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Maharajas’ Express An experience unsurpassed I

ndia… a country with a history as old as time. A country where diverse dynasties have ruled through centuries, leaving their indelible imprint on the landscape, language and culture of the nation. Majestic palaces, forts, rich natural bounty, abundant wildlife….there’s so much to soak in and store memories for a lifetime. Come aboard Maharajas’ Express.

Journey Options Indian Splendour (7 Nights/8 Days) Delhi-Agra-Ranthambore-Jaipur-Bikaner-Jodhpur-UdaipurBalasinore-Mumbai Heritage of India (7 Nights/8 Days) Mumbai-Ajanta-Udaipur-Jodhpur-Bikaner-Jaipur-RanthamboreFatehpur Sikri-Agra-Delhi Indian Panorama (7 Nights/8 Days) Delhi-Jaipur-Ranthambore-Fatehpur Sikri-Agra-GwaliorKhajuraho-Varanasi-Lucknow-Delhi Gems of India/Treasures of India (3 Nights/4 Days) Delhi-Agra-Ranthambore- Jaipur-Delhi Jewels of India* (6 Nights/7 Days) Delhi-Agra-Fatehpur Sikri-Ranthambore-Jaipur-Jodhpur-OsiyanUdaipur-Delhi Highlights All inclusive tariff including sightseeing and meals • 24-hour valet service • Complimentary house wines, spirits and beers • Sightseeing with entrance fee included • Services of an experienced tour director • Choice of optional excursions and spas at hotels • Paramedic onboard *Special departure: 19th March 2017

A luxury offering from

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Aston Martin Lagonda Limited, Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire, CV35 0DB, England, Registered in England Number 01199255.

Official government fuel consumption figures in litres/100km (mpg) for the Aston Martin DB11: urban 16.6 (17); extra urban 8.5 (33.2); combined 11.4 (24.8). CO2 emissions 265 g/km. The mpg/fuel economy figures quoted are sourced from official regulated test results obtained through laboratory testing. They are for comparability purposes only and may not reflect your real driving experience, which may vary depending on factors including road conditions, weather, vehicle load and driving style.

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FINE Nuikki

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FINE Gallery

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FINE 100 Best

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FINE Tasting

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FINE Contents

F I N E

9 Fineeditorial

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FINE Science

12 FineCENTURY

A Century of Australian Wine Heritage

36 FineNUIKKI

The Inflation of Wine Information

38 FineGALLERY

Portrait of a Wine Maker

48 Fine100 BEST

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

84 FineTASTING

Bollinger Treasures

90 FineTASTING

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Vintages

96 FineGARGETT

Fine Wine and Memories

98 FineSCIENCE

Bordeaux Wine Vintage Quality and the Weather

106 FineLifestyle PAGE 106

The Next El Dorado

Ferrari - A Fine Investment

FINE Lifestyle

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WRITERS Rajiv Singhal Rajiv Singhal is an entrepreneur who pioneered activities in the luxury sector in India. He studied

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Volume 6 Issue 4 Q4 2016 Editor Rajiv Singhal

clients. Among other path breaking initiatives, he helped set up the market for wine in India over the last 20 years. Appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite by the President of France, Mr. Singhal is also the Ambassador of Champagne to India and loves to challenge himself. Pekka Nuikki

Publisher Rajiv Singhal for Fine Publishing India Private Limited

Pekka Nuikki is an author and one of the leading experts on fine wines in Europe. He has published

Director of Editorial Pekka Nuikki

has exhibited his artwork all over the world and has worked as creative director of an advertising

Chief Executive Ritu Singhal Wine Manager Radhika Puar Contributors Orley Ashenfelter, David Ashmore, Robert Lalonde

over twenty acclaimed international wine and art books. He is an award winning photographer, who agency group. Mr. Nuikki is also the luckiest man in the world, having hit seven holes-in-one. Juha Lihtonen Juha Lihtonen is the manyfold Finnish sommelier champion. He was the Best Sommelier in the Nordic countries in 2003. Mr. Lihtonen has worked as a wine educator, a wine host on a radio programme, as well as the wine buyer of a major cruise line. Besides his day jobs, Mr. Lihtonen studies for the Master of Wine qualification.

Art & Creative Sandeep Kaul

Essi Avellan MW

Photographs Shivam Bhatti

awarded the Lily Bollinger Medal as the best taster and the Tim Derouet Memorial Award as the best

Administration Rashi Joshi

and is a Dame Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

Distribution Vinita Vaid Cover Photograph Rajiv Singhal Editorial & Business Offices 6F Vandhna, 11 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110001 E: contact@fine-magazines.in W: www.fine-magazines.in Subscriber Information T: +91 11 23359874-75 RNI no. DELENG/2010/35861 ISSN 2231-5098

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Economics at Yale, and since then has been simplifying access to the Indian market for international

Essi Avellan is the first Master of Wine from Finland, second ever from the Nordic countries. She was overall student in the Master of Wine examination. Ms. Avellan judges at several wine competitions

Ritu Singhal Ritu Singhal is co-founder of New Delhi based Group Ritu, which has diverse interests in private equity, marketing, consulting and publishing. She trained as a textile designer at Sophia Polytechnic in Bombay, and experiments with new techniques on new media. As voluntary work, she set up an annual craft bazaar to empower women artisans. When not doting on her two teenagers, Mrs. Singhal is up for any gastronomic adventure. Ken Gargett Ken Gargett was raised in a family that did not drink, but when he read law at university in his home town of Brisbane, Australia and London, UK, he became obsessed with wine and moved to full time wine writing nearly twenty years ago. Mr. Gargett won the Vin de Champagne Award, received the

Edited, Printed and Published by Rajiv Singhal on behalf of Fine Publishing India Private Limited. Published from 6F Vandhna, 11 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110001 India. Printed at Aegean Offset Printers, 220-B, Udyog Kendra Extension I, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201306 India.

Len Evans Scholarship and is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher. The opinions of the contributors or interviewees presented in this magazine do not necessarily correspond to nor reflect the opinions of the publisher or the editorial team. While the editorial team do their utmost to verify information published they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy. Fine Publishing does not keep nor return illustrations or other materials that have been sent in unsolicited, and hold the right to make any modifications in texts and pictures published in FINE Wine & Champagne India magazine. We reserve the right to refuse or suspend advertisements.

Richard Juhlin is a very well known connoisseur and specialist of champagne who holds the world

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

Richard Juhlin record for the number of champagnes tasted. More than 8000 champagnes have passed his lips. He has also written several books – 4000 Champagnes (2004), Richard Juhlin Champagne Guide (2008) and A Scent Of Champagne 2013. In 2014, Mr. Juhlin was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by Président François Hollande.


T

wenty Sixteen would go down as an uncharacteristically quiet year – there were no further

FINE Editorial

The Next El Dorado

debilitating shocks – for the wine market in India, which almost since inception at the turn of the millennium, has been heavily constrained by excruciating taxes, lack of

accessibility and extremely complicated regulatory hurdles. Stakeholders around the world have remained nonplussed about the resilience that the Indian authorities have presented when discussing “free” trade for alcoholic beverages – a category that wine has been bundled into under Indian regulations, in a historical context, and could do well to stay out of! India is, without doubt, the next El Dorado for the world of wine. But, also without doubt, India remains elusive for the faint-hearted – those who emphasise the correlation between market access and lower incidence of taxes and other levies. The handful of enterprising and visionary international wine companies that took this cue, are well-positioned to capture share-of-throat in this seemingly lucrative billion-plus market. This “season” has had an unusually fair flow of visitors from the kingdom of bubbles – several grande marques came calling to custom tables in New Delhi and Mumbai to charm their loyal patrons with cuvées of Champagne from their cellars. They form the small collective of early-bird champenois, who have been reading between the lines of the non-inclusive, protectionist and nationalist mandates that have foisted the newly elected political powers in the largest markets for champagne outside France, and who are beginning to look beyond the traditional domains on either side of the Atlantic. FINE hosted an end-of-year celebratory Champagne Pop-up at the “playted Indian” contemporary fine dining restaurant, Amaranta – a jewel in the oasis of the millennium city – The Oberoi Gurugram. The artistic renditions of time honoured recipes from traditional kitchens of India by the uber-talented Chef Tejas Sovani maintained authenticity of flavours through various courses that seamlessly, and somewhat dramatically, paired the selected styles of champagne (sans année to ultra brut to vintage rosé to blanc de blancs prestige cuvée to demi-sec on ice) chosen from The Oberoi’s very elaborate and very thoughtfully compiled champagne list. Our moment of indulgence – Champagne Drappier Carte d’Or with the Raw Mango and Chilli pâté-ckle!

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Photo: Best’s Wines

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FINE Century TEXT: Rajiv Singhal PHOTOS: Shivam Bhatti

The Friday leading upto Australia Day was extraordinarily special. FINE Wine & Champagne India raised the flag in New Delhi to “A Century of Australian Wine Heritage” – an unparalleled-in-India tasting-dinner for very select FINE wine-friends that was conceived as the most recent within the series of “FINE Iconic Tastings” to showcase the pedigree and history of wines over the last 11 decades from across the different wine regions of the continent-country tucked away down-under – Australia.

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2000 - 2015

Production volumes increase dramatically. Brand Australia established as promotional message. Multi-regional blends dominate exports.

Emergence of varietal labeling and increases in plantings. Large scale production established.

1980 - 2000

1960 - 1980 1950 - 1960

Difficult period. WWI & WWII and the Great Depression. Shift to fortified wine production and planting in warmer climate zones. Busby, Kelly and deCastella establish fine wine in various parts of the country. Limited market to sell wine in Australia.

1890 - 1900

Droughts and economic struggles led to abandonment of many vineyards.

1830 - 1860

The Hunter Valley was the first commercial wine region Wyndham Estate was established in 1828.

1828

Gregory Blaxland first to export wine and wins award overseas.

1822

First settlers arrived bringing vine cuttings from Europe.

1788

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Revival of old vineyard site by fine wine minded individuals – Max Schubert, Maurice O’Shea. Reputations as fine wine producers established – Penfold’s, Hardy’s, Tahbilk, Yalumba etc.

1900 - 1950

1825

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Building on a century of fine wine making Australia is established as a producer of distinctive and world class premium wine. Australia consistently maintains position as the fourth largest exporter in the world despite increasing competition and challenging market conditions. Winemakers push the boundaries and explore terroir across Australia, establishing 65 distinct wine regions.

James Busby was a Scottish botanist and became involved in viticulture around 1825.


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Photo: Tourism Australia

FINE Century


THE GENESIS The seeds for this grand tasting-dinner were sown in Fall 2013, when I accepted an invitation and boarded The Maharajah’s Dreamliner to join the international wine fraternity for the inaugural edition of Savour Australia, Wine Australia’s global wine forum convened in Adelaide, to explore wine country in Australia – for what would be my first ever trip to this part of the world. My antennae had already been raised by the recent news that Australia had displaced the more established wine producing countries in Europe, specially France, to capture

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the largest market share in India for imported wine – even if on volume. At the Wynns Coonawarra Estates’ tasting table, backdropped by a crosssection of the famed Terra Rossa, I was honoured to get a historical perspective going back to 1957 (the Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon still had many years to peaking) and 1969 (my own vintage from the cellars of Redman) – I had not imagined that Australia would afford me this pleasure! At the Yalumba Museum Tasting hosted by Robert Hill Smith, at the legendary Lion Cellars & Tunnels in Adelaide, a 1938 Riesling (melons leapt

Old vintages in Australia are so rare – they are not that easy to come by


FINE Century

out on the charming nose) and a 1922 Shiraz “Port” (syrupy, candied, spicy and long) rounded up a most unexpected and hugely satisfying trip. With the benefit of hindsight, we reckon that our original idea to source aged Australian wines from each decade of the last century (which assumed the file name “Historic Australia”) was a tad ambitious. We took wine-making in Australia to be a two hundred and thirty something year old tradition. After all, the first cuttings of vines arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788 to be initially planted in Sydney Cove.

Vine-planting and winemaking was well on its way in various regions of Australia around the middle of the 19th century, fuelled by the untiring efforts of the “father” of the Australian wine industry, James Busby (1802-1871). Old vintages in Australia are so rare – they are not that easy to come by – unlike their European counterparts. A few months into the project, we were warned by an insider. “Your project is more onerous than you would expect. The depletion of rare Australian wine is remarkable, and even a request of one bottle might be unrealistic.”

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This is just not a wine tasting – it’s a walk through history, it’s a celebration of the history of wine.

THE TREASURE

Brian Walsh

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But, we were perseverant – and it paid off! The team at Wine Australia was quick off the blocks to buy-in this endeavour to showcase the image of Australian premium. Ross Brown, third generation of the family managing Brown Brothers in Victoria, not only immediately committed that a wine from his cellars would be represented – the 1967 Everton Hills Cabernet Shiraz was one of the oldest wines in the line-up – he was successful in influencing his friends, Colin Campbell of Campbell’s Wines (who sent through the Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen

Muscat) and Alister Purbrick of Tahbilk, to come on-board. Alister Purbrick contributed the 1978 Reserve Bin 65, but he let us into “the availability of museum wines which date back to 1948”. We pushed our luck and insisted if the profile of the tasting would allow him to consider an older vintage. “Unfortunately, even if God himself was going to be present, 1978 is the best that we can do”, was his reply – priceless! Philip Jeffries of d’Arenberg communicated our request to his rock star boss, Chester Osborne and their 1970 Shiraz came through.


