Current gold indeed

Zind-Humbrecht 2015

By Panos Kakaviatos for

16 March 2017

In 2015, I reported for Decanter on the Alsace harvest as being warmer than usual. The Alsatian Wine Council (CIVA), for example, had allowed acidification in Alsace for the first time since 2003, because acidities were lower than in previous years. But, acidity is above 2003 in general, thanks to cool evenings in August and September.

So I do admit to having felt just a bit of trepidation before tasting the just-bottled 2015 vintage wines of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht earlier this week.

Some wine professionals judge Zind-Humbrecht as too rich, especially in warmer vintages. But as Eric Asimov noted in the New York Times, way back in 2011, the style has changed, for some time already. By the time I wrote an article in Decanter Magazine, in 2014, about a focus on making dryer wines in Alsace, the pace had only increased.

Getting set to taste the just bottled 2015 vintage from Zind-Humbrecht

How did I find the 2015s? My third year in row to taste the latest vintage to be offered from bottle at Zind-Humbrecht? Remarkably balanced, pristine and, for the most part, rather brisk. There is a Hermes-like quality, a velvety smoothness, to many of the wines, and much underlying power in the more prestigious brands like Brand and Rangen de Thann, coming from particularly advantageous terroirs and older vines. Read More

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Wine sales expected to make further gains in 2017: Live-Ex

Industry report via Live-Ex 

11 March 2017

Merchants are predicting further gains for the industry benchmark Liv-ex 100 index, which gained 25% in 2016.

Liv-ex members are expecting the fine wine market to rise further in 2017, according to the results of a survey conducted in February.

 On average, respondents expect the industry benchmark Liv-ex 100 index to increase by 7.8% this year to close on 320.6. This would represent a second year of strong gains for the market. Read More

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Petrus for over $30k a bottle

Prestige fine wine market is alive and kicking, especially driven by American and Asian buyers

From Sotheby’s 

25 February 2017

A Wednesday fine wine sale in London featuring a private collection totalled £1,716,922 (over $2.1m), exceeding the £1.5 million top estimate.

Lots found buyers across 21 countries, led by the UK, Hong Kong and Russia.

An Imperial (6 litre) of Petrus 1989 achieved £28,200, the highest price of the sale. There was keen competition for both mature and young Bordeaux and sought-after Burgundy producers such as Armand Rousseau and Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair. Read More

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Unsung? Perhaps, but well done!

The Salon des Vignerons Indépendants 

By Panos Kakaviatos for

Some great values from the Jura, the Côtes du Rhône, the Loire Valley, Saint Joseph and Champagne among others …  

19 February 2017

As I prepare my trip to cover Bordeaux en primeur in late March, I took time to taste through wines from lesser-known French regions with partner in wine crime Kevin Gagnon, who was a fellow student for the WSET diploma in Rust, Austria. Kevin is a professional opera singer and wine expert – and a great guy. So it was fun to discover less famous appellations that yield much pleasure – and sometimes superb quality/price ratios.

The occasion was the Salon des Vignerons Indépendants, a massive grouping of often lesser known producers throughout France. It is a traveling consumer trade show, that traverses French cities, and thus wise to get their early, as the crowds get quite thick. And best to keep your coat in the car, and even wear a T-shirt as it gets hot. Read More

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Hockney graces Mouton

By Panos Kakaviatos for

9 February 2017

What is it about Mouton Rothschild that makes it so appealing?

The wine in the bottle can be amazing.

Sure, it is far too expensive for most of us mere mortals. At least it has become so – like the other first growths. I still recall a time when one could have bought Mouton for about $150 en primeur. And that was too pricey for some older buyers at the time.

These days, a very good vintage fetches between $300 and $500 and a great vintage $600 and up. Too much for a single bottle of wine, I say. But if you have the money, I guess you have a different perspective.

And let’s hand it to the estate for its creative use of artists to change the label year in, year out.

Wine as art? Certainly chez Mouton. Read More