Cult Wines Ltd

Chocolate & Wine Pairing with Cult Wines August 21st, 2013 7:00-8:30 pm Rococo Chocolates Motcomb St

Posted by on June 10, 2013
Events, Uncategorized / No Comments

Cult Wines Ltd have joined forces with award winning Rococo Chocolates, for a fantastic evening of chocolate and wine.

This combination, that is sometimes a mystery will be explained by the wine experts from Cult Wines Ltd. Wine and chocolate matches will be compared and contrasted, providing a taste exploration.

Learn more about the production of two of the most celebrated man-made creations.

The evening will begin with savoury chocolate canapés and is sure to tempt your taste buds in new ways. Must be 18 or over to attend.

August 21st, 2013 7:00-8:30 pm  Rococo Chocolates Motcomb St

5 Motcomb Street ,

London, Belgravia,


Booking is essential. Please book online through Eventbrite follow this link:

Or contact Julie on 020 7245 0993 or




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The fine wine market in 2013- Aarash Ghatineh, Cult Wines UK Sales Manager gives us his thoughts:

Posted by on May 01, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

With en primeur 2012 fast approaching and the first quarter of the year drawing to a close we took time out to speak with Aarash Ghatineh, our UK Sales Manager, to understand his thoughts on the start of the year for the fine wine market, and what he expects for the rest of 2013. As UK Sales Manager his day-to-day role involves liaising with all new and existing clients as well as overseeing our entire sales team, formulating existing and on-going investment strategies.

2012 was a tumultuous year for all investment markets, including fine wine, what were your thoughts on the year and were there any positives to take out of 2012?

A.G: 2012 saw more worries with continued fears about Europe, U.S. double dip concerns & weaker growth in the emerging markets. These tough economic conditions coupled with faltering prices for investment grade wines & a dismal Bordeaux en primeur campaign contributed to what was a testing year for the Fine Wine Market. Withstanding the turbulent market conditions, there are some great highlights & positives to take out the year’s trading. The Bordeaux 2009 vintage fared extremely well upon Parker’s in bottle assessment awarding 19 estates the coveted 100pts, leading to strong price development. Foretelling Parker’s scores can be a risky business but our stock selections from the 2009 vintage saw an average increase of over 50%. Exciting developments for the Right Bank at the end of last year, with Angelus & Pavie which were promoted in the recent St. Emilion Classification and are now trading at all-time highs. The market correction for Top end Bordeaux meant that buyer’s appetites widened with an increase in demand for Burgundy, Super-Tuscans & Champagne, and I expect this interest in other regions to continue in 2013.

People are predicting a positive year for the wine market in 2013, would you go along with this?

A.G: 2013 has started very positively & the general global demand for Fine Wine is at a high point, which suggests that we are in line for a market resurgence this year. In the past, prices reached ‘bubble’ territory for certain wines & the aftermath of that bubble bursting has undoubtedly been tough. However, the market correction represents a good buying opportunity and it seems that confidence is returning to the market.


What trends would you expect to shape the wine market this year?

A.G: I think a lot of buyers have learnt their lessons over the past 18-24 months and the days of sustained blanket buying are behind us. I think we will witness a return to a genuine focus on quality and value, with a much more selective market. I think our customers will continue to diversify their portfolios, paying particular attention to Rhone and Super-Tuscans. The regions that have been relatively untouched by new markets offer a strong investment opportunity.

And subsequently where do you think there are investment opportunities?

A.G: The Bordeaux First Growth market has come down significantly in price so I think there are some strong buying opportunities for well scored vintages. The Bordeaux 2010 in-bottle scores have been released & whilst certain wines were released slightly high En Primeur, we feel there is some great value to be had in the top scored wines such as Pape Clément 2010, the best value 100-point wine currently available at £1,500 per case of 12. There is no doubt that the market focus will be firmly directed at the 2009/2010 vintages which represent the pinnacle of Bordeaux wine making. The recent acknowledgement from Parker of Northern Rhone’s achievements in the last three vintages will undoubtedly stimulate interest in the region’s top producers such as Guigal & Chapoutier. Production for these specialist wines are extremely limited, and they often become very scarce within a few years of release. With the market continuing to broaden further, Champagne is a worthy portfolio addition, it is quite a safe option, as it is a region also untouched by the Far Eastern market, and could be in line for a substantial price increase in the coming years.