FINE Century

Sue Hodder of Wynns Coonawarra Estate, where the eureka moment for project “Historic Australia” happened, was eventually convinced and chose the 1970 Cabernet Sauvignon. Bill Hardy managed in the nick of time to send across the very rare 1936 Vintage Port from his collection, with his own hand-written notes. Yodi Mootoosamy of Treasury Wine Estates got his hands on the 1963 Penfolds St. Henri from the Auldana Cellars which “fortuitously” became the oldest wine served. Stuart Barclay very generously threw in the 1984 Penfolds Grange from his personal cellar and leveraged his network to get the “national

treasure” – Bottle Number 148 of the puncheon of the vintage 1915 Seppeltsfield Para Vintage Tawny. Support continued to pour in. Some not-known-tous angels at Yalumba, Petaluma, Moss Wood and Houghton donated to complete the line-up for the current decades. Our project was gaining some exciting traction in the world of fine wine – whenever the project was discussed with the world wine trade, we noticed raised eye-brows over a tasting of this magnitude in New Delhi! Soon, some early decades were beginning to become

Patrick Suckling

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A proud centurion, steeped in tradition and full of character, still going strong.

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Wines showed very well, despite their age and the distance travelled. pain points. We chanced upon an offer from a very reputed Australian broker for a bottle of Stonyfell Metala from 1959. Langhorne Creek was the first wine region in Australia that I visited and we all felt that it would be really fitting that the oldest wine (the earlier decades were “Port” style fortifieds) in this historic line-up would be from that region where the Shiraz and Cabernet planted in 1891 in the Cellar Blocks and the Old Blocks still yield premium fruit. We put our paddle up on Lot #676 in the Finest and Rare Wine Auction and the hammer came down. This joy was extremely short-lived, though, as the bottle never made it to the table. The brokers’ lorry drivers at Nextday Logistics Carriers sensed that they were carrying treasure and

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scripted their own version of a highway heist and “stole” the lot – never to be found. At least one can’t fault them for bad taste! Inspite of these “unexpecteds”, our booty grew, bottle-by-bottle and we were able to put together all decades dating back to the 10s in the 20th Century. It was a very special lot – most of which had been sourced directly from the wineries’ cellars and a few that came with good provenance that were acquired from the secondary market – and it was dotingly baby-sit in “Linda’s Vault” at the Adelaide office of Austrade.

THE EVENING FINE was privileged to host the “Century of Australian Wine Heritage” tasting-


FINE Century

dinner at the Residence of the Australian High Commissioner to India in New Delhi, that was so kindly offered to us by H.E. Patrick Suckling, High Commissioner of Australia to India and his wife Natalie Dalder. It was the perfect setting – an outpost of Australia in the heart of diplomatic enclave in the Indian capital – for a tasting-dinner that was paying homage to the country’s long and proud tradition of wine making. And Natalie was the perfect hostess paying attention to the minutest detail – she was so welcoming that the imposing colonnade felt so warm!

“Century of Australian Wine Heritage”. Brian was greatly appreciative of the inspiration, drive and patience that made it possible for the FINE gems from the Australian cellars to tell their stories at the table and an extremely powerful first engagement with the still-emerging market for wine in India was created.

FINE wine-friends were whisked through the security protocol at the High Commission. Corks popped and the bubbles rose in the glasses as the mature, yet very fresh, vintage Jansz 2009 “Méthode Tasmanoise” was offered on arrival. Brian Walsh, Chair of Wine The teenage daughter of Australia, was convinced Australia’s First Couple in India, Esther, had very to make a fleeting and kindly offered to play the ruefully short stop-over grand piano that sat in the in New Delhi to lead the

Natalie Dalder

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to build an impeccable reputation in the world of wine as the country pieced together a proud heritage of extra-ordinary vintages. He shared that he was delighted that he was able to schedule this unprecedented event as one of his last official engagements in India!

foyer of the Residence – we were very touched. She captivated us all by playing “River Flows in You” by Yiruma; “Primavera” by Ludovico Einaudi and “Struttin at the Waldorf ” by Philip Lane – and very swiftly disappeared to her room in the Residence, too shy to take her much deserved bows.

The prepping

Welcoming us, High Commissioner Suckling recognised the efforts over many years by innovative and dedicated wine makers in Australia, such as Brian, that had helped Australia

When Natalie gave us a carte blanche to move the fixtures in the Residence around, she had perhaps not imagined that her living room would be redecorated into a “tasting

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


FINE Century

It was a very special lot and dotingly baby-sit in “Linda’s Vault”.

room” with the grand tasting table centred against the bright red wall graced by a majestic picchwai painting. Sommelier Kamal Malik was ever-so-kind to fly in from the Maldives to take charge of our booty that had been so safely carried across the Indian Ocean. Expecting that the corks (defying popular perception, only two bottles in our treasure chest were under screwcap/ stelvin) might have dried out over the years, Kamal carried special

tools to extract the tough ones. Throughout the day, assisted by Vipul Rajput, he prepared and nurtured the bottles – prizing out the old, dry and disintegrating corks, decanting, tasting, pouring and sequencing service – to set up the first volley of eleven glasses that was set down before our guests.

The verdict In his inimitable style, Brian introduced the tasting to the 18 vinos that graced the table. “This is just

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Naveen Jindal

not a wine tasting – it’s a walk through history, it’s a celebration of wine, it’s a celebration of the history of wine!” All the oenophile guests chipped in with their thoughts and some stories around wine. Many of the guests kept going back to some of the glasses that they had set aside as ‘re-visit’ and they found the evolution in the glass to be both fascinating and intriguing. The first flight had some favourites – the age on the 1930 Seppeltsfield was respected and the 1967 Brown Brothers Everton Hills impressed the majority. Aroon Purie

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The chinaware crested with the Australian coat-

Vikram Oberoi

of-arms lay waiting in the resplendent dining room, with another volley of glasses. Before he signed off as Executive Chef of the Hyatt Regency Delhi, Chef Marin Leuthard had crafted a five course dinner menu around celebrated Australian produce. The slow-cooked Lamb Loin with Bitter Chocolate Ganache and Blueberry Sauce was, quite expectedly, a dream combination with the big and perfectly balanced 1984 Penfolds Grange. The other red, the minty and intense 1970 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon stood its ground well. As we devoured the Guava Snow Egg with the very rich and


FINE Century Madhulika Dhall

complex Campbell Wines Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen Muscat, we toasted the chef ’s brilliance (in absentia) and to the generosity of the Hyatt Regency Delhi. It was the drops of the absolutely enchanting Seppeltsfield’s 100 year old Para Vintage Tawny, served in the brilliant cut crystal stems, that served up the finale to a spectacular display of Australia’s fine wine heritage. The wines showed very well, despite their age and the distance travelled,

Pankaj Srivastava

and Brian’s prayers were answered as fortunately none of the bottles was “off”. FINE is delighted to have shared these FINEst examples of Australian wine from the last century and presented 900+ years of vintage at this historic event on the shores of India – one where the history of Australian wine spoke from the glass to the privileged guests from within the haloed circles of fine wine in India to build the image of Australian premium! FINE has more exciting and ambitious thoughts…

Arjun Sharma

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99p

Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny, 1915

Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia Blend: Shiraz, Grenache (mix is unknown) Appearance: Intensely deep amber bronze that hangs onto the glass Nose: Christmas pudding, dates and caramel toffee with spicy nutmeg and whiff of the 22% alcohol Palate: Deliciously sweet. Nutty prunes, dried figs and mocha. Very viscous with a superb acidity Finish: Exceptional balance and structure emerges from the mouth coating creaminess In a nutshell: The perfect anti-ageing formula Inside Information: The Polish merchant, Joseph Ernst Seppelt, migrated to Australia and bought the property (Seppeltsfield) in the Barossa Valley in 1851. In a far-reaching decision that would ensure the legacy was passed on to future generations, his son, Benno, who had an incredibly long-term outlook, decided that the finest port wine of the vintage would be laid down in a specially selected puncheon – 500 litre barrel – and remain untouched in the newly constructed ’Centennial Cellar’. After century-long maturation, it would be released as Seppeltsfield 100 year old Para Tawny Port in bottles of 100ml volume – a collector’s item and a true national treasure – the ‘essence’ of perfection! Today, this is the the world’s only unbroken lineage of single vintage wines spanning more than 130 consecutive vintages.

From the Bottle: Bottle No. 148 from the 1915 vintage’s puncheon held in the cellars.

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Seppeltsfield Para Vintage Tawny, 1930 Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia

Appearance: Tawny Nose: Complex notes that range from the ripe apricots to gamey Palate: A rich, sweet raisiny feel with hazelnuts Finish: Lasting and lingering In a nutshell: Charming distant cousin Inside Information: A very futuristic decision by the Seppelt family at the end of the 19th century to long age their fine ports, much before many in traditional wine making countries did, has created a much desired oenotheque somewhat unparalleled in the world. First released in 1953, the Para Vintage Tawny is blended on a base of the Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro grapes and matured in seasoned oak barrels for around 28 years. The vintage date actually referred to the oldest component of the blend, and this conflicted with the new labelling standards. In 2004, catch-up bottling eventually made way for the release of the first 100% single vintage of 1976.

From the Bottle: A bulbous flask-like bottle. Oval inscriptions on the bottle mark the areas for the two front labels.

92p

88p

Hardy’s Vintage Port, 1936

FINE Century

94p

Region: South Australia Appearance: Deep garnet Nose: Bouncy fruits with elements of chocolate Palate: A treat of treacle with black fruits, vanilla and spicy caramel Finish: Short, but very pleasant expression In a nutshell: Old Inside Information: In 1850, the founder Thomas Hardy came to Australia with a passion for winemaking that led him to buy Bankside to create ‘wines that will be prized in world markets’, become one of the first exporters of Australian wine and bring prosperity to the region. Every drop of wine at the facilities was firerazed in 1904, and completely re-built.

From the Bottle: The bottle is carries the inscription, “This bottle is the property of The Adelaide Bottle Cooperative Company Limited, Southwark” alongside a graphic of Axe Brands Traditional Regd. Net content 750 ml. Donated by Bill Hardy, the vintage year 1936 has been stickered on. Cork is sealed with wax.

Orlando Vintage Tawny Port, 1947 Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia Blend: Shiraz, Carignan and Mataro

Appearance: Deep amber with a yellow-green edge Nose: Very complex. Rich caramel and wafts of south Indian filter coffee complemented by pleasing butterscotch and glazed fruit Palate: Full and luscious hazelnut praline which is balanced by raisin and toffee apple Finish: Lovely balance of acidity, sweetness and intensity In a nutshell: Celebrating independence Inside Information: This vintage celebrates 100 years of the first plantings by Johann Gramp. This 1947 Vintage was vintaged from grapes grown in one of the oldest vineyards in the Barossa Valley. The grapes were allowed to reach full maturity, thus ensuring a wine rich and luscious in character, and together with many years of maturation in small oak casks, it has finally developed into a Tawny Port with the desirable soft, rich and nutty characteristics for which it is renowned.

From the Bottle: The bottle inscription reads, “This bottle is the property of the Traders Bottle Co Ltd” Awarded Gold medal in International Wine Fair Yugoslavia, 1967. Vintaged and Bottled by G. Gramp & Sons Pty Ltd Barossa Valley, South Australia.

Mark, Another point that I often highlight about Show Port is that part of the blend is often wood matured vintage port which didn’t get selected for bottling as Vintage Port. This, of course, is brandy fortified and because of its full colour takes an eon in barrel to reach maturity as a tawny. What it does contribute is some lovely spice and nuttiness which is due to the brandy used on the fortification of the vintage port. As you can imagine, the Shiraz used for the V.P. is absolute top quality, whereas fruit for tawny port is often only fair (apart from ripeness) as the period in wood is very forgiving. In essence, vintage port makes a pretty good tawny base but it is hideously non-economic as it takes 2-3 times as long to reach maturity as a traditional tawny base. Bill

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90p

Orlando Vintage Tawny Port, 1957 Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia Blend: Shiraz, Carignan and Mataro

Appearance: Tawny with some green overtones Nose: Concentrated flavours of raisins, vanilla, prunes that show rancid character, with some molasses showing up Palate: Rich and syrupy mouthfeel that is flavoured with spice and nuts. High alcohol is evident Finish: Superbly aged, the tawny is lovely and clean In a nutshell: Magnificence Inside Information: In 1847, Johann Gramp planted Rhine Riesling vines at Jacobs Creek in the Barossa and his son, Gustav, built the Orlando winery at Rowland Flat in 1877. Coming off a very strong pedigree, Hugo Gramp built the reputation of Orlando’s wine and brandy, before he was killed in the Kyeema air crash in 1938. In 1989 after a succession of owners, the small family owned Orlando landed up with the French multi-national Pernod Ricard, whose investments boosted growth, the focus being the Jacobs Creek label. This 1957 Vintage was grown in one of the oldest vineyards in the Barossa valley. The wine was aged in small oak casks for many years, thus maturing into a classic tawny.

From the sidewalk bench outside The Lion, Adelaide

From the Bottle: Unlike 1947, no inscriptions on the bottle. There is no “Orlando” branding on the cork. The net measure changes from 1 Pint 6 FL. OZ to 26 FL. OZ. and the metric 739 ml is introduced.

