22 Champagnes for 2022
Considering the latest industry insights shared in our annual end of year study, Wine Lister explores an eclectic range of Champagne MUST BUYs worth celebrating. With an initial selection made by our proprietary recommendation algorithm, based on quality and value within the category, we have singled out some top picks to pop open as we ring in 2022.
Wine Lister Leagues 2021: New Year’s Eve Champagne MUST BUYs (p. 17)
With demand for Champagne reaching record heights this year, Wine Lister’s latest Leagues explore a selection of top bottles to take you into 2022, featuring a variety of styles and price points across four categories: Major Marques, Connoisseur’s Collection, Varietal Vins, and Captivating Cuvées.
What Champagne should I buy?
A selection of Champagne’s strongest brands, the list of Major Marques features Krug’s Grande Cuvée and Clos de Mesnil alongside Louis Roederer’s Cristal, Perrier-Jouët’s Belle Epoque, and Dom Pérignon’s P2. The latter is considered a top Investment Staple, receiving recognition from the global fine wine market as a relatively stable and liquid option (discover our list of 2021 Investment Staples on p. 16).
Favourites among the trade and fine wine lovers alike, these insider icons include Philipponnat’s Clos des Goisses, Pol Roger’s Sir Winston Churchill, Salon Le Mesnil, and Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne. Bollinger is featured twice in the line-up with its Grande Année and R.D. cuvées; with a distinguished history dating back to 1829, the estate has the only two vineyards in Champagne to remain phylloxera-free throughout the late 19th-century epidemic.
Our selection of Blanc de Blancs worth seeking out include Agrapart et Fils Minéral Extra-Brut, Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Fleuron Brut, and Charles Heidsick’s Blanc des Millénaires. Produced only in exceptional years, there have been four vintages of Blanc des Millénaires released since its inaugural 1983 vintage, with the cuvée spending a minimum of fifteen years maturing in the heart of Charles Heidsieck’s 2000-year-old underground chalk cellars (a UNESCO world heritage site) before release.
Made exclusively from Pinot Noir, Jacques Selosse’s La Cote Faro and Paul Bara’s Comtesse Marie de France also feature in the MUST BUY selection. A seventh-generation family business, Champagne Paul Bara is one of the few grower producers in Bouzy – a village widely regarded as amongst Champagne’s top sites for the production of Pinot Noir.
Sure to impress during the festive season, our list of Captivating Cuvées includes key grower producers Bruno Paillard, Bérêche et Fils, Vilmart et Cie, and Egly-Ouriet, whose featured wines each offer relative value within the selection of Champagne MUST BUYs. Henriot’s Cuvée des Enchanteleurs and Billecart-Salmon’s Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon complete the list – the latter being the only rosé Champagne featured, comprising a blend of around 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, of which 10% is vinified as red wine and incorporated into the final blend.
For further analysis on quality consistency, increased popularity, and a list of 2021s most compelling wines, download the Winer Lister Leagues 2021 here.
The insider’s guide to fine wine trends, and the most compelling wines to watch
Wine Lister has released its second annual Wine Leagues, celebrating some of the top-performing wines and producers in today’s new and much-diversified fine wine era. Informed by an in-depth trade survey with leading industry figures, the report provides a 360° view of those regions, producers, and wines that have seen strides in quality, popularity, economic promise, and more in 2021.
Wine Lister’s annual in-depth survey sees our expert panel of 47 CEOs, MDs, and wine department heads share their insight on some of the fine wines to have on your radar, as we ask them:
“What are the most compelling wines and producers in the market today?”
Respondents singled out 188 wines and producers collectively, that span no less than 20 major regions. Within the list, our team identifies Bibi Graetz, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Roberto Voerzio, Berthaut-Gerbet, and Fürst as wines to watch in the Old World, whilst calling out the New World wonders of Catena Zapata, Errazuriz, Pedro Parra, Rhys Vineyards, and Ridge Vineyards.
