Sotheby’s Tag

Wine Critics: A good or Bad Thing?

The Fine Wine Investment Market is driven by critics. Today we explore whether their influence is deserved, as well as whether we should listen? If you have been involved in the Fine Wine Market on any capacity, chances are you have come across Robert Parker Jr. Although there are many wine critics across the world Robert Parker Jr's influence is unrivalled. He offers a simplistic scoring system. 50 Points is the lowest score a wine can received, and 100 is the highest. Many regard Parker as the guru of the Fine Wine Marker. His influence can quite literally make or break a wine. This has lead to a culture within the wine producing world where producers aim to please him. Because if Parker is a fan, chances are the rest of the wine community will follow. Should one man have such an influence? This questions has been asked many times over the decades and...

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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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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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Château Haut-Bailly owner Bob Wilmers dies

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Robert G Wilmers, known widely as Bob Wilmers, died at his home in Buffalo, New York State, on Saturday night. He was aged 83. Owner of Château Haut-Bailly in Pessac-Léognan since 1998, and neighbouring Château le Pape since 2012, Wilmers was also the long-term CEO of M&T bank in Buffalo that he grew into one of the biggest financial institutions in the United States, all while retaining his image as a careful, risk-averse steward. Investor Warren Buffet said of him when learning of his death, ‘he was a remarkable banker, an even more remarkable citizen and wonderful friend’. In Bordeaux, he will be remembered for elevating Château Haut-Bailly into one of the very top estates of the region, investing in both vineyard and cellar and giving full trust to the considerable talents of director Véronique Sanders. ‘Bob arrived at Haut-Bailly extremely discreetly,’ Olivier Bernard, president of the union for Bordeaux grands crus (UGC), told...

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Aevum Limited Edition Crystal Decanter Series

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As part of The Penfolds Collection 2017 release, we are proud to unveil the second decanter in the Aevum Limited Edition Crystal Decanter Series. This contemporary, minimalistic crystal decanter is an evolution to the previous hallmark Saint-Louis crystal cut. The new design showcases the fluidity of the fine wine within with a flowing band of incised crystal, allowing an uninterrupted view of the depth of colour and consistency of the liquid inside.  Hand-blown by a Saint-Louis master craftsmen, each decanter is artistically designed to delicately aerate the wine. The Penfolds Aevum Crystal Decanter gift box includes 2013 Grange 750ml and a certificate of authenticity. Decanting Wine Delivering the ultimate service ritual is part of our culture and wine etiquette. Tradition, care, decanting and ceremony is woven into the fabric of Penfolds and transcends the ordinary. It enhances the enjoyment of a Penfolds wine to release aromas and flavours through aeration, and importantly delivers an unforgettable...

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Battling Dons prove a match for Peterborough as they earn point

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By Rob Cornell Wimbledon produced a battling display as they matched Peterborough United in front of the live TV cameras. Lyle Taylor opened the scoring inside the first minute and Cody McDonald notched his first Dons league goal in a 2-2 draw, as Wimbledon produced a strong team performance and weren’t to be denied when the visitors turned the score around in the first-half. There were two changes to the line-up that beat Lincoln City in the FA Cup first round over a week ago. George Francomb returned on the left side of defence for Callum Kennedy (back injury), while Liam Trotter came back into centre midfield in the absence of Jimmy Abdou – who was away on international duty with Comoros. Wimbledon got off to the perfect start when Harry Forrester’s ball found Taylor on the right-hand side of the penalty area. The Dons striker kept up his excellent run of form with...

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Wine Snobbery a Reflection of Ourselves

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Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White snubs English wine, but it's a prejudice we all share,Oliver Styles suggests. Funny how people make the news when something needs to be promoted. British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White made headlines recently by claiming that only a "numpty" would be buying English wine. This occurred – almost inevitably – at the same time as he was opening a new restaurant. Thus it is with a sense of unease that I choose to give White any more publicity than he deserves but his words – and the storm it generated over the grimy waters of an English teacup – do, I think, deserve some further, more global, examination. Here is what he was quoted as saying: "English wine is nonsense. They are overpriced and not very good. The French make the best wine. The English just play at it. We keep hearing this about English sparkling wine. I am...

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Parker Please Don’t Go

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Plenty of people love to hate Robert Parker, but Oliver Styles warns that we'll be lost without him. Posted Monday, 02-Oct-2017 It will no doubt come as some surprise to the likes of Jancis Robinson, Allen Meadows, James Suckling, Michel Bettane, Steven Spurrier, et al. to learn that, according to French broadsheet Le Monde, wine criticism has diversified since Robert Parker's "retirement". One might wonder what those luminaries were doing in the interim? Taking a form of Tennis Court Oath in the carpark of Château Margaux? Examining their fingernails while Parker was hitting home runs and slurping the last of his milkshake? Of course not. For decades scores of palates have been rating wines and publishing their thoughts. To suggest that, with Parker taking a back seat, wine critics have starting popping up like botrytis in a tropical rain event is disingenuous to say the least. Now, anyone who reads the Le Monde article in...

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Wine is now the best-performing collectible of the rich

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Fine wine is now the best-performing collectible of the world's wealthy collectors, with values soaring 25 percent over the past 12 months, according to a new report. The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index found that wine has replaced classic cars as the top collectible. Collectible wine prices surged 25 percent over the past year and are up 61 percent over the past five years. Fine wine is now the best-performing collectible of the world's wealthy collectors, with values soaring 25 percent over the past 12 months, according to a new report. The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, which tracks the price growth in the major categories of collectibles, found that wine has replaced classic cars as the top collectible. Thanks to strength in Bordeaux, Burgundy and northern Italian wines, collectible wine prices surged 25 percent over the past year and are up 61 percent over the past five years. The jump follows a boom and...

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