Having recently confirmed Chablis as the place to look for Burgundian Value Picks, this week’s Listed blog brings the price scale up a notch to look at the top five still dry white wines under £200 per bottle by Wine Lister score. Alongside one further appearance from Chablis, the selection is pleasantly diverse.
Domaine Bonneau du Martray’s Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru takes the number one spot. With a market price of £116 per bottle, it is in fact the least expensive of the five. Brand is its strongest category with a score of 950, generated by 4,150 monthly online searches on Wine-Searcher and presence in 36 of the world’s best restaurants. Figures from Wine Market Journal also place it first for trading volumes, with 440 bottles of its top five vintages traded at auction during the last 12 months.
The second-highest scoring still dry white under £200 is Vincent Dauvissat’s Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. It has both the highest Quality score and market price of the group (952 and £151 per bottle respectively). However, Chablis once again shows a positive price to quality ratio when compared to other white Burgundian offerings with the same Quality score. In this context, Maison Louis Jadot’s Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles and Maison Joseph Drouhin’s Montrachet Grand Cru Marquis de Laguiche are 42% and 173% more expensive (at £214 and £412 per bottle respectively).
Next on the list is Riesling Clos Sainte-Hune, Trimbach’s most iconic dry white. Its Quality and Brand scores (943 and 947 respectively) outperform its Economics score (870) resulting in an overall score of 930. Clos Sainte-Hune’s tiny production level of an average 9,600 bottles per annum (five times fewer than the 48,000 bottles of Corton-Charlemagne produced by Bonneau du Martray, for example) makes it a true rarity.
Travelling further south for the still dry white in fourth place, we find Domaine Jean-Louis Chave’s Hermitage Blanc with an overall Wine Lister score of 922. Curiously, vintage Quality score variation is more at play here than any other wine of this week’s top five. The 2016 vintage of Chave’s Hermitage Blanc earns the highest vintage Quality score of the lot (993), however 307 points separate its best from its worst vintage (2002) which is also the lowest vintage Quality score of the five.
Last but not least, the fifth highest-scoring still dry white under £200 is Domaine Didier Dageneau’s Silex, with an overall score of 914 and a market price of £124 per bottle. In a regional context, Silex takes the number one spot on all fronts with the highest Quality, Brand, and Economics scores of all Loire dry whites. As the fifth and final wine of this week’s top five, it has the highest restaurant presence with a listing in 39 of the world’s best restaurants.
This week, Wine Lister determinedly battles through the cold to bring on spring with the vinous ray of sunshine that is Sauvignon Blanc. The Loire valley is, for many, the holy grail of Sauvignon Blanc production, creating pure, age-worthy examples of the grape. Interestingly, Wine Lister’s top five Loire Valley dry whites for Quality all hail from the Easternmost tip of the Valley – Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre – thus edging out stiff competition from the more Westerly Chenin Blancs.
Whilst none of the top five breach the 900-point mark – thus not quite making it into the most elite band of Wine Lister’s 1,000-point scale – they don’t miss out by far, and are separated by just 28 points. Notably, two producers dominate – Dagueneau and François Cotat – filling four spots, with Alphonse Mellot’s Edmond taking the remaining place.
In top spot is Dagueneau’s Silex with a score of 895. This iconic Pouilly-Fumé – or Blanc Fumé de Pouilly as the domaine refers to it – might not be the Loire’s longest-lived dry white, but leads thanks to excellent critics’ ratings, with French duo Bettane+Desseauve awarding it 18.5/20 on average. Not only is it the Loire’s top dry white for quality, it also achieves the best Brand score of any Loire Valley wine – it is 68% more popular than any other wine from the region and its famous flint-emblazoned bottle is visible in 39% of the world’s top restaurants.
Second and third spots are taken by two Sancerres from François Cotat – Les Culs de Beaujeu (883) and Les Monts Damnés (879). François Cotat, along with his cousin Pascal inherited their respective domaines when their fathers – Paul and Francis – retired in the early 90s. The cousins decided to split production, with François continuing to make his wines in Chavignol, whilst Pascal built a new winery in Sancerre. François’ Les Culs de Beaujeu and Les Monts Damnés comfortably achieve the longest drinking windows of this week’s top five – 12 and 13 years respectively – at least three years longer than the remainder of the group.