The report also includes rankings across:
- Biggest quality improvers, which show impressive movement from Italy (occupying five places in the list of the top 20 by Quality score progression), with Isole e Olena Chianti Classico leading the pack
- Best search rank movers, wherein Bordeaux represents eight of the top 20 wines whose popularity has increased most in terms of online searches (including Smith Haut Lafitte, Domaine de Chevalier, Figeac, and Léoville Poyferré)
- Burgundy superstars, focusing on popularity movements from the trade’s darling region – Arnoux-Lachaux features 10 times in the list of top 20 Burgundian wines whose online searches have increased the most over the last two years
- Wine Lister’s top-10 recommendations per Wine Lister Indicator; Hidden Gems, Value Picks, Buzz Brands, and Investment Staples in 2021
For the full analysis, download your free copy of Wine Lister’s 2021 Leagues here.
Last week we introduced Wine Lister’s new toy, a dynamic guide to the ultimate wines any fine wine lover should consider for their cellar – WL MUST BUY. While the full list is approximately 1,800 recommendations strong, Wine Lister provides some useful segments to help cut into all that data, aside from the usual criteria that can be found in our advanced search function (region, price, colour, score etc).
Wine Lister Indicators are designed to provide suggestions for your specific buying purpose, whether it be to discover something new (Hidden Gems), impress at a dinner party (Buzz Brands), drink well without breaking the bank (Value Picks), or add to your investment portfolio (Investment Staples).
MUST BUYs and Indicators together provide a ready-made source list of the best wines to meet your needs. Below we look at the combination of our MUST BUY algorithm with Investment Staples.
Investment Staples are wines above a certain price, that are long-lived (but not too old), have proven wine price performance or represent good value compared to their peers, and are relatively stable and liquid, with recognition from our network of global fine wine trade members.
There are 18 MUST BUY Investment Staples that score 97 WL points or above. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bordeaux represents almost half of these, with eight MUST BUYs, including two first growths (2016 Mouton, and 2016 Lafite), and 1975 Petrus.
These eight Bordeaux have an average price of £511 per bottle, or just under an eighth of the average price of the three Burgundies to qualify as MUST BUY Investment Staples. However, as investments, some of them may require patience – the prices of those from 2016 have yet to increase any significant amount. By contrast, DRC’s La Tâche 2005, Richebourg 2005, and Comte Liger-Belair La Romanée 2012 are testament to Burgundy’s impressive upward price trajectory, having already achieved three-year CAGR (compound annual growth rates) of 21.8%, 23.4%, and 33.1% respectively.
Outside of Bordeaux and Burgundy, Italy holds court with MUST BUY Investment staples from Bartolo Mascarello, and the indomitable Soldera among others.
You can see the full list of MUST BUY Investment Staples here, or check out some other MUST BUY lists, such as MUST BUY Hidden Gems, or MUST BUY Value Picks.
Don’t forget that the MUST BUY list changes weekly. Revisit MUST BUY Investment Staples again next week to see new entries.
Wine Lister is excited to announce the arrival of its new consumer site, aimed at supporting fine wine lovers as they navigate the fine wine seas. All users now have unlimited, free access to the world’s most comprehensive fine wine data hub. Start learning how to buy wine like a pro now, or read on to find out more.
WL MUST BUYs
Wine Lister has created its own buy recommendation tool, which combines Wine Lister data with human intelligence (such as the opinion of key members of the global fine wine trade, plus insight from the Wine Lister team’s trips and tastings), to provide a dynamic list of wines any fine wine buyer should consider for their cellar. All MUST BUYs represent high quality, and value within their respective appellations and vintages.
Browse the full MUST BUY list here.
Aggregated, 100-point score
With a focus on quality, the new 100-point Wine Lister Score combines the ratings of five of the world’s most respected wine critics – Jancis Robinson, Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin (Vinous), Bettane+Desseauve, and Jeannie Cho Lee, together with a smaller weighting for the wine’s ageing potential. The score is as objective an indication of wine quality as possible, allowing users to make site-wide comparisons across the 30,000+ wine-vintages on Wine Lister.
See this comparison, or create your own here.
Further analysis tools
Dynamic charts give users the chance to explore wines they might consider buying or selling in more detail.
The Vintage Value Identifier gives users a clear visual of price to quality ratios across vintages of a given wine, applying a score to this measure of relative value. See the example below for Mouton Rothschild: while the 2016 vintage is higher quality than 2014, its accompanying high price means that both the 2016 and 2014 vintages present the same level of value (the joint-highest of all recent back vintages shown)
Wine Lister’s dynamic Vintage Value Identifier chart, showing price vs. quality (left) and Value Pick score (right).
See the chart for Mouton Rothschild, or search for another wine here.