Vikram Oberoi

91p

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz, 1963 Region: South Australia

Appearance: Medium-deep amber Nose: Caramelised and expressive of its age. Gamey, herbaceous with hints of brett Palate: Dark berry preserve and dark chocolate complemented by supple tannins with savoury/ minerally and some balsamic notes Finish: Well concentrated, medium-bodied and dry In a nutshell: Vinous and complete Inside Information: When Max Schubert was secretly working on Grange, winemaker John Davoren was tasked, by a somewhat forward thinking Penfolds, with crafting St. Henri – this would be the hedge to Grange that had defied winemaking tradition. The experiment wine, released in 1953, did not see any new oak matured in old, 1460 litre vats. From old labels found in the Auldana winery loft, St. Henri Claret was chosen. St. Henri is a time-honoured and alternative expression of Shiraz.

From the Bottle: Most elaborate bottle inscriptions. “The bottle always remains the property of Penfolds Wine Pty Ltd and must not be filled by any other person.” The brand “Penfolds” is inscribed around the shoulder and down the spine. The bottle aged wine was brought to the Penfolds Wine Clinic 2000/2001 to be certified as in acceptable condition under the authority of John Duval, Chief Winemaker.

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95p

Brown Brothers Milawa Everton Hills Shiraz Cabernet, 1967

Region: Victoria Blend: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (More Shiraz, but actual mix not available) Appearance: Deep developed ruby red Nose: Enchanting herbaceous and vegetal bouquet with gamey notes and subtle hint of tar Palate: Zesty dark berries and black cherries are accentuated by wellstructured tannins Finish: Very nicely balanced rich mouthfeel In a nutshell: Sensuous and beautiful Inside Information: Founded by John Francis Brown in 1889. The rich tradition of family heritage inspires its future course. The winemaker of the 1967 vintage and third generation, John G Brown, recalls, “An excellent vintage, this wine is one of the best old reds from our cellars. The vineyard (that doesn’t exist anymore) was on a rainfall dependent dry hill yielding less than one tonne. Vinification was in Milawa. Ageing took place in large old oak for about 18 months and cellared in the old underground cellar before release.”

From the Bottle: The label describes the wine as “Dry Red Table Wine from Everton Hills Shiraz and Cabernet Grapes” and “Grown and Bottled at the estate by Brown Bros. Milawa Vineyard, Milawa, Victoria, Australia”. Awarded gold medal at the Rutherglen Wine Exhibition Section 20 in 1977.


89p

d’Arenberg Shiraz, 1970 Region: Mc Laren Vale, South Australia

Region: Coonawarra Appearance: Medium brick red Nose: Dark berries, prunes and cassis with hints of eucalyptus Palate: Intense. Black cherries, cocoa and vanilla with nuances of leather and menthol. Tad dusty Finish: Lingering earthiness

Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Shiraz Appearance: Slight browning Nose: Gamey and meaty expression with a savoury tinge Palate: Crushed and dried rose petals with dry leather and cheese Finish: Solid, but drinking extremely well In a nutshell: Flamboyant Inside Information: Joseph Osborn, a teetotaller, cut his teeth at Thomas Hardy & Sons before he decided to trade his prize-winning horses stable to set up d’Arenberg in 1912. The fourth generation Chester Osborn was raised on the property, where his father d’Arry first produced wine with the famous red stripe. As Chief Winemaker, he respects the century old family traditions.

From the Bottle: A Special Show Wine. Specially chosen for the Adelaide Festival of Arts 1974. Produced by F.E. Osborn & Sons Pty. Ltd. Bottled by d’Arenberg Wines Pty. Ltd., McLaren Vale, South Australia. Declared an “Australian Wine” on the label. A map pins Osborn’s d’Arenberg Vineyards on with respect to the ocean. Silver Medal in the 1972 Perth Show (Class 16 OBG2) and Bronze Medal in the 1970 Melbourne Show (Class 14).

92p

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 1970

FINE Century

93p

In a nutshell: Provenanced pleasure Inside Information: In 1890, Scotsman John Riddoch, planted the very first Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the “Hundred of Comaum” vineyard within the Terra Rossa, and produced the first Coonawarra vintage “of superior quality”. Riddoch’s death ended this bold venture – but his property was renamed Chateau Comaum in 1946. Polish-born, Shlomo Weintraub (Jewish-German for vigneron), fled to escape conscription and arrived in Australia. His name changed to Samuel Wynn (old English for wine) and he became a leading wine merchant. His family bought Chateau Comaum in 1951 and renamed it Wynns Coonawarra Estate. But for two interventions of rain in 1961 and 1963, the proudly Coonawarra Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon has seen 60 years of vintage.

From the Bottle: The “Australian Claret” is bottled by the Winegrowers Coonawarra Estate Pty Ltd. “Wynns Estate” is repetitively inscribed on the shoulder. The contents are in metric 0.738 litre. Sole and Exclusive Purveyors S. Wynn & Co. Pty. Ltd., Melbourne. On the back label, a map with latitudes describes the Coonawarra as The South East of South Australia.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, 1975

Region: Magill and Barossa Valley, South Australia Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (mix not available) Appearance: Brick red Nose: Dark cherries and prunes accentuated by dried herb and earthy notes with a whiff of sweet sandalwood and vanilla Palate: Rich. Currants, caramel and meaty, firm but velvety tannins Finish: Mature, but shows flow and balance of fruit and oak In a nutshell: A stroke of blending genius Inside Information: In 1844, Penfolds was founded when Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary acquired land in Magill to make a fortified medicinal tonic. A series of mergers and acquisitions in the recent decades brought Penfolds under the umbrella of Treasury Wine Estates. Having been a very important influence on the evolution of winemaking in Australia, it went to challenge the more established icons on the global stage. Bin 389 was first made by Max Schubert in 1960 and is also known as the ‘Poor man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’ – the components are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange.

From the Bottle: The Penfolds logo appears with the crest. The label details the grape varieties, the district in which grown and the characteristics of the wine – and the expectation that the wine “will improve with further bottle age”. On 18 November 2002, John Duval, Chief Winemaker certifies, “This wine has been assessed, recorked and recapsuled under the supervision of a Penfolds Winemaker.”

90p

Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Bin 65, 1978

Region: Victoria Appearance: Lush brick red Nose: Raspberry and black cherry notes with some secondary levels of leather Palate: Shows fading fruits and bell peppers Finish: Medium bodied with a well-defined structure In a nutshell: Beyond its prime Inside Information: In 1925, the Purbrick family bought the winery established in 1860, making it home to 5 generations. 200 hectares of vineyards include traditional varietals and some rare Rhône varietals, some plantings extend back to Tahbilk’s founding with original pre-phylloxera Shiraz vines. A very traditional approach to winemaking, that has not changed since its founding, puts emphasis on fruit with potential to improve and develop added complexity if patiently cellared. The very best vat of Cabernet from the excellent 1978 vintage was chosen to be bottled separately – the resulting 1978 Chateau Tahbilk Cabernet Bin 65 became a special release with only 5200 bottles ever made. The wine fermented in open oak vats before ageing for 2 years in French oak.

From the Bottle: Estate Bottled Australian Wine was bottled by Tahbilk Pty Ltd, Tabilk, Victoria. The five storied building of the main winery is the label graphic. This wine presents the most detailed, intricate and aesthetic label including a crested capsule.

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94p

Penfolds Grange, 1984

Region: South Australia and South-eastern Australia Blend: 95% Shiraz, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon Appearance: Intense brick red Nose: Very aromatic and complex. Dark plum, black berries, black olives are combined with caramel like aromas and enhanced by dark cocoa and leather Palate: Big. Black fruits with notes of truffles, balsamic notes, cedar wood, vanilla, coffee. Well-rolled tannins Finish: Full-bodied, lush, rich mouthfeel with long finish In a nutshell: Rich and famous Inside Information: Inspired by the long cellaring of French wines, legendary winemaker Max Schubert made his first vintage of Grange Hermitage in 1951. But, when he presented his efforts to the Board in Sydney, he was embarrassed and horrified. One critic remarked, “A very good, dry port, which no one will buy – let alone drink”. Fortunately, the distance of 1400 km from Sydney saved “Grange”. The experiment to make “a great wine that Australians would be proud of” was hidden in the Magill underground cellars and continued – secretly! It was not until the 1960 vintage that the Board woke up to “Australia’s most distinguished wine” and ordered production of the “wine dynasty” to re-start. The blend of Grange changes every year, depending on the winemakers wit!

From the Bottle: A definitive Australian dry red table wine, this Grange Hermitage Bin 95 was bottled by Penfolds Wines Pty. Ltd. It recommends that Grange Hermitage should always be decanted before serving.

91p

Petaluma Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998 Region: Coonawarra, South Australia

Blend: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon (with dash of rogue vine Shiraz), 30% Merlot Appearance: Concentrated ruby Nose: Dark cherries, blackcurrant, dried rose, eucalyptus mint, leafy Palate: Prunes with a hint of mint, leather and sweet tobacco Finish: Full bodied with earthy lasting finish In a nutshell: Brooding Inside Information: In 1976, Brian Croser founded Petaluma, its “Distinguished Vineyards” approach that defied established practices and introduced foreign practices like hand pruning, hand picking and minimal irrigation. In 2001, brewing giant Lion Nathan, mounted a hostile takeover on Petaluma that was listed in 1993. From the Bottle: Unfiltered, was bottled at Spring Gully, Piccadilly SA. Brian Croser shares his thoughts on the label, “1998 ranks among the very best vintages – the fourth drought vintage in succession – and this is a truly great wine. The heart of this wine is the Terra Rossa of the 1968-planted Evans Vineyard and 1983-planted Sharefarmers Vineyard, that yield within the 7 tonne per hectare limit.” Bottled in January 2000, the wine saw eighteen months in new French oak, sourced from Petaluma’s pet cooper Dargaud et Jaegle. Andrew Hardy, winemaker since 2004, is a minimalist who introduced subtle changes – “more evolution, than revolution”.

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91p

Yalumba Signature Cabernet Shiraz, 1986

Region: Barossa and Coonawarra, South Australia Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Shiraz Appearance: Medium purple red with an orange rim Nose: Dark cherries, prunes, a whiff of smoke and traces of oak in the background Palate: Dried blackberries and dark cherries leading to truffles and cigar humidor. Velvety tannins play with a fine acidity Finish: Medium-bodied, dry and persistent In a nutshell: Living to its potential Inside Information: Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, Yalumba was founded by Samuel Smith who planted his first vineyard by moonlight in Angaston in 1849. In 2015, the fifth generation Robert Hill-Smith appointed Nick Waterman as the first non-family Managing Director and himself took over as Chairman. Yalumba is only one of four wineries in the world to own a cooperage managed by 7th Master Cooper Shaun Gibson. . From the Bottle: The best of the vintage and honours an individual with significant contribution to Yalumba. 1986 was named for Helen Hill-Smith, who married Wyndham in 1947, and worked with the community so that “life at Yalumba has never waned”. Signed by Helen Hill-Smith, Order of Australia Medal. Gold Medals at the National Wine Show in Canberra 1988 and Brisbane 1989.

90p

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001

Region: Wilyabrup, Margaret River, Western Australia Blend: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot (unchanged since 1997) Appearance: Bright brick red Nose: Complex. Violet, striking dark cherry and cassis with underlying aromas of leather and tar Palate: Rich mouthful of juicy red and black fruit highlighted by good acidity with spicy overtones and young but polished tannins Finish: Toasty and firm Closure: Stelvin In a nutshell: Seamless elegance Inside Information: Planted in 1969 by Bill and Sandra Pannell, in the very early years of the Margaret River, on a plot that had been tilled for a century before. Since 1985, viticulturist Keith Mugford, and his banker/nurse wife Clare, own the property whose Cabernet Sauvignon has driven the cash flow. The 2001 is “arguably the greatest wine yet released” – a classic. Early flowering – no highlights in vintage. Harvested early in March, the wine saw new and 2-year old French barrel for two years. Former Production Manager Ian Bell put aside some Cabernet Franc and tiny fractions of Merlot in new oak – designs on a Cheval Blanc lookalike! From the Bottle: Grown, vintage & bottled at Domaine Moss Wood. The back label introduces a bar code and declares “Preservative Sulphur Dioxide added” and “Produced with egg whites and skim milk”. The quality certifications of “Moss Wood Pty Ltd” are marked. Bottle inscriptions read 75cl 63mm!


Jansz Chardonnay Brut, 2009 Region: Pipers River, Tasmania Blend: 53% Chardonnay, 47% Pinot Noir

Appearance: Pale gold with a fine bead of bubbles Nose: Bountiful. Lemon preserve, green apples and peaches coated in white chocolate Palate: Freshness emerges through the maturity coming from the 4+ years on lees. Brioche, roast almond nougat and pastry Finish: Nice acidity structure with a good balance In a nutshell: Pinnacle of cool climate artistry Inside Information: Jansz pays homage to the Dutch explorer, Abel Janszoon Tasman, who first sighted the island in the 17th century. In 1997, the Hill-Smith family bought the vineyard that sits to the northeast in the Pipers River region of the Tamar Valley and made it into the most highly regarded sparkling wine house in Australia. The vineyard temperatures are moderated by close proximity to the Bass Strait and the grapes ripen slowly and develop intense, delicate and refined flavours. Jansz uses the traditional method – and coined the phrase “Méthode Tasmanoise” in the aftermath of the protection of appellation by Champagne. Only 1212 bottles of this 2009 vintage were produced.

