The Market

offer of the day – bruno clavelier’s 2016s

By billn on October 15, 2018 #the market

Bruno Clavelier 2016:

Vosne-Romanée La Combe Brûlée 2016 75cl 84.00* (Swiss francs)
Vosne-Romanée Les Hautes Maizières 2016 75cl 84.00

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corbeaux 1er Cru 2016 75cl 123.00
Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1er Cru 2016 75cl 137.00
Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées 1er Cru 2016 75cl 137.00
Chambolle-Musigny Combe d’Orveaux 1er Cru 2016 75cl 147.00

Corton Le Rognet V.V. Grand Cru 2016 75cl 144.00

These prices are not delivered, but do include the Swiss 8% purchase tax.

It’s a long while since I bought wines from here – I enjoyed every one of them (that didn’t have a cork-related problem) – The prices are, perhaps, an indication of why it’s been so long …

offer of the day – domaine leflaive 2017 – bargain alert!

By billn on September 30, 2018 #the market

Actually that last part was joke – but I do almost see restraint in the increase for the Chevalier-Montrachet 🙂

Prices of their 2016s and 2015s, in that order, in the brackets (for even older prices to 2012 you can look here.)…

DOMAINE LEFLAIVE 2017 – Puligny-Montrachet (En Primeur)
Pouilly-Fuissé 75cl 49.00 Swiss Francs* (37.00 Swiss francs in 2015)
Rully 1er Cru Leflaive & Associés 75cl 49.00 (first offer)
Bourgogne 75cl 45.00 Swiss Francs (42.00, 38.00)
Puligny-Montrachet 75cl 89.00 (82.00, 69.00)

Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 75cl 128.00 (118.00, 89.00)
Meursault Sous Le Dos d’Âne 75cl 128.00 (118.00, 99.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 75cl 198.00 (185.00, 145.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 75cl 198.00 (185.00, 185.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 75cl 259.00 (245.00, 195.00)

Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 498.00 (459.00, 325.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 565.00 (498.00, 348.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet 75cl 695.00 (685.00, 445.00)

*As each year from the same merchant – no magnums in the offer this year. The last time I purchased was 2012 for magnums of Pucelles – as a comparison, they cost 355 swiss francs each. These prices are delivered in Switzerland, without the additional 8% Swiss purchase tax which you should include.

offer of the day – henri boillot 2017

By billn on September 20, 2018 #the market

Domaine Henri Boillot 2017

Bourgogne Chardonnay 2017 75cl 23.00* Swiss Francs
Meursault 2017 75cl 49.00
Meursault Les Charmes 2017 75cl 89.00
Meursault Les Genevrières 2017 75cl 108.00
Meursault Les Perrières 2017 75cl 115.00
Puligny-Montrachet 2017 75cl 52.00
Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Mouchère 2017 75cl 108.00
Puligny-Montrachet Les Caillerets 2017 75cl 108.00
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 2017 75cl 108.00
Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières 2017 75cl 108.00
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 2017 75cl 108.00
Corton Charlemagne 2017 75cl 168.00
Criots-Bâtard Montrachet 2017 75cl 296.00
Bâtard Montrachet 2017 75cl 455.00
Chevalier-Montrachet 2017 75cl 688.00
Montrachet 2017 75cl 795.00

Volnay 2017 75cl 49.00
Volnay Les Chevrets 2017 75cl 89.00
Volnay Les Caillerets 2017 75cl 99.00
Pommard Les Rugiens 2017 75cl 99.00
Clos de Vougeot 2017 75cl 158.00
Bonnes-Mares 2017 75cl 298.00
Chambertin 2017 75cl 298.00

*The price you see is ‘delivered’ but ex 8% Swiss purchase tax. My instant reaction to the pricing here is not so much the levels of the pricing – per se – rather the disparity of pricing between the Charlemagne – a wine I have previously purchased – and the prices of the other white grand crus – truly ‘non-sensical’ yet (to-date!) accepted by the market…

offer of the day – clos des lambrays, bruno clair, d’angerville – 2016s

By billn on August 21, 2018 #the market

Domaine Clos des Lambrays
Clos des Lambrays 2011 150cl 278.00* (Swiss Francs)
Clos des Lambrays 2013 75cl 159.00
Clos des Lambrays 2014 75cl 159.00
Clos des Lambrays 2014 150cl 323.00
Clos des Lambrays 2016 75cl 225.00
Clos des Lambrays 2016 300cl 960.00

