Listed: the five most expensive dry white Buzz Brands

Buzz Brands” is one of the four Wine Lister Indicators developed to help our users identify wines for different scenarios. A Buzz Brand is a wine with strong distribution in the world’s top restaurants, enjoying high levels of online search frequency or demonstrating a recent growth in popularity, and identified by the fine wine trade as trending or especially prestigious. As such, you wouldn’t expect them to come cheap, and the five most expensive dry whites definitely don’t, costing around £2,000 on average.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the miniscule production of its top wines, Burgundy fills four of the five spots (and two of these are from Coche-Dury). DRC Montrachet is the world’s second-most expensive dry white – behind Leflaive’s Montrachet which fails to achieve Buzz Brand status. It achieves the best Quality score of this week’s top five (976), just pipping Coche-Dury’s Corton-Charlemagne to the post (971). It also enjoys the highest Brand score of the group – or any dry white for that matter (960) – the result of appearing in considerably more of the word’s top restaurants than Coche-Dury’s Corton-Charlemagne, which comes second in that criterion (26% vs 19%), and also being nearly 50% more popular than any of the rest of the five.

Whilst Coche-Dury’s Corton-Charlemagne has to settle for second place in the Quality and Brand categories, it not only manages the group’s top Economics score (991), but also the highest of any dry white on Wine Lister. This is thanks to formidable price growth. It has recorded a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25%, and has added 14% to its price over the last six months alone.

It is to be expected that wines from two of Burgundy’s most hallowed grand cru vineyards command the group’s highest prices, but it might come as more of a surprise that two Meursaults from the premier cru Perrières vineyard feature. With over £1,000 separating the considerably more expensive offering from Coche-Dury and Roulot’s expression, it becomes clear that Brand score is a significant driver of price at this rarefied end of the scale, particularly within Burgundy.

Proving that expensive Buzz Brands are not only to be found in Burgundy, Haut-Brion Blanc makes an appearance in the top five. Whilst it is the most liquid of the group – its top five traded vintages have traded 49% more bottles than any other wine in the five – it has experienced by far the lowest growth rates, with a three-year CAGR of 9% compared to the Burgundy quartet’s remarkable average of 22%.


Oregon’s best wines

Whilst the wine world – including much of Wine Lister’s team – focuses its attention on Bordeaux for en primeur tastings, this week the blog hops over the pond to consider Oregon’s top wines. As might be expected, Oregon’s top five wines are all Pinot Noirs. Furthermore, in this relatively young fine wine region, its leading wines perform best in the Quality category (averaging 791), with their brand profiles and economic performance not yet able to keep pace (554 and 363 points respectively on average).

Whilst quality is king in Oregon, Beaux Frères Vineyard tops the table not because of its Quality score (785) – the third-best of the five – but for its stronger brand recognition. It leads Drouhin Laurène – second in the Brand category – by 113 points (715 vs 602), thanks to superior restaurant presence (9% vs 4%) and also because it receives 40% more searches on Wine-Searcher each month on average. Its Economics score of 545 is also Oregon’s strongest, but with low trading volumes and negative price growth over the past six months, this only puts it in the “average” range on Wine Lister’s 1,000 point scale, confirming that it is the area in which the region’s wines currently struggle.

Drouhin’s Laurène achieves the group’s highest Quality score (872). Produced by the Oregon offshoot of Burgundy’s Maison Joseph Drouhin, this is deemed to have the greatest ageing potential of the five, with an average drinking window of nine years, three years longer than the second-longest lived of the group – the Beaux Frères Vineyard.

Third and fourth spots are occupied by two wines from CristomJessie Vineyard (584) and Sommers Reserve (578). Despite being separated by just six points at overall Wine Lister level, they display contrasting profiles. While the Jessie Vineyard achieves a superior Quality score (858 vs 770) and Brand score (490 vs 439), the Sommers Reserve nudges ahead in the Economics category (389 vs 133). This is thanks to it being the only wine of the group whose price has not dipped slightly over the past six months, instead adding 12% to its value.

The final wine of the group – Ken Wright Cellars Shea Vineyard – epitomises the profile of Oregon’s top wines, achieving its best score in the Quality category (670), a weaker Brand score (522), before experiencing its lowest score in the Economics category (220). Perhaps as Oregon continues to establish itself on the international fine wine market – and with its quality not in doubt – its leading wines will be able to build up stronger brands and economic profiles able to rival their more southerly Californian peers.

Founding Members’ tasting

Hidden Gems are one of four Wine Lister “Indicators”, segmenting wines that meet specific sets of criteria into groups. Hidden Gems are those wines rarely found in the top restaurants, and not often searched for online, but which either have high ratings from wine critics, or have been singled out as a hidden gem by Founding Members in Wine Lister surveys.