95p

90p

Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Region: Frankland River, Western Australia

Blend: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, 1% Shiraz Appearance: Purple-red Nose: Enchanting bouquet, green pepper, pencil shavings Palate: Blueberries laced with subtle nuances of tobacco and grippy vanilla tannins Finish: Well-structured and intensely powerful In a nutshell: Bold and beautiful

FINE Century

89p

Inside Information: Established in 1836 by a syndicate of three officers serving the British Army, the winery was christened by one of the founders, Lieutenant Colonel Richmond Houghton. In 1859, all of 25 gallons were produced in the first commercial vintage. Since then, just 13 winemakers have stood custody to the heritage of this very old Australian winery, lending consistency in style. In 1922, Jack Mann MBE, a 16-year old, joined as an apprentice to his father and piloted 51 consecutive vintages as winemaker. With visionary passion, he led his wines to heaps of awards! From the Bottle: Under screwcap, a minimalist label announces, “In honour of the great Jack Mann 19061989. 51 years of iconic winemaking for Houghton.”

Campbell Wines Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen Muscat, NV

Region: Rutherglen, Victoria Blend: Muscat a petit grains rouge (Rutherglen Brown Muscat) Appearance: Deep burgundy brown Nose: Complex. Raisiny with nuttiness of hazelnut with nutmeg and post-maturation toffee Palate: Intensely explosive yet perfectly balanced sweetness with complex nut flavours and some oxidative notes. Some baking spice and drying tannin. Viscous texture that reveals extra-ordinary depth of flavours Finish: Full bodied with a long finish and lush mouthfeel In a nutshell: Seductive nightcap Inside Information: In 1870, Scotsman John Campbell established the vineyard in North East Victoria, which is in the able hands of fourth generation viticulturist Malcolm, and his brother Colin, the winemaker. Rare is the pinnacle of Rutherglen Muscat classification. Grapes are left hanging late in the season, and only wines made from select parcels of premium fruit following the strictest criteria in exceptional vintages can be added to the outstanding solera. This is a blend of wines (base wines can be well over 50 years old) is matured in 450 litre puncheons which do not add any overt influence of oak. Wine can only be withdrawn from the solera when it matches exactly the previous withdrawal that ensure consistency.

Inputs for tasting notes by Kamal Malik & Vipul Thakur

From the Bottle: “Merchant Prince” was the sailing vessel on which John Campbell arrived at Port Phillip. The capsule has the seal of “Muscat of Rutherglen, Guarantee of Authenticity” and the 375ml bottle is signed by Colin Campbell (Wine maker) and Malcom Campbell (Viticulturist) who describe it as the pinnacle, the richest, most complex and complete wine.

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2/20/17 4:39 PM


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2/20/17 4:39 PM


COLUMN

PEKKA NUIKKI

The inflation of wine information

I

was traveling with my friend from San Francisco to the Napa Valley to taste some wines. We talked generally about California and one question we pondered was the population of California. My friend picked up his phone and googled in a few seconds to the United States Census page that said the population at that very moment was 39,250,017 people. On the same site, there was also the population of the whole of the United States and many other facts, such as that a new American is born every eight seconds. I was genuinely impressed by how accurate and up to date the information was. You rarely find an experience that’s comparably positive and confidence-generating when you look for information on the Internet, and in the case of wine information the situation is even rarer.

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The greatest challenge when looking for

Often, it’s presented briefly in numbers or

information about wines is the enormous

words. I myself have bought numerous books

amount that is offered. On one hand that’s a

by Parker and Broadbent for the same reason.

strength of the Internet, but also a danger. As

It has been possible to trust Parker’s 100-point

the number of producers of information has

or Broadbent’s five-star reviews because they are

increased millionfold in comparison to the

based on the writers’ decades of experience and

situation before the Internet, the same thing

there is always also studied information about

has happened to information as to any other

the wine itself in conjunction with them.

commodity that is being oversupplied: its

Nowadays, Parker and Broadbent are less

value has fallen. Information has suffered from

well known by the wider public, but Vivino,

inflation.

on the other hand, isn’t. Incidentally, Vivino is

In the wine world. Traditionally the

a wine application that’s used by nearly twenty

most important and searched for thing is

million people, with the figure rising daily.

information about the quality of the wine.

There are also hundreds of other services like


FINE Nuikki

Vivino on the Internet. What’s common to all

molehill becomes a mountain. Thousands of

One of our hardest tasks is to prevent

of them is the ‘information’ that is typical of

wine sites bring up just that molehill in the

the passage of that incorrect and unreliable

the modern age. Would you trust a site where

form of simple scoring.

information.

Tastingbook

wants

to

tell

you can find twenty different kinds of Château

I’m personally responsible for one of these

consumers reliably and in an up-to-date manner

Pétrus or Château Latour?* Or would you buy

thousands of wine information sources –

about wines through its thousands of experts,

a 99-point wine reviewed by someone calling

tastingbook.com. It’s the world’s largest in its

without saving time and trouble. Time, which is

themselves ‘Little Red Riding Hood’?

class at the moment – more than a million pages

wine’s best friend, is the worst enemy of reliable

Even generally, when reading wine reviews,

of wine information. The largest challenge for

information when it’s missing. Information is in

you should think about who has written the

tastingbook too is to correctness and credibility

fact enjoyed these days in the same way as most

review, what the information presented is based

of the information that is passed on, despite the

wines – quickly, underripe and undeveloped –

on and what they are trying to achieve. After

fact that almost all of our information providers

without an aftertaste.

all, media literacy is one of the most important

are professionals presenting themselves under

citizen’s skills these days.

their real name.

Understanding

information

creates

Often, they too are looking for information

significance for things. When there is no desire

to support their verdicts from sources that do

or patience to deal with even the simplest of

not check the reliability of the information or

wholes, some detail is readily picked up from

its sources, and thus distorted facts can find

them and that acquires a disproportionately

their way onto the pages of tastingbook.

*There is only one Château Latour and one Château Pétrus.

large importance. Proportions are lost and a

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P ORT R A I T OF A

WI N E

MAKER text: Pek k a Nuik k i photos: Kevin Judd

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FINE Gallery

Kevin Judd uses photography to conjure up amazingly beautiful images of viticulture and the landscapes associated with it. The photographs show scenes of vineyards and the people working in them in which the colours and shapes harmoniously and intriguingly merge. Images in which our industrial world, with its bustle and endlessly long working days, seems to have all but disappeared. Its place has been taken by glimpses of a time when people still appreciated nature and the life force it gave them. Images which give the viewer a moment to breathe. He is also the man who created one of the world’s best known Sauvignon Blancs – Cloudy Bay.

really got started. Today the Cloudy Bay vineyard extends for 45 hectares and its annual production is in excess of 600,000 bottles. Cloudy Bay is located in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough province. This unique wine-growing region enjoys a cool, maritime climate, where the sun ripens the grapes for longer than anywhere else in New Zealand. The vineyard is named after the bay at the end of the Wairau Valley, which Captain Cook named Cloudy Bay in 1770.

Kevin Judd was born and spent his early childhood in England. When he was nine his family moved to Australia for work. Kevin’s best childhood memories are the times he spent with his father in the darkroom working with black and white prints.

Although Kevin has gone around with a camera slung around his neck since he was just a little boy, he never considered photography as a profession until 1990. That was when he met the world-famous wine photographer Mick Rock in London. When he saw Kevin’s portfolio, Rock immediately took him under his wing and introduced him to the Cephas Picture Library.

Having studied wine production at the famous Roseworthy University, he started as a winemaker at Chateau Reynalla in 1982. However, Kevin never really felt at home in Australia, and after several attempts at doing this and that, in 1985 he moved to New Zealand, where he was hired as a winemaker at the recently established Cloudy Bay.

With Mike Rock’s encouragement Kevin assembled a collection of his best photos. This formed the basis of his first book, The Colour of Wine. He has illustrated several books on wine, of which perhaps the most visually stunning is Keith Stewart’s Taste of the Earth – which affirmed that a winemaker had become a serious photographer.

During the first year Cloudy Bay had no buildings or cultivated land of its own. The grapes were bought in from elsewhere and the wine was made on rented premises. Kevin remembers his sole contribution to the first year’s production was made over the phone.

After working 25 years for Cloudy Bay, Kevin decided to accomplish his long-term dream and establish a brand of his own in 2009. He and his wife, Kimberley, founded Greywacke Vineyards close to Cloudy Bay.

Nowadays Kevin Judd is one of the most acclaimed winemakers in New Zealand. Thanks to the success of Cloudy Bay, he has brought the country’s wine industry to the attention of the entire world. When his Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 1996 was named the world’s best white wine by the highly respected American magazine Wine Spectator, the vineyard’s success story

The man gets to live his dream now, which is to immortalise the beauty of nature both in own wine and in photographs.

With Mike Rock’s encouragement Kevin assembled a collection of his best photos. This formed the basis of his first book, The Colour of Wine.

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FINE Gallery FROSTY MORNING IN BRANCOTT VALLEY

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MOTUKAWA IN NEW ZEALAND

FINE Gallery


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FINE Gallery

Catena Zapata’s Adrianna in Mendoza

SUNSET AT HAWKE’S BAY

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KEVIN

JUDD

Wineck-Sclossberg in Alsace

FINE Gallery


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FINE 100 Best

100 Best

Champagnes in

Text: Essi Avellan MW, Juha Lihtonen Illustration: Minna Liukkonen

In the years that FINE has produced the ranking of the 100 Best Champagnes of the year, we have crowned a glorious set of winners. In 2010 the title of Best Champagne was awarded to Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV, in 2011 to Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002, in 2012 to Taittinger Comtes de

Champagne 2000, in 2013 to Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2000, in 2014 to Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002 and last year (2015) to Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002. This year (2016) we award the multi-vintage prestige cuvée, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle, as the “Best Champagne in 2016”.

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100 Best Champagnes in 2016 C

50

hampagne is pre-dominantly non-vintage (sans année), with vintages and prestige cuvées released in exceptional years. The styles of Champagne range from blanc de blancs to blanc de noirs, rosés, and alternating sweetness levels. In the following, we will guide you through the best picks for each of the types and styles.

of the tastings that we had been privy to during the year. This gives us a comprehensive view of the quality and enjoyability of the wines and allows us to eliminate the odd “bad” bottle from our ratings. For the shortlist, we had received around 250 eligible champagnes, which were blind tasted by the FINE team.

The Methodology

Results

Our aim with this annual ranking is to taste the entire offering that is available on the international markets in order to select the champagnes that are showing best and give the consumer drinking pleasure – this very moment. The most important criterion is the quality of the champagne and its accessibility today. In fact, we believe these to be the only characteristics that really matter to the consumer. Any champagne making it into the Top 100 in the rigorous tasting can warmly be recommended. After all, reaching an average blind tasting score of 88 points or higher is a FINE achievement. We assess the champagnes on the 100-point scale. We do not give points for future expectations, which is the reason most top champagne’s points are likely to rise as it approaches maturity. As many age-worthy prestige cuveés are released young, they may not be able to show their true character at this early stage. These are the bottles that the consumer should forget in the cellar for a number of years and to help, we often mention the cellaring potential in the tasting evaluation. Even though we encourage the producers to enter the most recent releases, any release that is still commercially available anywhere in the world can be considered, even if it may have limited availability. Contrary to many other rankings, our list of the 100 Best Champagnes is not based on a single tasting; instead, we take into account all

The average score of the champagnes making it to the Top 100 list was 90.36 points, which was slightly higher than last year (90.2 points). Competition for the top position was tight; the champagnes that took position 1 to 5 ended up within a two-point range. The deserving winner by a half-a-point margin was Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle NV with record-breaking average points from us – 95.75! It has been a consistent performer in the rankings over the years, making its way up from the 24th position last year. Its toughest competition came from rosés: the built-to-last Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003 and the fantastically showing non-vintage Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve. Over all, as many as three Charles Heidsiecks made it to the Top 10 with Brut Réserve at 6th and Blanc des Millénaires 1995 at 9th position. Prestige cuvées expectedly occupied the majority of the top spots, and made up around 40 per cent of the whole Top 100 list. The non-vintage champagnes took an approximate third of the positions, with the first of them – Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve – achieving laudable 3rd position. The other top performers were Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve (6th), Henriot Rosé Brut (13th), Canard-Duchêne Brut Rosé (27th), and Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Blanc de Blancs (30th). The vintage category is represented on this Top 100 list by some 25 champagnes, with Henriot Rosé Millésime 2008 (10th), Palmer & Co

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


FINE 100 Best Vintage 2008 (12th), Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2006 (17th), and Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésime 2006 (20th) amongst the 20 best. Our best grower champagne was Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut 2011 (40th), followed closely by two Spécial Clubs, José Michel & Fils Spécial Club 2008 (43rd) and Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Spécial Club 2009 (59th). On the cooperative front, Palmer & Co had three champagnes in the top three – Vintage 2008 (the best coop champagne and overall 12th position), Blanc de Blancs (35th) and Amazon de Palmer (44th). Orpale 2002 from De Saint Gall was the second best coop champagne and claimed the 14th position, while Pannier Egérie de Pannier Extra Brut was the third best coop champagne with its 28th position.