Domaine Bruno Clair
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos du Fonteny 1er Cru 2016 75cl 115.00
Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2016 75cl 325.00
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 2016 75cl 385.00

Domaine Marquis d’Angerville
Volnay Fremiet 1er Cru 2016 75cl 105.00
Volnay Champans 1er Cru 2016 75cl 129.00

The price you see is ‘delivered’ but ex 8% Swiss purchase tax. My throwaway remarks are that we can see a significant price increase at Lambrays since it became part of LVMH, also that Bruno Clair’s 2016 Bèze, despite being one of my wines of the vintage, is simply far too expensive…

if ever there was a (real) unicorn wine…

By billn on August 20, 2018 #the market

Following up on my previous post – ‘already time for jayer’s records to fall?‘ – Finally some detail is available from Sotheby’s on their October sale.

I’d assumed Romanée-Conti 1945 to be a unicorn wine, but that can’t be, because there are two bottles in this sale – and for the first time in 15 years, Rudy Kurniawan hasn’t been anywhere near an RC 1945 label!

I must say that the pre-sale estimates for the 1945s look laughable – how about 100k+ per bottle, or 250K? I think much higher, I expect the record from the Henri Jayer sale to be obliterated!

I asked the question, but it seems that Robert Drouhin doesn’t want to do any interviews on the subject of this sale, that said, I still managed to relay a question through ‘channels’ along the lines of: “I was interested in one of the videos that Maurice wrote back to his wife (from German prison) to tell her that it was time to start bottling one of the vintages of the DRCs. For the French/Belgian markets; was that a decision for the maison, rather than the domaine? Or simply because Maison Drouhin elevaged their own barrels – or…?” To which I kindly recieved the following response:

We have little in the way of archives but in a couple of letters from Maurice to his wife we see that he purchased part of the wines of DRC (but not RC) in the 1938 & 1940 vintages (La Tâche, Richebourg, Grands Echezeaux…) Maurice decided on the bottling of those wines. The corks and labels were provided by the Domaine. We don’t know for 1939.


– – – – – – –
Sotheby’s Press Release:

An Historic Offering of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
*The World’s Most Celebrated Producer*
Featuring 100 Lots of Legendary Vintages Spanning from 1937 to 1964
Emerging from the Personal Collection of Mr. Robert Drouhin,
Patriarch of Maison Joseph Drouhin & Longtime Distributor for DRC
As Close to a Direct-from-the-Cellar Auction of DRC as Has Ever Been Held
Auction 13 October at Sotheby’s New York

NEW YORK, 16 August 2018 – Sotheby’s is honored to present Rare Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from the Personal Cellar of Robert Drouhin in a dedicated auction of 100 lots on 13 October 2018 in New York. This historic offering of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is emerging precisely after more than 50 years in the cellar of Mr. Robert Drouhin, patriarch of the family-run Maison Joseph Drouhin, who is internationally recognized as one of the wine industry’s most renowned figures.

The sale will offer DRC vintages spanning from 1937 through to 1964, acquired by Mr. Drouhin and his father, Maurice, directly from DRC, mostly during their time as the exclusive distributors in France and Belgium for the Domaine – a highly-covetable attribute that amplifies the collection’s pristine provenance. Superlative bottles of Maison Joseph Drouhin from Grands Crus will also be on offer from 1959, 1961 and 1962. The sale this October will present collectors with an unmatched opportunity to acquire legendary vintages of DRC, with only one owner since being removed from the cellar of the world’s most celebrated producer.

This unprecedented selection comes to market during a remarkable surge in demand for wines from Burgundy, which has steadily increased over the last five years. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti reigns supreme within the region – in fact, DRC has led Sotheby’s Wine’s Annual Market Report as Top Producer every year since we began our yearly rankings in 2013.


