Luxury Wine and Second Wine: Do You remember the Bordeaux Prices of September?

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) When I look these days at the prices of second wines of Bordeaux First growths, it reminds me of a music from Earth Wind and Fire which said "Do You remember...the Bordeaux prices... of September?". In fact, most of the time we read about the big hype around Bordeaux prices, comments are made on 2009 En Primeur Bordeaux First Growths. And the best example is the bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild which was proposed at the price of 1000 euros and which now trades around 1800 euros.

In fact, what could be even more spectacular is what happens now on the second wines of Bordeaux first growths. Do You remember the Bordeaux prices of September? Le Clarence de Haut Brion 2007, second wine of Chateau Haut Brion, priced now at 135 euros when it was 65 euros in September. September again with Pavillon Rouge 2007, second wine of Chateau Margaux, at 50 euros. Now 180 euros. Petit Mouton 2007, second wine of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, now 150 euros while it was 60 euros in...September. In a discussion about these prices with wine merchant Benjamin Gabin, from La Maison Gabin based in Bordeaux, he mentionned that most of those wines were now heading to Asia. "China puts more pressure on Lafite Rothschild prices - and the rest of the production of the entire group - than on any other famous estate like Chateau Latour or Margaux. Two particular trends can be noticed. First, pressure on the 2008s with the "Number 8 effect": Lafite 2008 launched at 180 euros and now available at 1600 euros. For the same vintage, Chateau Latour looks ridiculously cheap at 450 euros... And the second trend is the price pressure on "less generous vintages" such as 1972, 1973, 1974 or 1979, 1980 and 1981. One year and a half ago, Lafite bottles were priced at 200 euros for these vintages and now trade around 700 euros."

Bordeaux First growths' prices are skyrocketing...Prices of their second wines are exploding...Where are these prices going to in a near term? On a longer term? In fact the positive trend looks very strong for those wines. But we should also remember that Caruades de Lafite which traded at 130 euros before 2008 crisis went down to 60 euros during the toughest period of the depression. Then it went up again and prices are now reaching their pick since September. Oh Yes September...Ba Ba Ba de Ya say do you remember...Ba de Ya pricing in september...Ba de Ya Golden dreams were shiny days...(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)


"The name of your mission is Wine and you must rescue Soldier Australian"

Name of the Mission: Wine
Name of the soldier: Australian
All the information you require is on www.allforonewine.com and will self destruct on the day after Australia Day. This may sound like a James Bond scenario which happens in beautiful Australia but this happens now for real. Pure Reality. As you can read today in VitaBella Wine Gossip, Giovanni Morelli commented in Irish Medical Times about the situation in Australia: "Australian wine has come under a lot of pressure since the great days of the 1980s and ’90s. Oddbins was a great advertisement for Australian wine, and the taste for oaked Chardonnay was undoubtedly initiated on many palates by such wines as Rosemount. Now all is not well. According to Harvey Steinman and Tyson Stelzer in the Wine Spectator in September, a number of large Australian wine producers are in receivership and face bankruptcy. I presume this is a result of overproduction of wine in Australia, competition from South America and the world economic depression."

So Stephen Pannell, Award-winning Australian wine maker, decided to launch a great initiative in Australia to rescue wineries: a new website which asks Aussies to drink only Australian wines from January 1st until Australia Day. In fact, the scenario in Australia can not get worse: the value of Australian wine imports has risen again, as Australians continue to favour foreign varieties. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for the September quarter show wine imports increased in value by 4.5 per cent during the last year. New Zealand continues to dominate imports, sales of French wine also grew...So will this initiative supported by more than 500 winemakers help? At least it is a very smart communication initiative. It will also mobilize Australians (and maybe even more particularly those living abroad, and they are numerous!). But this "rescue mission" should also bring on the table some key questions such as "What kind of wine do Australians want to drink in 2010?". Discussions with my australian friends regularly come back to (please add the australian accent to the following sentences): "I am fed up with strong alcohol", "I do not appreciate anymore too powerful red wines", "I need a balanced wine, not too strong". In fact, there are many wines adapted to this new taste in Australia. But we need more.

So YES, I will participate to this initiative and drink australian wines during this period of time. Maybe more than usual thanks to this very clever communication. But I will be very selective also and this unfortunately won't help the huge load of australian wines on the market now. Will the soldier Australian be rescued? I sincerely hope so but, like in any rescue mission, there are always huge risks of casualties on the ground...(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)


Celebrities at "Les Vendanges de l'Avenue Montaigne", the most glamorous and luxurious Harvest in the World

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Prada...Chateau Gruaud Larose, Antinori, Champagne Roederer, Chateau Latour...One night every two years, these luxury brands meet and make the most delicious show on one of the most beautiful avenue in Paris: L'Avenue Montaigne.