Top vintages A couple of mature vintages shined in our tasting with their aged mellowness and time-built complexity. Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995, which has long pleased our palates, is fully mature now and keeping great form – finished 9th this year. Duval-Leroy’s majestic 1996 Femme de Champagne in magnum (7th) is probably the finest ever Champagne made by the house. Most 2002’s are gone by now, but we still had a few great examples, proving the monumental capacity of this generous vintage: De Saint Gall Orpale (14th), Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé (22nd), G.H. Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou (26th). Released many years after the early birds, Dom Pérignon Rosé (2nd) and Krug Vintage (5th) are making many re-assess the hot, disdained 2003 vintage. Only one 2004 made it on the 100 Best – Joseph Perrier Cuvée Joséphine at 79th position. The sun-kissed 2005 delivered several highlights: Ayala Perle d'Ayala (32nd), Bollinger La Grande Année (42nd) and Charles Heidsieck Vintage (46th).

There were a dazzling 22 champagnes from the generous and muscular 2006 amongst our 100 Best. The biggest joy was delivered by Dom Pérignon Brut (4th), Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (8th), Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame (joint 10th), Deutz Cuvée William Deutz (15th) and Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé (17th). Contrastingly, only five 2007 made it to the list with Dampierre Family Reserve (16th), Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Rosé de Saignée (49th) and Gosset Célébris Rosé Extra Brut (58th) the three best. The coolly elegant and energetic 2008 vintage had Henriot Rosé Millésime (joint 10th), Palmer & Co Vintage (12th), José Michel & Fils Spécial Club (43rd) and Taittinger Millésime (45th) as its best performers. The harmonious and supple 2009 offered pleasure in the form of Louis Roederer Rosé (23rd), Deutz Vintage (51st) and Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs (56th). 2010’s sole successful champagne was Doyard’s singlevineyard blanc de blancs Clos de l'Abbaye (93rd). The same Vertus grower was very successful with his 2011 Oeil de Perdrix rosé finishing a high 40th.

. The annual list of the 100 Best Champagnes is based on tastings and ratings by FINE Magazine’s editorial team and selected expert guest judges. The final point score of each wine consists of the average of the blind tastings.

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

51


100 Best

Champagnes in 2016

1–25

Ranking

52

Points

1

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle NV

96

2

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003

95

3

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV

94

4

Dom Pérignon Brut 2006

94

5

Krug Vintage 2003

94

6

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

94

7

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne magnum 1996

93

8

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006

93

9

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995

93

10

Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006

93

10

Henriot Rosé Millésime 2008

93

12

Palmer & Co Vintage 2008

92

13

Henriot Rosé Brut NV

92

14

De Saint Gall Orpale 2002

92

15

Deutz Cuvée William Deutz 2006

92

16

Dampierre Family Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2007

92

17

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2006

92

18

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2006

92

19

Louis Roederer Cristal 2006

92

20

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésime 2006

92

21

Alexandre Penet Millésime Extra Brut 2006

92

22

Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002

92

23

Louis Roederer Rosé 2009

92

24

Deutz Amour de Deutz Rosé 2006

92

25

Henriot Millésime 2006

92

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


Ranking

Points

26

G.H. Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou 2002

91

27

Canard-Duchêne Brut Rosé NV

91

28

Pannier Egérie de Pannier Extra Brut 2006

91

29

Thiénot Cuvée Stanislas Blanc de Blancs 2006

91

30

Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Blanc de Blancs NV

91

31

Pierre Mignon Année de Madame Millésime 2006

91

32

Ayala Perle d'Ayala 2005

91

33

G.H. Mumm Blanc de Blancs Mumm de Cramant NV

91

34

De Saint Gall Demi-Sec NV

91

35

Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs NV

91

36

Gosset Grand Millésime Brut 2006

91

37

Krug Grande Cuvée NV

91

38

Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs NV

91

39

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2006

91

40

Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut 2011

91

41

Deutz Amour de Deutz 2006

90

42

Bollinger La Grande Année 2005

90

43

José Michel & Fils Spécial Club 2008

90

44

Palmer & Co Amazon de Palmer NV

90

45

Taittinger Millésime 2008

90

46

Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2005

90

47

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé NV

90

48

Veuve Clicquot Rosé NV

90

49

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Rosé de Saignée 2007

90

50

Pierre Mignon Harmonie de Blancs Grand Cru Millésime 2008

90

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE 100 Best

26–50

53


100 Best

Champagnes in 2016

51–75

Ranking

54

Points

51

Deutz Vintage 2009

90

52

Beaumont des Crayères Fleur de Prestige 2006

90

53

Canard-Duchêne Charles VII Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

90

54

Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé 2005

90

55

Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV

90

56

Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2009

90

57

Canard-Duchêne Brut Authentic Vintage 2008

90

58

Gosset Célébris Rosé Extra Brut 2007

90

59

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Spécial Club 2009

90

60

De Saint Gall Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

90

61

Boizel Grand Vintage 2007

90

62

Louis Roederer Vintage 2008

90

63

Jacques Rousseaux Grande Réserve Blanc de Noirs NV

90

64

Duval-Leroy Rosé Prestige Premier Cru NV

89

65

Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée des Moines Millésime 2006

89

66

Veuve Clicquot Vintage 2008

89

67

Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d'Or Brut 2006

89

68

Lanson Gold Label 2008

89

69

Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV

89

70

Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial NV

89

71

Ayala Rosé Majeur Brut NV

89

72

Armand de Brignac Blanc de Blancs NV

89

73

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Oger Grand Cru Brut NV

89

74

De Saint Gall Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

89

75

Devaux Cuvée D Brut NV

89

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


Ranking

Points

76

Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie NV

89

77

Ruinart Rosé Brut NV

89

78

Krug Rosé NV

89

79

Joseph Perrier Cuvée Joséphine 2004

89

80

Palmer & Co Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

89

81

Taittinger Brut Réserve NV

89

82

Ayala Brut Majeur NV

89

83

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut NV

89

84

Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV

89

85

Pommery Grand Cru 2005

89

86

Roland Champion Carte Blanche Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

89

87

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Brut 2007

89

88

Paul Bara Special Club 2005

89

89

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2006

89

90

Alfred Gratien Brut NV

89

91

Deutz Rosé Brut NV

88

92

Bollinger Rosé NV

88

93

Doyard Clos de l'Abbaye Premier Cru Extra Brut 2010

88

94

Collet Millésime 2006

88

95

De Castelnau Réserve Brut NV

88

96

Collet Esprit Couture Brut NV

88

97

Georges Cartier Première Cuvée Brut NV

88

98

Blondel Premier Cru Cuvée Prestige Brut NV

88

99

Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Brut Rosé NV

88

100

Pol Roger Rosé 2008

88

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE 100 Best

76–100

55


The Best Champagne in 2016

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle In the year 1812, the family of Alphonse Laurent traded from being coopers in the Montagne de Reims to making Champagne in Tours-sur-Marne. Decades later their son, Eugène Laurent married Mathilde Émile Perrier, who found herself widowed as a young 29 year old. But, she did not lack ambition or enterprise and took over the champagne house, whose name she changed to Veuve Laurent Perrier. She run the business successfully but had no children and her eventual death in 1925 brought the house to a champagne heiress, Marie-Louise de Nonancourt, sister of Victor and Henri Lanson. There was no room for Marie-Louise at the Lanson family enterprise, so she took the courageous step of buying a champagne business in 1938 despite raising four children alone after her husband’s death. The business survived the Second World War under her leadership, but it changed Marie-Louise’s succession plans. The house was meant to be left for her oldest son, Maurice, who was active in the resistance movement and died in a concentration camp. Bernard de Nonancourt, Marie-Louise’s second son, who also held a high position in the resistance movement, survived and took up running the business to build one of the biggest and best-known Champagne Houses. A great Champagne figurehead and believer in the region’s terroir and style of wine, Bernard de Nonancourt made Laurent-Perrier to be what it is today. Appointed Chairman of the Board of Champagne Laurent-Perrier in 1949, he worked at the house till his death in 2010. He raised Laurent Perrier to its place among the most respected champagne houses, ranked among the five biggest sellers. Bernard de Nonancourt also chose the Chardonnay-oriented, fruity and light style for the house instead of the once-predominant Pinot Noir. He visioned its style to be one of freshness and elegance and created its celebrated prestige cuvée Grand Siècle, which at the time of its launch in 1959 was one of the first luxury cuvées and the very first multivintaged one. The creation of this luxury cuvee has been one of de Nonancourt’s most significant and far-reaching accomplishments at the house. Stylistically Grand Siècle is a skillfully crafted melange of vivacity, generosity and agederived complexity. Laurent-Perrier chooses not to communicate the three vintages used for each multi-vintage wine, but each cuvée is naturally unique. A harmonious blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from three fine years, our panel was charmed by the current 2002, 1999 and 1997 blend’s ample yeast-layered complexity, lovely gunpowdery coolness and toasty exuberance. Led by the majestic 2002 vintage, the characterful blend is complemented by the mellow and rich 1999 and finely detailed 1997. Instantly impressive, but built to last, we toast to our Best Champagne in 2016.

56

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


1

2

96p

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle

95p

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003

Colour: Bright lemony

Colour: Deep cherry

Nose: Stylish nose with ample yeastderived complexity. Lovely gunpowdery and toasty nuances.

Nose: Rich, generous, plush. Lovely spicy touches and explosive raspberry fruit. Full, winey body with spicy richness.

Palate: Super smooth, complex palate. Lots of minerality and sulphitic complexity.

Palate: Strong, big palate coming with a notion of tannin

Ending: Long, lingering, pure

Ending: Long and silky, winey finish with a stylish phenolic bite

In a nutshell: Age-built complexity meets impeccable freshness

In a nutshell: Soothingly evolved and winey

When to drink: 2016-2025

When to drink: 2016-2025

Food pairing: Whitefish Walewska

Food pairing: Saltimbocca alla Romana

Final verdict: A class act

Final verdict: All about Pinot

4

3 94p

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV

94p

Dom Pérignon Brut 2006

Colour: Developed onion skin

Colour: Youthfully green-toned

Nose: Lovely, wild, evolved fruit, exuberant. Spicy, leather and baked peach.

Nose: Expressive yeast-laden perfumy nose with peaches, vanilla, coffee and cream

Palate: Full-on satiny palate with builtin complexity

Palate: Plush, round, satiny, beautifully textured

Ending: Full of fruit and caressingly textured

Ending: Sweetly fruity and beguiling

In a nutshell: Such concentration and integration

When to drink: 2016-2030

In a nutshell: Round and soothing

When to drink: 2016-2021

Food pairing: Pan-fried Scallops with Lime and crispy Pancetta

Food pairing: Seared Tuna with Mushrooms and Linguini

Final verdict: Generous and hugely enjoyable

Final verdict: Essence of complexity

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

57


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

5

6

94p

Krug Vintage 2003

Colour: Evolving gold-toned lemon

Colour: Developing gold-toned lemon

Nose: Stylish pastry and vanilla-lined nose with lots of ageing richness. Coffee, cream and a melangé of spices.

Nose: Dried fruit nose with lovely spiciness and classy toasty edge Palate: Rich and textured mouth coating

Palate: Lovely acidity bites through the rich body

Ending: Persistent with vinosity taking the lead role

Ending: Great, complex length with velvety smoothness

In a nutshell: Lots of age-built complexity

In a nutshell: Layers upon layers

When to drink: 2016-2030

When to drink: 2016-2022

Food pairing: Vitello Tonnato

Food pairing: Fettucine with White Truffles

Final verdict: As rich as it gets

7

93p

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne magnum 1996

Final verdict: A whole cellar in one bottle

8

93p

Colour: Bright lemony

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006

Colour: Pale lemon-green

Nose: Charmer nose with beautiful fireworks. Peach, marmalade and orange blossom layers.

Nose: Pure, pristine creamy nose with crystal clear fruitiness. Lemon, vanilla, white flowers.

Palate: Cheerful, playful palate full of energy. Zesty acidity that is in line with the crisp, pristine fruitiness of the wine.

Palate: Lovely feather-light fluffy palate Ending: Lemony-floral perfumy length which carries on and on

Ending: Persistent, seamless and soft – still coming with a drive

In a nutshell: Polished to perfection

In a nutshell: Pleasurable and building its way to the top

When to drink: 2016-2025

When to drink: 2016-2030

Food pairing: Seared Scallops with Champagne-Vanilla Butter Sauce

Food pairing: Sole Meunier

9

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

94p

Final verdict: Sheer perfection with ages ahead of it

93p

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995

Colour: Evolving lemony colour with golden hues

Nose: Toasty nose with generous coffee richness. Impressively intense dried fruits honey and vanilla complexity Palate: Super smooth – beyond velvety Ending: Mouth-coating, sweet and supple In a nutshell: Peaking perfectly

Final verdict: Exceptional unbearable lightness

10

93p

Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006

Colour: Evolving lemony color with golden hues

Nose: Stylishly restrained, mildly toasty with toffee, ample red fruit, nuts, herbacious aromas and gunpowdery coolness. Palate: Round and muscular palate with power behind

When to drink: 2016-2020

Ending: The palate gets lifted by the fine finishing acidity

Food pairing: Crevettes au Pastis et Risotto au Fenouil

In a nutshell: Muscular with style

Final verdict: Liquid gold

When to drink: 2016-2028 Food pairing: Blinis & Caviar Final verdict: All pieces in place

58

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


10

93p

Henriot Rosé Millésime 2008

12

92p

Palmer & Co Vintage 2008

Colour: Beautifully peachy and evolving

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Super toasty coffee-toned nose is a surprise given the delicate colour

Nose: Refined, squeaky clean nose with superb gunpowdery character and opulent toasty generosity

Palate: Light-bodied yet packed with fruit and flavour

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

Palate: Plenty of bright succulent fruit on the round, fleshy, smooth, muscular palate with good tension

Ending: Soft, vibrant and complex In a nutshell: Super stylish When to drink: 2016-2026

Ending: Fine fruity length with invigorating freshness

Food pairing: Lobster Bisque

In a nutshell: Plenty of potential here

Final verdict: Pure joy

When to drink: 2016-2028 Food pairing: Chicken Caesar Salad

13

14 92p

Final verdict: Cool and nervy

92p

Henriot Rosé Brut NV

Colour: Medium-deep peachy

Colour: Deep golden

Nose: Wooing toasty vanilla-laden nose with dried apricot and honey sweetness

Nose: Soft & toasty with lovely sweet charred notes and delicious ageing characters in abundance

Palate: Sweet and super intense. Brightness of fruit and vibrancy.

