.

According to Atkins, Uruguay is one of the most “exciting up-and-coming wine-producing countries in the world right now”, and while it may be the second smallest nation in Latin America, “it’s definitely punching above its weight”.

In compiling the report, Atkins visited a wide range of the country’s producers and tasted over 220 wines, eventually focusing on the 146 he scored 90 points or higher. The top scoring wines – which Atkins describe as ‘world class’ – are Bouza Monte Vide Eu 2018, which is a blend of Tannat, Merlot and Tempranillo, and Garzón Petit Clos Block # 212 Tannat 2018. Both were awarded 97 points.

Concluding the report, Atkins noted that "Uruguay is making the best wines in its history. What’s more, there are surely even better things to come.”


Jane Anson: Bordeaux 2019 is ‘worth your while’

Jane Anson, Bordeaux correspondent at Decanter, has revealed some clues as to what wine fans can expect from the 2019 vintage.

In an in-depth report on Bordeaux’s 2019 growing season, Anson says she’s so far tasted around 160 En Primeur samples from the vintage, as well as “many” vat and barrel samples tasted in the months between last September’s harvest and the beginning of lockdown in France.

While the publishing of scores is being held back until a decision has been made regarding the Bordeaux En Primeur campaign timing – and Anson has had the opportunity to taste further wines (including those normally shown at the official Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting) – she has hinted at what lies in store.

The hot vintage has given rise to “rich fruits, concentration, high alcohols [and] plenty of tannins”, she says, while the top wines on the Left Bank seem “less lush but more structured” than 2018. Meanwhile, the top Right Bank wines “seem closer to 2018 in style. They are rich and lush in many cases, although with slightly higher acidity levels than in 2018.” As for whites and sweets, Anson says she has found “great aromatics” and a “good composition overall”.

She also noted that “things are not normal this year, and there is no point pretending otherwise”. The wide-reaching impact of the coronavirus will always be associated with the 2019 vintage, and this, she says, could have unexpected impacts on its market. But, she concludes, “From my tastings so far, I would say the wines are going to make it worth your while.”

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