Monday, February 25, 2013

China to exhibit its wines for the first time at LIWF 2013

The rise of Chinese involvement in the wine market can be seen more and more these days. For the first time Chinese wine will be presented at the London International Wine Fair (LIWF) 2013.

Chateau Hansen - established by the Han family in the 1980s - is China's first organic estate. Situated in Wuhai, Hansen produces around two million bottles a year

The overseer of wine production since 2010 has been Bruno Paumard, who will be the chief point of contact at the fair for Chateau Hansen.    

Chateau Hansen will be showing off its wine, Cotes du Fleuve Jaune du Desert de Gobi at the LIWF. A mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon,Cabernet Gernischt, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this wine is aged in new French oak barrels for 16 months. Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc and Merlot are grapes used frequently in Bordeaux. However Cabernet Gernischt is the Chinese variation that Chateau Hansen hopes will set this wine apart from the competition.      

The LIWF will take place between May 20-22 2013 at Excel London.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Parker inducted into Vintners Hall of Fame

Robert Parker, the most famous wine critic in the world, has been inducted into the Culinary Institute of America's Vintners Hall of Fame. 

Four people were inducted - Parker, Merry Edwards, Cesar Chavez and Frank Schoonmaker - by the nominating committee chaired by wine journalist W. Blake Gray. 

Parker called his induction a "very humbling occasion" and acknowledged the fact that he was a controversial choice. 

Parker was responsible for pioneering a 100 point scoring system which is still highly influential today. Specialising in Bordeaux wines, Parker has recently branded the 2005 and 2009 vintages as two of the best in living memory. When he set up the Wine Advocate magazine in the late 1970s he was less than enthusiastic about the state of Californian wine, but since then he has been won over the region's improvements to wine production. Producers such as Screaming Eagle and Opus One - Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild's brainchild - have improved Napa's worldwide standing as a fantastic wine-growing region.    

Parker commented: "This means a lot to me from one of my favourite wine regions, many thanks." 

For more information on critics in the wine industry, check out Capital Vintners' website here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Capital Vintners Italian Fine Wine Report

Ever since 1971, when Sassicaia became the first ever ‘Super Tuscan,’ this impressive red wine has not only grown in reputation and price, but it has put Italian wines on the map.  

The wine broke all of Italy’s outdated rules and regulations during the 1970s and 80s, giving it ‘rebel status’ within the wine industry. Sassicaia is now one of Italy’s most iconic and beloved wines.

Known for its unusually rocky soil (“sassi” is Italian for rocks or stones), Sassicaia predominantly uses the cabernet sauvignon grape, which was previously incredibly rare, as most Italian reds used the sangiovese grape instead. The best Bordeaux wines use high percentages of cabernet sauvignon, so it is clear that the Sassicaia producers were trying to emulate their neighbour’s wines.

In 1978 Sassicaia won a worldwide wine tasting competition, beating 33 other cabernets. The panel included Clive Coates and Serena Sutcliffe and cemented Sassicaia’s position on the world stage as a force to be reckoned with. 


Ornellaia is another of Italy’s top class wines. 

A Salmanazar (9l bottle) of Ornellaia 2005 was sold in 2007 at auction for $28,000. More recently, Ornellaia wines have been featured among the world’s greatest wines at auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. This month six double-magnums spanning 1997 to 2002 will be presented at a Sotheby’s auction with estimates of $5,000.

Ornellaia grapes are hand-harvested and chosen by hand from the sorting table. The grapes are aged in ‘barriques’ for 12-18 months.  

Masseto (derived from the Italian word “massi”, which means large rocks, due to the big lumps of clay that are present in the soil) officially debuted in 1987. In 2007 a bottle of 1987 Masseto was valued at £150. 

Currently this vintage is valued at £350. Its unique character and a tiny output of 30,000 bottles a year makes this Italian wine incredibly sought-after.  


Produced by the Antinori wine company, which can trace its history back to 1385, Tignanello is their flagship wine. The vineyard sits high above sea-level and is 85 per cent sangiovese.

The 2005 vintage has an average bottle price of £67. 

Italian Wine: Eye on the Market
Asian markets currently account for a third of the total output of Masseto wine, but the wine growers are keen not to increase their volumes and risk decreasing the quality.