Palate: Layered, mellow palate which still has lovely freshness and energy to it

Ending: Full on life and invigorating

Ending: Long, elegant, lingering

In a nutshell: Great harmony of aged and fresh elements

In a nutshell: Peaking now

When to drink: 2016-2023

When to drink: 2016-2021

Food pairing: Tuna Carpaccio with Citrus-Ginger Dressing

Food pairing: Crayfish Risotto Final verdict: Grandeur

Final verdict: Wake up call

15

De Saint Gall Orpale 2002

92p

Deutz Cuvée William Deutz 2006

Colour: Medium-deep lemon-gold

Nose: Strong, positively reductive nose of a gunpowdery undertone. Asian spices, rich red fruit and fine toastiness. Palate: Refined creamy-zesty palate full of life

16

92p

Dampierre Family Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2007 Colour: Pale lemon

Nose: A mild vanilla and cream cheese note alongside crisp white fruit profile with faint toastiness Palate: Creamy, fresh and harmonious

Ending: Long and focused with a energising cool breeze on the palate

Ending: Long, lean and crisp with plenty of drive

In a nutshell: Fine mix of aromas in harmony

In a nutshell: Pure

When to drink: 2016-2026 Food pairing: Pan-fried Swordfish Fillet

When to drink: 2016-2020 Food pairing: Grilled Tiger Prawns Final verdict: Textbook blanc de blancs

Final verdict: Fresh as a daisy

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

59


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

17

92p

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2006

18

Colour: Medium-deep cherry

Colour: Glossy pale colour with peachy hues

Nose: Lovely, deep, vinous spicy-toasty red berry nose with cherry fruit, coffee, earthy notes and oriental spices

Nose: Elegant, fruity with peachy tone prevailing alongside toast and cream tones

Palate: Smoky and for the time being tight, reductive palate with plenty of builtin power

Palate: Silky, fresh, light-weight. Creamy soft mousse. Textured mouth-feel

Ending: Persistent and winey

Ending: Fresh, lingering, purifying finish

In a nutshell: Forget it in the cellar for a few years

In a nutshell: Elementally elegant

When to drink: 2016-2025

When to drink: 2016–2030

Food pairing: Lobster Benedict

Food pairing: Duck Carpaccio with Sea-urchin Foam, Romanesco and Lotus Root Crisp

Final verdict: Unashamedly Pinot

19

92p

Louis Roederer Cristal 2006

20

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésime 2006

Colour: Medium-deep peachy

Nose: Gorgeous, toasty nose with lovely coffee and cream notes and evolving exuberance

Palate: Impeccably intense yet lightweight on the stylish palate of enhanced acidity

Palate: Vinous fresh palate with exemplary intensity and richness of texture Ending: Long, plush acid-lined finish In a nutshell: Oozing fruit

In a nutshell: Polished and refined

When to drink: 2016-2025

When to drink: 2016-2036

Food pairing: Pan-fried Salmon with Chanterelle Raviolis Final verdict: Climbing its way up

Final verdict: Transparency

92p

Alexandre Penet Millésime Extra Brut 2006

Colour: Medum-deep lemon

Nose: Lovely rich, toasty and coffeeladen nose with lots of yeasty complexity Palate: Overt, round spicy and turboboosted with fruit Ending: Long fruity length In a nutshell: Fine balance of fruit and ageing characters When to drink: 2016-2020 Food pairing: Fresh Oysters Final verdict: Shining

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

92p

Nose: Mild and restrained with layers of sulphitic complexity, gunpowder, ripe fresh peaches and toast

Food pairing: Toast Skagen with Caviar

60

Final verdict: Spot on from beginning to end

Colour: Lemony youthful colour

Ending: Long, mouth-watering and squeaky clean

21

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2006

92p

22

92p

Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002

Colour: Medium-deep peachy

Nose: Lots of coffee and toasty tones on the intensely fruity nose with animally, spicy and yeasty complexity Palate: Winey yet tight with gorgeous, driven acidity Ending: Nervy, fresh and lingering In a nutshell: Still in its youth When to drink: 2016-2034 Food pairing: Pigeon with Cep Risotto Final verdict: Burgundian


23

24 92p

Louis Roederer Rosé 2009

Deutz Amour de Deutz Rosé 2006

92p

Colour: Pale peachy-pink

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

Colour: Medium-deep peach

Nose: Elegant, layered nose of peach, vanilla and lemon

Nose: Stylish fresh berry-lead nose with vanilla, roasted coffee and spices

Palate: Silky with explosive fruitiness and invigorating freshness

Palate: Caressingly textured and fleshy, vinous yet crisp

Ending: Refined and supple

Ending: Pure and fresh

In a nutshell: Truly elegant

In a nutshell: Lovely exuberance

When to drink: 2016-2026

When to drink: 2016-2025

Food pairing: Chevre-gratinated Portobellos

Food pairing: Prosciutto-wrapped Fried Scallops with Truffle-oil flavoured Fettucini

Final verdict: A palate cleanser

Final verdict: Fleshy yet fresh

25

92p

Henriot Millésime 2006

26

91p

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Deep golden

Nose: Sweet, mouth-wateringly delicious – on the reductive side. Fragrant and fruity with gorgeous mineral and toasty layers alongside vanilla and coffee tones.

Nose: Mild and refined with some gunpowdery notes. Soft candy and vanilla sweetness. Palate: Fine intensity on the ample palate that shows a degree of stylish restraint

Palate: Exuberantly fruity on a palate that has great energy and zestiness

Ending: Fruit-packed and enhanced

Ending: Long, lean and fresh finish of great purity

In a nutshell: Plenty of character

In a nutshell: Beautiful toast and gunpowder complexity

When to drink: 2016-2026 Food pairing: Crab Cakes with Remoulade

When to drink: 2016-2026 Food pairing: Grilled Pike-pearch with Creamed Morels Final verdict: Classy

27

91p

Canard-Duchêne Brut Rosé NV Colour: Pale peachy

Nose: Sweet apricot with light toastysmoky undertone Palate: Fresh, fleshy and lively with a good dose of energy Ending: Squeaky clean and elegant In a nutshell: Succulent fruitiness When to drink: 2016-2020 Food pairing: Sushi Final verdict: Ease and elegance

G.H. Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou 2002

Final verdict: Impeccable harmony

28

91p

Pannier Egérie de Pannier Extra Brut 2006

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Powerfully overt with ripe red and white fruit Palate: Strong, spicy taste with a curiously sweet character Ending: Long-lasting voluptuous palate with just enough freshness to breath life into the concentrated fruit In a nutshell: Fine caressing mousse When to drink: 2016-2024 Food pairing: Pan-fried Whitefish with Lemon Butter Sauce Final verdict: A character of its own

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61


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

29 91p

Thiénot Cuvée Stanislas Blanc de Blancs 2006

30

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Creamy, stylish vanilla-laden fruity nose with lemon, apple and a salty mineral touch. Very light toasty undertone.

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: A sweet candied tone to the tropical fruity, charred, coffee and gunpowder

Palate: Layered, concentrated, round palate

Palate: Rich, soft, overt. A bit loose and fluffy.

Ending: Velvet-smooth and lingering

Ending: Gently advancing, mellow finish

In a nutshell: Great spine and purity

In a nutshell: Fireworks of aromas

When to drink: 2016-2023

When to drink: 2016-2022

Food pairing: Waldorf Salad

Food pairing: Crispy King Prawns with Lime and Ginger

Final verdict: All you need from a blanc de blancs

31

91p

Pierre Mignon Année de Madame Millésime 2006

32

Ayala Perle d'Ayala 2005

Palate: Winey and concentrated, speaking of ripeness

Palate: Firm, dry and focused Ending: Zingy with a lemony bite

Ending: Generous and long

In a nutshell: Fresh as seabreeze

In a nutshell: Maturing quickly

When to drink: 2016-2020

When to drink: 2016-2021

Food pairing: Grilled Sole with Lemon Sauce

Food pairing: Grilled Turbot with Mushroom Canneloni

Final verdict: In a personality of its own

Final verdict: Plush and plump

91p

G.H. Mumm Blanc de Blancs Mumm de Cramant NV

34 91p

De Saint Gall Demi-Sec NV

Colour: Pale lemon-green

Colour: Pale lemon

Nose: Creamy-toasty nose with vanilla, wax and white flowers alongside sulphitic notes

Nose: Stylish, candy-toned, refinedly charred with marshmallow and vanilla characters

Palate: Tight, fresh palate with caressing, creamy mousse

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

91p

Nose: Full-on, charred spiciness with gingerbread and oriental notes. A mild oxidative and earthy tone.

Nose: Curious, zesty, lemony nose with chalky mineral notes and marmalade richness

62

Final verdict: Sweet and seductive

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Pale lemon

33

Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Blanc de Blancs NV

91p

Palate: Plush, fresh and lively

Ending: Pure and fruity length

Ending: Medium-long, notably sweet but in a fine balance

In a nutshell: Crispy and zesty

In a nutshell: Attractive sweet character

When to drink: 2016-2023

When to drink: 2016-2019

Food pairing: Nigiri with sepia, salmon and prawn

Food pairing: Foie gras canapés with pickled apricot

Final verdict: Beautifully light yet intense

Final verdict: Sweet but super fresh


35

91p

Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs NV

36

Gosset Grand Millésime Brut 2006

91p

Colour: Pale lemon

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

Colour: Pale lemon

Nose: Expressive, bright and fruity with superb toasty overtone to the plush tropical fruit

Nose: Stylish, rich, ripe red fruit, confectionary, toast, spearmint and yeast

Palate: Intense, linear and fruit-packed

Palate: Tart, zesty and clean with good fruit ripeness. A faint oxidative note.

Ending: Crispy clean, dry and full of life In a nutshell: Age-derived complexity

Ending: Energetic with both power and precision

When to drink: 2016-2023

In a nutshell: Long and focused

Food pairing: Truffle Profiteroles

When to drink: 2016-2023

Final verdict: Polished to perfection

Food pairing: Sauteed Tiger Prawns with Lemongrass Noodles Final verdict: Plenty of delicious fruit

37

91p

Krug Grande Cuvée NV

38

91p

Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs NV

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Medium-deep lemon-gold

Nose: Strong, oak-complexed, white fruit with spicy notes, yeast and baked apple

Nose: Mild refined red fruit with apples, spices, honey and apricot. An elegant restraint.

Palate: Concentrated and velvety-caressing

Palate: Overt, round, fleshy and spicy – full of exuberant fruit

Ending: Persistent, boosted and exuberantly fruity In a nutshell: Seamless

Ending: Very long, lingering and plush. Perfectly dosed. Smooth easiness.

When to drink: 2016-2030

In a nutshell: Instantly appealing

Food pairing: Grilled Monkfish with Buttery Lemon Sauce

When to drink: 2016-2021 Food pairing: Beetroot Salmon Tartar

Final verdict: Layered and sophisticated

Final verdict: Pinot power

39

91p

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2006

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Soft, fresh white fruit with lovely gunpowdery complexity alongside a positively vegetal tone Palate: Impressively muscular with softness of texture and fruity opulence Ending: Stylishly long and seamless In a nutshell: Pretty perfumy tones complement the whole When to drink: 2016-2026 Food pairing: Prawn Pasta with Coriander and Lime Final verdict: All pieces fit right in

40

91p

Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut 2011

Colour: Pretty, pale peachy with a yellow hue Nose: Characterful apricot and apple with mild spicy and chalky-earthy undertones and a light oaky note Palate: Fleshy and chewy where accentuated acidity brings welcome crispness and firmness Ending: Very dry finish with a touch of phenolics enhancing the gastronomic character In a nutshell: Positively energetic When to drink: 2016-2021 Food pairing: Grilled Lemon Basil Snapper with Roasted Peppers Final verdict: Elegant and gastronomic at the same time FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

63


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

41

42 90p

Deutz Amour de Deutz 2006

90p

Colour: Pale lemon

Bollinger La Grande Année 2005

Colour: Medium-deep peach-hued colour

Nose: Mild, creamy, white fruit profile with vanilla and gentle spicy toastiness emerging.

