Cult Wines

JUNE 2013 – MARKET REPORT

Posted by WineInvestment.org on July 02, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, wine investment, Wine Market News / No Comments
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Dear Investors,

In a month when there was wider financial market uncertainty, a standoff between China and the EU over solar panels and wine imports and a continued fall in the price of Gold – wine managed to hold pretty steady in comparison. This time last year, the disastrous 2011 en primeur campaign put paid to the first quarter gains as stock holders were forced into a sell-off to provide capital for EP allocations that weren’t selling. Many could be forgiven for expecting the same to happen this year, but in the month when one would expect the most damage to be done, it was in fact markedly flat and that’s a good thing considering how the financial markets in general have been behaving.

It seems that the sell-off that encompassed the general wine market last year, has only really affected the 2010 vintage this year. With stock of the 2010s still available in good enough quantities in Bordeaux a lot of the market plays this month have been in the sale of these wines to support the EP2012 campaign. As a result we have seen prices soften a little for the top 2010’s. Pontet Canet for example, despite being a double hundred wine (Parker & Suckling) has fallen to c. £1,525 per 12 from a high post-Parker scores in March of £1,650. This can be seen with Montrose, Pichon Baron, Pape Clement and Lafite to name a few. The good thing to take out of this, is the drops aren’t that significant and with the 2010’s long term investment potential assured it actually signals to us a strong buy play for those interested in picking up top quality stock. Furthermore, with their being a small number of genuine good buys from the 2012 vintage this year such as Lafite, Mouton, Pape Clement, La Mondotte, Lynch Bages, Rauzan Segla, Gazin – estates that priced their wines attractively – a repetition of last year hasn’t been forthcoming.

Elsewhere in June, there has been greater market focus on the 2003’s ahead of Parker’s annual 10 year Bordeaux retrospective that will see him re-score a lot of the top wines. This lead us to focus on Montrose 03 which is currently scored 97+, but has been scored 100 pts unofficially by Parker twice and 99 pts once, in his publication the ‘hedonists gazette’ over the past 5 years. This has lead us to believe it could be in line for an upgrade next month and if scored the ‘magical’ 100 – it will place it on the same level as the 2009 (£2,450) and 1990 (£5,250). Other top 2003’s worth looking out for are Pavie (98+), Leoville Barton (95+), Mouton (95 +), Petrus (95 +), Pichon Baron (94+) which were all scored with a plus point indicate they could be due an upgrade. Outside of these, perennial favourite Pontet Canet which Parker described as ‘One of the great successes of the vintage and certainly one of the most profound Pontet-Canets made over the last decade is the 2003’ could score favourably and following the Saint Emilion re-classification Angelus 03 could be one to watch.

Auction results over the month continue to point at increasing demand and interest from buyers for the premium vintages of mature first growth. Rare Burgundy has been leading the way in auction results over the past 24 months and continues to do well, but rare Bordeaux has seen renewed demand in 2013. Petrus, Lafite and Latour from the historic 1982 vintage have sold consistently over-estimate as have iconic vintages for Mouton (1986) and Haut Brion (1989).

Heading into the second half of 2013, again we find the wine market in an interesting position where it’s quite difficult to predict precisely where it will be headed. There are both positives and negatives to consider that would leave most bulls and bears sitting on the proverbial fence.

For the bulls, positive growth of 5% Year to date, with increased trade and a resilient market in the face of a potential sell-off following the 2012 campaign show that the wine market is in good health, and any short term softening represent good buy opportunities.

For the bears, the uncertainty of a China/EU trade dispute that could impact wine imports, as well as a lacklustre 2012 campaign and a potential stock-sell off looming suggest prices will soften.

As always though, with wine being a mid-long term investment, any potential short term volatility should be considered within this context and with positive data recently being published for fellow alternatives art and classic cars, as well as a growing number of millionaires in the Far East, one could expect this to be replicated in wine over a longer term horizon.

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‘We’ve done the work so you don’t have to’ ‘Cult Wines Ltd Goes Retail’

Posted by WineInvestment.org on May 01, 2013
Retail Wines / No Comments
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According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the equivalent of 36 billion bottles of wine are produced worldwide each year, as a wine consumer, that’s a lot of wine to choose from. On top of that wine is more accessible than ever, particularly here in the UK, where you can pick up anything from a Sparkling wine from Sussex to a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, and everything in between these regions.