The Price History chart tracks a wine’s price performance over time, relative to its peer group. This can be done at vintage level, helping collectors to see performance history of a specific wine they might own. See below the example of Domaine Hubert Lignier’s Clos de La Roche 2016, whose price growth over the last year is one of the most impressive of all wines on Wine Lister (57.8%).
Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche 2016’s six-month price performance compared to performance of other Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2016s
The same dynamic chart can be used at wine level (an average across vintages, with a stronger weighting for more recent vintages), to give a general indication of a wine’s price trajectory, and therefore whether or not the wine in question could be an investment buy. See below an example for Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin, which on average sees steady price growth, and a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 31.8% (though the price has flattened out this year).
Armand Rousseau’s average price performance over two years
On top of these tools, each wine page gives users further information about the wine in question, including whether the wine qualifies for one of Wine Lister’s four Indicators. Haut Brion, as shown in the example below, is a Buzz Brand. See more information on other segments – Hidden Gems, Value Picks, and Investment Staples, or start browsing here.
We hope that you find the new site informative and useful for developing your fine wine collection. Feedback from our users is always welcome – please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments here.
With England progressing serenely (ahem) through their round of 16 match against Columbia, much Champagne (and probably much more beer) will have been drunk on Tuesday evening. With somewhat tortuous logic therefore, this week’s Listed section focuses on the best Champagnes from the 2000 vintage by Economics score.
Separated by just three points at the top of the table are Philipponnat Clos des Goisses (966) and Pierre Péters Cuvée Spéciale Les Chétillons Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (963). Despite experiencing the lowest Quality score of the five – a nonetheless hugely respectable 944 – the Philipponnat gets its nose ahead thanks to excellent growth rates over both the long and short-term, with a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% and having added 33% to its price over the past six months alone. No wonder it is one of the group’s three Investment Staples.
It is interesting that Pierre Péters Cuvée Spéciale Les Chétillons Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru comes in second place in terms of Economic performance, despite it experiencing the group’s lowest overall Wine Lister score for the vintage (910). Its lower Wine Lister score is the result of its Brand score (822) being the weakest of the group by nearly 90 points, confirming the phenomenal head start that the globally renowned houses have over grower Champagnes in terms of brand recognition. It manages second place in terms of economic performance thanks to formidable short-term growth rates, its price having risen 42% since January.
In third place is Krug’s Clos du Mesnil (954), one of three Blanc de Blancs in this week’s top five, and the first of two wines from Krug, with the Brut Vintage recording an Economics score of 907. The two Krugs are almost inseparable, the Brut Vintage’s Wine Lister score of 967 just one point ahead of the Clos du Mesnil, making them the overall top-scoring Champagnes of the vintage. Our partner critics were barely able to separate them either, the Clos du Mesnil’s Quality score just two points ahead (976 vs 974). However, the rarity of the Clos du Mesnil results in it being over 3.5 times more expensive. Furthermore, with the Clos du Mesnil recording a 3-year CAGR of 14% and short-term growth rates of 12%, the price discrepancy is increasing – the Brut Vintage has a 3-year CAGR of 8% and has increased in value by 4% over the past six months. However the feather in the cap for the Brut Vintage is that it is considerably more liquid – presumably because of larger production volumes – its top five vintages having traded 1,279 bottles at auction over the past four quarters, over 11 times as many as the Clos du Mesnil (112).
The remaining spot is filled by Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (922). It is the second-most liquid of the group, its top five vintages having traded 720 bottles at auction over the past year.
Incidentally, 2000 was a European Championships year, not a World Cup year. Fittingly, given the focus of this blog, France won. England failed to make it past the group stages.
Château Latour has released a parcel of their 2006 this morning at €450 ex-negociant. It is being offered in the UK at c.£430 per bottle. The factsheet below summarises its key points.
You can download this slide here: Wine Lister Factsheet Latour 2006
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.
For more images, please contact email@example.com.
Certain wines are a safer store of value than others. One of our four Wine Lister Indicators – Investment Staples – enables you to spot these instantly. The bespoke algorithm identifies wines of a high quality level, long-lived and not too old, above a certain price (therefore soaking up the frictional costs of collecting wine), with proven price performance, stability, and liquidity.