Nose: Strong, charred, characterful with a notable oxidative tone and explosive super-ripe fruitiness

Palate: Soft and round, fluffy palate, highly creamy in texture Ending: Elegantly lingering

Palate: Full, viscous, oily and concentrated

In a nutshell: Attractive with easiness

Ending: Textured and long

When to drink: 2016-2023

In a nutshell: Gastronomic and oak-lined

Food pairing: White Asparagus with Smoked Salmon and Hollandaise Sauce

When to drink: 2016-2027 Food pairing: Grilled Swordfish in Apple-tarragon Sauce

Final verdict: Beautiful lightness

Final verdict: Massive and winey

43

90p

José Michel & Fils Spécial Club 2008

44

Palmer & Co Amazon de Palmer NV

Colour: Pale lemon

Colour: Medium-deep and gold-hued

Nose: Stylishly charred but mild and creamy with plenty of pristine white fruit

Nose: Full-on, super toasty with an earthyspicy note, coffee, cream and vanilla

Palate: Intense, well-built palate with crispy tension

Palate: Opulent, smooth-textured and seamless, coming with a beautiful acid line

Ending: Long, nicely balanced finish

Ending: Long, velvety and caressing

In a nutshell: Fine energy and drive

In a nutshell: Fully mature and ready to go

When to drink: 2016-2024

When to drink: 2016-2019

Food pairing: Smoked Whitefish with Potato Salad

Food pairing: Salmon Pastrami with Red Cabbage & Green Apple Slaw

Final verdict: Expressively fruity

45

90p

90p

Taittinger Millésime 2008

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Final verdict: Burgundian

46

90p

Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2005

Nose: Elegantly restrained that oozes white flowers, lemon and vanilla

Colour: Developing gold-hued lemon colour

Palate: Crisp and zingy – very elegant

Nose: Pronounced honey and dried fruit nose with spice, coffee and yeast complexity

Ending: Invigoratingly nervy with saline character In a nutshell: Behind the restraint and coolness hides plenty of fruit When to drink: 2016-2030

Palate: A high stage of evolution with mellowness, vinosity and voluptuousness Ending: Concentrated and lingering In a nutshell: Open and generous

Food pairing: Fettuccine al Limone e Scampi Grigliati

When to drink: 2016-2025

Final verdict: Satiny and pure

Food pairing: Sesame Crusted Tuna with Endive Salad Final verdict: Come-hither charm

64

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


47

90p

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé NV

48 90p

Colour: Medium-deep cherry

Nose: Deeply fruity with opulent berried richness

Nose: Stylish, fruity but a touch restrained. Stone fruits, toffee and spice.

Palate: Winey and spicy with silkiness of texture but firmness from a stylish phenolic bite

Palate: Zippy yet ample and firm with focused fruitiness Ending: Medium-long and full of fruit

Ending: Fruity, lingering finish

In a nutshell: Plenty of depth

In a nutshell: Lots of hidden power and perfect fruit purity

When to drink: 2016-2022 Food pairing: Feta and Chicken Couscous with Vine Tomatos and Mint

When to drink: 2016-2022 Food pairing: Vorschmack

Final verdict: Fleshy and firm

Final verdict: Open and ready to charm

90p

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Rosé de Saignée 2007

50

90p

Pierre Mignon Harmonie de Blancs Grand Cru Millésime 2008

Colour: Super deep colour

Colour: Medium-deep lemon colour

Nose: Boostedly Burgundian with highly characterful Pinot fruit. Coffee, spice and tea notes.

Nose: Soft, mild, bright with ample white fruit, cream and meadowy fragrance Palate: Crisp and vibrant with lightweight feel but with inherent intensity

Palate: Full, round and winey that surprises with its freshness

Ending: Dry, pure finish with stylish toastiness lingering toasty note

Ending: Long and concentrated with some tannin kicking at the very end In a nutshell: So much character

In a nutshell: Elegance and sophisticated style

When to drink: 2016-2026

When to drink: 2016-2025

Food pairing: Truffled Veal Carpaccio

Food pairing: Vongole Pasta with Prosciutto

Final verdict: Divides opinion

51

Veuve Clicquot Rosé NV

Colour: Medium-deep with cherry tones

49

90p

Deutz Vintage 2009 Colour: Bright lemony

Nose: Ripe, plush yet elegantly subtle nose of apple, yeast and spice Palate: Friendly, velvety and succulent Ending: Firm, fresh and fruity In a nutshell: Plenty of instant appeal When to drink: 2016-2024 Food pairing: Smoked Whitefish with Green Aspargus Final verdict: Caressing

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

Final verdict: Fine harmonious whole

52

90p

Beaumont des Crayères Fleur de Prestige 2006 Colour: Deep lemon

Nose: Stylish, layered and refined with soft toastiness and gingerbread and fresh ginger notes Palate: Sweet, soft, velvety and chewy Ending: Lingering but on the sweet side In a nutshell: Lovely and rich expression of fruit When to drink: 2016-2021 Food pairing: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Bacon Final verdict: Easy to like

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

65


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

53

90p

Canard-Duchêne Charles VII Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

54 90p

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé 2005

Colour: Medium-deep cherry colour with emerging onionskin tones

Nose: Beautifully fresh and pure with ample pristine fruitiness in absence of any oxidative tones Palate: Fleshy and zesty at the same time

Nose: Stylish, spicy-fruity with a degree of restraint. Oaky notes more prominent on the palate with an oxidative notion.

Ending: Fruit-forward and invigorating

Palate: Strong, winey and structured

In a nutshell: Lemony and lively

Ending: Persistent, weighty finish

When to drink: 2016-2023

In a nutshell: Muscular and masculine.

Food pairing: Grilled Mackerels with Escalivada

When to drink: 2016-2026 Food pairing: Smoked Eel with Beetroot Chips

Final verdict: Generous but super fresh

Final verdict: Beautifully Burgundian

55

90p

Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV

56

90p

Colour: Medium-deep lemon-green

Colour: Pale lemon

Nose: Gentle, clean and precise soft white fruit with peach, lemon and melon nuances. Beautiful leesy depth and toasty complexity.

Nose: Stylish, sweet, ripe and fruity with plenty of character, herbacious layers, toast and cream Palate: Firm and chewy yet fresh with boosed soft fruity appeal

Palate: Light-bodied yet intense, fresh with a gunpowdery mineral finish

Ending: Long and seamless

Ending: Mellow, fresh with generous, balanced dosage

In a nutshell: Lots more to come

In a nutshell: Polished and pristine

When to drink: 2016-2029

When to drink: 2016-2021

Food pairing: Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto with Scallops

Food pairing: Baked Whitefish with Pea Purée Final verdict: Toasty exuberance

57

90p

Canard-Duchêne Brut Authentic Vintage 2008

Colour: Pale lemon

Nose: Expressive with bright yellow fruit, vanilla, croissant and lemon Palate: Juicy and succulent. Linear and energetic. Ending: Sweet fruitiness, fine firm body and enough energy In a nutshell: Boosted fruitiness showing some evolution

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

Final verdict: Fine complexity and evolving character

58 90p

Gosset Célébris Rosé Extra Brut 2007

Colour: Medium-deep peachy

Nose: Stylish, evolved, spicy-leathery red fruit and apple with plenty of character. Palate: Fresh, vibrant and firm full of explosive fruit Ending: Long and very dry In a nutshell: Succulent, delicious fruitiness

When to drink: 2016-2024

When to drink: 2016-2026

Food pairing: Grilled Prawns with Lemongrass Noodles

Food pairing: Whitefish Escabeche

Final verdict: Neatly made and beautifully fresh

66

Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2009

Final verdict: A great gastronomic rosé


59

90p

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Spécial Club 2009

60

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Medium-deep bright lemony colour

Nose: Strong and ripe with a tropical fruit profile with ginger, cream and hazelnutty complexity

Nose: Stylishly soft and creamy toast enriched with lemon curd and mild spicy tones

Palate: Beautifully pristine fruitiness. Full-on from beginning to end.

Palate: Fine and intense with stylishly creamy mousse

Ending: Dynamic palate with stylish zestiness but fine-tuned and perfectly harmonious

Ending: Long, very dry and nervy In a nutshell: Beautiful mineral salinity

In a nutshell: Lots of ageing layers

When to drink: 2016-2020

When to drink: 2016-2029

Food pairing: Shrimp Cocktail

Food pairing: Fresh Oysters

Final verdict: Linear but driven Chardonnay

Final verdict: Dynamic

61

63

90p

Boizel Grand Vintage 2007

De Saint Gall Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

90p

62

90p

Louis Roederer Vintage 2008

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Bright lemon with golden tones

Nose: Exuberantly fruity with apple, toffee, yeast and spice dominating. A muted oxidative layer.

Nose: Still somewhat closed. Pristine white and red fruit emerging lined with a delicious toasty note.

Palate: Overt, fleshy, round and zesty positively characterful

Palate: Tight and fruit-packed with plenty of energy and tension. Promising good

Ending: Long with boosted fruitiness

Ending: Fresh, tart lemony finish

In a nutshell: The bold palate more than compensates for the bruised nose

In a nutshell: Come back to this in a few years time

When to drink: 2016-2022

When to drink: 2016-2032

Food pairing: Grilled Snapper with Caper Sauce

Food pairing: Pan-fried Sweet Bread with Spring Vegetables

Final verdict: Explosively fruity

Final verdict: Puristic

64 90p

Jacques Rousseaux Grande Réserve Blanc de Noirs NV

89p

Duval-Leroy Rosé Prestige Premier Cru NV

Colour: Medium-deep lemon-gold

Colour: Medium-deep peachy-salmon

Nose: Lifted and oak-lined. Ample fruitiness with depth and power.

Nose: Beautifully fine-tuned, fresh, elegant toast-complexed. Plenty of Pinot character.

Palate: Big, generous, voluptuous and smooth-textured Ending: Long lingering and fresh In a nutshell: Muscular power When to drink: 2016-2021 Food pairing: Trout with Brown Butter and Almonds Final verdict: Unashamedly bold

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

Palate: Refined and zingy with supple fruitiness with a fluffy mousse Ending: Crisp, succulent and vivacious In a nutshell: Pleasurable and easy to enjoy but classy When to drink: 2016-2021 Food pairing: Pan-fried Ray Wing with Capers and Parsley Butter Final verdict: Fresh and vivacious

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

67


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

65

89p Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée des

66

Moines Millésime 2006

Veuve Clicquot Vintage 2008

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Fresh, appetite awakening with lemon, vanilla cream and toast complexity

Nose: Soft, vanilla and pastry with red fruit opulence and a mild spicy note to it Palate: Fruity, bold and firm with stylish restraint

Palate: Squeaky clean fruit profile with suitable intensity without being heavy

Ending: Balanced with good freshness and intense, lingering finish

Ending: Soft and creamy with lemony freshness and even menthol coolness to it

In a nutshell: Still in its youth

In a nutshell: Fresh and lively

When to drink: 2016-2029

When to drink: 2016-2023

67

89p

Food pairing: Sashimi

Food pairing: Fillet of John Dory with Globe Artichokes, Anchovy and Capers

Final verdict: Pristinely crafted

Final verdict: Depth and drive

89p

Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d'Or Brut 2006

68

89p

Lanson Gold Label 2008

Colour: Pale lemon

Colour: Pale lemon

Nose: Promising elegant restraint. Lemons and apples with raspberry lemonade and soft spiciness.

Nose: Plush, exuberant, evolving. Sweet vanilla, lemon and ripe apple with a light oxidative note.

Palate: A surprising shyness at this stage

Palate: Zesty and succulent – has the character and freshness

Ending: Ripe, bold fruitiness and soothing, balanced dosage

Ending: Long with fine salinity

In a nutshell: Strong, overt style which still craves some more time

In a nutshell: Positively tart and invigorating

When to drink: 2016-2025

When to drink: 2016-2028

Food pairing: Grilled Lobster with Vanilla Beurre Blanc

Food pairing: Tempura Langoustine Tails Final verdict: Welcoming

Final verdict: Generous

69

89p

Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV

Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial NV

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Intensely exuberant and evolving. Ripe apples with hint of vanilla.

Nose: Fragrant and sweetly spicy ripe apple and candy

Palate: Sweet, generous, weighty with an oily smooth character to it

Palate: Fruity and plush, wide, rounded medium-sweet

Ending: Good freshness on the sweet finish

Ending: Long, nicely balanced finish

When to drink: 2016-2020 Food pairing: Asparagus Risotto with Smoked Salmon Final verdict: Voluptuous

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

89p

Colour: Pale lemon

In a nutshell: Easiness combined to pleasurable ageing characters

68

70

In a nutshell: Succulent, sweet and generous When to drink: 2016-2021 Food pairing: Thai Red Curry with Prawns Final verdict: Sweet fruit bomb


71

89p

Ayala Rosé Majeur Brut NV

72

Colour: Medium-deep peachy

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Fresh, youthful, invigoratingly clean and crisp with elegant red fruit overtone.

Nose: Rich, super ripe. Some lifted notes of white fruit, yellow apple and vanilla. Palate: Strong, characterful, winey, viscous and concentrated

Palate: Zesty, firm and full of positive energy

Ending: Long, sweet and silky

Ending: Fresh, long and fruit-forward

In a nutshell: Silky-smooth and caressing

In a nutshell: Nervy and vivacious

When to drink: 2016-2020

When to drink: 2016–2021

Food pairing: Fresh Oysters, Mackerel and Apple

Food pairing: Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad with Multi-seed Biscuit

Final verdict: A big wine for its category

Final verdict: A harmonious whole

73

Armand de Brignac Blanc de Blancs NV

89p

89p

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Oger Grand Cru Brut NV

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

74

89p

De Saint Gall Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

Colour: Pale lemon

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Elegantly restrained, cool white fruit profile with chalky mineral tones.