As we all know, wine, like art, is a ‘matter of taste’, there is no right or wrong answer. However, when you delve a little deeper there is a strong argument in favour of selecting a wine that has been made with great care and attention. If this becomes your number one pre-requisite, then anything thereafter is a valid personal preference, like being able to accept that a supermodel, sports car or work of art are beautiful for some people, but not for you.

Throughout the last few months we have been painstakingly tasting our way through an eclectic range of wines from across the globe. We have chosen what can only be described as a sublime range of expressive wines made by people who are genuinely passionate about what they do. This is in line with the fact that we are building a bespoke retail wines website, which is due to be launched in September. The range of wines will be diverse, but not overwhelming, and each wine chosen because we rate them so highly that we buy them ourselves, and recommend them to our close friends and family!

Our newest member of the team, Helen Tate, has come on board to help facilitate this new development. Helen is a graduate from Plumpton College, where she gained a BSc (Hons) in Viticulture and Oenology in 2011, she is also currently studying to complete her Wines and Spirits Education Trust (Diploma level). She has been learning about wine for the past 7 years. Alongside studying she has completed wine making vintages in the Roussillon, the Douro Valley, the UK and Ibiza. In order to broaden her wine horizons she has also visited wine regions in Northern Europe, Australia, South America and Canada. Before joining the company, in amongst pursuing wine making, Helen worked for a leading UK internet wine merchant, in a marketing and buying role.

Wine is all about discovery, and creating an understanding of your palate, we hope that through this new aspect of our company we can introduce you to some incredible wines, hopefully some of which you may not have thought to have tried before.

Feel free to call Helen on 0208 334 6929 or e mail: htate@cultwinesltd.com

To find out more.

 

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Day 1: Bordeaux en primeur 2012 ‘Right Bank Royalty’

Posted by WineInvestment.org on April 08, 2013
Bordeaux en primeur 2012 / 6 Comments
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The Cult Wines team from left to right: Aarash Ghatineh (Sales Manager), Tom Gearing (Director) Philip Gearing (Director) Tom Turner (Head Buyer) Jonathan Stevenson (Senior Portfolio Manager) Helen Tate (Sales and Marketing Manager).

The first day of en primeur tasting has been a really long and arduous day (but someone’s got to do it!). We arrived in Bordeaux last night just in time for aperitifs on the terrace in our très belle, centre of town maison. We wisely turned in at a conservative hour in order to wake up fresh for the first day of tasting on the right bank.

Our first destination was Château Cheval Blanc, we arrived full of excitement- naturally, as we were about to taste one of the right banks most revered wines.

En primeur tends to be a rather one in one out kind of affair, as schedules are packed, so the pressure is on for the wines to make a significant enough impression during those vital minutes, so that merchants and critics leave feeling inspired and delighted by the wines – and our first appointment didn’t disappoint. Château Cheval Blanc’s grand vin was fresh, vibrant, structured and elegant, displaying a delicate floral bouquet with profound violets and rose aromas and flavours.

Cheval Blanc introduced new tanks two years ago, of which they own the patent to the design, the genius thing about their tanks is that the conical shape allows for less ‘remontage’ to be carried out. The carbon dioxide generated through fermentation forces the grapes upwards and naturally funnels them into the tighter area at the top of the tank, thus achieving a natural maceration via the grapes being squashed together.

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The team concurred that the grand vin, which is a blend of 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc is a powerful wine of exceptional length and precision, and will therefore be eager to taste this wine again in 2014.

Next stop was Château Ausone, a humble operation by Bordeaux standards, but producers of phenomenal wines and one of the most picturesque settings in all of Bordeaux. We were suitably impressed by Ausone and its second wine Chapelle D’Ausone, which exhibited astonishing concentration, and we feel that this wine offers excellent value for money. Having said that the Fonbel also really shone, clearly the Vauthier family along with Michel Rolland have worked hard to achieve such excellence during a tough vintage.

