The Market

leflaive’s 2016 pricing…

By billn on November 28, 2017 #the market

Just a little update to my previous post: It seems that regardless of their prices, the (Swiss) market has lapped up all the grand crus from this offer, but the Bourgogne, Puligny, Clavoillons, Folatières and Pucelles remain unsold for now – the merchant has had to send out a second email – who knows, the middle the (Leflaive) market may not be endlessly elastic!

a merry, merry-go-round (or wine-criticism eating iteself…)

By billn on November 28, 2017 #the market

I’ve heard that it’s not done to critique other writers, but I think it’s a subject which, in itself, can be approached in a proper manner. So, Burgundy crtics ahoy…

William Kelly who quite recently joined Decanter to write (mainly) about Burgundy is the new appointee in the hot seat of ‘Burgundy’ for the Wine Advocate – or not quite yet: Neal Martin joins the Vinous (Antonio Galloni, at least to start with) critique-plex from February, but William is already employed from January – let’s call that a handover – assuming that they actually get to meet-up under a Wine Advocate ‘roof…’

Neal Martin must be commended for pulling the Wine Advocate out of the Burgundy dark-ages, i.e that considerable length time (25 years?) when Parker (or his oppos) were not allowed to darken the doors of certain producers – why Neal even recently had lunch with Erwan Faiveley – how’s that for progress(?)! Neal did that by hard work and by showing that he had his own ideas about the region, not cow-towing to what had gone before – this was the downfall of one PA Rovani, regardless of his depth of knowledge. It was this Wine Advocate ‘irrelevance‘ to Burgundy buyers that left the door open to another reviewer – Allen Meadows – and he barged right through – it’s hard to believe that his first report covered the 1998/1999 vintage – the best part of 20 years gone by in a flash! For much longer Steve Tanzer was always quietly, diligently, doing a great job, yet seemingly always on the periphery – he is of-course today part of the VinousPlex though by all accounts slowly drifting into retirement…

Allen remains the defacto voice of Burgundy criticism, a one-stop-shop for Burgundy-centric buyers, the Wine Advocate and VinousPlex being portfolio sites have a different buyer profile. Though it’s a fair comment that Allen diluted his worth to some subscribers by commencing coverage on ‘domestic pinot’ (such a ridiculous name) and Champagne – the Acker-Kurniawan smoke and mirrors didn’t help much either. But Allen remains Allen and for all his strengths and weaknesses he remains number 1.

Of-course William will have to get used to awarding Parker-points or being called ‘Parker’ on the shelf-talkers. I found his early stuff for Decanter high on content/info/quotes, but largely missing from personal analysis and comment – so I’ll be interested to see how he has approached the 2016 vintage which will (eventually!) be published by Decanter in the new year – though long after William is (more gainfully) employed elsewhere.

So, do Decanter have a global voice, or are they playing only in the UK-centric, advertisement-driven content space? Certainly they are, once-more, lacking a Burgundian voice – perhaps Jasper Morris can be convinced to do something as there’s another year now until the next Hospices de Christies wine auction. Or as an outliner, maybe David Schildknecht might be convinced to move from Vinous to Decanter? Their ‘visit-to-published‘ timescales are roughly of the same order of magnitude 😉

It seems that Beaune’s merry-go-round won’t be stopping any time soon…

sunday: a film première and a wine auction – but not in that order!

By billn on November 19, 2017 #books, maps, magazines & films#the market

That a record value for the 157th Hospices de Beaune wine sale was achieved was never in doubt, such was the extra volume of wine that was ‘donated’ by the 2017 vintage. There hasn’t been a volume of wine like this for sale since either 2011 or 2009, or in some places since 1999 – it just depends on where you want to look. The yields were around 40–42 hl/ha for the reds and 48–50 hl/ha for the whites – whilst this is much more than most recent vintages, it was within the permitted maximums.

The Domaine of the Hospices now runs to 61 hectares and in 2017 offered at least 49 cuvées for the sale. The hammer-price total achieved by the barrel sales today was well over 11 million Euros – that’s €13,529,301 with commissions – which beats the record established in 2015 by over €2 million! The extra total was volume-related versus 2015, as the average, per-cuvée, price decreased versus that vintage, but it was still higher than in 2016.

  • Here is a list of the ‘top lots.’ (pdf)
  • On a per barrel basis, the wine was cheaper in 2017 than in the previous ‘record year’ of 2015, but as you can see, still higher than in 2016:
    VintageSale Total € millionsPrice per barrel*Number of barrels
    2015€11.3 million€18,880575
    20168.4 million13,833596
    201713.5 million16,657787

    *Ex Christies, without commissions…

But a film? I hear you say.