This last criterion is measured using the number of bottles traded at wine auctions globally. With the latest quarterly data in from Wine Market Journal, 16 new wine and vintage combinations (across nine producers) have recently become Investment Staples. These wines are all over £50 a bottle, with the majority falling under £400, but the most expensive – Roumier’s 2013 Musigny – costing £4,851.
Several of the new Investment Staples have displayed an upward price trend over the last six months, in particular Leroy’s Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées 2013 and Roumier’s 2008 Musigny, both of which have seen increases upwards of 30%.
Wine investment is not often associated with white wines, but six of the new Investment Staples are just that. All possess staying power, and are young enough to have room for improvement. What is more, they are made by some of the finest wine producers there are, allowing them to challenge some of their red neighbours in terms of investment fundamentals. Of these, Roulot’s Meursault Charmes 2012 has the best six-month price performance, plus one of the longest drinking windows based on the average assessment of our partner critics. Jean-Marc Roulot has been a rising star for several years now, but his wines are still in the ascendancy.
The new Investment Staples nearly all hail from Burgundy, with just a handful of entries from Piedmont and the Rhône. Those seeking something a bit different that still possesses the criteria of a solid investment might look to Italian white, Gaia & Rey 2012 from Gaja, which has a drinking window of 2015-2025, 6.3% six-month price performance, and price tag of £124.
To search for more Investment Staples, subscribers can click here, filtering by country, region, type, style, price, and score, to drill down exactly into what wine you’re after.
Today saw by far the largest release of Latour direct from the cellars since the property withdrew from the en primeur system starting with the 2012 vintage. Château Latour has released c.3,000 cases of its 2007, the first real test of its new distribution strategy, and reports from the Place are positive. Courtiers and négociants say the price has worked (for the first time the ex-château stock is released at market level, with no “provenance premium”), and report that the entire parcel has been sold, with demand “very strong”.
Using Wine Lister’s unique combination of data, we’ve created a visual guide to this exceptional château and its 2007 vinatge:
You can download the slide here: latour-2007-slide
In a new climate of Brexit-induced uncertainty, with volatile fund performance and some economists forecasting recession, can fine wine offer some shelter? Research has consistently shown that wine has weak correlation with traditional financial assets, and can therefore be a useful diversification tool. Moreover, returns have been attractive historically, and less risky.
The graph above shows returns since June 2007 for fine wine, gold, and three major stock indices. In spite of the fine wine bubble bursting in the summer of 2011, wine has produced the best annual returns over this period, at 8%.
Note that for this analysis we have used our price data partner’s Wine Owners 150 index, which contains a range of wines from different regions and at different price points. This further underlines the wisdom of diversification at every step – a wine portfolio made up solely of Bordeaux first growths would not yet have regained losses suffered in 2011. It should also be noted that the performance of the WO 150 index does not take into account frictional costs associated with fine wine collecting, namely storage, insurance, transportation, and sales commissions.
What about the risk profile of fine wine? Despite surpassing the S&P 500, the FTSE 100, and the Hang Seng in terms of return, fine wine displays less volatility. It is also less volatile than gold, while providing similar returns over the nine-year period.
Finally, we ran our own analysis to confirm fine wine’s low correlation with stock markets over the same period – in mathematical terms, the index demonstrates correlation of 0.41, 0.03, and 0.15 with the S&P 500, Hang Seng and FTSE 100 respectively (where 1 is complete correlation, and -1 denotes mirror opposites). Fine wine behaves similarly to gold, often viewed as a refuge value in times of financial turmoil – the two show correlation of 0.8.
To take the plunge?
Fine wine seems to possess at least three characteristics making it a viable – and even attractive – alternative asset; a safe haven in tumultuous times. Independently of Brexit-fuelled uncertainty, now might be an opportune time to buy into wine, as it has shown steady – but not bubble-inducing growth since the beginning of 2016.
As a non-mainstream and (ironically) illiquid asset class, fine wine should only ever make up a small proportion of any investment portfolio. And, of course, it is a multi-faceted, non-fungible asset, ultimately made for drinking and enjoying, so we recommend that any notion of investing in wine always be secondary to its primary appeal, and undertaken with expert advice!
See Wine Lister’s Investment Staples and filter by geography, price, score and more.
For more information on a specific wine – relating to quality, brand, and economics – click on any wine and open out the category bars.
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this post or elsewhere on the Wine Lister website do not constitute investment advice.