As the temperature drops, the natural reaction can be to reach for structured reds and hearty meals. The great Chardonnays of Corton-Charlemagne also warm the cockles, and belong in pride of place on any Christmas table. Here we look at the appellation’s top five brands.
Wine Lister’s Brand score measures a wine’s prestige – as indicated by its visibility in the world’s top restaurants – and popularity – as shown by the number of searches it receives each month on Wine-Searcher. Corton-Charlemagne’s top brand is Bonneau du Martray’s offering (947). This outstanding Brand score is the result of achieving by far the greatest level of restaurant presence of the group – it is visible in nearly twice as many of the world’s top establishments as the next-best of the five (Coche-Dury’s Corton-Charlemagne) – coupled with being comfortably the most popular of the group, receiving 24% more searches each month than the runner-up. No wonder it is one of the group’s three Buzz Brands.
In second place is Coche-Dury’s offering with a score of 912 for Brand, in fact its weakest category – perhaps unsurprising given its formidable Economics and Quality scores (985 – the highest of any white Burgundy – and 969 respectively). Its economic might is the result of its extraordinary price (£2,474), which is over 15 times higher than the second-most expensive wine of the group (the Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (£154).
Almost 50 points further behind is Maison Louis Latour’s Corton Charlemagne (863). Unlike the Coche-Dury, its Brand score is its best facet. This is thanks to very strong performance across both brand criteria – it features in 13% of top restaurants and receives 2,500 searches each month on average.
Trailing over 130 points further behind, Corton-Charlemagne’s next-strongest brands are separated by just six points – Bouchard Père et Fils (732) and Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (726). Whilst strong, their Brand scores are no match for their excellent quality scores (917 and 950 respectively). In fact, it seems that quality doesn’t play an obvious role in establishing brand strength within Corton-Charlemagne:
Whilst Corton-Charlemagnes’s top five Brands display no correlation between quality and brand recognition, as indicated by the flat trendline, quality is much more of a factor for the top brands of another of Burgundy’s most prestigious appellations, Montrachet:
Remember that even if you don’t currently have a Wine Lister subscription you can access all the underlying data behind these five wines as well as those featured in other recent Top 5s, giving you an insight into the wealth of tools at our subscribers’ disposal.
As we edge ever closer to Christmas, it feels appropriate to take a look at sweet wines. Here we consider Alsace’s top 5 sweet whites by overall Wine Lister score. Produced in a thin sliver of land in the far East of France, Alsace’s top sweet whites are separated by just nine points (less than one hundredth of Wine Lister’s 1,000-point scale!). The five wines display very similar profiles, all outperforming in the Quality category, achieiving middling Brand scores, and trailing economically.
Four break the 900-point boundary in terms of Quality scores, putting them amongst the very top quality wines on Wine Lister. Hugel et Fils Riesling Vendange Tardive (VT) falls just short with 881 points, still a very strong Quality score (thanks to 17/20 from both Jancis Robinson and Bettane+Desseauve, and 92.5/100 from Vinous). The same producer’s Gewürtzraminer VT scores even higher for quality (910) thanks to a 95/100 from Jeannie Cho Lee:
Moving categories, scores drop sharply from an average Quality score of 915 to 550 for Brand – still above the average for all wines on Wine Lister:
Economics scores trail even further behind, averaging 338, hindered by low liquidity. For example, Hugel’s Gewürtzraminer VT failed to trade a single bottle at auction over the past four quarters (as measured by Wine Market Journal). The chart below shows Economics score in the context of all the wines on Wine Lister – its is well below the average, with a score below 400 putting in the “weak” score band:
Other wines making the top five are Zind-Humbrecht Jebsal Pinot Gris VT (675) and Trimbach Gewürztraminer VT, which achieves the best restaurant presence of the group. However, featuring on just 6% of the world’s best restaurant lists, this suggests that Alsace’s sweet whites are not every sommelier’s must-list bracket, even when produced by the region’s most famous producer. Incidentally, Trimbach’s Clos Sainte Hune appears in 34% of wine lists (compared to 69% for Sauternes’ Château d’Yquem).
The last wine making it into this week’s Listed section is Marcel Deiss Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru. The only non-single varietal wine of the group, it is a blend of 13 different varietals planted in the same plot, and is by far Bettane+Desseauve’s preferred wine of the group – the French duo award it an average score of 19/20. It is also the most popular wine of the group. However, its modest average search frequency (380 per month on Wine-Searcher) confirms that Alsace’s sweet whites currently fly well under the radar.
So, when you’re stocking up your cellar for Christmas, give Alsace’s sweet whites a go. They might not be the most prestigious, but the quality is there and prices are pleasing.