Robert Drouhin said: “It is a great pleasure to offer these 100 lots at auction with Sotheby’s Wine in October. These wines span four decades and are filled with remarkable and historic vintages from one of the world’s greatest Domaines. I have had access to these remarkable wines for many years, given that Maison Drouhin was the exclusive importer of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in France and Belgium from the late 1920’s to the early 1960’s. The wines being offered have never left Beaune and have been in my private cellar, undisturbed, for more than 50 years. I have been fortunate to enjoy many of these exceptional bottles with friends and family over the years, and now it is time to share them with others. I hope that the buyers of these wines will know how scarce they are, how good the wines should be, and drink them with friends and family who can appreciate and enjoy them the right way.

Serena Sutcliffe, MW, Honorary Chairman of Sotheby’s Wine, commented: “It is a great privilege for us to offer this historic collection of wines from the Drouhin family’s legendary cellar. This is an enchanted kingdom in the realm of wine and we are honoured to be asked to bring these precious bottles to auction. The vintages are among the greatest ever made in Burgundy, both extremely rare and gloriously individual. The perfect provenance stems from the long relationship between the Domaine de la Romanée Conti and the Drouhin family, two of the most respected names in Burgundy. The breathtaking line-up of DRC’s stunning vineyard sites brings back memories of vocabulary-defying wines that are imbued with the excitement and complexity of tasting at its pinnacle. One can hardly believe that these wines still exist – but, happily, they do! The icing on the proverbial cake is in the Drouhin Grands Crus from three show-stopping years, a complement to the DRC treasures. This is Burgundy’s Gift to the World.



Maison Joseph Drouhin is internationally recognized as one of Burgundy’s foremost négociants and wine producers.

Established in 1880 by Joseph Drouhin, the domaine began acquiring vineyards in 1919 under the direction of his son, Maurice, after years of solely purchasing grapes to produce the quality wines for which it had become known in Beaune. Over several years, Maurice fostered close relationships with some of Burgundy’s most prominent families and business owners, including those of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. From circa 1928 through to circa 1964, Maison Drouhin was the exclusive distributor of all DRC wines in France and Belgium – a highly-respected position that also afforded Maurice the opportunity to own many valuable pre-war wines, some of which will be offered in the October sale.

With so many great wines in the cellars of Maison Drouhin, the collection became a target for the Germans during World War II. Acutely aware of the value of these precious commodities, Maurice built a wall inside the cellars – a labyrinth of ancient paths and vaults located underneath the city of Beaune — to conceal an impeccable selection of wines, largely comprised of DRC. His son Robert, then just 8 years old, gathered cobwebs and dirt to spread about the fortress in an effort to hide the newly-built chamber. Maurice’s instinct to hide the wines would soon prove to be sound. In August 1941, he was arrested by the German police while on his way to the Hospices de Beaune, a well-known charity hospital where he served as vice president.

Accused of engaging in anti-German activity, a result of his suspected role in the French Resistance, Maurice remained in prison for several months. While in custody, he often wrote to his wife, Pauline, about how best to safeguard their cellar and the Drouhin business. It was on a visit to see her husband that Pauline delivered the news of an exciting opportunity: DRC was prepared to sell half of its business, and Maison Joseph Drouhin, their largest distributor, could acquire a significant portion of the estate. While imprisoned, Maurice was unsure of his fate and also unable to obtain a bank loan, so he declined to purchase shares of the famed producer.

Though he was released in February 1942, in June 1944, Maurice again found himself a target of German forces, who were prepared to re-arrest him, having now obtained sufficient evidence to support their initial suspicions. Maurice had anticipated the likely event, and as officers knocked on the door of his Beaune home, he escaped through a window and descended into the cellars, which ran from the Drouhin’s home to the Hospices de Beaune. It was buried beneath Beaune where Maurice would remain hidden by nuns from the Hospices until the city was liberated in September 1944.