Jack Hibberd, head of Data and Statistics at Liv-ex, has pointed out the value offered by Tuscan wines: “Super Tuscans have all performed relatively strongly in the past year, especially compared to Bordeaux.”

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Capital Vintners at the NZ Trade Fair 2013

The New Zealand Trade Fair 2013 took place at Lord's Cricket Ground yesterday.

Dozens of top-quality New Zealand wins were on show, including Cloudy Bay, Villa Maria, Esk Valley and Oyster Bay.

The focus was very much on New Zealand as a fantastic wine-growing island, with great conditions for a variety of grapes and an excellent infrastructure capable of distributing overseas.

With a fantastic setting behind us and a room full of enthusiastic wine growers, distributors and critics, the mood was jovial and relaxed. Capital Vintners' representatives took full advantage of the occasion and tasted some great wines.

Our highlights were:

- Elephant Hill Pinot Noir 2011
- Cloudy Bay Pelorus
- Toi Toi Riesling 2011

The UK is New Zealand's second largest export market. NZ is also the fastest growing New World country of origin for volume & value in the UK off-trade. The average retail price for NZ wine in the UK off-trade is still the highest of all countries at £6.38 per bottle (versus £5.06 for all wine).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Capital Vintners Bordeaux 2010 Report

James Suckling shares his thoughts on the Bordeaux 2010 vintage.......

The renowned wine critic James Suckling has awarded 11 wines 100 points from the Bordeaux 2010 vintage. Bearing in mind he only gave a perfect 100 score to nine wines in 2009 - often hailed as the greatest Bordeaux vintage for a generation - this can only be good news for the 2010 wines.

So here are the 100 pointers:
Chateau Margaux
- Cheval Blanc
- Latour
- Margaux
- Vieux Chateau Certan
- Lafleur
- Le Pin
- Mission Haut-Brion
- Mouton Rothschild
- Petrus
- Ducru Beaucaillou
- Pontet Canet

Suckling singled out the Cheval Blanc as being particularly spectacular, calling it "truly one of the greatest Chevals ever".

In 2011 Robert Parker remarked that the 2010 vintage was special and nearly as great as the 2005 and 2009 vintages. He gave 10 estates 100-point potential.

Capital Vintners looks forward to supplying clients with the fantastic 2010 vintage.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Capital Vintners Burgundy Report Continued

A selection of the finest DRC wines 
It's been another busy week for Burgundies across the globe. 

DRC 2010
The Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 2010 vintage has been released, with the owner Aubert de Villaine calling it 'Homeric'.

The vintage has so far attracted some positive attention from critics, including Andrew Jefford, who remarked that it was "a privilege to taste Burgundy of this quality: limpid, resonant and sustained." 

This March in Hong Kong the auction house Christie's has announced that it will host a sale of solely Burgundy wines.  

There will be two days of sales as the Henry Tang Collectionis sold off and expected to take £2.4 million from the 810 lots.

Mr Tang has been collecting Burgundy wines for over 30 years and his collection is the first to be offered by Christie's in a stand-alone sale in Asia.

It is thought that the stand-out lots will be a case of 1978 DRC Montrachet (estimate at £49,000) and a magnum of 1978 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux (estimate at £13,000).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Capital Vintners: Burgundy 2011 Report

The Burgundy Report called it a "precocious vintage". Others have noted that the 2011 Burgundies could be something special. The buzz is good so far for this highly sought-after French wine region.

The red Burgundies have been described as having a 'lightness in body, shape and mouthfeel and a focus on purity.' Some producers have already been singled out as potentially having a sensational vintage - Vosne-Romanee and Henri Gouges included. It should be an early-drinking vintage

It's only the sixth time on record that harvesting in the region began in August. The first two weeks of the harvest saw some great weather. Most of the vineyards picked in the early mornings to avoid the heat. Cool grapes are the key to a great vintage, so grapes were packed immediately into refrigerated vans.

So it looks like the Burgundy 2011 vintage will be small but excellent.    

Capital Vintners supplies the finest Burgundies to its customers and will look forward to getting hold of the 2011 vintage.