Following the disappointing EP2011 campaign, how important do you think EP2012 will be to the on-going recovery of the market?

A.G: I will defer opinion on the vintage until the rest of the team and I taste the wines in April. It is clear that the market is in recovery mode and a lot healthier in terms of demand, but of course the EP2012 campaign is a key cog in this wheel. In terms of pricing, you would like to think that the prices will have to come down on the last three years to really excite buyers but I feel that the price of 2012 will be similar to the 2011s. Historically, en primeur returns have been at their greatest in off-prime vintages so if pricing & timing is right then it could provide a boost to the on-going market recovery. Equally, if prices are too high this will have a negative impact on the market.

Having advised private clients in the market for the past 5 years, what would be your best piece of advice?

A.G: This is a cyclical market, do not take a snapshot view or expect to make a quick buck, take a medium to long term outlook.

What is your desert island wine?

A.G: Ch. d’Yquem 1988


What would you eat with it?

A.G: If there doesn’t happen to be a big slab of blue cheese knocking about, it would have to go with a freshly caught Salmon.




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Day 2: Bordeaux en primeur 2012 ‘Cabernet Country’

Posted by on April 10, 2013
Bordeaux en primeur 2012 / No Comments

On our way to Cabernet country this morning the Cult Wines team either slept, or quietly discussed the day ahead. Unlike yesterday, where we knew that the Merlot based wines ahead of us would most likely be showing well, king Cab, didn’t fill us with as much confidence.The attribute we were hoping not to encounter to an excessive degree within the wines was Isobutyl methoxypyrazine, or bell pepper, this compound has been reported to feature in Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon based wines this year, due to a number of factors. Namely; a long, spread out version which aggravates the accumulation, blocked ripening due to the prolonged summer drought, and insufficient leaf stripping and fruit thinning. All of these combine to result in a measurable level of the compound higher than the human olfactory detection threshold. Too much vegetal characteristic is deemed undesirable by wine critics, as it unbalances the wine and masks other aromas and flavours that would normally be perceived.

So with that in mind we headed to Chateau Calon Segur, in Saint Estephe. This third growth estate, is an impressive sprawling expanse of topiary, walled gardens and out buildings. This year’s yield was down from 45hl/ ha in 2011, to 38 hl/ ha. Which is partly down to 2012 being a particularly bad year for Coulure, which is where wind, rain and chemical deficiencies during flowering prevent flowers from being properly fertilised, this results in the flowers dropping off. As these flowers would normally turn into individual grapes on the cluster, the result then becomes deformed bunches with gaps where the missing berries should be, and consequently a reduced yield. So not only did Cabernet have to endure this downfall, but as a later ripening variety, growers also had to avoid the rain that took place during harvest, this resulted in some heterogeneous ripening hence, virtually any producer you ask in Bordeaux will tell you that their hl/ha was reduced compared with last year.


Our mission today was to ascertain whether or not producers had gone to their best efforts to overcome these obstacles without jeopardising quality.

It was clear that Calon Segur implemented some rigorous berry selection because there wasn’t a hint of ‘bell pepper’, to be seen. The wines were all vibrant and expressive, the Capbern Gasquerton was particularly captivating and represents an excellent price quality ratio.

Our next destination was Chateau Montrose, where we encountered intensely powerful wines. The quintessence of the vintage had clearly been captured through judicious vinification practices, such as a long reportedly long maceration period of 26-28 days, in order to extract phenolics from the thick skins.

Cos d’Estournel didn’t fail to impress. It is like the fantasy land of Bordeaux, the barrel room is like nothing else you will find in France, a sea of barriques can be circumnavigated via an impressive bridge walk way that leads to a feature cellar room containing large format back vintages stored in a Jumanji style high tech storage facility. But even if the winery was a plain Jayne, the wine was still sublime. The Cos d’ Estournel Blanc has been altered this year to provide more of an immediate pleasure, so the blend contained a higher proportion of Sauvignon Blanc compared with Semillon, 77%, 23% respectively. It was deemed by the team to be almost parfait… exhibiting implausible length. The rest of the range was equally good.


