Votes of confidence for Burgundy

For wine lovers the world over, Burgundy is a region to be celebrated all year round. That being said, the modern interpretation of the traditional, post-harvest festival, La Paulée de New York, holds its West Coast counterpart this week, celebrating some of Burgundy’s finest producers in San Francisco’s best restaurants.

With Burgundy on the brain, we look back at our recent Burgundy study and the results of our Founding Members’ survey. Wine Lister asked 52 key members of the global wine trade across importers, merchants, and auction houses to rate their confidence in certain domaines from 0 to 10.

Our Burgundy study is the first to feature producers with a perfect confidence score. In Burgundy, two producers received a rating of 10/10. It perhaps comes as no surprise that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) should be one of them. The other, Domaine Rousseau, is likely to have the strong performance of its Chambertin to thank for its perfect confidence score (Rousseau’s Chambertin holds the fifth best overall Wine Lister score in Burgundy, after four DRC wines).

Six producers achieved a confidence rating of 9/10. D’Auvenay and Domaine Leroy’s marks confirm the trade’s outstanding level of confidence in Lalou Bize-Leroy. Whilst Mugnier and Roumier fly the flag for Burgundy’s top red producers, Coche-Dury and Raveneau show that the trade is sure about the prospects of the region’s most prestigious white wine producers.

26% of producers included in the survey gained a confidence rating of 8/10. Among them, Comtes Lafon, Ente, and Roulot confirm the prospects of Meursault and its top producers.

36% of producers received a score of 7/10 – still a strong result and underlining the trade’s high level of confidence in Burgundy. This confidence seems linked to the region’s consistent price performance, as one US fine wine auction house notes: “The single most interesting trend is pricing. Demand on the primary and secondary market is high, and it’s amazing to see that prices have not gone down at all…in years.”

For context, no Burgundy producer scored below 5/10, compared to 5% of Bordeaux wines in Wine Lister’s Bordeaux study last year.

For more detail on which Burgundy producers achieve top confidence ratings, see our full Burgundy study here, or subscribe to gain access.

For those joining the La Paulée festivities, we wish you a very happy Burgundy week!

The best wines for decadence

We may have been glad to see the back of January, but it certainly wasn’t all blue. The first month of the year brought excitement to the wine world with Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s (DRC) 2015 release, and to Wine Lister with our first ever 1000-point Brand score. For much of London’s bustling City, the end of February means one thing: bonus time. The Financial Times’ February edition of How To Spend It already features the iconic DRC – below are some further ideas for wines to blow the budget.

Prices from our data partner, Wine Owners, are shown ex duty and sales tax (VAT) per bottle as averages across Wine Lister featured vintages.

  1. Krug Clos d’Ambonnay

While Dom Pérignon or Louis Roederer’s Cristal are more commonly associated with City celebrations, those in the know will be toasting with Krug’s famous Pinot Noir expression. With an average Quality score of 969 and a price of £1,367 per bottle for the latest available vintage (2000), a glass of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay is, in itself, cause for celebration.

  1. Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’re one of the lucky few on Screaming Eagle’s direct mailing list, congratulations. It is one of the most talked-about wines by the trade based on the results of Wine Lister’s proprietary Founding Member survey, and counts over 17,000 monthly online searches on Wine-Searcher. The average £2,593 price tag per bottle is therefore a small price to pay, if indeed you are able to get your hands on one of the 7,800 bottles produced each year.

  1. Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling TBA

Even harder to find is Egon Müller’s Scharzhofberger Riesling TBA. It breaks a number of records, including Wine Lister’s rarest wine (with an average of only 150 bottles produced per annum) and the highest ever average Wine Lister Quality score (995). Prices range from £5,848 per bottle to over £21,000 per bottle for older vintages.

  1. Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru

The second most expensive of all French wines, let alone in Burgundy, is Domaine Leroy’s Musigny. At just over half the price of DRC Romanée-Conti, averaging £6,805 per bottle, its consistent quality is matched by impressive price growth, with a compound average growth rate of 26%. It featured in last year’s Listed blog, “the best wines money can buy”, which certainly still rings true.

Burgundy tomorrow – trends according to the trade

Our Burgundian blog series continues, bringing you new snippets from our recently published Burgundy market study. Included in the study are findings from a survey answered by Wine Lister’s Founding Members – 52 CEOs, MDs and department heads from companies representing over one third of global fine wine revenues.

The most-cited trend was one that we have already explored in our latest blog on Burgundy price performance, namely untrammelled price increases. However our panel of merchants, retailers and auction houses also identified trends such as new styles of winemaking, as well as pinpointing some of the region’s rising stars.