Confirming the outstanding economic performance of Piedmont’s top crus, Italy’s top five wines for economics all hail from Barolo and Barbaresco. Tuscany doesn’t get a look-in. Featuring just two producers – Giacomo Conterno and Bruno Giacosa – this week’s listed section boasts wines achieving outstanding Economics scores of over 960.
Wine Lister’s Economics score combines five criteria: three-month average price, six-month-price performance, three-year compound average growth rate (CAGR), price stability, and liquidity (volume traded).
A three-month average price of £595 per bottle tips the Economics rating in favour of Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Monfortino Riserva, which scores a mighty 978. Its three-month average price is over double that of the second-most expensive wine.
Seven points behind in second place is the Barbaresco Asili Riserva from Giacosa’s Azienda Agricola Falletto, with an Economics score of 971. Just one point behind that, in third place, with an Economics score of 970, Giacomo Conterno’s second wine to make the top five is the Barolo (Cascina) Francia. Following a slump in its score at the end of 2016, it bounced back January and continued to rise throughout the year.
Giacosa’s Azienda Agricola Falletto Barbaresco Rabajà is fourth-highest with a score of 963. This wine has the strongest three-year CAGR of the group, at 27.5%.
Bruno Giacosa’s third entry, completing the top five with an Economics score of 963, is his Barolo Rocche Falletto Riserva. It has the highest liquidity of the group, with 500 bottles of its top five vintages traded in the past year.
All of the top five hold Buzz Brand status, but their soaring prices equate to lower price stability across the group, averaging 8.6% standard deviation compared to 7.1% for the top five Tuscan wines by Economics score. Piedmont might offer more potential upside, but by definition this makes it riskier investment territory.
We recently prepared a brief vintage overview for the Institute of Masters of Wine’s 2013 Claret tasting. Analysing the performance of the basket of wines included in the tasting, Wine Lister’s holistic and dynamic approach allows us to not only see which appellations produced the vintage’s best wines, but also demonstrates if and how the market has since reacted to each appellation’s relative quality.
You can download these slides here: Wine Lister Bordeaux 2013 vintage overview
Watch this space for further regional vintage reports over the coming months.
This week, our listed section journeys to the most northerly Burgundy appellation to look at Wine Lister’s top five Chablis by Quality score. Wine Lister’s Quality score comprises the average rating of our four partner critics, as well as a wine’s ageing potential.
In fifth place is Hidden Gem, Domaine Gérard Duplessis Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. Producing only 1,500 bottles a year, this wine is present in just 2% of the world’s top restaurants, but receives a very strong rating from Jancis Robinson, setting its Quality score at 910.
Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos is fourth-highest with a Quality score of 927. Whilst Jeannie Cho Lee doesn’t score the wine as highly as our other critics, at £55 it still represents a lot of bang for your buck.
Bronze goes to Domaine Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur, with a Quality score of 946. The only wine of the group not from the Les Clos climat, it has a predicted drinking window of 10 years – higher than the rest of its peer group, which averages eight years.
Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos has the second-highest Quality score (952) and also has the biggest variance in ratings from our partner critics, receiving an outstanding score from Jeannie Cho Lee, but a far more modest one from UK critic Jancis Robinson.
Winning the Quality score crown by a narrow two-point difference (954) is the second wine of the group from Raveneau – the domaine’s Les Clos offering. Enjoying uniformly excellent scores from each of our partner critics, it’s one of the most talked-about wines in the fine wine trade and unsurprisingly holds Wine Lister Buzz Brand status.
The latest three-month average search frequency data is in, and with it we can see which wines’ increase in popularity has boosted their Brand score. Here we focus on the five wines that saw the largest increase. All saw at least a 29-point rise in their Brand score.
Château Montviel saw the greatest increase, gaining 60 Brand points and taking its overall Wine Lister score to 523. Its average monthly search frequency of 1,085 remains its strongest criterion score, as its three-month average price (£31) and liquidity hold it back — it has failed to trade a single bottle at auction over the past year.
The second-highest increase was Campo Eliseo, whose Brand score rose 37 points to 453. Although it holds the lowest overall Wine Lister score of the group (490), it had the greatest surge in online surge frequency (+64%).
Following a drop in its price over the last six months, Domaine de la Charbonnière Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes also saw a welcome increase in search frequency (+51%) and a subsequent Brand score increase of 33 points to 437, pushing its overall score towards the ‘Strong’ band on the overall Wine Lister scale (now just 17 points short at 583).
The fourth-highest increase, though still the with the lowest overall search frequency of the five (172 searches), is Maison Louis Jadot Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru. Currently holding Hidden Gem status, is this an early sign that this wine won’t be under the radar for much longer?
Finally, Fratelli Brovia Barolo Rocche dei Brovia saw an increase of 29 Brand points to 654, following a 45% increase in search frequency. US partner critic Antonio Galloni rates it very highly, with the result that it achieves the highest overall Wine Lister score of the group (702).
