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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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Today at 4 pm: Duo aim to push Dons towards Premier League in Football Manager

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A treat this afternoon for fans of iconic computer game We’re all looking forward to the day when the Dons are back in the top-flight, but our friends at Sports Interactive are hoping to take us there first on their world-famous game, Football Manager. Curtis Morton and Tom Davidson, hosts of the studio’s YouTube series The FM Show, are stepping into Neal Ardley’s shoes and attempting to lead the club into the promised land! They’ll also be broadcasting the whole thing live on Twitch. After an opening episode that featured a dramatic 3-2 victory over Norwich in the Carabao Cup and an unbeaten start in League One everything is finely poised ahead of today’s second live stream, so what better time to tune in and lend your support to the boys? Today’s episode kicks off at 4.00 pm. Click on Wombling Free to to be redirected to the Twitch live stream. More episodes will follow every two weeks....

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Cheer on the Dons in pursuit of vital points against Oxford

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Following a rare weekend without a game, the Dons are back in match action on Saturday – and tickets are available to show your support for Neal Ardley's men. In an interview on our website yesterday, long-serving Wimbledon defender Jon Meades talked about players, supporters, and staff working together to stay up this season, and every point is crucial now with just 11 games to go. On Saturday, the Dons renew rivalries with Oxford United, a club with just four points more in League One. Last season, Wimbledon did the double over the men from the Kassam Stadium, finally ending that Oxford hoodoo! A similar performance would be very much welcome this Saturday and you can get your ticket now to cheer on the Dons. Tickets are available for the RyGas terrace and the Chemflow End by booking from our online ticket shop. Alternatively, you can buy in person from the club office...

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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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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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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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