WHAT IS FINE WINE? Ribera del Duero 28th April 2010
Remembering where we live: wine’s human dimension “For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they were born, the city apartment or the farm in which they learnt to walk , the games they played as children, the old wives’ tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poets they read, and God they believed in. It is all these things that have made them what they are, and these are the things that you can’t come to know by hearsay, you can only know them if you have lived them.” Somerset Maugham “The Razor’s Edge” 1944 2
Where we are now: the wine world in 2010
Average quality higher than at any time in history
Liv-Ex Fine 100 Fine Wine Index (www.liv-ex.com). Tracks “the most sought after wines for which there is a strong secondary market”. A little Burgundy, Champagne, Tuscany and the Rhône, but essentially a who’s who of Bordeaux
Investment opportunities. 2009 Fine Wine index rose by 17.4%.
The power of the press. Or rather points out of 100. Absence of context
Reviews have made it possible to become a cult overnight. For how long?
Increasingly globalised market. Demand for top wines. The Lafite phenomenon. Paul Pontallier’s son. Watch the First Growths.
Slight enlargement of the world of fine wine. United States, Piedmont, Tuscany, Ribera, Priorat, Rioja, Douro Valley, Rhône, Australia, Austria
Fine wine in action: the 2009 Bordeaux en primeurs
Pre-vintage hype, even before a grape had been picked
Third “vintage of the century” in the last decade. 2000 and 2005
Massive worldwide demand for the top wines. Blank cheques, investment funds. Opportunity for skulduggery.
Little demand for the bulk of Bordeaux. Growing polarisation
Parker points driving up prices of many wines. “The most important document in the history of modern wine.” (Simon Staples, Berry Brothers Rudd)
Merchants complicit in talking up the vintage. Cash flow in a recession?
Enter the Far East? 16 flags at Ducru-Beaucaillou
Drawn-out campaign. Vinexpo Asia
Unsold 2007 and 2008s. Package deal?
Châteaux owners seeking their share of profits. Too greedy?
The IWC: tasting 10,000 wines
The world’s largest and most rigorously judged blind wine competiton
Now in its 27th year
Five co-chairmen, 20 panel leaders. More than 300 expert judges
Everything judged at least twice. Trophy winners as many as six times
Over 10,000 wines entered from 42 countries.
In 2010, there were 327 gold medals and 1,441 silver medals
Silver and golds from Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, England, Japan, Romania, Canada, Turkey , the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Mexico and Macedonia