Monthly Archives: May 2013

Philippe Magrez Wine Dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges

Posted by on May 31, 2013
Events, Uncategorized / No Comments
frame 2

Last night we were proud to host our first wine event held in the Amaryllis Room, at Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges. We were honoured to be joined by Philippe Magrez, of the Magrez family estate, who was there to show case selected wines from his family’s estate. As well as being charming and funny, Philippe displayed an incisive knowledge of the wines and estates, which provided a fascinating element to the evening. The Magrez family own four Grand Crus Classés in the most prestigious Bordeaux appellations, namely; Château Pape Clément (Graves Grand Crus Classés), Château Fombrauge (Saint Emilion Grand Crus Classés), Château La Tour Carnet Médoc Grand Crus Classés) and Clos Haut-Peyraguey (Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé). Each estate has a lengthy and illustrious heritage, which Philippe conveyed to the audience in an animated and enlightening way.

This event was an unashamedly opulent affair. Even the most seasoned bon vivant would agree that the range of wines and seven course taster menu were exquisite:


The potential apex of the night was the tasting the Château Pape Clément Blanc 2009 which was awarded a faultless 100 points by Parker, and was accompanied by pressed smoked pork belly with crispy bantam, egg, celeriac, apple and fresh truffle. This velvety textured wine is truly lavish, displaying notes of exotic fruits, Cointreau, and marzipan, harmonised perfectly with the complexity of the food. The 2009 was served next to the Château Pape Clément Blanc 2010, awarded 95 points by Parker, and quite different in style, this vintage is more poised whilst still being bountiful in aromatics of lemon grass, golden kiwis and jasmine. This provided a seriously unforgettable taste comparison exercise, and illustrates the genius production whereby such different styles are achieved, beautifully epitomising the uniqueness of the vintage.

We were also honoured to taste The Magrez Fombrauge 2000, which is on the verge of extinction as there are only 24 bottles left at the estate! This wine has everlasting length and warrants a substantial lexicon of descriptor terms in order to convey the complexity of the flavours and aromas; everything from blueberries and chocolate right through to flinty mineral notes.

The Château Pape Clément 2010 was another dazzling wine, again donned with 100 perfect Parker points, and tasted after the 2008, which received 95 points, quite literally from the sublime to the ridiculously sublime. Both wines were served with Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s Beef wellington with smoked pomme puree.

The 2010 is described by Parker as portraying, ‘sublime elegance, the power, the medium to full-bodied texture, the silky tannins, the subtle notes of smoke, lead pencil shavings, black currants, charcoal, camphor, blueberry and cassis fruit are all remarkable. It is a rich, full-throttle wine, but the elegance and the great terroir of Pape Clement come through in abundance’. The 2008 was a later harvest, hence the wine is riper, bursting wine blueberries and black cherries. The wellington worked wonderfully with both, a French English fusion executed to perfection. In fact, this was the overall theme of the night and our vision when we decided to organise the event, so far we have received excellent feedback from the 22 guests comprised of clients and industry professionals.

This is the first of many more events to come, where we plan to combine the greats of gastronomy and oenology, creating an unforgettable experience.

frame 3

Some quotes from people who attended the event:

Mr. Nicholas Padfield : ‘Thank you very much for inviting me to such a splendid occasion. The food, venue and wines were out of this world and I do not know enough superlatives to do them all justice’.

Mr.Pierre-Eric Sabatier: ‘I would like to thank you for the outstanding event that you put together yesterday. I can insure you that both Philippe Magrez and I were very impressed. The event was perfectly organized, the place and the food were fantastic and the people that you invited were perfectly in line with the target’.

Mr. Antoni Daszewski: ‘I enjoyed the evening immensely, the lovely food and excellent wines and what a wonderful venue, highly civilised and delightful’.

Mr.Chris Rigby: ‘Many thanks for a splendid evening last night. Aside from the fantastic food & the wines, it was great to meet a few fellow investors & have a few words with Philippe’.

