LAFITE Tag

UNSEEN ANDY WARHOL LABELS RELEASED BY NAPA WINERY

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Napa Valley winery Cuvaison has launched a new series of wines with ‘forgotten’ labels designed by Andy Warhol, who once said the original labels were “lousy”. The collaboration apparently began in early 1980s after Warhol was served a bottle of the Napa Valley Cuvaison wine at a dinner party in Switzerland hosted by his friend and the winery’s owner, Alexander Schmidheiny. When Schmidheiny asked what Warhol thought of the wine, Warhol replied, “What a lousy label,” and suggested a redesign. Commissioned by Cuvaison, Warhol took polaroids of grapes in a variety of patterns to create over 50 unique silkscreen prints for Cuvaison labels. The designs, however, were then forgotten about and left in a drawer until now. Thirty-five years on, Cuvaison, in association with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, has released the first limited-edition set of the ‘Andy Warhol by Cuvaison Collection’. The ‘Series One’ range is now available in Hong Kong and consists of...

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The Bordeaux Report

As En Primeur begins, we look at how Bordeaux is maintaining its grip on the wine world. By Tom Hyland and Wine-Searcher Staff | Posted Friday, 23-Mar-2018  Bordeaux isn't getting any more affordable, nor is it likely to; but there are some bargains to be had by canny collectors, according to the people who make it and those who sell it. As Bordeaux prepares for the En Primeur season, it's a good time to take stock of where this pre-eminent region sits in relation to the wine industry and the future. Our contributor Tom Hyland interviewed some of the region's top producers, while Wine-Searcher staff spoke to merchants around the world to get a feel for how both sides see Bordeaux's prospects. At a tasting in Chicago, representatives from more than 90 different Bordeaux estates poured their wines – white, red and sweet – from the 2015 vintage. The tasting featured producers of the...

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Boom Times for Austrian Wine

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An unheralded wine-producing region is enjoying the fruits of its labors – and the spotlight. By Natalie Sellers | Posted Friday, 16-Mar-2018 With a booming worldwide wine trade, it can be tough to pick the next big thing – but the central European country of Austria might just be it. Despite a small 2016 vintage, which reduced Austria's normal export volume by 3.3 percent to 46.8 million liters, the quality continued to be markedly high, leading to Austria's greatest export year for wine. A total increase of 7.4 percent was reported by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, translating to a record total of €158.6 million ($195m), the first time Austria has made it past €150m. Austrian wine exports rose rapidly from the end of the 1990s, but hit a plateau in 2004. Three years later, another steep rise saw exports almost double by 2013. Growth halted then for another three years, but looks to be...

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Champagne Exports Hit Record Heights

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Life's a gas for bubbly producers as thirsty international markets drive sales through the roof. By Caroline Henry | Posted Wednesday, 21-Mar-2018 Champagne exports hit a new record last year, with new markets making up for a disappointing result in one of the region's traditional strongholds. Poor sales in the UK were attributed to a post-Brexit tightening of household purse strings and a devalued currency, but Asia helped producers forget about the gloomy British picture. The record value figure was carried by the increasing export sales – which are now just shy of 50 percent of the total production, with 153.5m bottles sold totaling €2.8bn, or 57.4 percent of the total sales value. In concrete terms this means export sales increased by 5.4m bottles compared to 2016. The French market share decreased slightly in volume (from 158m bottles to 153.8m bottles) but the sales value remained stable at €2.1bn. Over the weekend, the Comité Champagne...

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Fraud Squad Finds Château-not-du-Pape

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Investigators put some numbers to a wine scam that put cheap wines into Rhône bottles. By Don Kavanagh | Posted Monday, 19-Mar-2018 French authorities have put numbers on a massive fraud uncovered last year, with an estimated 66.5 million bottles of inferior wine being sold off as Côtes du Rhône, with some even labelled as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. French consumer fraud investigators brought the CEO of bulk wine company Raphaël Michel to court in August 2017. Guillaume Ryckwaert was released on a €1 million ($1.2m) bond and his lawyer claimed jealous rivals were trying to discredit him. The allegations against Ryckwaert and the company claimed that cheap table wine from outside the Rhône had been knowingly mislabelled and sold into the trade. According to a report in the English-language French website thelocal.fr, France's consumer fraud body, the Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) revealed last week that almost...