After the war, Maurice returned to work fulltime for Maison Drouhin until he suffered stroke in 1955. Having remained in the Drouhin family for more than a century, the management of the domaine was transferred in 1957 to his son, Robert Drouhin, who grew the burgeoning company into a dynamic and expansive global business with vineyards located throughout the Côte d’Or, Chablis and Oregon. Today, Maison Joseph Drouhin is managed by the founder’s four grandchildren, Frédéric, Véronique, Philippe and Laurent, who, under the tutelage of their father, Robert, continue to uphold their family’s legacy and “passion for vine and wine”.

Photos courtesy Sotheby’s Press Office…


  • 1 MG 1937 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $30,000 – $40,000 (3 Lots)
  • 1 BT 1938 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $20,000 – $30,000
  • 1 BT 1945 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $22,000 – $32,000 (2 Lots)
  • 2 BT 1954 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $20,000 – $30,000
  • 2 BT 1959 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $13,000 – $18,000 (2 Lots)
  • 2 BT 1961 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $18,000 – $25,000
  • 2 BT 1962 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $16,000 – $24,000
  • 2 BT 1964 Romanée Conti, DRC est. $15,000 – $20,000

LA TÂCHE | 23 Lots

  • 1 BT 1941 La Tâche, DRC est. $3,000 – $4,000
  • 1 BT 1942 La Tâche, DRC est. $4,000 – $6,000
  • 3 BT 1943 La Tâche, DRC est. $11,000 – $15,000
  • 3 BT 1945 La Tâche, DRC est. $18,000 – $26,000 (2 Lots)
  • 3 BT 1949 La Tâche, DRC est. $15,000 – $20,000 (2 Lots)
  • 1 MG 1959 La Tâche, DRC est. $10,000 – $15,000 (4 Lots)
  • 4 BT 1964 La Tâche, DRC est. $10,000 – $15,000


  • 3 BT 1947 Richebourg, DRC est. $9,000 – $15,000 (4 Lots)
  • 3 BT 1952 Richebourg, DRC est. $10,000 – $15,000 (12 Lots)
  • 3 BT 1959 Richebourg, DRC est. $9,000 – $15,000 (10 Lots)
  • 3 BT 1961 Richebourg, DRC est. $5,000 – $7,500 (10 Lots)
  • 3 BT 1964 Richebourg, DRC est. $10,000 – $15,000 (2 Lots)


  • BT 1962 Griotte Chambertin, Maison Joseph Drouhin est. $6,000 – $9,000 (2 Lots)
  • 6 BT 1959 Clos de la Roche, Maison Joseph Drouhin est. $4,000 – $6,000 (2 Lots)
  • 6 BT 1962 Bonnes Mares, Maison Joseph Drouhin est. $6,000 – $9,000 (3 Lots)
  • 6 BT 1961 Musigny, Maison Joseph Drouhin est. $9,000 – $12,000 (2 Lots)

– – – – – – –

icymi – ‘tca-less cork by 2020’ – so what?

By billn on July 16, 2018 #in case you missed it#seals (not the furry kind)#the market

“An oak barrel brings value to a wine, but cork is perceived as potentially causing a problem with your wine… – …why is that?”
Antonio Amorim – yes, that Amorim!

This was published on Friday when I was traveling – it mandated comment.

My first reaction was ‘Good!
My second reaction was ‘About Time!
My third reaction was ‘But really, why has this taken so long? And, and…

The more I think about this, the more that my thoughts move from positive to negative. Of-course I am jaded by the loss of so many precious bottles – over many years – not forgetting those bottles in my cellar that are still waiting to bring me the sharp pain of aromatic disappointment.

So this is no solution for me – why? Because, aged 56, I now buy almost nothing for my cellar – it is well-enough stocked for the next 20 years of drinking – because of that, many bottles that I own – particularly in those most horrible years of non-existant quality control (for TCA) between 1996 and 2000 – I expect to lose at least 10% to cork problems – and that’s only the reds…

Cork Problems? – yes it’s plural – it’s not just TCA. There are other unwanted aromas, plus the highly variable rates of oxygen transport – as legions of dead, oxidised whites will testify – it’s not simply about TCA, which empirically (for me) now hovers at ‘only’ about 2-3% – but as stated, for a wider range of cork-related issues, the amount of lost bottles is higher than that number.