Mr.Roy Sandler: ‘Many thanks for a most memorable evening last night. It was a real treat to enjoy such fine wines and superb food whilst surrounded by cordial company’.

Mr.Richard Britten-Long: ‘Dinner last night in Claridge’s was memorable to say the least and I thoroughly enjoyed the company and wines. Superb!’.

Mr.Rob Pinchbeck: ‘Thank you very much for a wonderful evening yesterday: the wine, the foodand the company – all were excellent – most enjoyable’. 

frame 5


Tags: , , , , ,

‘China recognises Champagne as a protected Geographical Indication’

Posted by on May 29, 2013
Wine Market News / No Comments

China have announced that they will recognise Champagne as a protected geographical indication, agreeing to reserve the use of the name solely for describing sparkling wine from the French region.

The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) greatly support this decision, as it enables them, as a trade body to seek action against mislabelled products more effectively.

Prior to this development, the Chinese have liberally utilised the name ‘Champagne’ for a wide range of products, including candles and toy dogs.

Sales of Champagne have risen in China, with volume sales up 19% last year to 1,317, 537 bottles, which enhances the need for recognition of the importance of origin in this promising market.

This is great news for the CIVC, however they continue to push for the USA and Russia to make the same decision. Recently, the Champagne Bureau in Washington attacked the serving of Californian “Champagne” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration lunch.




New wine club opens in Shanghai

Posted by on May 29, 2013
Wine Market News / No Comments

One of Chinas largest importers ASC Fine Wines, has just opened a new club or ‘Wine Residence’ in Shanghai.

The club is open to the public for retail sales, however US$12,000 worth of wine will need to be purchased in order to obtain a membership.

The opening party earlier this week was attended by key industry figures including: Christophe Salin, CEO of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), Jean-Philippe Delmas, managing director of Chateau Haut-Brion and David Dearie, CEO of Treasury Wine Estates.

The Wine Residence stocks ASC’s portfolio of fine wines, largely consisting of the world’s most illustrious brands. Educational sessions ‘wine themed fine dining’, wine and food pairing events, tasting room, bars and restaurant are some of the other exciting services being provided.

In 2011 ASC opened the Wine Gallery in Beijing and also runs a Wine Gallery in Hong Kong. ASC itself has 26 branches and 1,100 staff across Greater China. Its portfolio contains 1200 wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, Stellenbosch and other fine wine regions.

The public will be able to buy wines starting at US$32 a bottle. There are also different levels of membership: US$12,000 provides members with discounts and other services, while ‘full membership’ of US$24,000 allows members to store their wines in the facility’s cellars.



Tags: , , ,

Burgundy reigns in NY and HK

Posted by on May 29, 2013
Uncategorized, Wine Market News / No Comments

Burgundy wines generated the highest sales figures at Acker Merrall & Condit’s New York sale and Christie’s Hong Kong auction last week.

Wines from the commune of Vosne-Romanée reportedly attracted the most interest.

Cases of 2009 Liger-Belair la Romanée, a collection of 1996 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and six bottles of 1996 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux tied for first place at US$29,520 apiece, while a three bottle case of 2004 Romanée-Conti went for $27,060.

Acker Merrall also observed that there was “ongoing diversification occurring in the marketplace.” Evident due to solid bidding for the Spanish and Italian lots.

CEO, John Kapon, commented “The 2013 auction market remains healthy, with collectors worldwide continuing to seek out Burgundy and Bordeaux’s great winemakers and vineyards. Another important trend this year is that both older and recent vintages are being sought after by clients worldwide.

“Our next Hong Kong auction is only a week away. We are thrilled to be celebrating our 5th Anniversary auction and have packed the sale accordingly with some superb collections.”

Elsewhere, in Hong Kong four Methuselahs of 1983 DRC went for HK$976,000 at Christie’s sale.

