Seal of Ap­proval

The non-bordeaux wines sold by the re­gion’s lead­ing mer­chants pro­vide an insight into the global mar­ket for top wines, writes James Suck­ling

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

he most re­cent vin­tage of one of Chile’s most fa­mous wines, Al­ma­viva 2013, was re­leased in early Septem­ber and sales were brisk, to say the least. The 2013 is yet an­other su­per red from the wine es­tate jointly owned by Chile’s Con­cha y Toro and France’s Château Mou­ton Rothschild. I rated it 97 points. But what few wine lovers around the world re­alise is that a large per­cent­age of the Al­ma­viva 2013 sold came from a se­lect num­ber of wine mer­chants in Bordeaux.

It may sound strange to some, but Bordeaux wine mer­chants, or ne­go­ciants, as they’re called in France, sell a hand­ful of iconic nonbordeaux wines each year, just like they sell their re­gion’s un­bot­tled wines as fu­tures (en primeur) or a re­cent re­lease in bot­tle. As well as Al­ma­viva, th­ese wines in­clude Clos Apalta (Chile), Hom­mage à Jacques Per­rin (Rhone Val­ley), Opus One (Napa Val­ley) and Mas­seto and So­laia (both from Italy). Th­ese wines are of­fered glob­ally, mostly in Septem­ber. Here are my rat­ings over the past three months for most of them: 2012 Al­ma­viva (97 points), 2012 Clos Apalta (96), 2012 Opus One (97), 2012 Mas­setto (99) and 2012 So­laia (97).

“Th­ese of­fers are very suc­cess­ful with our clients, as they seem to ful­fil a need for a sim­pli­fied ac­cess to th­ese wines,” said Mathieu Chadron­nier, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of CVBG, one of the big­gest fine-wine ne­go­ciants and one of the dozen or so com­pa­nies sell­ing Al­ma­viva and other la­bels in Bordeaux. His com­pany sells to thou­sands of cus­tomers around the world through what may be the most com­plete global dis­tri­bu­tion net­work for fine wine.

“The fine-wine mar­ket is in­creas­ingly global, both in terms of where the wines are sold and where they orig­i­nate,” added Chadron­nier. “Hence, a broader fine-wine of­fer is per­ceived as highly rel­e­vant by our clients.”

Chadron­nier’s broader of­fer, as he de­scribes it, il­lus­trates a new class of global su­per wine brand. Th­ese wines of­fer incredible qual­ity as well as quan­tity. They are some of the best wines from their re­spec­tive re­gions and they are made in sub­stan­tial quan­ti­ties to sup­ply a global de­mand—some as much as 25,000 cases. They are em­u­lat­ing in the world mar­ket such cov­eted Bordeaux wines as Lafite Rothschild, Mar­gaux, La­tour, Mou­ton Rothschild, Haut-brion, Palmer, Mon­trose, Du­cru-beau­cail­lou, Pétrus and Che­val Blanc.

And peo­ple are drink­ing them around the world just like the pres­ti­gious la­bels of Bordeaux. Such names as Al­ma­viva and Mas­seto are pres­tige mar­ques that sym­bol­ise qual­ity and chic when bought, dis­played or con­sumed. And in­evitably they are ex­pen­sive, with a few ex­cep­tions. This is “face value” in just about any wine mar­ket.

What’s in­ter­est­ing to note is that there are no su­per brands traded in Bordeaux from Aus­tralia or Spain, even though such wines as Pen­folds Grange (Aus­tralia) and Pin­gus (Spain) would eas­ily qual­ify. And there’s no Bur­gundy, al­though I would ar­gue Do­maine de la Ro­manée-conti is the great­est of them all. Cham­pagne is also not sold in Bordeaux, but the grand mar­ques of the re­gion al­ready have a highly ef­fi­cient dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem.

In the end, all this sim­ply makes me more cu­ri­ous to see what for­eign wines will be sold by Bordeaux mer­chants in com­ing years.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.