To many a wine expert, Riesling is amongst the world’s finest white wine grape varieties, perhaps thanks to its versatile nature. The aromatic grape does well as both a sweet and dry wine, to drink straight away or suitable for long-term ageing. This week Wine Lister looks at the top five Rieslings under £100 by Quality score, which all hail from Alsace or the Mosel.
Hugel et Fils’ Riesling SGN takes the top spot this week with a Quality score of 981. This phenomenal Quality score is in part the result of an average wine life of 24 years (compared to 13 years for the rest of this week’s top five). The Riesling SGN from Hugel is therefore perhaps justifiably this week’s most expensive choice, at an average price of £98 per bottle in-bond. Sadly, it might take a Christmas miracle to source this in time for next week’s festivities. An average of just 600 bottles are produced of this Wine Lister Hidden Gem each year.
Next is Domaine Zind-Humbrecht’s Riesling Brand VT with a Quality score of 970. Though in second place for Quality, it achieves this week’s best Economics score of 633 (and also this week’s best overall Wine Lister score) – despite only 18 bottles of it having been traded at auction in the last year. It is the short-term price performance that really boosts the Economics score – the price having increased by 17% in the last six months.
In third place is this week’s first German wine – Heymann-Löwenstein’s Winninger Röttgen Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel. It achieves a Quality score of 960, and at only £52 per bottle in-bond it is this week’s most affordable option.
The two remaining spots of this week’s top five share the same Quality score (949). Domaine Albert Mann Schlossberg l’Epicentre Grand Cru is this week’s second Hidden Gem. Its Hidden Gem status is confirmed by a modest Brand score of 255 – the lowest of the group, due to presence in just 1% of the world’s top restaurants, and being only the 3,797 most-searched-for of Wine Lister’s wines on Wine-Searcher.
Rounding off the group is the second Riesling from Germany, Dr. Loosen Erdener Prälat Auslese Goldkapsel. If you are looking for Quality look no further than its 2006 vintage, which achieves a Quality score of 975 at an average price of £44 per bottle in-bond (compared to the wine’s overall average price of £54 in-bond). Its excellent quality-to-price ratio earns it a spot as one of Wine Lister’s Value Picks – indeed, it is given high praise from Wine Lister partner critic, Antonio Galloni, claiming it to be a “…massive and yet somehow delicate auslese of stunning quality”.
With the festive season fast approaching, what better time to take a look at Wine Lister’s first Champagne study, giving you the inside track on the best Champagnes that money can buy?
The in-depth report covers all angles of this fabled region, from the views of the international trade to all three Wine Lister score categories. In this blog post we drill down to focus on Champagne’s quality. Specifically, here we look at the top 20 Champagnes by Quality score:
The top maison-led Champagnes dominate the top 20 Champagne Quality scores. Dom Pérignon Oenothèque tops the chart with a score of 983, and its successor (P2) comes in fourth, scoring 979. Krug manages an impressive five wines in the top 10 and six in the top 20, testament to the house’s consistently exceptional quality across its whole range. Krug Brut Vintage is second overall with a score of 982, while Krug Brut Grande Cuvée comes fifth, scoring 978. Krug Clos du Mesnil, Collection, and Clos d’Ambonnay round out the top 10 for Krug.
Salon Le Mesnil, the top scoring Champagne by overall Wine Lister score, comes third for Quality with a score of 982. Cristal Rosé is the highest scoring rosé, coming in sixth place overall with a score of 976, six points ahead of Cristal. Krug Rosé, scoring 963, is the only other rosé to make this top 20.
One of the most important trends identified in Wine Lister’s newly-released study is the rise of grower Champagnes. However, this is nascent enough that only one grower producer threatens the top Champagne houses at the top of the Quality leaderboard. That is cult grower Jacques Selosse, with three wines in the top 20, the same number as Dom Pérignon, trailing only behind Krug. The top wine from Selosse based on Quality score is La Côte Faron, coming in seventh with a score of 975. Substance and Les Carrelles also feature.
Despite the maison-led dominance of the top 20 Quality scores, grower Champagnes win the Quality crown overall. Of the 109 wines included in the study, the 29 grower Champagnes received an average Quality score of 862, while the 80 maison bottlings averaged 853, reflecting the excellent quality that grower Champagne can provide:
Watch this space for more on grower vs maison Champagnes, and commentary on other major trends featured in the study.
For a more in-depth look at Champagne, subscribe or log-into read the full report here. Alternatively, all readers can access a five-page executive summary. (Both versions are also available to download in French).
Other wines featured in the top 20 Champagnes by Quality score are: Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millénaires, Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises, Philipponnat Clos des Goisses, Bollinger R.D., and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.
