PETRUS Tag

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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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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Why Bother Rating the First Growths?

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By Oliver Styles | Posted Monday, 05-Mar-2018 Even vintage variation can't sway critics from giving surprisingly consistent scores for big-name wines. If you find yourself regularly watching downhill skiing on the television you will, after a few races, understand that you are only watching it for two reasons. Firstly, like most sports, you want to see your country – or your hero – win. Secondly, and quite disturbingly, will come the inescapable realisation that you're waiting for someone to crash. Watching jumpsuit-clad men and women hurtle down a slope registering times that are only tenths and hundredths of a second apart, with no major errors on the way down, is athletically marvellous but, unfortunately, reasonably dull. Watching one or more of them lose an edge on a turn, or get their balance wrong on a jump, is exciting. It's exciting for the wrong reasons – like I imagine watching a gladiator fight would...

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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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10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About La Mission Haut-Brion

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This Bordeaux estate has been producing wines fit for royalty for nearly 475 years No. 1: A matter of destiny: In 1983, Château La Mission Haut-Brion became the property of Domaine Clarence Dillon – already the owners of neighboring estate Château Haut-Brion. The history of the properties shows that they were first linked right back in 1540, when Bordeaux merchant Arnaud de Lestonnac bought a parcel of land in Pessac – known as the Arregedhuys plot – that would one day form the basis of La Mission Haut-Brion. In the same year, de Lestonnac married Marie, sister of Jean de Pontac, the first significant owner of Château Haut-Brion, who had arrived there just seven years earlier. The marriage meant that the two men became brothers-in-law, and the estates became friendly rivals – although it would take almost 450 years for them to be officially joined. No. 2: Aristocratic buyout: For the formal signing of the 1983 purchase...

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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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2016 Bordeaux’s Greatest Hits

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© Rebecca Gibb | Figeac was one of the stand-out wines from last year's vintage. Former Wine-Searcher editor Rebecca Gibb MW goes wandering through the barrel halls of Bordeaux. There's no disputing that the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux is going to go down in history as a stunner: even as barrel samples the wines are bloody delicious. The general standard across the region is nothing short of incredible. Of course, in a region with more than 6300 winegrowers, there are going to be hits and misses, particularly when there was a drought and young vines have their roots in gravel or sandy soil. But on the whole, there are very few wines you'd put in Room 101. While the winemakers and many critics are calling this a classic; the weather in 2016 was far from classic. It rained and rained in the first half of the year – cue disease. And just when they...

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EVIDENCE OF OLDEST WINE IN HUMAN HISTORY DISCOVERED

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The oldest evidence ever found of wine made using grapes has been discovered in Georgia. Some 8,000 years old it confirms that mankind’s relationship with wine is as much as 500-1,000 years older than previously thought. In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of historians and scientists laid out the biomolecular archaeological and archaeobotanical evidence for the earliest wine yet discovered. The lead author on the report was Dr Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania who has been the discoverer of numerous ancient wines and alcoholic concoctions, including the funerary wine of ‘King Midas’ (actually of his father King Gordius) and the, until today, oldest evidence of wine yet discovered; 7,000 year-old traces found in pottery from the Zagros Mountains of northern Iran. The team analysed trace evidence preserved in clay jars recently unearthed in Neolithic villages in southern Georgia, not far from...

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