Last week, Wine Lister celebrated its second birthday with a special tasting of a selection of 27 “raw” hidden gems, identified by our Founding Members (c.50 key players from the international fine wine trade) when asked which wines they rated highly, but which they felt were underappreciated.

Founding Members’ Hidden Gems hail from a variety of regions, producers and vintages. Their average Wine Lister scores vary too, as shown on the histogram below, where the grey columns represent the total number of fine wines currently listed on Wine Lister which fall into each score bucket.

The full list of wines tasted is available here: Wine Lister Founding Members’ Hidden Gems

The Wine Lister team was joined by some of our trade Founding Members, data partners, and other supporters of Wine Lister. We encouraged tasters to share their comments by writing on the tasting table. All the wines were showing beautifully, and G.D. Vajra’s Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2009, tasted from magnum, won widespread praise from all the guests. It also holds the highest Quality score (927) of all wines in the room. One taster even went so far as to name it “the Lafite of Barolo”!

From left to right: David Harvey, Arthur de Lencquesaing, Dan Jago, Charles Lea, Ella Lister, Jancis Robinson, Jan Konetzki, Adam Bruntlett, Katy Andersen, Grant Ashton, Sophie Mclean, Richard Harvey, Greg Sherwood, Aita Ighodaro, Joe Fattorini.

Find out what else was said about the wines by following this link to more photos of the event.

Wines featured in the tasting: Louis Roederer Brut Premier, E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane 2016, Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2014, Seña 2010, Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz 2014Isole e Olena Syrah Collezione Privata 2011Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto 2016, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 2015, 2011, 2007, Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 2014, G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe 2013G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2009Domaine Duroché Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jeunes Rois 2015Domaine Duroché Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 2015Domaine Tempier Cuvée Cabassou 2007Château La Gaffelière 2014, Le Marquis de Calon Ségur 2014, Château Haut-Bailly La Parde 2012, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2014Château Boyd-Cantenac 2013Château d’Issan 2011Château Branaire-Ducru 2012Château Pédesclaux 2014Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2005Château Brane-Cantenac 2005Château Lafon Rochet 2010.

Piedmont’s top Value Picks

With its top ten wines by Quality score costing £225 per bottle on average, Piedmont might seem overindulgent for a low key midweek meal. However, with a little bit of help in the shape of Wine Lister’s Value Pick search tool, it is easy to find wines that will deliver maximum enjoyment at reasonable prices. Value Picks represent the very best quality-to-price ratio wines, with a higher coefficient applied to allow exceptional quality to be recognised. With a remarkable average Quality score of 976, and costing £40 on average, these five Piedmontese wines prove that outstanding quality is available at all price points.

If you’re after top Nebbiolo at a fair price, then Produttori del Barbaresco’s 2013s appear a safe bet, filling three spots. However, the trade-off for top value will be patience – none of the three will enter its drinking window until 2023. However, with each of them lasting over 18 years, you will be able to make the most of your prudent purchases for years to come. And what better way to explore Barbaresco’s crus in an outstanding vintage than with these three? The Asili Riserva achieves the top Quality score of the three (987), 75 points above its wine-level average. It is also the most expensive, but £42 per bottle doesn’t seem unreasonable for such quality. The Montestefano Riserva really outperformed in the 2013 vintage with a Quality score of 972, 125 points above its average score. The market is yet to react – the 2013’s price is currently 16% below its wine-level average.

Proving that if you’re looking for value for money in Piedmont, it’s not just Barbaresco that you should look out for, Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin 2007 is the region’s number one Value Pick. With a Quality score of 989 – thanks to a 98 point score from Antonio Galloni – it is not hard to see why. What’s more, whereas the Produttori del Barbaresco 2013s require cellaring, the Ciabot Mentin is just entering its drinking window.

Showing that Piedmont is not all about Nebbiolo, Giacomo Conterno’s Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia 2013 fills the remaining spot. The group’s only Buzz Brand, this would be an excellent way to sample one of Giacomo Conterno’s wines at a fraction of the cost of the domaine’s top cuvées – the hallowed Monfortino Riserva costs £608 per bottle on average.

Prices per bottle are provided by our price partner, Wine Owners, whose own proprietary algorithms process millions of rows of incoming price data from Wine-Searcher to calculate a more realistic market level price – the price at which a wine is likely to find a ready buyer – based on market supply and spread models. As lower retail prices are likely to sell first, the prices you see on Wine Lister may be below the Wine-Searcher average in some instances.