It’s the most wonderful (if most expensive) time of the year. Wine Lister Value Picks help you to avoid compromise on your seasonal drinking choices, identifying wines and vintages with the best quality-to-price ratios. This week’s top five looks at some affordable options for you – still with impressive Quality scores – complete with two Ports in the mix to keep us feeling festive. With Italy and Portugal sharing the top five (and even the top 10) red Value Picks by Quality score, Wine Lister’s Christmas drinking picks stick firmly to Mediterranean climes.
In first place is Castello dei Rampolla Sammarco 2010. Although it is this week’s most expensive option (at £75 per bottle in-bond* vs. an average £49 of the four other wines of this top five) the spectacular Quality score of 998 is impossible to ignore. Indeed, it earns the highest Quality score of any 2010 red on Wine Lister, alongside three others – Castello dei Rampolla’s Alceo, Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino, and Vietti Barolo Ravera – all of which are at least £71 more expensive. Sammarco 2010’s remarkable Quality score is due a perfect score of 100/100 from Vinous’ Antonio Galloni, who describes it as “stunning” and “magnificent”.
Next is this week’s first port – Cockburn’s Vintage Port 2007. With a Quality score of 995 and price of £44 there can be no doubt about its status as a Value Pick. It has just entered its drinking window, and with a predicted wine life of 53 years, it could make for the perfect Christmas gift (if you can refrain from drinking it yourself).
The group’s second port, Niepoort Bioma Vinha Velha Vintage Port 2015, shares a Quality score of 993 with the last three spots of this week’s top five. It is the only one of this week’s Value Picks also to achieve Hidden Gem status – Wine Lister’s Indicator for excellent wines that are yet to receive proper recognition. Although it will not be ready to drink until 2028, at £56 per bottle this is an exceptional value wine to store away for Christmases to come.
Rounding out this week’s top five in Tuscan triumph are Fontodi’s Chianti Classico Vigna del Sorbo 2010 and Isole e Olena’s Collezione de Marchi Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. They have both just entered their drinking windows, but will last for many years to come. Each earning a Quality score of 993, their modest prices of £49 and £44 per bottle respectively provide fantastic value.
All that remains is to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
*Prices shown assume the purchase of a whole case. See more on pricing on our website.
Wine Lister’s three-pronged rating system, which measures a wine’s Quality, Brand strength, and Economic performance, gives a uniquely holistic outlook on the world’s finest wines. Wine Lister’s Economics score comes courtesy of data partnerships with Wine Owners and Wine Market Journal, the former supplying price data and the latter auction trading volumes from the world’s major fine wine auction houses.
Thanks to an expansion of the data we receive from both Wine Owners and Wine Market Journal, we have recently added Economics scores, and therefore overall Wine Lister scores, to c.1,250 wines on Wine Lister.
Having examined the top overall scorers last week, below we look at the top 20 highest Economics scorers of this new batch.
Whilst Burgundy represents 58% of wines newly-armed with full Wine Lister scores, the region claims 90% of the group’s top 20 Economics scores. Ten of these hail from the Côte de Nuits, earning an impressive average Economics score of 809, and including the best Economics performer of these newly-scored wines, Christian Clerget’s Echezeaux (918). Clerget’s Echezeaux has traded 48 bottles at auction over the past year, just over 1% of its 4,000-bottle annual production volume.
Next in line from the Côte de Nuits – and the only Nuits-Saint-Georges in the top 20 – is Les Cras from Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, which takes the third-best Economics score of this new batch (902), despite having traded just 14 bottles at auction over the past 12 months. It does so thanks to excellent short and long-term price performance. It has added 20.2% to its price over the past six months and recorded a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.4%. It also has a high average price of £394.
The Côte de Beaune features eight times, with Domaine d’Auvenay’s Auxey-Duresses Les Boutonniers coming second overall with a score of 913. However, Puligny-Montrachet takes the lion’s share of the Côte de Beaune’s spots. The first is Colin-Deléger Les Demoiselles with a score of 813, its strong economic performance is the result of a three-year CAGR of 24.4%.
While Arnaud Ente is represented in Puligny-Montrachet by Les Referts, which achieves an Economics score of 792, the domaine features more prominently in Meursault, taking two spots with Les Petits Charrons (721) and La Sève du Clos (650). The latter also records the highest Quality score of any Burgundy in this group (952).
Interestingly, the number one overall scorer of the 20 is in fact one of only two non-Burgundian wines to feature. Champagne Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises achieves a Wine Lister score of 923, at least 98 points ahead of any of the other 19 wines featured here. Its Economics score of 897 is thanks to a three-month average price of £712, a three-year CAGR of 13.8%, and having traded 128 bottles at auction over the past year.