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Wine Spectator Banned in New Jersey Prisons? Plus, ‘Bachelor’ Heads to Hall Winery

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Drug paraphernalia. Gang-colored accessories. Knives. Shivs. Shanks. Wine Spectator magazine? One of these things is not like the others, but that may not be an opinion shared by the administrators of New Jersey penitentiaries: Unfiltered has learned that our parent publication appears to be among the books and magazines banned in New Jersey prisons. That's right, New Jersey's incarcerated wine lovers might not be permitted to enjoy their favorite wine publication. The ban came to Unfiltered's attention during the controversy surrounding the state's decision to ban The New Jim Crow, a book about the mass incarceration of people of color (the ban on this particular book has since been lifted after public outcry). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey sent a Government Records Request to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, demanding documents detailing policies on restricting publications, as well as the titles of the banned materials. There,...

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FINE WINE INVESTMENT: PAST PERFORMANCES

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As we shall see, investing in fine wine is becoming more like investing in stocks and shares as the market expands, a feature attested to in many recent Liv-ex reports. This means that all investors have to be very careful as to what exactly they buy. You can’t just pick up a few cases and expect all to be well. The market is now much too broad for that. 30 years ago the range of availability was so narrow that virtually anything you bought went up in value. Not now, as is patently obvious from the evidence which follows. When assembling the portfolio a year ago we took the view that an overweight position in Bordeaux was merited as the recovery in prices from mid 2015 would lead to an improvement in confidence in the sector, and while that has been true for the ‘Super Seconds’ and the Second wines on the...

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The Million-Dollar Nose

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With his stubborn disregard for the hierarchy of wines, Robert Parker, the straight-talking American wine critic, is revolutionizing the industry -- and teaching the French wine establishment some lessons it would rather not learn. THE most influential critic in the world today happens to be a critic of wine. He is not a snob or an obvious aesthete, as one might imagine, but an ordinary American, a burly, awkward, hardworking guy from the backcountry of northern Maryland, about half a step removed from the farm. His name is Robert Parker Jr., Bob for short, and he has no formal training in wine. He lives near his childhood home, among the dairies and second-growth forests in a place called Monkton, which has a post office but no town center. A new interstate highway has reduced the drive to Baltimore to merely thirty minutes, but otherwise has had little effect. Monkton remains rural...

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10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Pontet-Canet

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No. 1. Betting on beards and sandals: Winemaker Jean-Michel Comme, who arrived at Château Pontet-Canet in 1989, can fairly claim responsibility for the astonishing improvements in the quality of its wine over the past few decades. This is not a man who takes his work lightly. He walks miles through the vines every day, and agonizes over every decision. Comme has his own estate – Champ des Treilles in Sainte-Foy – farmed biodynamically with his wife, Corinne, and it was his belief in the logic of biodynamics that first convinced Pontet owner Alfred Tesseron to convert. But we shouldn’t underestimate what it took for Tesseron himself to take the leap, both financially and philosophically. There were no classified Bordeaux estates that were certified biodynamic (and beyond Pontet there is still only one organically certified classified estate – Château Giraud in Sauternes), and the "beards and sandals" perception of the biodynamic approach lingered on. But Tesseron put his trust...

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10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About DRC

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This legendary domaine produces the most sought-after and expensive wines in the world from the elegant Echézeaux to the fabled La Romanée-Conti. By Tim Atkin MW 1. Nobody does it better The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (widely known as DRC, or in Vosne-Romanée, simply "le domaine") is the most famous producer in Burgundy. It has an array of vineyards – and a reputation – that are second to none, not even Domaines Leroy, Georges Roumier or Armand Rousseau. DRC is rightly regarded as one of the world's greatest estates, an opinion supported by the quality and longevity of its wines, as well as the prices they fetch on the secondary market. 2. In search of monks and lost time Since 2011 the estate's offices and principal barrel cellar have been located close to the church in the center of Vosne-Romanée. Before that, they were in the more modest, but equally discreet, rue Derrière le Four. Given the...

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