Following this we visited Château Pavie which having been upgraded in the September Saint Emilion re-classification and a few weeks away from the completion of their new cellars are having a particularly good year. Tasting the range of Gerard Perse wines the team very much enjoyed the Clos Lunelles and the Bordeaux Blanc, Chateau Monbousquet, both were expressive and refreshing. Pavie itself was a slightly different in character to previous years when it has been criticised by some from being over-extracted and not representative of the terroir – but in our opinion the team here can be very proud of producing a very good wine once again.

After a tough morning and with the storm clouds gathering overhead, we headed off for Lunch which turned out to be quite a decadent affair, at Château Fombrauge hosted by Bernard Magrez and the multi-michelin starred Joël Robuchon . We sat with some good suppliers of ours from Bordeaux, and enjoyed a fantastic meal. The menu was the perfect mid tasting revitaliser, a starter of Chou farci du homard with a beurre rouge (yes…we were as confused as you – it turned out to be an exquisite lobster and cabbage dish), a main of chicken with foie gras stuffed ravioli, accompanied by two vintages of fombrauge blanc and rouge.

FOOD

The afternoon highlights were abundant.

Château L’Eglise Clinet was a refreshingly un ostentatious experience, the tasting room is a very plain room adorned with some slightly dubious artwork. Sadly, Dennis Durantou wasn’t there to host to the tasting, but the wines spoke for themselves. Again, intensity, freshness and balance was found.

Château Le Pin was an almost surreal experience, a first time for everyone in the team. We were all struck by the absolute minuteness of the property; the tanks, vineyards and cellar are all a reminder of how tiny this property of 2.7 ha is. Jacques Thienpont greeted us, along with his two young sons, we all felt extremely privileged to taste the wine in his company. We were surprised by his excellent sense of humour, not that Belgians have a reputation for having a dodgy sense of humour or anything… But he really proved that there is no need for taking things too seriously when you know you’re at the top. Unsurprisingly the Merlot dominated wine topped most of our team’s list at the end of the day.

LE PIN

Château Vieux Chateaux Certan was next on our itinerary and also the other Thienpont family run vineyard just a short drive away from the tiny Le Pin vineyard. Alexandre Thienpont hovered unassumingly throughout our tasting hosted by his son in their cellar surrounded by picturesque buildings and vineyards. Thienpont quotes on the homepage of their website that his job is ‘to know how to stay in the background and let the wine express its true personality’. This couldn’t be more accurate, their minimal intervention approach results in a massively complex and elegant wine that probably exhibited the most individuality of the whole day.

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Last stop, Château Clinet, for perhaps the most fun winery experience one can have. Monique Montepini, head of marketing, explained that Ronan Laborde, the owner of the Château wakes up each morning with a new, eccentric idea for his estate. His vision for the en primeur tasting week experience was to transform his winery with coloured lights and a huge, highly detailed cinema screen backdrop with incredible images of the estates projected on a slide show behind the tanks and press. There was also a film premiere style pop-up photo studio erected for visitors to have their photo taken in front of= FUN! (especially for those of the team that like to have their photo taken) The wines were striking, the Ronan-Clinet was fruit driven with excellent structure and length, whilst being a total steal at less than 10 Euros a bottle. The Fleur de Clinet was equal to this and their top wine outstanding too. We got to re-taste the 2010 Clinet as well which really showed what a fantastic wine it is.

CLINET

The sun made a sneaky, brief appearance for the last few hours of day light, so we headed for St Emillion for a beer to round the day off with. But not without a lot of walking up and down cobbled streets, which proved difficult for our newest member of the team in her high heels.

Our overall conclusion for the day was that the wines were genuinely impressive and expressive, our Château visits couldn’t have been more varied in terms of how the wines were presented. However, this just proves that with the average size of vineyards in St Emillion, being around 7 ha, the region provides a joyous tapestry of diversity and personality, and whilst it may sound like a bit of a cliché, the characters we encountered were also evident in their wines.

it was also clear at the end of our first day that 2012 is a vintage that suited the Merlot grape and with many of the properties we saw today using record levels of Merlot in their final blend, it will be interesting to see how the left bank wines compare.

Tonight we are relaxing at the house, where PG is cooking dinner ………check back tomorrow for more on Bordeaux 2012. You can also keep unto date with us via twitter @cultwinesuk and by using the #bdx12 hashtag.

