Search rankings for September

As part of our Brand score, Wine Lister measures popularity using the three-month rolling average searches on the world’s most visited wine site, Wine-Searcher.

We have recently updated our treatment of this data to provide relative results for all 4,000+ wines on Wine Lister. Expressing each wine’s search frequency as a ranking will make it easier for our users to interpret the data. For example, Mouton is the #1 most searched-for wine of all wines on Wine Lister, according to monthly searches on Wine-Searcher.

To mark this transition, here we examine the top 50 most popular fine wines in the world.

The first seven most searched-for wines for the period of May, June, and July include the five Bordeaux left bank first growths (Mouton, Lafite, Margaux, Latour, and Haut-Brion), right-bank powerhouse, Petrus, and Champagne super-brand, Dom Pérignon. It is perhaps of no surprise that these rankings remain unchanged since the previous period (February to April) .

Burgundian searches in the top 50 are dominated by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, with Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, Echezeaux, and Romanée-Saint-Vivant all achieving better rankings versus the previous period. These four together achieve an average ranking of 30th place, and an average movement up the search ranking of 11 places.

Other than Dom Pérignon, the two remaining Champagnes featured in the top 50 most searched-for wines have moved up the rankings for May-July 2018 compared to the previous three-month period. Louis Roederer’s Cristal was up 12 places, presumably due to the release of its 2008 vintage in June. Krug’s most recent Grande Cuvée (166th edition) was released in late May, explaining its jump four spots up the rankings into 24th place.

More than half of the top 50 most popular wines are Bordeaux, with 30 wines hailing from the region. However, Bordeaux did not see the boost to their search ranking one might have expected during Bordeaux’s en primeur 2017, with one fewer of the region’s wines featuring in the top 50 than before the campaign kicked off. In fact, supporting Wine Lister’s analysis of this year’s lacklustre campaign, searches for many top Bordeaux châteaux actually fell during this period. For instance, Figeac, despite achieving Bordeaux’s 10th best Quality score of the 2017 vintage, slipped nine spots down the rankings.


The secret to value in Burgundy

Our in-depth study of Burgundy earlier this year showed that its prices continue to rise at a faster pace than those of any other fine wine region. With such high prices and tiny availability, wine buyers seeking good value drinking wines may often find their cellar a little light on Burgundy.

However, alongside the virtually unattainable wines at the most prestigious end of the Burgundy scale, there are some Value Picks to be found.

One of four Wine Lister Indicators, Value Picks are wines with the best quality to price ratios. Wine Lister’s proprietary Value Pick algorithm allows more expensive wines with exceptional quality to shine by reducing the impact of price in calculating the ratio.

The simple answer to good value for white Burgundy is Chablis.

For exceptional value at everyday drinking level in particular, Domaine William Fèvre stands out. Seven out of the last eight vintages of the domaine’s straight Chablis are identified as Value Picks, with prices per bottle under £13 and an average Quality score of 553 (above average on Wine Lister’s 1000-point scale).

Moving up the price ladder, Domaine William Fèvre’s Chablis Grand Crus Les Clos 2004 shows exceptional value, with a price per bottle of £50 and a Quality score of 982 – shown in the Vintage Value Identifier chart above. At a comparative score (979) for white burgundy in 2004 we find Domaine Leroy’s Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, with a price tag 60 times higher – £3,005 per bottle.

Chablis make up all top 10 white Burgundy Value Picks.

The Burgundian Value Pick with the highest Quality score is in fact a red – Domaine de la Pousse d’Or’s Volnay Premier Cru Clos de la Bousse d’Or 1995. At c.£50 per bottle and a Quality score of 983, it earns the highest Quality score for Volnay, and the third-highest for Burgundy’s 1995 vintage (after Méo-Camuzet’s Vosne Romanée Cros Parantoux and Rousseau’s Chambertin Grand Cru, priced at £1,046 and £1,448 respectively). Any lucky owners of the Clos de la Bousse d’Or 1995 should open and enjoy it now. Wine Lister partner critic, Jancis Robinson, puts its drinking window between 2006 and 2019.


Bordeaux back to dominating auction volumes

With daily en primeur release alerts and offers for the new 2017 vintage filling our inboxes, the “Bordeaux buzz” at this time of year is undeniable. However, Bordeaux’s popularity does not end with en primeur, as we prove with results of the last quarter’s trading volumes.

Wine Lister uses figures collated by the Wine Market Journal from sales at the world’s major auction houses to calculate incremental increases in four-quarter trading volumes – in this case, January-December 2017 versus April 2017-March 2018. Auction volumes contribute towards Wine Lister Economics scores, allowing us to measure the liquidity of each wine.

The five wines showing the biggest increases in trading volumes between these two periods all hail from Bordeaux. Indeed, such is the case for the top 20 auction volume increases, with the exception of brand royalty, Dom Perignon (in 10th place).

The wine experiencing the biggest increase in trading volumes is Mouton Rothschild, with 778 additional bottles traded. It has the highest Economics score of the five (956) and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.3%. Kicking off the first growth releases of 2017 vintages this week, Mouton Rothschild’s 2017 UK release price sits 17% below last year’s at £360 per bottle.

