Fine wine news roundup: 13-19 June
Bordeaux 2019 continues apace
This week has seen a slew of new En Primeur releases, with most of which continuing a trend for reduced pricing.
- Ausone has made its 2019 release at €420 per bottle ex-negociant, down 25.7% on 2018.
- Brane Cantenac 2019 has been released at €39.60 per bottle ex-negociant, down 21.4%.
- Calon Segur 2019 has been released at €62.40 per bottle, down 13.3% on 2018’s price.
- Canon Gaffeliere 2019 has been released at €49.2 per bottle ex-negociant, down 21.2%.
- Clinet 2019 has been released at €52 per bottle ex-negociant, down 18.8% on 2018.
- Clos Fourtet 2019 has been released at €66 per bottle ex-negociant, down 19.2%.
- Clos Marquis 2019 has been released at €32.4o per bottle ex-negociant, down 11%.
- Conseillante released its 2019 at €120 per bottle, down 25.9% on last year.
- Ducru Beaucaillou 2019 has been released at €114 per bottle, down 18.1%.
- Figeac has made its 2019 release at €120 per bottle, down 31% on the 2018 release price.
- Giscours 2019 has been released at €33.60 per bottle, down 24.3% on last year’s price.
- Grand Puy Lacoste 2019 has been released at €42.60 per bottle, down 22.5% on 2018.
- Gruaud Larose 2019 has made its release at €51.60 per bottle ex-negociant, down 6.5%.
- Haut Bailly 2019 has been released at €66 per bottle ex-negociant, down 21.4%.
- Leoville Barton 2019 has been released at €51.60 per bottle, down 16.5% on the 2018 price.
- Margaux 2019 was released at €330 per bottle, down 19.1% on 2018’s opening price.
- Montrose 2019 has been released at €96 per bottle ex-negociant, down 24.1% on last year.
- Pape Clement 2019 has been released at €57.60 per bottle ex-negociant, down 12.3%.
- Pavillon Rouge made its 2019 release at €120 per bottle down 16.7% on the 2018 release.
- Pichon Baron made its 2019 release at €94.80 per bottle ex-negociant, down 16.8%.
- Talbot 2019 has been released at €33.60 per bottle ex-negociant, down 20.0% on 2018.
James Suckling reveals all 2019 scores
Critic James Suckling was one of the first to publish notes and scores on the 2019 vintage, initially publishing his thoughts on 13th May, long before the flurry of En Primeur releases. Since then Suckling and his team have scored an additional 500 wines, with Suckling finding several instances of potential perfection.
Chateau Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild, L’Eglise Clinet, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and Ducru Beaucaillou have each been scored 99-100 points by the critic. Of releases so far, Ducru Beaucaillou is the cheapest of the bunch, at just €114 per bottle, ex-negociant.
Suckling’s pick of the campaign, however, is Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc, which he scored a perfect 100 points – a feat not often seen during En Primeur tastings. He described the wine as “crazy quality”, adding that it’s “like a great Montrachet from a great vintage, but so Haut Brion. Speechless. Perfect wine”.
Related link: James Suckling Bordeaux 2019 Scores
Wine Australia announces ‘smallest vintage in living memory’
Australia’s 2020 vintage is expected to be the “smallest in living memory”, according to organisation Wine Australia. In a year that saw frost, drought, bushfires and then the disruption of COVID-19, the country is expected to produce around 1.4 million to 1.5 million tonnes, against an average of 1.75 million.
However, while the vintage may be small, producers are confident that it’s perfectly formed. During this week’s Wine Australia webinar, host and Australia specialist Sarah Ahmed said: “The winemakers I've been speaking with countrywide, and with us today, expect to produce some sensational wines. The great news is that with low yields there are concentrated flavours.”
Virginia Willcock of Vasse Felix described 2020 as “a phenomenal” vintage, noting that, “This is not a great vintage for accountants, but a beautiful vintage for winemakers.”
Charles Heidsieck launches ‘dangerously drinkable’ 2012 vintage
Champagne house Charles Heidsieck has released its 2012 vintage in the UK, with cellar master Cyril Brun describing it as “dangerously drinkable with a noble bitterness”.
Brun said he believes the wine bridges the divide between the 2006 and 2008 vintages. During the wine’s virtual launch this week, he said: “We decided to release the 2012 vintage now as it’s entering an interesting phase. In terms of style I would place it in between 2008 and 2006. It doesn’t have the same generosity as 2006, but isn’t as austere and closed as 2008.”
Describing the wine – a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay – Brun said: “It’s rich and mature but there is a tension to it and a noble bitterness that will help the wine age. On the nose are notes of peach, candied fruit and mirabelle plum.” He added that the Champagne, which will retail for around £100 per bottle, “is very enjoyable now as it’s quite rich, but it will age comfortably for a decade”.
Wine-Searcher reveals world’s most expensive Italian wines
It’s no secret that Italian wine is enjoying its moment in the spotlight right now. As investors look for alternatives to the usual targets of Bordeaux and Burgundy, the region has emerged as a focus for savvy collectors looking to diversify their portfolios. Now, Wine-Searcher has revealed the most expensive Italian offerings currently on the market.
Leading the charge is Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Selezione DOCG, with an average price of $1,225 per bottle. This is followed by Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo Riserva DOCG, at $1,213, and Roagna Crichet Paje Barbaresco DOCG at $842. At the bottom of the 10-strong list is Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio Monprivato Ca d'Morissio, Barolo Riserva DOCG, at a still very respectable $627 per bottle.
According to Wine-Searcher, these prices represent an average increase of 48.9% compared to six years ago. Over the last year, meanwhile, they’ve increased by an average of 10.8%. By comparison, the best performer from Bordeaux’s most expensive wines, Petrus, has increased just 2.66% over the last year.
Related link: The World's most expensive Italian wines