Cos d’Estournel was followed by Lafite Rothschild. Where Charles Chevallier greeted us, juxtaposed in amongst the grandiose of Lafite, looking more Latin teacher than Lafite super star wine maker. We discussed this year’s vintage, and Lafite’s decisions to pick much earlier, resulting in 12.5 % ABV, compared with last year’s 13.5 % ABV. Chevallier explained that when deciding the exact moment to pick, he will walk the vineyards and taste the grapes himself in order to make a decision. He also mentioned that they employ students to carry out in-depth crop estimations, where bunches and berries are weighed, sugar, acid, pH are recorded, but actually ‘he doesn’t really care much about this’… and will simply go by his own intuition… Presumably these protocols are implemented more to identify if something peculiar happens, to give work experience kids something to do, or for the sake of harvest reports, and less to pin point harvest dates. But with the amount of vintages under his belt that Chevallier has, instinct and experience will presumably override any other analysis. We tasted the Carruades de Lafite, the Chateau Duhart- Milon and the Chateau Lafite Rothschild. All of which exhibited precision and elegance, but the Duhart particularly captured our attention for providing refinement and personality.

Lunch at Pontet Canet was (as always) impressive, especially the heart attack instigating cheese buffet, with at least 30 different cheeses on offer. The starter was a delicious Terrine de Volaille, Fois Gras au Naturel, and the main a Fondant de Joue du Boeuf, served with the 2002 and the estate owned Cognac Tessaron.

We then hopped along to Chateau Mouton Rothschild en board the iconic golf buggy’s that ferry you to the tasting room. We tasted the Chateau D’Armailhac, Clerc Millon and the top wine the Mouton Rothschild all of which were obviously powerful and refined despite the fact that they will need time to integrate. This year the property have decided to increase the number of tanks from 28 to 56 in order to allow micro-vinification of tiny plots of vines, this will mean that they can blend more judiciously, which is especially during a tough vintage like this year.

Next we went back to Pontet Canet for our scheduled tasting, on the way to the tasting room we passed the new amphora maturation vessels. Owner Alfred Tesseron explained that the Technical director Jean-Michel Comme has spent the last three years trialling different sizes and shapes of amphorae, which are manufactured by the estate. This is with the aim to reduce oak influence, and as Tesseron put it, ‘Oak is fashion, which doesn’t always last’. Evidently they are thinking outside the box and the wines reflected immense purity and freshness. Jean-Michel Comme is a dedicated winemaker, obsessive some may say but it all combines to produce results that are truly sensational!


To understand where Zinedine Zidane fits into a lengthy discussion with PG, keep checking this blog for a full summary which will follow soon.

Last stop Latour. Following the usual security check procedure at the gate we headed for the tasting room. To our delight we were served the three wines Latour released recently as their first non-primeur release, the Pauillac 2009, Forts de Latour 2005 and the Latour 1995. These wines were outstanding, and perhaps enhanced due to our full on day of tasting en primeur. It was a great way to round the day off and provided a useful bench mark for visualising how a fine wine can evolve.

latour 2012 en primeur

Our general summary of the day was that of all of the property’s we visited each and every one of them appeared to have executed wine production skill in order to get the most out of a tricky vintage. We were not disappointed and felt that some of the second and third wines we tasted offered exceptional value.

For a vintage we had low expectations for, we have been pleasantly surprised…roll on day 3.

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Henry Tang Burgundy collection raises $6.2 million at auction

Posted by on March 19, 2013
Wine Market News / No Comments

Henry Tang, Hong Kong based wine collecting dynast has sold HK$48 million ($6.2 million) from his collection of more than 800 lots of Burgundy wine during a two-day Christie’s International (CHRS) Hong Kong wine auction. The top lot of six magnums of Romanee Conti Domaine de la Romanee Conti 1995 sold for HK$1.2 million.Tang famously became involved in a scandal resulting in him losing a bid to become the city’s chief executive last year. This scandal involved the building of an illegal basement built at his house, which contained a gym, movie theatre and wine cellar.Tang was an integral figure involved in pushing for the dropping of wine imports in 2008, which consequently aided the cities transformation into becoming one of the worlds key destination markets for fine-wine auctions.The auction beat a pre-sales estimate of HK$29 million, which is reflective of the fact that this market is switching from Bordeaux to rare Burgundy following the Bordeaux price slump.


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