Mixed bag for en primeur Bdx17 sales

Interview with Sarah Phillips of Liv-Ex.com 

13 June 2018

A wine market specialist explains the challenges of selling Bordeaux futures in this 2017 vintage campaign. Prices are the key issue of course: Is it worth your while to lock in hard-earned money on wine that you will not see as a final product for up to three years? What if back vintages of comparable quality are already available and cost less?

I just got off the telephone with Marielle Cazaux of the famous Château La Conseillante in Pomerol, whose wine was released today for €141 per bottle: a 20% drop in price from the futures offering last year.

The drop in price is welcome, but Cazaux said that the 2017 futures campaign is “complicated” ; she much prefers choosing harvest dates than choosing wine prices. Cazaux appreciates the work of Liv-Ex, which merchants use for trading, data and settlement services to help grow their wine businesses. Liv-ex’s global network helps people to trade safely and efficiently with other merchants worldwide. Its comprehensive data brings transparency to the market, and offers valuable insights to merchant members and their customers.

Interview with Sarah Phillips of Liv-Ex.com 

In this interview Liv-Ex’s Sarah Phillips (photo above), explains that we journalists can be stuck between a rock and hard place (that’s awfully understanding of her!) and that secondary market activity for back vintages has reached near record highs in the last two weeks. She gives valuable insight to the ongoing en primeur campaign.

Why is the campaign so far a “mixed bag”?  Read More

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China’s Wine Future

Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

As provided by ProWein: Specialist Article / June 2018

By Stuart Pigott & Paula Sidore

All photos in this posting: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

7 June 2018

While certainly few of us missed China’s rise to the position of a major economic power, that newly established prowess continues to fight the biased western preconception of wine and China. On the one hand we have the image of the Chinese wine drinker pouring cola in her Chilean Cabernet or ice cubes in his red Bordeaux, on the other the Chinese market is perceived as a wine utopia where every kind of wine –  the great, the good and the ugly – will be sold in huge quantities one day very soon. These dangerously outdated preconceptions, however, ignore the burgeoning truth: the steadily growing consumption and production of wine in China.

One visible example of these changing attitudes includes the success of Shanghai’s ProWine China. Since 2013, this event has been co-organized by Messe Düsseldorf — responsible for the world’s largest international wine trade fair, ProWein — and UBM World. The next ProWine China will take place from November 13 – 15, 2018, with 700 wine and spirit producers and approximately 15,000 visitors expected to attend.

Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

Year after year, China continues to grow in both numbers and experience as a producer of wine. In fact, few outside China realize that Changyu, based in Yantai in Shandong Province is the third largest wine brand in the world with annual sales of 135 million liters, exactly equal to the Californian E. & J. Gallo brand! Great Wall — owned by state-owned COFCO — is also one of the world’s ten largest wine brands with annual sales of 63 million liters.  Read More

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Château Margaux: 40 years on

Vertical opulence, with Thibault Pontallier: 1978-2014

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

2 June 2018

Over dinner on 9 May this year, I was lucky to attend a vertical of this magnificent first growth from the Médoc: the highly acclaimed – à juste titre – Château Margaux.

Vintages included the first-ever under the Mentzelopoulos family, the 1978, which showed quite well. We also enjoyed stars like 1983, 1996 and 2010, among others.

The true star was none other than Thibault Pontallier, who had flown to Washington D.C. from Los Angeles that same day for this dinner, which was held in a Baroque style private room at the Spanish restaurant Taberna del Alabardero. I had organized a vertical dinner of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande at this restaurant late last year.

Opulence meets opulence: Private dining at Taberna del Alabardero in Washington D.C.

Thibault had been in Copenhagen, Denmark a few days before: promoting a super brand means traveling. Born in 1986 in Bordeaux, he is the son of Paul Pontallier, who had been making wine for the estate since his first vintage there of 1983.

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Clos Vougeot: 2008 to 1989

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com 

29 May 2018

The name evokes legends. And the château is a beautiful place, as you can see in the picture I took this past March, for part of a fantastic week of the Grand Jours de Bourgogne. The day was 22 March 2018, and the tasting? A vertical for media only, of vintages from a variety of estates stretching from 2008 to 1989. I also had done a similar tasting back in 2016.

According to Jasper Morris, in his excellent tome Inside Burgundy, it is uncertain when walls first enclosed the Clos Vougeot vineyard, but there is mention of a so called clausum de Vougeot in 1211 and of a grand clos de Cîteaux de Vougeot in 1228.

Within the Clos …

Monks were already making wine apparently since one century before. It was once a single vineyard, but then broke into various ownerships in its nearly 900-year history. A major date was the French Revolution, which led to the disenfranchisement of the religious owners – so typical of that turbulent period in French history. It eventually fell into single ownership until 1889, when it was sold to six owners. By 1920, there were 40 owners. Today, about 80.

So Clos Vougeot is a veritable Burgundy jewel. But with so many owners, a very good example of a wine minefield. When it was a single vineyard, many historians believe that the wine was made from grapes across the slope.

Clearly, its 50 hectares vary in terroir quality and almost everyone agrees that the middle to top slope merits grand cru status, while much of the rest is more like premier cru.

But then how can you explain why some very successful Clos Vougeots are made from vines grown closer to the bottom of the slope?

Winemaking. Indeed, some producers with “inferior” plots can outpace others with “superior” plots. As Jasper Morris experienced a few years earlier, when he tasted over 20 Vougeot wines: “The skill of the winemaker seemed to have much more impact than where the parcel of vines was located.” Read More

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Domaine de Chevalier vertical 2016-2000 (red)

Consistency and excellence

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

28 May 2018

For several years now, I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed older vintages of wines both red and white from Domaine de Chevalier, a renowned estate from the Pessac-Léognan appellation of Graves in Bordeaux.

From a vertical of the whites, I helped to organize in Merano, Italy some years ago, to another vertical for both reds and whites at Black Salt in Washington D.C., tasting Domaine de Chevalier is a most positive experience.

And so it was no exception to have enjoyed another vertical – this time blind – of recent reds from this estate, reaching back to 2000 and up to 2016, although the 2001 was missing.

The 2016 was easiest to detect; could it be the best red ever made here? Owner Olivier Bernard prefers his 2010 for that honor, even if at this tasting this venerable Bordeaux vintage came off veritably closed. The other super star of these? 2009! Was it easy to detect the 2013? Not here. How about the 2002? Well, not really … Read More

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