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The Cult Wines Team: ‘Bordeaux en primeur 2012’ schedule

Posted by WineInvestment.org on April 03, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Wine Market News / No Comments
Cult Wines Team


The first quarter of this year has rapidly vanished, and spring has arrived symbolising the tasting of wines ‘en primeur’ (wine futures), from the previous year’s harvest. (Read last week’s post by Tom Gearing for a comprehensive overview of the system). For the past five years the Cult Wines team have attended the illustrious en primeur tasting in Bordeaux, each year has been a unique and enlightening experience. Wine aside, this is a week of grandeur in many ways; the Châteaux’s themselves are silently competing to provide the most memorable experience, and it is often the ‘extra little touches’ employed, that generate the most discussion.

Bordeaux is besieged by journalists, merchants and aficionados, resulting in colourful array of characters, creating an electric atmosphere. With close to a potential 1,000 different wines to try and innumerable venues to choose from, devising a schedule is the first major challenge to overcome. It is necessary to pack a lot in throughout the four days, and as our timetable illustrates we have done just that.

Our objective next week is to visit the Châteaux’s, taste the wines which are still in barrel, and assess the price quality ratio, whilst avoiding palate fatigue induced by the young sometimes tannic wines, but alleviated (according to Jonathan Stevenson -Portfolio Manager) by the outstanding cheesy snacks on offer at most of the Châteaux’s, especially Angelus.

The general consensus this year is that prices need to decrease by at least 15% and 30% for First Growths, in order to avoid last year’s scenario of high prices creating deterring buyers.  It is common knowledge that 2012 was a tricky year, and producers will be sure to stress the effort and sacrifices incurred in order to maintain quality. Click here to read: The 2012 vintage report by Professor Denis Dubourdieu

Our schedule:

 

Day 1    
Monday 8th April  
    9 H 00 Château CHEVAL BLANC                             
  10 H 00 Château AUSONE                                             
  11 H 00 Château PAVIE                                                   
  12 H 00 Château VALANDRAUD                               
  13 H 30 Château ANGELUS                                              
  14 H 00 Château L’EGLISE CLINET                             
  15 H 00 Château LE PIN                                                           
  16 H 00 VIEUX Château CERTAN                                  
  16 H 30 Château CLINET                                                  
Day 2  
Tuesday 9th April    
    9 H 00 Château CALON SEGUR                                 
  10 H 00 Château MONTROSE                                        
  11 H 00 Château COS D’ESTOURNEL                        
  11 H 30 Château LAFITE ROTHSCHILD                    
  14 H 00 Château MOUTON ROTHSCHILD                  
  15 H 00 Château PONTET CANET                               
  16 H 00 Château LATOUR                                                 
Day 3  
Wednesday 10th April  
  9 H 15 Château LEOVILLE LAS CASES                     
  9 H 45 Château LEOVILLE POYFERRE                         
10 H 30 Château DUCRU BEAUCAILLOU                      
11 H 00 Château Saint PIERRE                                         
11 H 30 -13 H 00 Château BELGRAVE
  14 H 00 Château MARGAUX                                            
  15 H 00 Château PALMER
Day 4  
 Thursday 11th April 15 H 30 Château LE DOME                        
  12 H 30 Château  HAUT – BRION
  16 H 30 Château PAPE CLEMENT                          

Day one: focuses on the Right Bank wines, which received some good feedback at the Cercle Rive Droite tasting in March. Critics noted that the wines in general had impressive aromatics, as well as being flavoursome and well balanced.  Alain Raynaud, the president of the Cercle Rive Droite, said that the grapes had good polyphenols and anthocyanins, which would imply the wines would age well. Châteaux’s Le Pin and Valandraud will be visited by us for the first time, serving as an exciting addition.

Day two: focuses more on the Left Bank, visiting three out of five Premier Grand Cru Châteaux’s. As well as Pontet Canet, Montrose, Calon Segur and Cos D’ Estournel. In between a busy tasting schedule it is also important to re fuel, and this year we are particularly lucky to be having lunch at three estates who have produced 100-point wines recently, Pontet Canet, Pape Clement & Le Dome. Last year lunch at Chateau Pontet Canet was widely regarded as one of the highlights of the trip and no doubt, this year will be just as impressive.

