Listed: the Rhône’s strongest brands

This week, the Listed section travels to the Rhône to consider the region’s top brands. As might be expected, all are red – Chave’s Hermitage Blanc, the region’s top white brand (924), is only the Rhône’s overall 12th strongest. However in a battle between North and South, it is the latter that comes out on top in the form of Beaucastel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a Brand score of 993 – putting it amongst the top 25 brands on Wine Lister.

By far the cheapest of the five, Beaucastel leads across both Wine Lister Brand score criteria – presence in the world’s top restaurants and online popularity. However, whilst it is visible in 49% of the world’s finest establishments (just pipping Chave Hermitage’s 47% to the post), with 2.6 references per wine list on average it achieves the weakest vertical restaurant presence of the group, where Chave’s Hermitage manages the greatest depth (3.9 listings). If Beaucastel’s dominance within the world’s top restaurants is less clear-cut, when it comes to popularity amongst consumers it opens up a wider lead over the competition, receiving 16,565 searches on Wine-Searcher each month on average – 40% more than Jaboulet’s Hermitage La Chapelle – the group’s second-most popular wine.

Tied for second place with a Brand score of 987 are the two Hermitages from Chave and Jaboulet (La Chapelle). Whilst Chave leads in terms of restaurant presence (47% vs 43%), Jaboulet’s La Chapelle receives 6% more searches each month on average. Despite their identical Brand scores, Chave’s Hermitage is the clear winner elsewhere, with comfortable leads in the Quality category (959 vs 910) and Economics category (935 vs 863). Chave’s reward is a 36-point lead at overall Wine Lister score level (964 vs 928), and a price tag over twice that of Hermitage La Chapelle’s.

The Rhône’s overall top wine – Rayas (968) – is the region’s fourth-strongest brand (982). The group’s second Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it comprehensively outperforms the Beaucastel in terms of Quality (961 vs 876) and Economics (959 vs 823). It is thus perhaps the Beaucastel’s significantly larger annual production – roughly seven times Rayas’ – that has helped raise its brand to such lofty heights.

Rounding out the five is Guigal’s Côte Rôtie La Mouline with a score of 959. Whilst it can’t quite keep pace with the remainder of this week’s top five, it leads the two remaining “La Las” – La Landonne and La Turque – by six and 12 points respectively in the Brand category. Similarly to the Rayas, it is perhaps the extremely limited production of the “La Las” that keeps them from achieving even higher Brand scores – the combined annual output across the three cuvées is c.18,000 bottles.








The last word: Bordeaux 2017’s top 20 Quality scores

As we outlined in our introduction to the vintage, Bordeaux 2017 eludes generalisation. Striking arbitrarily, the late April frost resulted in a heterogenous Bordeaux vintage in terms of both volumes and quality.

Ahead of the official release of Wine Lister’s latest Bordeaux Market Study tomorrow (don’t forget to subscribe to secure full access, via the Analysis page)*, here we give you a preview of the top 20 Quality scores for Bordeaux 2017. Wine Lister’s Quality scores for Bordeaux 2017 are based on the recently-released scores for four of our five partner critics** – Jancis Robinson, Bettane+Desseauve, and Vinous’ Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin – as well as a small weighting for longevity:

The frequent flashes of yellow in the chart above are testament to the kindness of the 2017 vintage to Bordeaux’s sweet whites, with Yquem and L’Extravagant de Doisy-Daëne achieving first and second places (scoring 988 and 986 respectively). Other sweet wines, Rieussec, Suduiraut, and Lafaurie-Peyraguey make some of the largest gains on their 2016 positions. Sauternes & Barsac stand out as the only appellations whose combined 2017 Quality score is above that of the 2016 (up 21 points).

When it comes to reds, the right bank fares best, and is home to seven of the vintage’s top 10 wines, five of them from Pomerol. Lafleur is the top-scoring red (in third place overall) with a Quality score of 978, followed by Petrus and Vieux Château Certan on 971 apiece. Pomerol’s La Conseillante makes the largest strides of any red wine in the top 20, up 21 places since 2016.

Overall, Pomerol is the highest-scoring appellation of the vintage, with an average Quality score of 959 (nonetheless down 25 points from 2016).

The left bank has fared less well with two of the five left bank appellations seeing score decreases of c.10% (Margaux and Saint-Estèphe, achieving 850 and 829 respectively). Despite dropping six places – from the top spot last year – Latour wins the left bank crown, followed by consistent overperformer Léoville Las Cases.

Other wines featuring in the top 20 Bordeaux 2017 Quality scores are: Ausone, Figeac, Mouton, Le Pin, La Mission Haut-Brion, Lafite, Haut-Brion, l’Eglise Clinet, and La Tour Blanche. You can view Quality scores for wines outside the top 20 here.