In second place is right bank powerhouse, Cheval Blanc, whose trading volume increased by 685 bottles with the addition of the most recent quarter’s figures. Though second for incremental change, its total trading volume is at least 30% smaller than any of the left bank first growths.

Latour and Haut-Brion come in third and fourth place, both with 12% trading increases of 614 and 529 respectively.

Finally, trades of Pape Clément keep the Pessac-Léognan property’s red in the top five for trade increases for a consecutive quarter, with 506 more bottles traded in the current period. Despite dropping four places since last quarter’s auction volume results, Pape Clément still achieves the highest proportional change of all five wines at the top, with a 27% trading volume increase.


Listed: top five highest prices in Tuscany

In this week’s top five, we take a break from June’s Bordeaux bias on the vinous calendar to look at the rising prices of Tuscany’s top wines.

However, there’s no escaping Bordeaux with Tuscany’s most expensive wine, since Masseto is distributed through the Place de Bordeaux. With tiny quantities available to purchase via the Place each year – average annual production is 32,000 bottles – Masseto’s price of £511 per bottle makes it well over a third more expensive than the rest of this weeks’ top five, and also the second-most expensive Italian wine on Wine Lister (beaten only by Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Monfortino Riserva).

Masseto also achieves the group’s best Brand score (977), the result of featuring in the highest number of the world’s top restaurants (24%) and being over 2.5 times more popular than any of the other four. The chart below confirms a strong relationship between Brand score and price for these wines, with Masseto’s formidable brand strength playing a key role in its high price.

At £367 per bottle, Soldera Case Basse Sangiovese takes the second spot. It achieves the highest Quality and Economics scores of the five (976 and 957 respectively). With an impressive three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.4% – by far the highest of the group – and having added 7.3% to its value over the past six months, Soldera Case Basse continues to cement its position as Tuscany’s second-most expensive wine, and close the gap on Masseto.

Two Brunellos feature amongst Tuscany’s most expensive wines: Biondi Santi’s Brunello Riserva (£289) and Casanova di Neri’s Brunello Cerretalto (£157). Whilst Biondi Santi Brunello Riserva’s appearance might be expected, considering its heritage, the fact that Casanova di Neri Cerretalto is amongst Tuscany’s most expensive wines might be more of a surprise, indicating that Riserva status alone does not currently guarantee higher prices than straight Brunellos.

Rounding out the five is Tuscany’s fourth-most expensive wine and the group’s second 100% merlot – Tua Rita’s Redigaffi. At an average price of £180 per bottle, it is over 2.5 times cheaper than its varietal companion in the group, Masseto.



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!


Neal Martin’s top Bordeaux 2017 scores

Bordeaux 2017 en primeur scores are now out from Neal Martin for Vinous.com – our US partner critic, and one of the most prominent voices of international wine criticism today. (Antonio Galloni’s scores are due out this Thursday, 3rd May). This is the first time Wine Lister has featured Neal Martin’s scores after he joined Vinous in February this year. Below are his scores equal to or above 94-96:

No wines earned perfect scores this year (in contrast with 2016, where Martin awarded a potential 100 points to eight wines), with five wines achieving Martin’s highest potential score of 97.

With a score of 95-97, Yquem sits in the top score bracket for the third time, already awarded 18.5 and 19.5-20 by Julia Harding MW (on behalf of Jancis Robinson) and Bettane+Desseauve respectively.

Similarly to Bettane+Desseauve, Martin’s appreciation for the quality of Sauternes and Barsac in 2017 is clear, with five other sweet whites making his top 21 (L’Extravagant de Doisy-Daëne, Coutet, de Fargues, Rayne Vignaud, and Suduiraut).

Lafite is Martin’s highest scoring Médoc first growth, which he describes as “classic from start to finish”. Joining the high rankings are first growths Haut-Brion (and its white), Latour, and Mouton, all earning 94-96 points.

The right bank figures strongly too. Two Pomerols (Lafleur and L’Eglise-Clinet) equal Lafite’s score, with three more earning 94-96, alongside three wines from Saint-Emilion. Ausone, like Yquem, makes its third appearance in top scores for Bordeaux 2017 from Wine Lister partner critics. “What a great Ausone this is destined to be,” comments Martin.

Bélair-Monange is perhaps the stand-out entry, described by Martin as, “the jewel in the crown of J-P Moueix… an assured, and bewitching Saint-Emilion”.

Other wines scoring 94-96 from Neal Martin include: AngélusCos d’EstournelHosannaMontrose, Petrus, and Vieux Château Certan.

All these scores are now live on the wine pages of our website for subscribers to view (alongside those of Bettane+Desseauve and Julia Harding), with links through to Neal Martin’s tasting notes on Vinous.com. Read Neal Martin’s coverage of Bordeaux 2017 here.

Vinous coverage will be completed by Antonio Galloni’s scores, due for release on Thursday 3rd May.