With the days quickly shortening and misty mornings become the norm, we bid farewell to rosé for the year and welcome back old favourites. Autumn is the perfect season for Piedmontese reds, which are not only so redolent of mist-covered hills, but also pair perfectly with the region’s food at this time of year. With that in mind, this week’s Listed section features Piedmont’s top five wines by Brand score.
Whilst Barolo might be the region’s most famous appellation, it is Gaja Barbaresco that tops the table with an outstanding Brand score of 976. It performs extremely well across both of Wine Lister’s Brand criteria – restaurant presence and online popularity – coming first and second respectively. It is visible in 33% of the most prestigious establishments worldwide, and attracts more than 8,400 searches on Wine-Searcher each month.
Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva comes next (968). The first of three Wine Lister Buzz Brands in the group, it is by far the most expensive. Receiving on average 9,358 searches each month on Wine-Searcher, it is also the most popular wine in the group. Interestingly, despite experiencing the lowest restaurant presence (23%), it enjoys the greatest depth in terms of number of vintages and formats listed (4.4) – testament to its extraordinary ageing potential of over 24 years.
Bartolo Mascarello Barolo (of “no barrique, no Berlusconi” fame) fills the third spot. This staunchly traditional producer enjoys its best scores in the Brand category, with its excellent search frequency of over 7,000 searches each month helping it to a score of 960.
The last two spots are filled by another wine each from Giacomo Conterno and Gaja – Barolo Francia (formerly Casina Francia) and Sperss (now labelled as Barolo again from the 2013 vintage after 17 years declassified to Langhe Nebbiolo) [Friday fun fact – Gaja now labels wines under the Europe-wide DOP classification rather than the strictly Italian DOC status]. Both wines have strong restaurant presence, at 30% and 31% respectively. Either would be a perfect accompaniment to Alba’s famous white truffles, which will be starting to appear in some of those restaurants now.
Analysis of Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006, which has been released today in the UK at £100 per bottle, with a Wine Lister Quality score of 983 – its best ever:
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006
Wine Lister’s Brand category measures a wine’s performance across two criteria: popularity and distribution. In conjunction with its Quality and Economic performance, this allows a holistic assessment of a fine wine. It also enables a comparison of the performance of entire fine wine regions. Below we look at the average scores over both Brand criteria of the top 50 wines in Bordeaux, Burgundy, California, Italy, and the USA.
Bordeaux dominates, with powerhouses Yquem and Mouton demonstrating the success of its classification system and the centuries-old global repute of its top crus. Its best wines are by far the most popular with consumers – searched for nearly four times more frequently on average than second-placed Italy. They are also the best distributed in the world’s most prestigious restaurants, present in 31% on average, and with 5 references per list.
Whilst Champagne comes second in terms of breadth of presence in restaurants, its top wines don’t achieve much depth in terms of vintages or formats listed – presumably because many of them are non-vintage.
Burgundy competes well in terms of restaurant presence, with the likes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru enjoying a strong showing in top restaurants. Meanwhile the region is fourth most popular in terms of searches each month on Wine-Searcher.
Italy is unique in that Sassicaia is both its most popular wine and also its best distributed. However, whilst its top wines are the second most popular overall, they also experience the second lowest level of distribution.
Finally, the USA’s best wines achieve a strong level of vertical restaurant presence, but come last in terms of both horizontal presence and popularity, suggesting the New World still has a way to go in terms of brand strength.
Download a PDF version here.
First published in French in En Magnum.
In an attempt to squeeze every last drop out of summer, this week’s Listed section features Wine Lister’s top 5 rosés by Quality score. Whilst the Côte d’Azur might seem a long way away, these five Provençal wines serve as a reminder of warmer climes and long sunny days.
Wine Lister’s Quality score measures a wine’s performance across two criteria – critics’ scores and ageing potential. Whilst these wines perform relatively well with the critics, they are not built with longevity in mind, and have an average predicted drinking window of just three years – compared to 17 and 16 years respectively for the top five whites and reds for Quality.
Domaines Ott Château de Selle Rosé Coeur de Grain tops the table with a very strong Quality score of 764. Currently priced at around £21 per bottle (depending on the retailer), it is the second-cheapest of the five, and represents excellent value for money.
Garrus, the first of three wines from Château d’Esclans, comes next with a Quality score of 743. At £74 it is by far the most expensive of the group – over twice as expensive as is its close relative Les Clans, with a Quality score of 696. Both these wines divide the critics, performing well with Antonio Galloni and Jancis Robinson, but less favoured by Bettane+Desseauve.