Yes indeed! This was a showing tonight, in Beaune, of a 98% completed version, and I think it a great portrait of a number of growers, looking at their last, very difficult, 18 months or-so in the vines, plus a little insight into the Trois Glorieuses. Well done Scott Wright and David Baker – it will be worth your time, whenever and wherever it is eventually released:

Three Days of Glory Teaser from SlipstreamCinema on Vimeo.

offer of the day – Faiveley 2016…

By billn on November 16, 2017 #the market

I missed the 14s, but here you can see the same merchant’s prices (in Switzerland) for the 12s, 13s, 15s and now the 2016s. The format here for the prices is simple: 2016 (2015, 2013, 2012) and — if not previously offered…

DOMAINE FAIVELEY 2016 – En Primeur

Pommard Rugiens 2016 75cl 86.00 (—)
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2016 75cl 84.00 (78.00, 72.50, 69.80) Swiss Francs*
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2016 150cl 173.00 (161.00, —, —)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges 2016 75cl 115.00 (98.00, 98.00, 98.00)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges 2016 15ocl 235.00 (—)
Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées 2016 75cl 135.00 (128.00, 119.00, 119.00)
Chambolle-Musigny la Combe d’Orveau 2016 75cl 132.00 (124.00, 119.00, 119.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 2016 75cl 249.00 (229.00, 228.00, 228.00)

Corton Clos des Cortons 2016 75cl 169.00 (149.00, 139.00, 139)
Corton Clos des Cortons 2016 150cl 343.00 (303.00, 283.00, 283)
Corton Clos des Cortons 2016 300cl 736.00 (656.00, —, —)
Echezeaux 2016 75cl 165.00 (149.00, —, —)
Mazis-Chambertin 2016 75cl 198.00 (179.00, 167.00, 169)
Mazis-Chambertin 2016 150cl 401.00 (363.00, —, —)
Mazis-Chambertin 2016 300cl 852.00 (776.00, —, —)
Grands Echezeaux 2016 75cl 208.00 (198.00, 198.00, —)
Charmes-Chambertin 2016 75cl 165.00 (—)
Charmes-Chambertin 2016 75cl 189.00 (—)
Clos de Vougeot 2016 75cl 159.00 (—)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2016 75cl 299.00 (278.00, 249.00, 235)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2016 150cl 603.00 (561.00, 503.00, 475)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2016 300cl 1,256.00 (1,172.00, —, —)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Les Ouvrées Rodin 2016 75cl 745.00 (659.00, 598.00, 598)

Bâtard-Montrachet 2016 75cl 298.00 (—)
Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 2016 75cl 269.00 (—)
Corton Charlemagne 2016 75cl 189.00 (169.00, 169.00, 159)

*There is 8% Tax to add in Switzerland, but then these are delivered prices

There was some price restraint in 2015, so I might have anticipated less-so given the frost of 2016, but it seems that, rather than based on specific yields, there might be some ‘lifestyle’ pricing’ for the grand crus, certainly the larger formats…
[EDIT]: One month later, this merchant sent out the list again – either they have unlimited availability, or there isn’t too much custom at these prices!

offer of the day – Leflaive 2016…

By billn on November 03, 2017 #the market

DOMAINE LEFLAIVE 2016 – Puligny-Montrachet (En Primeur)
Just for reflection, you will see the same offer prices of their (2015s, 2013s, 2012s) in the brackets for an idea of ‘progression’.

Pouilly-Fuissé 75cl Not offered (37.00 Swiss francs in 2015)
Bourgogne 75cl 42.00 Swiss Francs (38.00, 35.00, 35.00)
Puligny-Montrachet 75cl 82.00 (69.00, 65.00, 65.00)

Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 75cl 118.00 (89.00, 88.00, 85.00)
Meursault Sous Le Dos d’Âne 75cl 118.00 (99.00, 99.00, 96.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 75cl 185.00 (145.00, 148.00, 139.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 75cl 185.00 (155.00, 159.00, 149.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 75cl 245.00 (195.00, 175.00, 175.00)

Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 459.00 (325.00, 319.00. 289.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 498.00 (348.00, 355.00, 310.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet 75cl 685.00 (445.00, 450.00, 395.00)

I realise that the production of grand crus was -80% at this domaine in 2016, but wow! Best of luck to them…

offer of the day – clos de tart

By billn on October 28, 2017 #the market

And as if by magic, in my inbox this morning:

La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2007 75cl 148.00* Swiss francs
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2008 75cl 119.00
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2011 75cl 135.00
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2014 75cl 169.00

Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2006 75cl 299.50
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2011 75cl 279.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2013 75cl 324.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2013 150cl 678.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2014 75cl 324.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2014 150cl 678.00
*Prices are ‘delivered’ but subject to 8% Swiss purchase tax.