The new generation of Burgundian winemaker seems as committed to quality as ever, while maintaining a more open outlook than their predecessors. This often means a strong focus on terroir transparency and a light touch in the cellar.

According to the trade, many Burgundy winemakers of today seek lower extraction levels , less sulphur, and less oak influence, concentrating on purity of fruit, sometimes by means of whole bunch fermentation.

Buying trends on the consumer side match this freedom of expression, with merchants citing the lesser-known villages, such as Saint-Aubin and Fixin, as up and coming.

This being said, our Founding Members’ consensus on the new domaines to watch for quality and acclaim remained very much among Burgundy’s upper crust, with the likes of Comte Liger-Belair, Vougeraie and Roulot.

You can read about more trends in the full Burgundy market study by subscribing here. Alternatively, a preview of the first 15 pages is available here.

Burgundy’s top price performers revealed

Our most recent market study is out, this time analysing 175 of Burgundy’s finest wines. Last week’s blog gave an overview of the study’s key findings. This week we take a deeper look into one of the upward trends, exploring some of Burgundy’s best price performers.

While it is impossible to argue the position of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at the top of the Quality and Brand leaderboards, a greater mix of producers excel in long-term price performance. Lalou-Bize Leroy’s Domaine d’Auvenay is a frequent and expected feature within the top price performers, but the list is not without surprises.

Arnaud Ente, while well known by those in the trade, is a quieter name in the global wine world. What Ente lacks in brand presence he makes up for in exceptional quality. Vines, notably his enviable Meursault plots, tend to be harvested late, giving wines their signature opulence. With a Quality score of 909 and a 3-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34%, Ente’s Meursault Les Gouttes d’Or is one of the best performing whites in Burgundy and the best 5-year price performer.

The Meursault village as a whole steals the show on price performance, accounting for 6 of the top 10 wines in the Economics score-criterion. Domaine Roulot, another producer flying slightly under the radar of Burgundy’s biggest brands also demonstrates strong long-term price performance across all three of their Meursault cuvées.

Meursault is not the only white village on the up. According to our Founding Members’ survey, which accompanies the Burgundy market study, the popularity of Saint-Aubin is increasing. Whether searching for the highest quality or the best value, it seems the white vineyards of Burgundy are the places to be this year.

You can read about more Burgundy trends in the full Burgundy market study by subscribing here. Alternatively, a preview of the first 15 pages is available here.

Listed: top five red Burgundies under £300 per bottle by Wine Lister score

Today marks the close of a busy week of Burgundy 2016 en primeur tastings, with offer prices largely stable on 2015 despite tiny volumes, thanks to the more generous 2017 in the wings. However, prices have been escalating in the secondary market for several years now, with eight of the region’s top wines averaging more than £3,000 per bottle). Eyewatering, yes, but as illustrated in our recently published study, the majority of the region’s top wines are priced between £100 and £500.

To mark this week’s Burgundy en primeur tastings, the latest Listed section picks out the top five red Burgundies priced under £300 per bottle by Wine Lister score. With an outstanding average score of 913 – putting them amongst the very strongest on Wine Lister – and four of the five achieving Buzz Brand status, these wines are worth the price tag.

Leading the way is Grand Cru monopole Clos de Tart with a score of 947. Recently acquired by Artemis Domaines – Latour owner François Pinault’s holding company – it achieves the best Brand and Economics scores of the group (956 and 964 respectively), and is just pipped into second place in the Quality category by Trapet Père et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru (932 vs 940). Its price  has increased 9% over the past six months, and now at £275, it looks like it won’t qualify for this group much longer!

Next comes Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays – part of LVMH’s portfolio since 2014 – with a score of 919. Alongside Marquis d’Angerville Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Ducs, this is the cheapest (or least expensive) of the group (c.£150 each). It enjoys its best score in the Brand category, with the group’s highest level of restaurant presence (25%), and the second-best average monthly online search frequency (5,079).

In third place is Rousseau’s Clos de la Roche Grand Cru with a score of 910. At almost £300 per bottle, it is the most expensive of the group, contributing to its boasting the best score in the Economics category (937). It is also partner critic Jeannie Cho Lee’s favourite wine of the group; she awards it a score of 95/100 on average.

Dropping just below the 900-point mark are Marquis d’Angerville Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Ducs and Trapet Père et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru (899 and 891 points respectively). They display very different profiles. The latter leads the Quality category, with the former lagging 60 points behind (still with a very strong score of 879). However,Trapet’s Chambertin struggles in other categories, with the group’s lowest scores for Brand and Economics (867 and 823). Meanwhile, thanks to the group’s strongest long and short-term growth rates, Marquis d’Angerville’s Volnay Clos des Ducs enjoys an excellent Economics score (939) – the second-best of the five.