Luxury, Glamour, Art, Lifestyle...You name it. "Les Vendanges de L'Avenue Montaigne" that will take place today in Paris is one of the sexyiest event which brings together Haute Couture, Fashion, Haute Joaillerie and Fine Wine. Don't let you mislead by the word "Vendanges" which means Harvest in French: you won't find harvesters dressed as they were going to pick grapes in Champagne, Bordeaux or Tuscany vineyards. For the dress code, you would better rely on the rest of the name of this event organized by Comite Montaigne: "de L'Avenue Montaigne". Which means nice women with their newest and sexiest dresses together with men dressed in a very classic and chic way. All these people have received in advance private invitations to enter the party. They will be served luxury wines and will celebrate this 2010' harvest with older vintages from renowned estates. A good opportunity to celebrate 2010 which, in fact, appears to be a nice to very nice vintage depending on the regions. Nearly one week after the popular celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau, this unique event gives to luxury wines a great exposition to luxury brands' lovers and medias in Paris.

For this 20th edition, "Les Vendanges de l'Avenue Montaigne" will certainly be a great success, again. So what should be the next step to make it even more succesful? Why not make this event a worldwide celebration to Fine wines and Haute Couture/ Haute Joaillerie brand names. Why not having this event in New Delhi, Shanghai and other places in the world where luxury brands become more and more popular. Chateau Gruaud Larose, Antinori, Champagne Roederer, Chateau Latour...These wines are now available all over th world like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton or Prada are. I am sure I am not the only one to dream about it at the time when I am putting on my Dior suit, Armani shirt and Gucci tie before heading to the harvest...(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)


The Fabulous Destiny (or DesTeany) of Hospices de Beaune Sale and Great Burgundy Wines

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Beaune, 8 o'clock on this saturday morning, streets start to live again. You already feel the agitation that will come in the next few hours brought by the long expected Week end of the Hospice de Beaune Sale. It's cold outside and the only drink you dream about now is a great tea. A delicate and unique tea that will remind you of the rare and great bottles tasted last night. Yes, Burgundy is right when they started communicating recently that great Burgundy wines are like great teas from China, Japan, India or other fabulous tea regions in the world.

I dream about this wonderful Wu Yi Rougui tasted a few years ago with two old men who were taking care of their tea plantations like Roumier or other great "vignerons" would take care of their estate vineyard. They were complaining about the incredible extension of this "appellation" in Northern Fujian of China over the last 20 years. Demand is high for this oolong tea which is highly regarded thanks to great names such as Bai Ji Guan, Tie Luo Han, Shui Jin Gui and of course the famous Da Hong Pao. Red fruits and floral notes of this tea immediately evoke a great wine from "Cotes de Nuits". The Nose is very elegant and delicate like a great red Burgundy wine with a reasonable ageing would exhibit. Then these two old guys talk about "fermentation" and say that the best "rock teas", as we name these Wu Yi teas coming from rocky mountains, are 30-40% fermented. They explain this is a "real expression" of the teas from this region and that other ways of processing the tea leaves would not make a "perfect Wu Yi Rougui". In fact, it immediately reminded me of the long discussions with great winemakers in Burgundy talking about their way to make their own wines...

Then I continue walking in these streets of a wonderful city of Beaune and I ask myself if I would not prefer, right now, an expressive and exhuberant Bi luo chun...Is it for its incredible fragrance of for its history that I would like to have it now? I don't know but this tea named Imperial Tribute Tea by the Qing Emperor has something that immediatly reminds me of the traditions and history behind Hospices de Beaune and Burgundy wines. This tea originating from the Jiang Su Province reminds me of a delicious white Chassagne Montrachet with a great refreshing palate that makes this cup (or glass) so exciting. In fact immediately you want to drink another cup and talk about it for hours. So many questions come to your mind: where are the tea plantations located? What kind of soil is it? What process did they use to make this tea so wonderful? All the questions you may ask to winemakers this week if you have the great chance to participate to one of the most fabulous week-end around wine in the world. Even if it is cold outside. Even if it rains. In fact, this will give you a good reason to enter a small bar in city center and have the choice between a terrible Earl Grey tea or a lovely white Burgundy...(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)


Philantropy and Fine Wines: Build a Wine Story with a Big Heart

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Let's imagine a day when a percentage of the Roederer or Lanson Champagne bottle's recommended selling price is given to a charity. You could do the same with each bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild sold en primeur or with bottles of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau sold on the third thursday of November. This time could come soon as we saw more and more successful initiatives during the last few years.