One has to assume that the distribution of these wines will be subject to change in the future…

beyond avarice…

By billn on October 28, 2017 #the market

I suppose that I’m mandated to make a comment on the aftermath of this – ie the sale of the Clos de Tart by the Mommessin family shareholders for an undisclosed sum – but let’s say €250 million – some important personas in Burgundy say ‘no, over 300!

I was travelling (mainly taking pictures of cows!) in Switzerland when this was ‘confirmed’ yesterday morning, but I’ve been tweeting about this subject (and retweeting) since the sale of the Clos de Tart was first mooted, which was about 3 weeks ago.

The Clos de Tart has a magnificent location and is the perfect ‘compact item’ despite it’s 7.5 hectares – by that I mean that all the buildings of the domaine also sit within the walls of the Clos – compared, for example, to its neighbour the Clos des Lambrays, where the wine-making and offices are separated from the vines, albeit by only a few hundred metres. There are other grand cru monopoles, but none that can compare in this respect. The Clos de Tart is emblematic, it is the perfect representation of all the history and mythology of Burgundy, gift-wrapped into a 7.5 hectare parcel.

Under the tenure of Sylvain Pitiot, I felt that in terms of attention to detail, the Clos de Tart was the most fanatical domaine in the whole of Burgundy – even more-so than Leroy and DRC – imagine walking around the wall of the clos and seeing that the gap between the vines and the wall was a perfect ‘Japanese garden’ of raked small stones. Every detail of the operation of the domaine, right down to paint on the doors was perfect…

Of-course the wine needs to be good too!

Under Pitiot, given enough time to mature, the wine was magnificent – but I was never a fan of the oak treatment, which usually deprived drinkers of extracting the joy of youth, something that one should associate with the wine’s high price-tag. I simply loved the 1985, but the 2001 and a magnum of 2005, remain my reference points – reference points that can easily trade glasses with the grand crus of Vosne or the Clos de Vougeot. I was frankly pinning my hopes on Jacques Devauges to do something about the oak – though (so far) I have no view on whether that’s already the case, or not.

So, from certain viewpoints, the clos is indeed an unrivalled jewel and worth a King’s ransom. If it was the case that this would not inject further heat into the market for vineyard land – something of a storm that the new owner can easily ride out, but less-so the small family domaines of Burgundy – then I would simply stand and applaud François Pinault for winning this game and move on. I fear, however, that this is unlikely to be the case. The extra money that Pinault can bring will not improve the attention to detail at this domaine – though there is always something that can be improved – but this is clearly not a ‘project’ of restoration, it is the purchase of a chattel.

Drinkers, buyers and even owners of smaller domaines are simply bystanders in games such as this, and I cannot blame the various shareholders of the Mommessin family for taking this pay-day – though I know that some didn’t want to sell.

The Clos de Tart, courtesy the domaine:

offer of the day – louis jadot 2016

By billn on October 05, 2017 #the market

Out yesterday – I was slow!

The prices are what they are, some are pretty much unchanged, others not. I’d like to think that yields are responsible, rather than the ‘marketability’ of particular cuvées. The Montrachet remains relatively inexpensive – for Montrachet! For what it’s worth, the 1993 Clos des Ursules was delicious today – assuming you have 25 years to wait…


Beaune Clos des Ursules Monopole 1er Cru 2016 75cl 59.00* (55.00) (Swiss Francs)
Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2016 75cl 69.50
Corton Grèves Grand Cru 2016 75cl 79.50 (79.00)
Corton Pougets Grand Cru 2016 75cl 79.50 (79.00)
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru 2016 75cl 85.00
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2016 75cl 138.00 (128.00)
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru 2016 75cl 145.00 (138.00)
Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016 75cl 188.00 (169.00)
Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru 2015 75cl 269.00 (259.00)

Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru 2016 75cl 89.00 (88.00)
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2016 75cl 139.50 (119.00)
Montrachet Grand Cru 2016 75cl 499.00 (428.00)

*Prices delivered, but without the 8% Swiss purchase tax…

how about a nice pouilly-fuissé 1er cru?

By billn on September 29, 2017 #the market

After more than 10 years in the preparation, the dossier with all the work to justify certain parcels of Pouilly-Fuissé becoming 1er Crus is completed. This week all the vigneron(ne)s of Pouilly voted that they take the next step. The ‘next step’ is actually a number of public consultations et-cetera where anyone can have a say, but it seems that they are on ‘a good way’ and could have the final ‘yes’ in less than two years, at which time they can back-date vintages from 2017 as 1ers.

About 22% of the appellation is slated to be upgraded to 1er Cru, and for these parcels the rules will change slightly; the allowed yields will decrease from 60 to 56 hectolitres per hectare, and the minimum alcohol requirement will raise from 11 to 11.5%. For good producers the rules will make no difference whatsoever – the average yields being closer to 40 hl/ha and usually over 12° at harvest time.

Good luck to them…

Burgundy Report

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