If you’d like to discover more about Burgundy and its top wines, then click here if you are a subscriber to view the full regional study, or here to see a preview if you haven’t yet subscribed.

Burgundy study – mercury rising

With the Burgundy 2016 campaign underway, our first blog of the new year sheds some light on an all too often complex region. In our inaugural Burgundy study, Wine Lister reveals some key findings. Read on to find out more or click here to access the full study (non-subscribers can see a preview of the study here).

Price: the unstoppable force?

While the region’s Brand scores are no match for Bordeaux, Burgundy’s supply and demand dynamic(emphasised by a five-year stock shortage) and high quality are driving prices ever skywards. The majority of top Burgundy wines cost between £100 and £500 a bottle, with 18 wines costing more than £2000 per bottle.

Among the impressive Economics scores (994 being the highest) it is no surprise that producers such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) and Domaine Leroy hold many of the top spots (note that the only whites to enter into the Top 25 for Economics are from Coche-Dury). However, the region as a whole rises above the rest on price performance. Burgundy‘s prices have risen more quickly than any other top fine wine region and show no sign of decelerating.

Quality: the clear winners

Indeed, DRC and Domaine Leroy consistently top the charts across all Wine Lister scores. However, Lalou Bize-Leroy is Quality queen, with 11 wines in the Quality top 25 between Leroy and d’Auvenay.

DRC and Armand Rousseau stand out as being the only two producers to gain the trade’s full confidence. Our Founding Members give the domaines a confidence rating of 10/10 (no Bordeaux chateau scores above 9/10).

Trends: what the future holds for Burgundy

Further insight from Wine Lister’s 52 Founding Members (key global fine wine trade figures)includes growth trends for Burgundy.

One commonality throughout the trade was the noticeable rise in the popularity of Saint-Aubin (Burgundy is the region home to more “rising star” producers than any other fine wine region). Other observations included a general shift towards higher quality and greater purity in winemaking style, as well as less sulphur and more whole bunch fermentation.

Subscribers can read the full study here. Non-subscribers can access a preview of the full version or subscribe here.

Listed: the top five Chambertins by Quality score

If ever there was a time of year to push the boat out, then surely this is it. So this week our Listed section travels to Burgundy for Chambertin’s top five wines for Quality. All achieving a Quality score of at least 966, thus ranking amongst the very best on Wine Lister’s database, these are some of the most sought-after wines in the world.

Leading the way with a score of 991 is Leroy’s offering. This exceptional score is the third-best Quality score on Wine Lister and the highest of any red wine (alongside DRC La Romanée-Conti). Across all vintages, it receives near-perfect ratings from Wine Lister partner critics Jancis Robinson and Jeannie Cho Lee (19.5/20 and 99/100 respectively). Moreover, Jeannie Cho Lee awarded a 100 point score to the 2015 vintage. But with the longest ageing potential of the group – over 18 years on average – the 2015 will reward patient drinkers, and with a wine-level average price of £2982 per bottle, you would want to savour it at its peak.

Next come Dujac and Rousseau’s offerings with scores of 976. Whilst these wines achieve identical Quality scores, and similar Economics ratings (951 and 979 respectively), the Rousseau achieves a far superior Brand score (960 vs 608). In fact Rousseau’s Chambertin convincingly outperforms the others in the Brand category, which achieve an average score of 638. The chart below confirms that Rousseau’s Chambertin enjoys far greater brand recognition than its Quality score would suggest within this set of peers, definitely earning its Buzz Brand status.

In fourth place is Dugat-Py’s Chambertin (973), just seven points ahead of Ponsot’s Chambertin Cuvée Vieilles Vignes (966). Despite their similar Quality scores, there is a noticeable difference in their prices, with the Dugat-Py the second most expensive wine in the group (£1539), whilst the Ponsot is by far the cheapest (£440) and looks relatively good value. If we look a little further, Ponsot Chambertin 2007, with a Quality score of 968 is currently available for as little as £399 per bottle and is in the middle of its drinking window, making it an excellent proposition for that seasonal treat.

If you are interested in Burgundy and its position in the fine wine market, then watch this space for our forthcoming in-depth regional study, due to be released in January.

Listed – top 5 Corton-Charlemagnes by Brand score

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.

Listed - 5 best Corton-Charlemagne Brands image_30_11_17

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:

Corton-Charlemagne Brand vs Quality image_29_11_17

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:

Montrachet Brand vs Quality image_29_11_17

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.