DIAM has been a solution since 2004 – a solution that is 95% cork-based – thus protecting the livelihoods of cork producers. TCA-free cork that does not sufficiently address other off-compounds, or the outright non-protection of a majority of white wine, dead in 10 years or less, will be no solution. I would be much more interested in what Antonio has to say about subjects other than TCA.

Practically, for many ‘older’ buyers – only better is no solution at all…

already time for jayer’s records to fall?

By billn on July 12, 2018 #the market

Only last month was that (in)famous Jayer sale – the sale of the century – but already a new sale of the century is on its way. You will have to wait until August to see the details of the collection though, and October for the sale!

I had the feeling that it was highly unlikely that there was another bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti left in this world – several hundred more having been drunk than were ever made! But it seems from this video that Robert Drouhin may have one – maybe more – certainly there are scores of DRC from other (old) vintages. This should come as no surprise, given that Drouhin were the distributors of DRC in France and Belgium from 1928, indeed they were the largest distributor of the domaine’s wines.

Serena Sutcliffe describes Robert’s cellar, a portion of which they will be selling in New York, as a “jewel-box of a personal cellar,” and she’s probably not even started contemplating all those bottles of Drouhin’s Musigny – all at least 50 years old. I’ll be very interested to see the catalogue of wines – I expect that the records set by the Jayer wines are about to be tested!

There really is no normal opportunity to get these wines.
Serena Sutcliffe, Sotheby’s

Enjoy the video:

this week’s icymi…

By billn on July 04, 2018 #in case you missed it#other sites#the market

I’ve been saving a few up for you – here’s about 2 week’s worth:

  • Jefford on Monday: The Chablis difference
    Short but punchy. An unusual presentational approach to Chablis – I would say reasonably successful too – well-done Andrew. There’s been a sad (relative) absence of Burgundy content in Decanter since Tim Atkin was made ‘Burgundy critic’ and contributing editor – for instance their very late copy on the Jayer auction (not from Tim) that sounded just like a re-hash of the PR that was mailed afterwards by the auction house. Tim is filling the hole left after William Kelly’s short tenure – though William was still there for longer than me 🙂 – hopefully we will see more from this platform soon.
  • One in ten vines are diseased:’
    (In French) A short piece that emphasises the issues affecting the cultivation of vines – globally too. 2016 was particularly bad in Burgundy due to the incredibly difficult first half of the growing season – much higher mortality was seen – particularly from ESCA – some areas peaking at 10% losses. The calmer growing season of 2017 and 2018 (so far) has seen lower mortality – at least from casual observation…
  • Double Robots – you were warned!
    (In French) Two reports looking at the future of vineyard management. One with a general purpose rechargeable robot – the Bakus – and another design for doing the weeding. I think a machine with more relevance to Burgundy’s small plots would probably have to be smaller, and it will be a while before there are Tesla-style charging points at the entrance to vineyards – they are the future – but then so, maybe, will be tractor hacking!
  • Beaujolais to be part of a united ‘Great Burgundy?’
    An interesting piece from Harpers. I have no doubt that, within a certain time horizon, this will happen – but today is too early. I discussed with an insider and they had an interesting observation; “Our experience concerning marriages between different regions is that tie-ups between two partners don’t work if one partner is dominant.” Let me put more meat on that bone for you; a marriage of equals works best. Burgundy is at a peak in their commercial cycle – prices at never seen before levels, mainly driven by demand-supply imbalances despite great quality. It’s also true that Beaujolais is the most dynamic of regions right now, but coming from a deep low in their economic cycle – and they have much more work to do. Effectively, a ‘marriage’ such of this is going to need a little more time for equality – a success-factor that’s been noted by both parties.
  • Alternatives to Burgundy, from Burgundy:
    The Los Angeles Times with that perennial opportunity to talk about relative values in Burgundy. There’s much (deserved) emphasis on the aligoté grape and (less deserved) on Passetoutgrains – there are super examples of the latter, but usually in very small quantities – at least from great producers like d’Angerville – and yes, that was a tip 🙂
  • Burgundian Graphic Novels?
    I include this one, purely for the nice portrait of Emmanuel Guillot – I still regret not having my camera to hand when we were discussing in his kitchen, and he was drinking tea from his Star Wars mug!

the jayer millions – part 2

By billn on June 19, 2018 #the market

So yesterday I posted an on-the-spot snapshot of Sunday’s Geneva-Jayer sale, today I’ll make a few relevant points. It’s stating the obvious that a number of the bottles will certainly be corked – Jayer had some issues in the mid-1980s – but I believe that only two things really need to be addressed – pricing and worth.