*Now published: for more analysis of the 2017 vintage, subscribe to read our Bordeaux Study.

**Jeannie Cho Lee was unfortunately unable to travel to Bordeaux to taste this year.


Antonio Galloni’s top Bordeaux 2017 scores

The majority of Antonio Galloni’s Bordeaux 2017 scores have been added to Wine Lister. The release of his Saint-Emilion satellites will complete Vinous’ coverage of Bordeaux en primeur 2017. Below is an overview of his top-scoring wines so far for this vintage:

The only potential perfect scorer is Doisy-Daëne L’Extravagant (97-100). This strengthens the case for the Sauternes & Barsac appellations as the biggest successes of the 2017 vintage (see top scores from Bettane+Desseauve, Jancis Robinson and Neal Martin for comparison).

Five wines scored 95-98 points, and they are all from the right bank, which Galloni explicitly declares to be superior to the left bank in 2017. Lafleur, released today exclusively by Justerini & Brooks, achieves the top score bracket for a red wine from all four of Wine Lister’s partner critics, making it the red wine of the vintage.

It is joined at the top of Galloni’s picks by Ausone, Bellevue-Mondotte, Troplong-Mondot, and Vieux Château Certan.

The next score category, 94-97, is also dominated by the right bank, featuring 10 wines from Saint-Emilion or Pomerol and just six red wines from across the whole of the Médoc and Graves. The surprise entry is L’If, from the Thienpont family, which outscores its venerable older sibling, Le Pin (93-96).

Three left bank first growths make the cut: Lafite, Latour, and Margaux. Alongside its big brother, Pavillon Blanc is Galloni’s top scoring dry white 2017, also achieving 94-97 points.

Other wines scoring 94-97 from Antonio Galloni include: Bélair-MonangeFigeac, Fleur Cardinale, La Conseillante, La GaffelièreL’Église-ClinetLéoville Las CasesL’ÉvangilePape Clément, Pavie, Petrus, RieussecSmith Haut Lafitte, Suduiraut, and Yquem.

All these scores are now live on the wine pages of our website for subscribers to view (alongside those of Bettane+Desseauve, Julia Harding MW and Neal Martin), with links through to Antonio Galloni’s tasting notes on Vinous.com. Have a look at Antonio Galloni’s coverage of Bordeaux 2017 hereNB. As Jeannie Cho-Lee did not taste the 2017 Bordeaux, Antonio Galloni’s scores complete Wine Lister’s Quality scores for the vintage.


Listed: top five Bordeaux fourth growths by Wine Lister score

While the wine world lives and breathes Bordeaux during this year’s en primeur season, Wine Lister looks at some high-scoring Bordeaux reds that could easily be overlooked amidst the sea of releases to choose from across Médoc classified growths and beyond. Below we examine the top five fourth growths by overall Wine Lister score.

The highest-scoring Bordeaux fourth growth on Wine Lister is Château Beychevelle, with a score of 879. Its trailing Quality score of 790 is boosted by Brand and Economics scores of 980 and 904 respectively. Meanwhile, Beychevelle’s 2016 and 2015 vintages achieve Quality scores more than 15% higher than its wine-level average. It will be interesting to see how the 2017 vintage (with a Quality score of 805 thus far, based on partner critics Bettane+Desseauve, Neal Martin and Julia Harding MW for Jancis Robinson) is priced during this year’s en primeur campaign in the coming weeks.

In second and third place are Château Talbot and Château Branaire-Ducru, achieving Wine Lister scores of 859 and 842 respectively. Talbot is the most popular of the five, receiving 14,602 searches each month on Wine-Searcher, resulting in the group’s best Brand score (983). Talbot’s position as a ubiquitous Bordeaux brand is no doubt helped by a production level of c.400,000 bottles per annum – over twice as many as Branaire-Ducru.

The fourth entry and only Pauillac to feature, Duhart-Milon, has the lowest Quality score of the five (752), but carries a Brand score of 916 points. It is no surprise that, as part of the Lafite group, it is the most-traded Bordeaux fourth growth at auction, its top five vintages having traded 1,186 bottles over the past four quarters.

Finally, Lafon-Rochet appears in the Listed blog for the second week in a row (previously featuring in the top five Saint-Estèphes by Economics score). At 800 exactly, Lafon-Rochet’s Wine Lister score is safely in the “very strong” category on the 1,000-point scale. In the context of this week’s top five it has the third-highest Quality score (770), but its price per bottle is 41% below the rest – a savvy buy!