Day three: Some slightly lighter wines of the St-Julien and Beychevelle commune on the left bank to start the day of.  Then along to Premier Grand Cru Châteaux Margaux, and to finish the afternoon Chateau Palmer.

Day four: Kick starting the day with Premier Grand Cru Château Haut Brion, followed by Le Dome, which is a first for the CW team, so naturally we are eagerly anticipating this experience. Chateau Pape Clemant serves as the ultimate finale destination, as it is one of our favourite producers.

 

In order to ensure that we are able to fully re-charge our batteries each night, we have arranged to stay in beautiful XIX century hotel private mansion in the center of the city. Hopefully the weather holds out so that we can make use of the roof terrace! If not we will have to relax in the underground cinema instead!

You will be very pleased to know that we will be taking things fairly lightly each evening in order to preserve our sensitive palates, so for those in the area wishing to catch up for a glass in the evening we will be dining ‘Chez Base’ on Monday, where the team will be enjoying the sensory delights of PG’s culinary skills. Tuesday much of the same with a local chef providing us with a feast of Bordeaux gastronomy, and finally on Wednesday we venture out into Bordeaux, dining at a superb restaurant called Comptoir Cuisine. We will be providing a culinary update for those interested including wines consumed (tasting notes if we can find the napkins at the end of each meal), and you will be pleased to know that we will be imposing a curfew of 10pm to ensure the team are fresh and ready for the next challenge!!

We will be posting daily updates on this blog detailing our thoughts on the wines we have tried, you can also communicate with us on twitter @cultwinesuk

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The Bobby Moore Fund & Cancer Research UK – ‘Dining With The Stars’ Charity Event

Posted by WineInvestment.org on March 18, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Events / No Comments
Cult Wines


On Thursday January 24th, Cult Wines were pleased to partner with The Bobby Moore Fund, a charity dedicated to supporting Cancer Research UK and the fight against Bowel Cancer, as part of their star-studded fine dining event – ‘Dining with the Stars’ at the Grade II listed building, Gibson Hall in the heart of the city of London.

Roy Hodgson & Jayne Middlemiss at the Bobby Moore Cancer Research Fund

The Black tie event brought together 5 of the UK’s top Michelin-starred chefs headed and organised by two Michelin starred chef Daniel Clifford, including Atul Kochhar, Simon Rogan, Simon Hulstone and brothers Jonray & Peter Sanchez. Alongside the high profile chefs were a number of the charitie’s trustees such as current England Manager Roy Hodgson, who enjoyed a bottle of Tignanello with his dinner donated by the Cult Wines team. Also in attendance were Clive Tyldesley, West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce, Callum Best and TV presenters Matthew Wright and Jayne Middlemiss.

Tignanello 2007 at the Bobby Moore Cancer Research

Cult Wines teamed up with the chefs in the lead-up to the event in order to pair wines with each of the 5 dishes cooked by the chefs. The wines included a 2009 Nuits St. Georges from Arnoux-Lachaux which accompanied the main course of Herdwick Hogget, crispy pickled tongues, our Mead, Turnips and Sunflower shoots cooked by Simon Rogan from 2 Michelin starred l’enclume fame. Whilst the Sanchez brothers desert of tiramisu inspired by Renato’s Número UNO, brought out in spectacular fashion amongst a cloud of coffee bean liquid nitrogen, was paired with the delightful 2005 Chateau Rieussec with the top tables enjoying a 2003 Chateau d’Yquem.

Jonray & Peter Sanchez Cancer Research UK

The event was a fantastic success with the live auction hosted by the venerable Martin Bayfield and the silent auction raising over £100,000 on the evening. The lots included a fantastic Imperial of Calon Segur 2003 – donated by Cult Wines which raised £750 alone.

Jayne Middlemiss

The night was a resounding success and helped raise money and awareness for the Bobby Moore Fund which continues to battle against bowel cancer, as well as the phenomenal work that is done on a daily basis by Cancer Research UK.

 

It was a pleasure to be involved in such a fantastic evening and as one of our main charities, Cult Wines will continue to partner Cancer Research UK and the Bobby Moore Fund in future events and fundraising opportunities.

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