Fine wines to watch

Various factors come together to determine the value of a wine – there’s the quality of the vintage, its classification, and perhaps most significantly, how it has been rated by wine critic Robert Parker. Wines that Parker scores with 90 points or above become highly desirable often regardless of their Bordeaux classification, including wines that might otherwise slip under the radar. So, what are the factors that determine which wines are the ‘ones to watch’ whose value will improve the most?


The wines of Bordeaux were classified in 1855 and little has changed since then. Recently though, there has been some movement. Two St Emilion estates received promotion to Grand Cru Classé A status, Pavie and Angélus, resulting in a flurry of activity as buyers sought to get their hands on them.
Of course, re-classification doesn’t happen overnight, and a good deal of legislation accompanies it, giving the smart investor with a close eye on the market a chance to source wines that are being considered for promotion.

Parker re-evaluates the wine in bottle

The score that Parker initially assigns to a wine on tasting the barrel sample is a crucial one, but it’s often his in-bottle score in the years to come that determines the wine’s value on the second-hand market. A recent example was Parker’s perfect scoring of Chateau Pontet-Canet 2010– a fifth growth punching above its weight whose value has rocketed.

A special endorsement

When Hong Kong first emerged as a market for Bordeaux, First Growths dominated. In his ‘Magical 20’ tasting, Parker selected 20 wines from the 2009 Bordeaux vintage that he felt were of First Growth quality, taking attention away from the top wines and ensuring that there would be a race to buy the wines he endorsed. Wines like Cos d’Estournel and Pichon Lalande were identified for praise, and their value consequently soared.bordeaux

A new market?

Who could have predicted how immense the market for fine wine in China would be? Far from slowing down, this is a market whose taste is changing, turning its attention to wines from beyond Bordeaux and exploring different wine regions. It is possible that India will soon drop its wine import duty too, and it is worth keeping an eye on markets like Russia and Singapore as well. Wines to watch out for include Chateaux with historic links to emerging markets.

When it comes to wines to watch, we can’t get it right every time of course, nor can we predict what will appeal to one man’s palate, so for every 2010 Pontet-Canet there will also be a Pichon-Baron whose value suffered slightly from not receiving a perfect score from Parker this time. Nonetheless it remains highly investible and may benefit from re-evaluation in future. Ultimately fine wine is a solid investment, and if you happen to have some of these wines in your collection, your investment will prove to be even more lucrative than you thought.

Fine Wine and Food Connoisseurs

At the London based independent brokerage BWC Management & Consulting, it is all about the quest to explore the finer things in life. We believe that the delicate balance that a top quality wine brings to the palate, when correctly combined with culinary fare, is a voyage everybody should regularly embark on. Wine is not only a flavour enhancer, but also an excellent alternative investment and an age old art form. To harness the full potential of this exquisite liquid, it is important to be aware of the social decorum attached to tasting and drinking wine – and also to know a bit more about the wines and how to successfully pair it with food.

It is not Just About Swirling and Sniffing

Wine can be enjoyed in many different ways but most commonly as an aperitif, at the table during a meal or as an end to a meal to provide a sweet closure. Temperature is the first consideration and a good rule of thumb is to serve red wine at 18C and white wine at 11C. Depending on the age of the wine, it should be decanted between 30 minutes and an hour before being served. This allows the wine to breathe and improves the flavour and aroma. Red wines in particular are enhanced with aeration. Use a stemmed glass to keep the temperature stable, enjoy the bouquet and finally savour the taste. The fundamental food and wine pairing rules are: red with meat and white with fish, and the heavier the meal, the more robust the wine should be.

Vigorous Reds

Fine Wine and Food Connoisseurs

The full-bodied, earthy and spicy flavour of a quality Shiraz is ideal with red meat and hearty stews and the celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon can be similarly matched with stronger flavours. Merlot is softer and more flexible when paired with food. This wine’s signature ’round’ taste makes it easy to drink with a large variety of dishes. The complexity that Pinot Noir offers is particularly well matched with chicken, lamb and salmon.

Refined Whites

Versatile and balanced, Riesling increases in intensity with age and complements most chicken and fish dishes. Spicy food is particularly enhanced with the fruity flavour of Gewürztraminer and the wider-bodied Chardonnay is ideal with flavourful seafood dishes like smoked fish. Young Chardonnay suits Italian dishes and the older and smoother Chardonnay is better suited to being enjoyed with strong flavours like mature cheese. The crisp elegance of Sauvignon Blanc is a distinguished accompaniment to even the most delicate fish dishes, while also being suitable to poultry and light meals like salads.

To end it all

In conclusion, a good dessert wine brings the journey of flavours full circle. It appeases the senses and leaves the diner ready for yet another taste adventure, made particularly enjoyable by having the right wine as travel companion.