Sunday, October 30, 2011

Château Rauzan-Ségla 2009

I have been neglecting this blog for 20 days, one the longest periods since October 2007. But the reason is good: the import of fine French wines is taking more and more of my time. A week ago 6 winemakers visited Amsterdam for the grand annual tasting, and over 200 customers came to explore the Bolomey Wijnimport selection. You can imagine that this resulted in some extra work, to put it mildly.

I will put up some pictures of the tasting later on.

This month Bordoverview blog has been around for 4 years. But we're not the only one celebrating. Château Rauzan-Ségla was founded in 1661 and has been producing wines for 350 years now. To celebrate that, the 2009 vintage of this wine has a special, very different label, drawn by Karl Lagerfeld.

Rauzan-Ségla even made a video presentation about the release of the 2009 vintage.

In November I will taste this 2009 - along with many other cru classés from this famous Bordeaux vintage - at the UGC tasting in Bruxelles. I am looking forward to explore all these 2009s, about 1,5 years after having tasted them at the UGC primeur tastings in Bordeaux. Anyway, I will post my findings on this blog.

Back to Rauzan-Ségla. It's an interesting wine, but not an easy one to taste en primeur. It's a Margaux that needs serious cellaring, it doesn't show its charm as a baby. In its youth you can sense that there truly is a lot to this wine, but it's all nicely wrapped up into a powerful core. When you look at the wine, you look at a bud. A beautiful, healthy and promising bud. Nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps I get a first glimpse of the flower next month.

There's one aspect that I like less about the recent Rauzan-Ségla vintages, and that's the price. The release price for the 2009 was high, and for the 2010 was very high. On 16 June 2010 the 2009 was released at an average consumer price of €83,50 (66,7% above the 2008 vintage), and exactly one year later (16 June 2011), another 40% was added, resulting in an average consumer price of €116,50. At the time this led to negative reactions, and demand was slow.

In comparison the 2008 is very good value, and there are still some cases available in the Bolomey Wijnimport cellar. My brief tasting note at the UGC tasting from November last year: "dark and quite supple, matière, blackberries, energy and power, long". A wine to be enjoyed between, say, 2015 and 2030. That is: almost one bottle every year.

I think I will keep at least one case to myself.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Winefield's 20th auction in Amsterdam

Dwayne PerreaultWinefield’s Auctioneers completed their twentieth wine auction in Amsterdam on Sunday, October 2nd at a new location, the Diamantslijperij. It was once again a very successful day, with over 88% in value being sold.

This is an encouraging result, considering that auctions in 2011 have been challenged to repeat their record setting performances of 2010. Last weekend, Sotheby’s held their worst auction ever in Hong Kong. They have also closed their Amsterdam office, except for sourcing.

A couple trends seem apparent: the crazy prices for Lafite Rothschild have seemed to plateau, but Mouton Rothschild has come on strong, a shift of Chinese allegiance perhaps? Could it be the decision to use a Chinese artist for the 2008 label is helping promote interest in China, whether Mouton intended it or not?

The top 5 selling lots were as follows:

1. Château Lafite Rothschild 2000 (12 bottles), €20,880
2. Château Le Pin 2000 (6 bottles), €15,360
3. Château Pétrus 2003 (8 bottles), €10,800
4. Château Mouton Rothschild 2000 (12 bottles), €9,882
5. Château Latour 2003 (12 bottles), €9,760

You get a different perspective, however, if you rate the lots by prices payed per bottle. This is perhaps more the perspective of the connoisseur instead of the merchant. When I last did this, on Winefield’s Five Year Anniversary auction, Lafite and Mouton dominated the list. They’ve since had to make way for other treats, such as Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Château Le Pin and Château Pétrus.

Here is a top ten list of the top selling wines, rated by price per bottle:

1. Romanée Conti, Dom de la Romanée Conti 2003 (1 bottle), €6,405
2. Château Le Pin 2000 (6 bottles), €15,360
3. Le Montrachet, Dom de la Romanée Conti 2003 (1 bottle), €2,074
4. Château Lafite Rothschild 2000 (12 bottles), €20,880
5. Château Pétrus 2003 (8 bottles), €10,800
6. La Tâche, Dom de la Romanée Conti 2002 (6 bottles), €6,832
7. Château Pétrus 1953 (1 bottle), €1,037
8. Château Pétrus 1975 (2 bottles), €1,769
9. Château Pétrus 1992 (1 bottle), €829.60
10. Château Mouton Rothschild 2000 (12 bottles), €9,882

Obviously, the turnout was good on what was actually one of the hottest days of one of the coldest summers, on October 2nd! There were also many successful online bids made. The next Winefield’s auction is in Singapore on October 23rd, and then again in Amsterdam on Sunday, December 11th.