So, with an impressive 10% increase in its Brand score this month, Château Montviel is the one to watch as we move in to the winter months.
For this week’s top five, the spotlight is on our highest ranked Spanish red wines. All achieve a total Wine Lister score of over 913, yet there is a significant price difference between the lowest and highest priced bottle (over £500).
Vega-Sicilia Unico wins the Spanish sprint to the top spot with an applaudable Wine Lister score of 971. With impressive restaurant presence (47%) and over 17,000 average monthly searches, the wine’s Brand score is a big contributor to its number one spot.
Next, scoring 47 points less (923) though more than double the price (£573), is Pingus. With consistently high ratings from Jancis Robinson, Jeannie Cho Lee and Antonio Galloni, it has a very strong Quality score of 936 – identical to its Brand score.
A second wine from Spain’s most prestigious wine estate, the Vega-Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial, comes in third place with the highest Quality score of the group (983). However, similar to all the other top five’s, its price has been decreasing since August.
The most affordable wine of the group is the René Barbier Clos Mogador, at £57 per bottle on average. It’s the only wine of the five not to hold Buzz Brand status, though it scores five out of five for liquidity, with 300 bottles of its top five vintages traded in the past year.
Joint fourth is Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita, matching Clos Mogador’s Wine Lister score of 913. Its three-month average price scores four out of five — an improvement on its six-month price performance of two out of five. It’s the rarest in its peer group, producing just 1,350 bottles per year on average, though it still manages to achieve 19% restaurant presence.
Less than 18 months on from its inaugural Showdown Dinner, last month Wine Lister returned to Hong Kong to host the city’s most experienced wine collectors at a fascinating follow-up dinner.
Attendees were asked to bring along an Investment Staple or a Value Pick which were served blind throughout the evening, along with an added ‘mystery wine’, and scored out of 10 for enjoyment. With just a 7% difference between the two Wine Lister Indicator categories, the Value Picks put up a good fight, though Investment Staples just managed to take the trophy (unsurprising at more than six times the price).
First place was awarded to the Krug 1995, but the biggest surprise of the evening was the revelation of the Chinese mystery wine, Ao Yun 2014, which came in second place.
Read the full press release here.
From left to right: Averardo Borghini Baldovinetti, Mimi Shun, Jonathan Leung, Cathy Anderson, Seok Hui Lim, Ella Lister (Wine Lister’s Founder & CEO), Agnes Hon, Antonio Koo, Brian Yim, George Tong, Alex Cheung.
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With the recent addition of Jeannie Cho Lee MW as Wine Lister’s fourth partner critic, now seems a good opportunity to elucidate our approach to calculating Quality scores.
Wine Lister’s Quality scoring algorithm takes into account each critic’s rating scale and the relative generosity or severity of their scoring.
Vinous and Jeannie Cho Lee rate on a 100-point scale, whereas Jancis Robinson and Bettane+Desseauve rate on a 20-point scale. But we also know that the former pair never (or very rarely) give a rating less than 70, while the latter never (or very rarely) give a rating less than 10.
The first step in our scoring algorithm is to put all ratings on a level playing field by rebasing them. We take each critic’s minimum and maximum wine ratings and spread these back out over our entire 100-point scale. The result is that, for example, a Bettane+Desseauve rating of 15 and a Jeannie Cho Lee rating of 85 both score 50 out of 100.
But it’s not quite that simple! We also know that the way the critics score is different. For example, we find that Jeannie Cho Lee tends to give fewer high scores than Vinous. Our algorithm takes into consideration these tendencies towards more or less generous ratings, and adjusts scores as necessary for a fair outcome. This is our score normalisation process.
Using nonparametric statistical techniques, for the same wine-vintages that the critics have rated, we look at each critic’s probability of awarding each score, and use the difference in probabilities to make necessary adjustments.
For example, we looked at the set of wine-vintages rated by both Jancis Robinson and Bettane+Desseauve, and found that wines are around 5% more likely to achieve a rating of 17 or higher from Bettane+Desseauve. Once normalised, this means that a wine such as Château Beauregard 2009, rated 17 by both Bettane+Desseauve and Jancis Robinson, achieves Wine Lister critic scores of 73 and 76 respectively. In other words, 17 is harder to get from Jancis Robinson than from Bettane+Desseauve. This is illustrated in the image above.
Once we’ve rebased and normalised the critics’ scores, we simply take an average of those scores, giving an equal rating to each of our four partner critics, each of whom represents one of the world’s key fine wine markets.
There’s still more… The Wine Lister Quality score also takes into consideration a wine’s ageing potential as defined by critics’ drinking windows – watch this space for a further explanation of how that works!