Six bottles of DRC Romanée-Conti 1997 (HK$854,000), a further six again of Henri Jayer Echézeaux 1978 (HK$854,000) and a six-pack of DRC Romanée-Conti 1999 (HK$793,000), securing Burgundy’s command over the distribution of sales.

Pétrus fared well at both auctions, where four cases of the 1982 were in the top lots at the Christie’s sale , generating over HK$500,000 each, superseding their estimations of HK$350,000.

Simon Tam, Christie’s China head of wine, said: “These results illustrate the wine market‘s continuing demand for Bordeaux and investible grades of wines from all over the world.


Tags: , , ,

Tom Gearing features in CITY AM ‘The runner-up who looks to be winning the long game’.

Posted by on May 28, 2013
Uncategorized / No Comments

An interview with Tom Gearing director of Cult Wines Ltd was a front-page feature in CITY AM this morning. The interview discusses the founding of Cult Wines ltd, how the company has gone from strength to strength since Tom came second on last years ‘Apprentice’ and the future direction of the company.

Annabel Palmer talks to Tom Gearing, the Apprentice heartthrob who is transforming the wine investment industry:

THE media storm that surrounded Tom Gearing, who charmed his way to second place in last year’s Apprentice, had started to quieten down. But with the new season now luring in viewers, fans of the show are starting to wonder: whatever happened to last year’s candidates? For Gearing, the answer is a 60 per cent increase in turnover for his company Cult Wines, a fine wine investment firm, and hundreds of new clients.

Gearing was raised with wine. By 11, he was travelling to Burgundy with his father and quaffing its finest vintages. Nonetheless, his plan had always been to work in financial markets. But like many others who graduated in 2009, he quickly realised that getting a job in finance would be almost impossible. Gearing was sitting on his hands. He could have obtained work experience, or done unpaid placements. His brother was working in wine at the time – handling a small number of clients who he managed privately. But Gearing had other plans. “I suggested setting up an office, taking on staff, building a rigid framework and drafting a business plan. I wanted to market these services to the public.”

Click here to continue reading:



Bordeaux 2012 Releases: Cheval Blanc, Ausone, La Conseillante, Cos d’Estournel, Ducru Beaucaillou, Beausejour Duffau, Lascombes & more

Posted by on May 23, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Wine Market News / No Comments
Bordeaux 2012 blog post

A very quiet last week has been followed by a stampede of releases in this one.

Things kick-started yesterday with five notable releases: Cheval Blanc, Ausone, La Conseillante, Cos d’Estournel, Ducru Beaucaillou and Lascombes.

The morning saw a deluge of emails from Negociants, with Ducru, Cos and Cheval Blanc dominating the subject lines. Recent reticence of buyers in the UK seemed to have had an effect on pricing, with the day’s six big releases priced an average of -18.08% compared with their 2011 release – very welcome indeed.

Cheval Blanc was obviously the big news of the morning @ €330/bt. A wine rated across the board very well – and not just by the Cult Wines team!!! 94-96 from Parker reaffirmed the quality that has been consistently associated with the top Right Bank estates this year. Unfortunately, it cannot be conveyed as the cheapest available vintage, but the price was certainly par for the course at this stage, with comparable recent vintages trading at a similar price level. Difficult to make a case for short-term price movement, but for those who like to buy Cheval for the long-term, it’s ticking a few boxes.

Next we looked at Cos and Ducru – both wines which have come under increased attention from prospective buyers following perfect scores for the ’09 vintage. Cos @ €89/bt was a welcome reduction on a very hefty 2011 price and the superior score from Parker makes this look like a reasonable buy this year. Bob was not the only critic impressed by the ’12 offering, with very consistent mid-nineties scores from many other major critics. Not to mention that it was one of our team’s most enjoyable tastings this year, with the Cos Blanc also leaving a lasting impression (a definite buy @ €42/bt for those who enjoy a crisp Bordeaux white). It is by no means the cheapest Cos vintage available, but similar to the Cheval, for those playing the long game it seems a reasonable buy.