Fourth and fifth spots are filled by Dagueneau’s Les Monts Damnés (869) and Alphonse Mellot’s Edmond (867). Whilst they are separated by just two points in terms of Quality, the former is over 2.5 times more expensive, perhaps thanks to Domaine Dagueneau’s cult status.
Stretching from the Atlantic coast in the West to Pouilly-sur-Loire in the East, the Loire Valley extends half way across France, and is home to some of the country’s great white wines. Reflecting the diversity of the region, the Loire’s top five whites comprise two dry Sauvignon Blancs, two sweet Chenin Blancs, and a dry Chenin Blanc. However, whilst these wines are diverse in style, they share several key characteristics – they are all produced biodynamically, in small quantities, and by cult winemakers.
Leading the way are two Pouilly-Fumés from Domaine Didier Dagueneau – Silex and Pur Sang. One of Wine Lister’s Buzz Brands, Silex achieves excellent scores in each of Wine Lister’s three categories. However, it enjoys particularly strong brand recognition, present in 39% of the world’s best restaurants and receiving on average over 4,000 searches each month on Wine-Searcher. Pur Sang achieves its best score in the Economics category, thanks to strong price performance – with a three year CAGR of 14% and a six month growth rate of 13%.
Moving West to Vouvray, Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance comes next. Produced only in great vintages, this botrytised Chenin Blanc has the best Quality score of the group (981), and the 14th highest of all white wines on Wine Lister.
Continuing further down the valley, Clos Rougeard Brézé is in fourth place. The most expensive wine of the group, it has a remarkable three year CAGR of 33%, confirming that it is a wine on a strong upward trajectory. The fifth wine is Nicolas Joly’s Coulée de Serrant. Produced in the most westerly appellation of the group – Savennières Coulée de Serrant – Brand is its strongest category, present in 31% of top establishments.
Don’t forget – if you’re not yet a subscriber to Wine Lister, you can still fully explore this week’s five Listed wines, and those for the previous four weeks, via the homepage.
Trading volumes are a key measure of a wine’s success in the marketplace. To evaluate these, Wine Lister uses figures collated by Wine Market Journal from sales at the world’s major auction houses, looking at the total number of bottles sold of the top five vintages traded for each wine over the past four quarters.
A change in trading volumes impacts a wine’s Economics score. The chart below pulls out the biggest gainers in the last quarter of 2016, comparing auction data from the 12 months leading up to the end of Q3 2016 to data for the calendar year.
Wines from a variety of regions saw their Economics scores boosted by auction sales in the final quarter of 2016, suggesting a healthy broadening of interest in addition to the usual suspects.
Gaining most was Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain, which saw trading volumes from January-December 2016 increase tenfold. Its Economics score remains relatively low, at 420/1000.
Australia and the Loire also made an appearance. Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance enjoys a very strong Economics score of 796/1000, and also excels in terms of Quality and Brand, leaving it with a very strong overall Wine Lister rating of 856/1000.
Burgundy is still on the rise at auction, and was the only region to feature twice, with Maison Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Lavaux Saint-Jacques and Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny.
As we know, the quality of a wine is not set in stone. Just like our Brand and Economics scores, Wine Lister’s Quality scores are also updated over time as wines evolve and new vintages are released.
Our algorithm analyses Quality by aggregating ratings from our three partner critics: Jancis Robinson, Bettane+Desseauve and Vinous (Antonio Galloni). It also comprises a small weighting for a wine’s longevity, based on the critics’ combined drinking windows, with the drink-by date updated regularly as our partner critics retaste and reevaluate.
In this post we look at the 10 biggest gainers in Quality over the course of 2016:
Huet’s Le Mont Moelleux improved the most last year, adding over 20% to its score, taking it to 917. This is down to a score of 18/20 for the 2015 vintage from our UK partner critic JancisRobinson.com.
Also partly thanks to a new score of 18 from the same critic, in second place is the fortified Ramos Pinto Quinta do Bom Retiro 20 Year Old Tawny Port. The wine was also deemed to be eight years longer-lived than had been previously thought, contributing considerably to its Quality score surge.
Château Simone’s Palette Rouge received a higher-than-average score from Bettane+Desseauve for its 2012 vintage, making it the third-highest gainer for the year.
Improvements were also enjoyed across a wide range of other regions, from Bordeaux to Champagne, and in the New World.
Who will be 2017’s biggest Quality gainers? Only time (and tastings) will tell.