Some examples? In the USA, the Bump family recently released Darms Lane Linda's Hillside Vineyard cabernet sauvignon. This wine is named in honor of Darms Lane vineyard co-owner Linda Bump, who died of ovarian cancer in 2007, and one-third of the bottle's recommended selling price of $75 is given to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Another example in the US comes from Gallo Family Vineyards: you can mail in a cork from any of the company's wines between now and December 31 and the winery will donate $5 to the Meals On Wheels Association of America, for a total of $25,000 (The Meals on Wheels Association of America provides meals to senior citizens and families in need). And these operations are not only taking place in the USA. A great initiative on an international level comes fom Macallan Scotch Whisky. The Macallan Scotch Whisky's oldest and rarest whisky ever bottled, a 64-year-old single malt, has traveled the world in a Lalique decanter. According to Business Week, "tiny tastes of about 3 ounces have been auctioned off with proceeds benefiting charity. A high point was $41,000 raised in Taipei. Since the tour began in April 2010, The Macallan and Lalique have raised about $145,000 for the nonprofit group charity: water, which works to provide safe drinking water to developing nations. The tour ends with a final auction of the Lalique decanter filled with 1.5 liters of the 64-year-old liquid on Nov. 15 at Sotheby's New York".

Let's hope more and more famous names in the fine wine industry will get involved in charity initiatives. Of course chateaux and wine estates will benefit positively from these initiatives in terms of image. But more important is the impact they will have on research and charities in the future. The point here is not to recommend wine estates to do exactly the same as Ehlers Estate's owners in the Napa Valley, who decided that 100 percent of proceeds from wine sales would go to support the nonprofit Leducq Foundation in Paris dedicated to funding international cardiovascular research. The point is just to recommend wine estates to contribute to extraordinary efforts made by charities. If positive communication could pair with making a better world for everyone, then it would make wine stories even more extrordinary. (if you want to help, here are the links related to this story: http://www.everycorkcounts.com; http://www.darmslanewine.com; http://www.themacallan.com; http://www.ehlersestate.com)(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)


Can Burgundy wines be the next Bordeaux in China? Yes, but like shares, Premium is always for Liquidity and not Scarcity.

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Every year, during the 3rd week-end of November, the Hospices de Beaune auction takes place in a beautiful historical city. It is an important event in the wine-world calendar which attracts not only wine merchants' eyeballs but also an increasingly large audience of wine lovers internationally. The 150th sale will take place on November 21, 2010 and will be the central event of Burgundy’s most spectacular annual celebration, known as the Trois Glorieuses. With the chinese film star Liu Ye co-hosting the auction this year and the fact that after Bordeaux 09 Burgundy may seem a bargain to Chinese, a question could be raised: Can Burgundy wines be the next Bordeaux in China?

1) History of Burgundy wines: Chinese are very much attached to such strong "historical ties". Just consider the beauty of the Hôtel Dieu in Beaune which was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy (1419-1467), and you would understand what I mean by "historical ties".
2) The clever communication made around the burgundy wines in China. The comparison with the aromas and subtlety of the best fine teas from China (Longjin, Oolong...) is something I discovered in 1994 during my first visit in China. Every year, when I go tasting the most exclusive chinese teas from the new harvest, I feel the comparison is very evident.
3) Chateau Latour is now owner of a vineyard in Burgundy and promotes its Vosne Romanee based wine estate, Domaine Eugenie, in Hong Kong and other big chinese cities. With such a big name from Bordeaux, the image of Burgundy wines can only take benefits from this promotion.
4) Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong government to fortify the partnership between Hong Kong and Burgundy in wine- related businesses. It will provide a good anchor for Burgundy to showcase its fine wines to Asian consumers, particularly those from Chinese mainland.
5) The taste of asian wine lovers for reds is more and more oriented towards delicate and elegantly perfumed wines. The greatest red burgundy wines can offer this excitement and can pair magnificiently with the food served in the best restaurants in China.

All those points are very positive and will help burgundy wines in general (and not only those from the small parcels of Grands Crus) to succeed in a very promising market. So if the question is "Can Burgundy wines be the next Bordeaux in China?", the answer would be "Yes" at this point. But my last point may make this answer changed for a more adequate "Yes, but..."

Last point: Scarcity. Those who invest in Hong Kong and other places in China are more and more willing to pay incredibly high prices for rare fine wines. In fact what we see now is very similar to what happened in the rare tea auctions where some chinese buyers were not reluctant to spend tens of thousands of dollars for 500 grams of a 60 years'old Pu Erh teas. But thinking of a Burgundy market, with skyrocketing prices as we have seen with Bordeaux first growths, makes me skeptical. In fact, if you take a closer look to what happened in Hong Kong over the last 12 months, you find that a lot of chinese buyers are investing for a collection and are hopeful they will sell these wines at a much higher price in the future. This is exactly what happens every day with shares on stockmarkets. But as most investors are aware of, there is a premium on stockmarkets for liquidity and not scarcity. And the particularity of Burgundy Grands Crus is the rarity of the most delicious bottles. The extremely "fragmented" nature of Burgundy is a fact and makes this region very appealing. In that sense, Bordeaux First Growths are much more attractive for investors who want to make sure there is a liquid "secondary market" to cash in rapidly and not an "unliquid grey market" where high volatility and unpredictability are extremely negative points. This last point could explain a continuous premium for Bordeaux First Growths when compared to Burgundy Grands Crus.(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)