Ducru Beaucaillou is always one of the team’s favourite tastings and this year was no exception. The Parker score came as somewhat of a surprise to us, as most of the team preferred the 2012 to the ’11 – we’re not market makers yet..! Given the score, we were expecting a slightly lower price than transpired, but then again, the general critic score for Ducru was higher than Parker’s. Priced above many other back vintages, it is difficult to make a case for the Ducru representing short-term value.

La Conseillante was one of our favourite wines during our Dourthe tasting at Belgrave. It’s one of those Pomerols that often flies below the radar due to the tiny quantity produced each year, but the consistency of quality in recent years, combined with the relative value has certainly caught our attention. Geographical neighbours include l’Evangile, VCC and Petrus as well as St. Emilion counterpart Cheval Blanc – terroir’s not bad then! Bar the inferior 2007 (89 pts, £560 per case) it is the cheapest available vintage and the cheapest of the comparable back vintages by some distance. With a minute production of less than 4,000 cases, it is a rare wine that can only benefit from diminished supply (likely in the short-term). Considering Parker’s recent comments that “…the Pomerols are really not far off the quality of blockbuster years just like 2009 and 2010…” the case for Conseillante is very strong in 2012. A definite buy for us.

We were intrigued by Margaux this year, as the all of the top wines we tasted were showing quality over and above initial expectations. Château Margaux and Palmer are the two that almost never fail, but Rauzan Segla and Lascombes were two wines we were very interested in when leaving Bordeaux, in terms of monitoring both the score and price. Parker favoured Segla with 93-95 points, but Lascombes did not strike the same chord. Realistically, it is a very promising drinking wine for those who like the approachable Margaux but little can be said for investment credentials.

Ausone 2012 was an exciting release given the price (€360/bt) and score (95-97 pts). The problem was in the release size – 1st Tranche allocations were extremely tight and only a tiny parcel of the c.1,500 case total were made available. It’s an estate that seems to excel in average vintages and 2012 was no exception, we were bowled over at the tasting for the second year running and the score certainly seems merited. The 2nd Tranche release at €390/bt still warrants consideration from buyers and this will almost certainly be one of the wines of the vintage in years to come, in a year where the top right banks thrived.



Release (ex-neg)

RPJ (2011)

Release (2011)

% Diff.

Beausejour Duffau












Leoville Poyferre













Cheval Blanc






Ducru Beaucaillou






Cos d’Estournel












La Conseillante






Today saw the release of three more big names, including two interesting Right Banks.

Figeac has undergone a few changes to management and winemaking over the past couple of years, with Michel Rolland now a consultant for the property – although he was only involved with the assemblage for the ’12, he will have full control over the 2013 vintage. In recent years, Figeac have failed to make an impression on Parker et al over at The Wine Advocate, although Suckling and some others have found reason to get behind it. In fact, out of 41 vintages he has tasted, Parker has only awarded a score of 90 points or above 11 times! Certainly one of St. Emilion’s underperformers and the ’12 offers little promise, but it will be interesting to see what happens with next year’s vintage.

The other big Right Bank release was Beausejour Duffau @ €48/bt. Another St. Emilion that could have previously been accused of underperforming, Beausejour Duffau have produced a string of quality wines over the past four years, since the installation of Michel Rolland as consultant oenologist. After the highly acclaimed 1990 vintage (RPJ: 100 pts), Beausejour produced a number of wines which failed to live up to expectations, consistently scoring high 80’s to low 90’s. This estate is a shining example of the effect new management can have on the right terroir with back-to-back perfect scores for the ’09 and ’10 vintages. The 2012 is a 93-95+ wine at around a fifth of the current price of the ’09 or ’10. With less than 2,000 cases produced, there is minimal risk of this micro-cuvee going down in value over any period. In Parker’s recent tasting notes on the perfect 2010: “Anyone who has read this publication or visited St.-Emilion knows that this is a magical terroir capable of great things. It was only fully exploited in the past in the 1990 vintage, but has reached more consistently great heights over the last three or four years. Kudos to the duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt for what they have achieved over the last few years at Beausejour-Duffau”. It’s not just Bob asserting Duffau’s rise in quality, last year’s St. Emilion reclassification saw the estate ranked St. Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘B’, the appellation’s second highest possible status. Another right bank with a sensible price tag, Beausejour Duffau is another recommended buy.