Pricing – and Provenence – they cannot be separated
Let’s forget that this is wine for a moment; get a couple of egos in any auction room – regardless of what is being auctioned – and the prices will very quickly cease to reflect reality, or at least whatever was previously taken to be reality! And let’s be clear, there were many more than ‘a couple’ of well-healed egos represented here.

Then there is one small word to be considered – provenance.

Of course, the moment that wine is removed from a producer’s cellar – whatever the logistical chain – it becomes less ‘pure.’ This wine, came directly from Jayer’s cellar – Emmanuel Rouget says so, the daughters of Jayer who were at the auction and took part in a dinner to celebrate the auction, with the auctioneer at the 2* Michelin restaurant of the auction venue, also say so. In a world where most of the Jayer that’s offered for sale is potentially fake – and for some auction houses probably fake – it doesn’t get better than this. People connected to other auction houses and businesses associated with the sale or authentication of wine will snipe, and even concoct potential scenarios where these wines may still not be as purported – but if you must have Jayer – any Jayer for your own cellar – this was a one-off. In the modern world this was as good as it gets.

Of-course, in a world of Coravins and industrial duplication, once this wine is distributed around the world, pretty oak cases and new prooftags aside, you will never be able to look at it again with the same certainty – but if you must have Jayer – any Jayer for your own cellar – this was a one-off. In the modern world this was as good as it gets.

Of-course, the auctioneer, Baghera, began their business selling what at first glance looked like a lot of wine bearing multiple warning signs that the bottles were junk. And they have never meaningfully addressed the legitimate concerns of those that pointed to the inconsistencies of those bottles and labels – save for pulling a few lots out their auctions – but what happened to those bottles? Essentially, were the family of Jayer and Emmanuel Rouget not fully behind this exercise there would be no credibility. Baghera put on a great show – they also earned about chf 7 million from their commissions. Would I rather it was an auction house that established their credentials with impeccable wine of impeccable provenance – of-course – but if you must have Jayer – any Jayer for your own cellar – this was a one-off. In the modern world this was as good as it gets.

Of-course, the question on everyone’s lips now is ‘What does that mean for the pricing of the wines from Domaine de La Romanée –Conti?’ Can the village Vosne of Henri Jayer actually have more worth than a bottle of Romanée-Conti itself? As a one-off auction, it could; specific vintages aside, there is more Romanée-Conti every year. There is no more Jayer – no more real Jayer anyway. In the longer term, and in the absence of significant fiscal upheavals, this irrational exuberance is unlikely to abate – DRC will regain the top spot, it’s only a question time.


I’ve (allegedly) had two Jayers in my glass. The first I didn’t believe, the second was credible but not mind-bending.

Friends, colleagues and vignerons all attest to the greatness of what Jayer did, but I and they agree that in the modern vernacular of wine production, Jayer is not exceptional. In fact there are producers today that make wines that are probably better than those of Jayer – and so they should – because they have largely better weather today, a better technical understanding and better equipment. It’s not just those things though, it’s because they have built on what Jayer and others pioneered, aided in no small measure by having the type of money to invest in the tiniest of details that Jayer couldn’t have dreamed of.

Jayer was the best of his era, and whilst I believe his Cros Parantoux may have been better than his Richebourg – because it’s still like that chez Méo, at least for those two parcels and my palate – I doubt very much that it’s as good as La Tâche in the same vintage. That’s still a very high bar of achievement, mind!

Drinking Jayer is naturally about drinking exceptional wine, but it is more about the persona of Jayer and drinking history – history is special and finite – in this world it’s crushingly expensive too.

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