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.
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.
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!
2015 was a phenomenal vintage for reds in Burgundy. However, parts of the Côte de Beaune were affected by frost, and the quality of 2015 whites is therefore less consistent. Below we examine the top five white Burgundy 2015s by overall Wine Lister score.
Domaine Leflaive takes two of the five top spots. Its Chevalier-Montrachet has the highest overall Wine Lister score of all white Burgundies in 2015 (963). This is thanks to a Quality score of 962 (four points higher than the wine’s average across the last fifteen vintages) and an impressive Economics score of 991.
Domaine Leflaive’s Bâtard-Montrachet comes in third place. Both wines benefit from Domaine Leflaive’s position as a superstar white Burgundy brand. Indeed, five of the 10 highest white Burgundy Brand scores are held by wines from Domaine Leflaive.
The second highest overall scorer of white Burgundy 2015 is Domaine Bonneau du Martray’s Corton-Charlemagne (958). It is both the highest Quality scorer (977, 10% above its average) and the lowest priced (£106 per bottle) of the five, presenting an interesting value opportunity. It is also to be found in 36% of the world’s top restaurants, the most prestigious count of this week’s top five.
Chablis is represented by Vincent Dauvissat’s Grand Cru Les Clos. Identified as one of only three Chablis Buzz Brands on Wine Lister, Dauvissat’s Cru Les Clos is present in 23% of the world’s top restaurants, helping it to a Brand score of 907. Its overall Wine Lister score of 938 for the 2015 vintage is completed by a Quality score of 947 and its second strongest ever Economics score of 969.
Finally, Maison Joseph Drouhin’s Montrachet Grand Cru Marquis de Laguiche has the fifth highest Wine Lister score for white Burgundy 2015s (917). Though it has the lowest global restaurant presence, it is more present than the other four wines in top restaurants in Asia.
For this week’s top five, the spotlight is on our highest ranked Spanish red wines. All achieve a total Wine Lister score of over 913, yet there is a significant price difference between the lowest and highest priced bottle (over £500).
Vega-Sicilia Unico wins the Spanish sprint to the top spot with an applaudable Wine Lister score of 971. With impressive restaurant presence (47%) and over 17,000 average monthly searches, the wine’s Brand score is a big contributor to its number one spot.
Next, scoring 47 points less (923) though more than double the price (£573), is Pingus. With consistently high ratings from Jancis Robinson, Jeannie Cho Lee and Antonio Galloni, it has a very strong Quality score of 936 – identical to its Brand score.
A second wine from Spain’s most prestigious wine estate, the Vega-Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial, comes in third place with the highest Quality score of the group (983). However, similar to all the other top five’s, its price has been decreasing since August.
The most affordable wine of the group is the René Barbier Clos Mogador, at £57 per bottle on average. It’s the only wine of the five not to hold Buzz Brand status, though it scores five out of five for liquidity, with 300 bottles of its top five vintages traded in the past year.
Joint fourth is Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita, matching Clos Mogador’s Wine Lister score of 913. Its three-month average price scores four out of five — an improvement on its six-month price performance of two out of five. It’s the rarest in its peer group, producing just 1,350 bottles per year on average, though it still manages to achieve 19% restaurant presence.