Leoville Poyferre ’12 saw the price drop 16.2% from the 2011 release. This sort of a drop is of course welcome, but was it enough? Looking at the score, it’s hard to understand why one would buy the ’12 (89-91) for c.£450 per case over a more favourably priced back vintage, say the ’07 (89) for £420. If you use a more comparable back vintage as comparison, such as 2006 (91) @£480 or 2008 (94) £500, then you start to see some potential for future price movement. The only stumbling black is that is still doesn’t look as promising as several other ’12’s at similar price levels.


Cheval Blanc 2012 @ £3,525 per 12

Cos d’Estournel 2012 @ £950 per 12

Ducru Beaucaillou 2012 @ £745 per 12

La Conseillante 2012 @ £615 per 12

Lascombes 2012 @ £410 per 12

Ausone 2012 @ £4,150 per 12

Figeac 2012 @ £510 per 12

Beausejour Duffau 2012 @ £510 per 12

Leoville Poyferre 2012 @ £460 per 12

*all cases available as half-cases (6x75cl) and cases (12x75cl).     

Tags: , , , , ,

Galloni launches new wine-review website

Posted by on May 21, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Wine Market News / No Comments

Antonio Galloni, ex- Wine Advocate reviewer has launched his new wine-review website.

Galloni left the Advocate three months ago, since then legal action was taken against him, accusing him of ‘fraudulent and deceptive conduct’, as well as ‘non delivery of tasting notes’. However, the case has subsequently been dropped. Galloni stated that his new website will launch with a Champagne preview and reviews on the 2009 Barolo vintage. He also explained that he plans to make the website more interactive and engaging than most wine websites.

The subscription fee will be $120 for one year, or $200 for two years, more expensive than the erobertparker fee of $99 annually.

Since Galloni’s departure, Monica Larner formerly of the Wine Enthusiast has been recruited to cover Italy, Robert Parker will return to northern California, and Neal Martin will be responsible for Burgundy.

Tags: , , ,

Asian investors buying up more Bordeaux properties

Posted by on May 21, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Wine Market News / No Comments
Chateau LA Fleur

Chateau de Pic in the Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux, Chateau l’Enclos in Sainte Foy la Grande and Chateau Patarabet in Saint Emilion have all reportedly been sold to Asian buyers.

Chateau LA Fleur in the Graves has also recently been sold to Chinese architect Wengcheng Li.

Chateau Patarabet’s which has been owned by the Gombeau-Bordas family since 1920, has announced the full sale of its stock ‘following change of owner’, however the final document is yet to be signed.

Chateau L’Enclos has allegedly been sold to Cheng Qu, owner of the Haichang Group, and the brains behind the Dalian wine festival in China.

Cheng Qu is already the owner of other Bordeaux estates including Chateau Baby (also in Sainte Foy), Chateau Chenu-Lafitte and Chateau Branda.

44ha estate Chateau de Pic in Cadillac has also recently been sold to Chinese industrialist Mr Wu, whose primary forte is the distribution of baiju alcohol in China has reported that at least two other transactions are set to take place next month, including one substantial property in Fronsac.


Tags: , ,

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild magnums raise $3.96 million at auction

Posted by on May 21, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Wine Market News / No Comments
Mouton Magnums Back to 1945 Fetch $266,000 at Christie’s

Sixty-six magnums of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild dating from 1945-2008 were sold at a Christie’s International Plc auction in Geneva last week, fetching a total of $3.96 million.