In fact, the French duo are considerably less enamoured with these five rosés than Jancis Robinson in general. Perhaps still rosé has a way to go before it is considered a serious vinous offering in France.
Château Simone Palette Rosé fills the fourth spot with a score of 657, followed by a third wine from Château d’ Esclans – Whispering Angel. Whilst it has a modest Quality score of 506, and is by far the least expensive of the group, it has by far the best Brand score (805). Proof that formidable branding can propel a wine beyond where its intrinsic quality level might suggest (though we certainly wouldn’t turn our noses up at a chilled glass of Whispering Angel on a sunny day like today).
Analysis of Palmer 2006, which has released a tranche this morning at €215 ex-négociant, up 72% on the initial 2007 en primeur release price (€125):
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Palmer 2006
Champagne continues to find itself a popular tipple amongst summer drinkers, the latest Wine Searcher data shows. Each month we look at the last three months’ worth of search data, measured against the previous period, to see which wines have grown most in popularity. Last month’s data featured two Champagnes in the top five, and this month’s – looking at data from June to August – features three.
For the second month in a row, Dom Pérignon Vintage Brut finds itself in first place, with an increase of 1,919 searches taking the wine to an impressive 57,000 searches on average per month. This also makes it the fifth most searched-for wine on Wine Searcher from June to August, beaten only by Bordeaux heavyweights Lafite, Mouton, Margaux, and Petrus.
The producer’s Rosé takes the second spot, although with 9,300 searches on average per month it falls some way behind the dizzy popularity of its sibling. Proving the unquenchable appeal of drinking pink Champagne in the sun, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé makes up this month’s trio. Starting from the lowest number of average searches of the five wines, at around 1,600 per month, it jumps to 2,300 searches with the latest data update.
The breadth of regions has narrowed this month, with the remaining two wines both Cabernet-based and hailing from Napa: Harlan Estate Proprietary Red and Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. The former is one of the region’s biggest names, a self-proclaimed “First Growth” of California, costing on average £665 per bottle. Caymus Vineyards, meanwhile, averages £100 a bottle but is a favourite amongst consumers, and with an overall score of 747/1,000 shows that high quality doesn’t always come with a high price to match.
Champagne and Californian Cabernets: the drinks of the summer. You heard it here first.
Analysis of Fargues 2014, which was released recently at €120 ex-négociant, the same as the 2013 release price, with a Wine Lister Quality score of 874:
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Fargues 2014
Analysis of Les Forts de Latour 2010, which has released a second tranche this morning at €175 ex-négociant, up 8% on the initial 2011 en primeur release price (€162):
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Les Forts de Latour 2010
Analysis of Yquem 2015, which has been released this afternoon at €250 ex-négociant, the same as 2014, with a UK RRP of £264, an increase of 11% on 2014:
You can download the slide here: Wine Lister Fact Sheet Yquem 2015
Wine Lister’s Quality score measures a wine’s performance across two criteria – critics’ ratings and ageing potential. This week’s Listed section features Wine Lister’s top five Grands Crus Champagnes by Quality score. Each achieving a Quality score of over 950 points, these five Champagnes are amongst the strongest on Wine Lister in the category. The top three also happen to be Buzz Brands.
Top of the table is Salon, whose outstanding score of 978 puts it among the 20 best white wines on Wine Lister for quality. With 45,000 bottles produced only in great vintages, and aged at the château until deemed ready to drink, Salon is by far the most expensive of the five. Proving that good things come to those who wait, Salon 2006 was released in July this year, achieving a Quality score of 988, with Antonio Galloni stating that it would be an “utterly compelling Champagne to follow over the next several decades”.
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is also uniformly highly rated by the critics. With 170,000 bottles produced of the wine each vintage, it has by far the highest average production of the five, making its excellent Quality score all the more impressive.
Proving that outstanding quality is not only found in vintage Grands Crus Champagnes, the last three spots are filled by non-vintage wines. Jacques Selosse produces two of them, with Substance Brut Grand Cru edging out Blanc de Noirs La Côte Faron Grand Cru by three points in terms of quality. Both wines are produced in tiny quantities, with just 1,250 bottles of La Côte Faron leaving the estate each year, and just over double that of Substance.
The fifth spot is filled by Egly-Ouriet V.P Vieillissement Prolongé Extra Brut Grand Cru. 10,000 bottles are produced each year of this wine, whose Quality score (951) significantly outperforms both its Brand score (608) and Economics score (323). Available at nearly a quarter of the price of equally rated Selosse La Côte Faron, it looks excellent value for money.