Other wines from the newly-scored list to feature in the top 20 Economics scores are: Domaine Leroy Savigny-lès-Beaune Premier Cru Les Narbantons, Camille Giroud Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Maison Joseph Drouhin Echezeaux Grand Cru, Domaine Prieuré Roch Vosne-Romanée Les Hautes Maizières, Domaine Claude Dugat Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Domaine Hubert Lignier Chambolle-Musigny, Domaine Prieuré Roch Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru, Domaine Joseph Roty Gevrey-Chambertin, Domaine Colin-Deléger Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Demoiselles, Il Marroneto di Mori Alessandro Brunello di Montalcino Madonna Grazie, Domaine Fourrier Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes, and Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Combe-du-Dessus.
We are hugely excited to announce a 66% increase in the number of wines with full Wine Lister scores, to a total of 3,140 wines and just shy of 30,000 wine-vintages. That means you are now far more likely to find the wine you are looking for when searching the Wine Lister database.
In a survey, Wine Lister subscribers said they wanted increased wine coverage on the website, allowing them to discover Wine Lister scores and decision-making tools on a broader range of fine wines, and we have worked hard to make this happen.
This important development comes thanks to the expansion of Wine Lister’s data partnerships with Wine Market Journal and Wine Owners, the former supplying unparalleled auction trading data from the world’s major fine wine auction houses, and the latter comprehensive price data.
In particular, Wine Lister’s coverage of Burgundy’s top wines has greatly increased, with 58% of the newly-scored wines hailing from the region. However, the overall top 10 highest-scoring wines in this new batch show a thrilling level of variety:
Users can now find out everything they need to know about wines such as Bollinger’s hallowed pre-phylloxera Vieilles Vignes Françaises, to Keller’s Westhofen Absterde Riesling, Valentini’s ultra-traditional Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and back to some Côte d’Or heavyweights via top Brunello and Barolo from Il Marroneto and Vietti. The top 10 newly-scored wines confirm the rich diversity of wines on Wine Lister.
This coverage expansion is the first step in a series of exciting developments that Wine Lister has in store over the coming months, as it approaches its third birthday in May 2019. Each one is designed to help the different facets of the international fine wine community to get the most out of our unparalleled database and intelligence. Watch this space!
While Bordeaux may be best-known for its red blends, many a left-bank cru classé also produces a dry white, particularly in Pessac-Léognan. This week we examine the five most expensive dry white Bordeaux wines.
Whilst each of the five frequently stands in the shadow of their red counterpart (or flagship sweet white in the case of Y d’Yquem), their average price is in fact 28% higher (£260 vs £203). This is presumably due to the dry whites being produced in considerably smaller volumes than their red/sweet white counterpart (just 10% on average).
Leading the way is Haut-Brion Blanc at a cool £596 per bottle in-bond, 78% more expensive than Bordeaux’s second-most expensive dry white – its neighbour La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc – and well over three times the average price of the remaining wines in this week’s top five. Whilst its very low production, almost identical to La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc’s and thus the joint-lowest of the five, undoubtedly plays a part in its high price, the fact that it achieves the group’s best Quality and Economics scores (923 and 890 respectively) will also be a contributing factor. Aside from high ratings from each of Wine Lister’s partner critics, its excellent Quality score is also thanks to an average wine life of 10.3 years – the longest of all dry Bordeaux whites on Wine Lister. Indeed, the 2014 vintage, Haut Brion Blanc’s best ever with a Quality score of 975, “should drink well for years and perhaps even decades to come”, according to Antonio Galloni.
Next comes La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc at £331 per bottle in-bond. Relabelled in 2009, this was formerly Laville Haut-Brion. The 2011 is its best vintage since its relabelling, achieving an outstanding Quality score of 974, with Jancis Robinson – who tends to award it her highest scores of the group – calling it “one of the best Bordeaux 2011s”.
In third place is Margaux Pavillon Blanc (£155 per bottle in-bond). Whilst still priced considerably below the whites from Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, it is closing the gap, courtesy of vastly stronger growth rates, with a three-year compound annual growth rate of 18% and having added 6% to its value since May. Over both the long and short-term, the two Pessac-Léognan whites have each grown at under half the rate of Pavillon Blanc.
Y d’Yquem is Bordeaux’s fourth most-expensive dry white, at an average price of £119 per bottle in-bond. Boosted by the immense clout of the château’s flagship sweet wine – which enjoys the joint-best Brand score of any wine on Wine Lister (999) – it has the strongest brand of this week’s top five (894). It does so thanks to featuring in the greatest number of the world’s best restaurants of the group (15%), just managing to nudge ahead of Haut-Brion Blanc (12%).
We return to Pessac-Léognan for Bordeaux’s fifth most-expensive dry white, Pape Clément Blanc (£100 per bottle in-bond). The 2017 was its best ever vintage, achieving an excellent Quality score of 903. Whilst it wasn’t quite able to match the scores of Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion (931 and 939 respectively), it represents considerably better value. At £100 per bottle, it is around one fifth the price of its Pessac-Léognan rivals.