Other wines auctioned included a case of Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux 2000 Henri Jayer, which made 64,350 francs, and 12 bottles of Le Pin 1989 Pomerol, which generated $46,800.

According to Christie’s online auction results, three magnums of Cros Parantoux 1995 Henri Jayer sold for 37,440 francs, as well as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti assortment case from each of the years 1985 and 1996 for 35,100 francs and 30,420 francs respectively.

Reassuringly the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index is still up 5 percent since the beginning of this year, however a 3 percent decline was observed since mid-March due to investors focusing on the Bordeaux 2012’s.


Tags: , , ,

Introducing Domaine des Enfants, the world’s next ‘Cult’ Roussillon wine (UK exclusivity)

Posted by on May 17, 2013
Retail Wines, Wine offers / No Comments

We have recently discovered what we believe are one of, if not the best wine producers of South West of France.

Domaine des Enfants is located in Maury, a small village in the Agly Valley of the Roussillon region of France, and the creation of Swiss born Marcel Buhler and his wife Oregon born Carrie Sumner. Visit our blog to read more about Domaine des Enfants.

The wine is available in countries across the world, including Japan: the USA, Norway, Denmark and Germany, but until now has not been available in the UK. We are therefore very excited to be representing them in the UK. Unfortunately, as the estate is comprised of just 23 Ha, and due to their strong international presence, allocations are tight. However, we have secured an allocation of 10 cases of their mid-range white and 10 of their mid-range red.

About the wines

Tabula rasa 2011: is a white wine cuvee from Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Carignan Blanc and Macabeu. Rigorous grape selection takes place, followed by wild in-barrel fermentation.

Tasting note:

‘An opulent bouquet of spiced arancello and rich stone fruits. Sensational palate containing notes of key lime pie and wild honey with an ethereal mineral twist’

L’Enfant Perdu 2010: Contains four legendary Roussillon grapes Grenache, Carignan, Lladoner pelut and Syrah, some up to 50 years old. Half of this wine is developed in French barrels holding 300-600l and the other half finds its place in concrete tanks.

Tasting note:

‘Glorious nose of fruits of the forest, coco nibs with a touch of white pepper. Vivacious palate of juicy blackcurrants, fig with a charming flinty element’.


Why we love this producer

• Their wines express a ridiculous degree of concentration and complexity, at the same time as being refined and harmonised.

• Incredible price point £100/ case of 6 bottles + delivery, we conducted a blind tasting in the office and everyone in the team estimated that the cost was £30-50 / bottle!

• Fastidious production methods. Old vines are grown on extremely steep slopes, planted closely together to enhance concentration of the fruit, this means tractors cannot pass between the rows and horses are used instead, which helps maintain the integrity of the soil.

• Minimal intervention wine making techniques, such as no fining or filtration, which results in maximised expression of terroir and authenticity

• The Wine Advocate loves them too! All back vintages have scored 90+ points, the vintage we have on offer is yet to be reviewed, but is widely regarded as being equal to previous years. Follow this link:


 Carrie and Marcel’s favourite food matches:

Tabula rasa 2011:

Marcel- whole red snapper grilled on the fire with garlic confit, and oven roasted fingerling potatoes with green peppers and onions

Carrie- tajine slow roasted duck legs. Roasted with Moroccan spiced aubergine and chick peas. Garnished with raw red onions, oranges, mint and cilantro. Served with cumin cous cous

L’enfant perdu 2010:

Marcel- grilled veal chops with a rich reduction, cèpes, and a pecorino risotto

Carrie- Maury braised pork cheeks with parsnip chips, fork mashed fingerling potatoes with chives and crème fraîche,and blackened Brussels sprouts with lardons

3x Tabula rasa 2011& 3x L’enfant perdu 2010 @ £100 per case (excluding delivery)

We have just 40 6 bottle cases available, don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to taste a phenomenal wine.

Order now!

e mail: or call: 0208 3346929



Tags: , , , ,