Bordeaux’s 2014 vintage – the story so far

A real buzz surrounded the release of Mouton Rothschild’s 2014 vintage on 28th April – not least because the opening price is lower than any other physical vintage of Mouton’s. At only a few pounds per bottle more than the 2013 , which is also still in barrel, it’s exciting news, and offers some hope following the recent murmurings that En Primeur would cease to exist if no enthusiasm could be generated about this year’s campaign.

Award-winning wines
Bordeaux’s 2014 vintage

Continue reading

Selling South African wines to the Chinese Market

When we think about wines with a global reputation, we tend to think of France first and foremost. Certainly when we talk about wines that are popular within the world’s biggest market for red wine, China, we tend not to talk about the wines of the new world. But why not? South Africa’s wines are gaining in popularity, their quality has been proven, and it seems that China has taken an interest — if recent reports are to be believed.

vine in Africa
Vines in Africa

Continue reading

Wines for spring – try something different!

If springtime is usually when you start phasing out red and drinking more white, then make this the year that you think outside the box and try something different. Today we’re looking at some creative suggestions for springtime drinks that might just surprise you.

Try new beverages and think outside the box
Try new beverages and think outside the box

Dry Sherry

If your only experience of Sherry is a glass of Bristol Cream on Christmas day, it’s time to think again as there is far more to this complex drink than the cream style that was largely developed for the British market. The Spaniards know that there is nothing more delightful to sip in the sunshine than a chilled Fino or Manzanilla sherry alongside some of their local cuisine. Forget everything you thought you knew about Sherry and give it a try – great with tapas, soup or salad. Continue reading

Is Parker’s Influence Diminishing?

There have been a few recent articles in the wine press suggesting that Robert Parker’s influence is on the decline – like this one from The Drinks Business quoting figures by The Wine Investment Fund. It’s an interesting question that rears its head every year, perhaps more significantly this year since Parker has made it clear he is taking more of a back seat role.

Is Parker’s Influence Diminishing? (source: telegraph.co.uk)
Is Parker’s Influence Diminishing? (source: telegraph.co.uk)

Re-scoring of the 2009s

Love him or hate him, no one can deny Parker’s impact over the last few decades. His scores out of 100 have cast a shadow on the fortunes of Chateaux, leading to many being accused of attempting to make wines that would appeal to the Parker palate in order to secure a high score. His recent re-scoring of the 2009s has shown that he is still a dominant influence on the market. In declaring 2009 to be ‘better than 1982’ and ‘the greatest vintage I have ever tasted in Bordeaux’, Parker has sealed the fate of the wines he has given perfect or near-perfect scores to, and it would be foolish for the investor to ignore this. Continue reading

Should I decant?

Give the wine a little swirl in a glass
Give the wine a little swirl in a glass

The Telegraph recently featured a report on whether a wine ought to be decanted before being drunk. You can read the full article here, but its writer, Victoria Moore, made it clear that she isn’t particularly in favour of decanting. Nonetheless she highlights some scenarios in which a wine can benefit from this process. She’s absolutely right that decanting is a personal preference and many of us that work in the industry will have had good and bad experiences of it. Not every fine wine will necessarily benefit — and it’s quite often the wines that we might not expect that will benefit the most. If you’re unsure whether you ought to decant or not, the following pointers might help you decide:

Pour a little first

Even if your wine is relatively inexpensive, if it’s suffering from a bit of bottle stink, decanting it might be just the ticket to shift any sulphurous odours it retains. Give it a little swirl in a glass before making a decision, and if you detect bottle stink, this is a candidate for decanting. Similarly if its flavours are muted, it will probably benefit from the aeration that decanting provides. Continue reading

What happens when a winery skips a vintage?

It was recently reported that the Tuscan Biondi Santi estate had decided to write off the 2014 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, their flagship wine. Biondi Santi’s wines are among the region’s most prestigious and it is likely that others will follow suit after difficult conditions throughout the season.

Brunello di Montalcino vines (source: Wikipedia)
Brunello di Montalcino vines (source: Wikipedia)

The toughest vintage

A wet summer in Italy hit Tuscany particularly hard. Other regions such as Prosecco were also badly affected by rainfall. The cool summer and excessive rainfall led to outbreaks of vine diseases throughout many regions from north to south. Continue reading

Asia’s love affair with Bordeaux

After a few shaky vintages in Bordeaux, you could be forgiven for feeling nervous that interest in the fine wine market was beginning to subside in Asia. Admittedly the market became so vast, so quickly, that there was little chance of growth continuing at such a fast pace. However, recent reports show that Asia’s love affair with Bordeaux is far from over, and in fact,this may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Mouton-Rothschild and the year of the ram

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild

The evidence speaks for itself – at the top end of the market, a recent ex-chateau auction of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild in Hong Kong smashed all records, fetching a total of US$4.1 million. An extraordinary collection of 66 bottles was featured, offering vintages between 1945-2012.

This auction took place just before the Chinese New Year, giving it particular significance for the Chinese bidders, since it is the year of the ram – of course ‘Mouton’ is the French word for sheep! Continue reading