Nose: Stylishly creamy, floral and citrussy. Classic Chardonnay.

Palate: Light yet intense. Explosively fruity oozing lemon, lime and white flowers

Palate: Elegantly vivacious and smooth textured with racy acidity Ending: Long and suitably dosed

Ending: Appetising lemony bite at the very end

In a nutshell: Crisp and clean When to drink: 2016-2019

In a nutshell: All about Chardonnay

Food pairing: Deep-fried Haddock and Mushy Peas

When to drink: 2016-2026 Food pairing: Moules Marinière

Final verdict: Textbook material

Final verdict: So much drive and vivacity

75

89p

Devaux Cuvée D Brut NV

Colour: Bright lemon-gold colour Nose: Fresh, exuberant and fruity with apple, lemon, apricot, pastry and honey Palate: Zesty palate with plenty of fruit Ending: Zingy lemon and lime finish

76

89p

Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie NV

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Very pure white fruit with lovely toasty notes, lemon, flowers and candied tones.

In a nutshell: Pristine and pleasurable

Palate: Soft, mellow, creamy, plush yet fresh

When to drink: 2016-2021

Ending: Lovely long balanced length

Food pairing: Shellfish Bisque with Cream

In a nutshell: Essence of purity

Final verdict: Fine succulent fruitiness

When to drink: 2016-2022 Food pairing: Seared Seabass with Lemon and Herb Butter Final verdict: Soft and velvety

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

69


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

77

89p

78 Ruinart Rosé Brut NV

89p

Krug Rosé NV

Colour: Medium-deep cherry colour

Colour: Medium-deep peachy colour

Nose: Expressive. Plush cherry fruit and youthful with an spicy edge

Nose: Strong oak-laden. Spicy and animally – intriguing.

Palate: Velvety and full of fruit

Palate: Rich, voluptuous, velvety with a winey structure

Ending: Long, sweet and silky finish with a stylish tannic touch at the end

Ending: Endless with perfect harmony

In a nutshell: Nervy

In a nutshell: Muscular and well-built

When to drink: 2016-2020

When to drink: 2016-2030

Food pairing: Pan-fried Slip Soles with Spiced Brown Shrimp Butter

Food pairing: Duck a l'Orange Final verdict: Soulful

Final verdict: Elegantly berried

79

89p

Joseph Perrier Cuvée Joséphine 2004

80

89p

Palmer & Co Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Stylishly waxy, raisin, apricot, baked apple, cinnamon and christmas pudding

Nose: Stylish, fragrant red berry, peach and apple with superb toastiness and spicy complexity

Palate: Evolved and opened up substantially, yet still tight

Palate: Round, fleshy and concentrated

Ending: Long, focused but tight

In a nutshell: Plush and generous

In a nutshell: Aroma far more developed than palate

When to drink: 2016-2022

When to drink: 2016-2029

Final verdict: Full of delicious fruit

Ending: Sweetly fruity and caressing

Food pairing: Pata Negra

Food pairing: Fillet of Halibut with Shellfish Raviolo and Shaved Truffle Final verdict: Tight as a fist

81

89p

Taittinger Brut Réserve NV

Ayala Brut Majeur NV

Colour: Bright lemony

Colour: Pale lemon Nose: Mild, cleanly fruity with soft toastiness lining the pure, ripe fruitiness

Palate: Straight-forward, zingy and lively

Palate: Fresh, mellow, creamy palate with sophisticated mousse

Ending: Suitably balanced and long enough

Ending: Medium-long and suitably dosed

In a nutshell: An all-round champagne

In a nutshell: Rather straight-forward but pleasurable

Food pairing: Cold-smoked Salmon and Green Asparagus Final verdict: Dances on the palate

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

89p

Nose: Sweet, fruity, youthful with peach and apple alongside a perfumy twist.

When to drink: 2016-2021

70

82

When to drink: 2016-2019 Food pairing: Confit of Ocean Trout with Celery and Apple Salad Final verdict: Mellow and harmonious


83

89p Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut NV

84

89p

Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV Colour: Pale lemon-green

Colour: Pale lemon-green

Nose: Clean and soft with floral perfumy character and candied nuances

Nose: Lovely pure white fruit with smoky tones and gunpowdery complexity

Palate: Sweet and balanced. Pristine, succulent fruit

Palate: Pristinely fruity and pretty oozing coolness and freshness Ending: Zesty and nervy long dry finish

Ending: Long with fruitiness carrying on and on

In a nutshell: Beautifully reductive and sound

In a nutshell: Mellow and pleasurable When to drink: 2016-2019

When to drink: 2016-2020

Food pairing: Strawberries and Cream

Food pairing: Gravad Lax

Final verdict: At ease

Final verdict: Purity

85

89p

Pommery Grand Cru 2005

86

89p

Colour: Glossy golden hued lemon colour

Nose: A beautiful charred note to the freshness and pure white fruit Palate: Lean and fresh with lots of lemony floral fruit

Palate: Fruity, overt and round with sugar coated ripeness and tropical fruit

Ending: Vibrant and long

Ending: Fine freshness and mediumlong finish

In a nutshell: Appetising but comes with ease

In a nutshell: Open and ready to drink

When to drink: 2016-2022

When to drink: 2016-2023

Food pairing: Octopus Carpaccio, Spring Onion and Coriander

Food pairing: Gratinated Green-lipped Mussels with Parmesan and Walnut Crust

Final verdict: Cheerful

Final verdict: Plushness

89p

Perrier-JouĂŤt Belle Epoque Brut 2007

Colour: Pale lemon colour

Nose: Soft and fruity with a slightly lifted toasty, leesy tone Palate: Fresh and firm, invigorating and highly youthful. Medium-bodied and focused. Ending: Very dry ending with a lead pencil finish In a nutshell: Still rather noncommunicative and not yet fully integrated When to drink: 2016-2030 Food pairing: Seafood Platter

Roland Champion Carte Blanche Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Nose: Strong, expressive ripe fruit profile with spices, red fruits and plenty of evolution

87

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

88

89p

Paul Bara Special Club 2005

Colour: Medium-deep lemon-gold Nose: Deep, expanding ripe red fruit with dried fruit and honeyed tones Palate: Overt and generous with rounded, oily feel to it. Ending: Sufficient fruity length and wellbalanced dosage In a nutshell: Fresh tingling palate When to drink: 2016-2024 Food pairing: Sole with Mushrooms and Vongoles Final verdict: Pleasurable and structured

Final verdict: Tight and young

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

71


100 Best Champagnes in 2016

89

89p

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2006

90

89p

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Pale onion skin

Nose: Fresh, mild, easy-going berry fruitiness.

Nose: Delicate, smoky, minerally. Flowers and stone fruit with some toast, fresh ripe fruit and yeasty complexity.

Palate: Charming and instantly appealing. Voluptuous and caressing.

Palate: Fresh and lively, linear and focused

Ending: Richness to the wine but a certain singularity at least at this stage

Ending: Intensely fruity, neat and pure dry finish

In a nutshell: Evolving

In a nutshell: Lovely mineral length

When to drink: 2016-2030

When to drink: 2016-2020

Food pairing: Sea-urchin Risotto with Smoked Caviar

Food pairing: Monkfish and Tiger Prawn Masala with Pilaf

Final verdict: Rich and chewy

Final verdict: Tightly knit and elegant

91

92 88p

88p

Deutz Rosé Brut NV Colour: Pale pink

Colour: Medium-deep peachy Nose: Fresh and intense with pristine fruitiness, soft spiciness, charred notes and sweet candied tones Palate: Firm and voluptuous but comes with a lifting crispness and coolness Ending: Carries on in a balanced, seamless fashion

Ending: Fruity forward and pleasantly subdued

In a nutshell: Spicy red fruit style with oak-driven complexity

In a nutshell: Fresh and fruit-packed When to drink: 2016-2021

When to drink: 2016-2022

Food pairing: Sautéed Razor Clams with Prosciutto and Sea Herbs

Food pairing: Hommard en Croûte Final verdict: Seriously rosé

Final verdict: Pleasurable

88p

Doyard Clos de l'Abbaye Premier Cru Extra Brut 2010

88p

Collet Millésime 2006

Colour: Glossy lemony colour with golden hues

Nose: Sweet, soulful with punch. Charred notes, apple peel and spices sit slightly on the oxidative side.

Nose: Super ripe spicy fruitiness and expressive

Ending: Very dry and citric In a nutshell: Butter and cream complexity When to drink: 2016-2023 Food pairing: Sautéed Abalone, King Brown Mushrooms and Bottarga with Maltagliati Pasta Final verdict: Highly individual

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

94

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Palate: Linear and driven with lemony tartness carrying thought

72

Bollinger Rosé NV

Nose: Full of appealing fruit: apricot, orange blossom and pastry topped up with cool vegetal and chalky-mineral notes. Palate: Succulent and smooth with lemony bite of acidity

93

Alfred Gratien Brut NV

Palate: Softness and warmth. Well-built, clean, ripe, maturing fruitiness. Ending: Succulent with good length In a nutshell: Muscular but comes with just enough freshness When to drink: 2016-2020 Food pairing: Lobster Thermidor Final verdict: Ready to be enjoyed


95

88p

De Castelnau Réserve Brut NV

96

Collet Esprit Couture Brut NV

88p

Colour: Medium-deep lemon

Colour: Deep lemon-gold

Nose: Fruity, vanilla-coated with candied sweet fruitiness

Nose: Gentle soft yeast-laden. Lots of depth.

Palate: Round and extremely fresh, pure and plush

Palate: Aged mellowness of ample fruitiness

Ending: Fine fruity and balanced length

Ending: Long smooth length

In a nutshell: Lovely ageing complexity

In a nutshell: Generous and instantly impressive

When to drink: 2016-2020

FINE 100 Best

100 Best Champagnes in 2016

When to drink: 2016-2022

Food pairing: Quiche Lorraine

Food pairing: Pan-fried Red Snapper with Lemon Butter

Final verdict: Style above all

Final verdict: Comes with benefits of age

97

88p

Georges Cartier Première Cuvée Brut NV

98

88p

Colour: Bright lemon

Colour: Medium-deep lemon-hued colour

Nose: Rich, evolving, yeast laden with lots of apple

Nose: Fresh, lemony chalky mineral white fruit, apple, pear and summer meadow.

Palate: Sharp and edgy with fine energy and tension

Palate: Fluffy with smooth mousse and lovely vibrancy of fruit

Ending: Medium-long finish with enough fruit

Ending: Fresh and long, fruit-forward finish

In a nutshell: Yeast-complexed When to drink: 2016-2019

In a nutshell: Easy to like

99

Blondel Premier Cru Cuvée Prestige Brut NV

When to drink: 2016-2022

Food pairing: Fried Calamaris with Romesco

Food pairing: Steamed Spanner Crab with Black Radish

Final verdict: Vibrant and fresh

Final verdict: Friendly style

88p

Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Brut Rosé NV

Colour: Medium-deep peachy colour

100

88p

Pol Roger Vintage Rosé 2008

Colour: Medium-deep cherry colour

Nose: Elegant, fresh, delicate with mild strawberry and floral character

Nose: Full, richly fruity with vanilla, spice and fresh red berries, notaby cherry toned

Palate: Light-weight suitably dosed, very pure and clean

Palate: Strong, round, mouth-filling

Ending: Medium-long and full of fruit

Ending: Carries on and on with a sweet tone at the finish

In a nutshell: Appetising and refreshing

In a nutshell: Lovely energy

When to drink: 2016-2020

When to drink: 2016-2029

Food pairing: Miso Blackened Salmon with Seared Pak Choi and Pickled Ginger

Food pairing: Coquilles St-Jacques

Final verdict: Charmer

Final verdict: Still young but loads of potential

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

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Top 10

Non-vintage champagnes in 2016 Non-vintage (NV or sans année) champagne is the backbone of what every champagne house produces – it typically accounts for 80-90 per cent of the total volume – it is the signature of the house. Maintaining consistency in style and quality year-on-year is a challenge, yet it is paramount. No vintage-related variation is allowed in the taste, so that the consumer can select his or her favourite cuvée with confidence. Non-vintage champagne must be ready to drink on release. The appellation regulates that non-vintage champagne has to age for a minimum of 15 months after bottling, but most houses hold on for longer.

Overall ranking

74

1

(6)

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

93.5 p

2

(34)

De Saint Gall Demi-Sec NV

91 p

3

(70)

Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial NV

89 p

4

(75)

Devaux Cuvée D Brut NV

89 p

5

(76)

Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie NV

89 p

6

(81)

Taittinger Brut Réserve NV

89 p

7

(82)

Ayala Brut Majeur NV

89 p

8

(83)

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut NV

89 p

9

(84)

Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV

89 p

10

(90)

Alfred Gratien Brut NV

89 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


FINE 100 Best

Top 10

Vintage champagnes in 2016 Vintage (millésime) champagne is made in those harvest years that the cellar master considers to be better-than-average. They are composed from base wines that best reflect the characteristics of that particular year, and are not meant to be consistent year-on-year. Champagnes in this category are easy to approach for the consumers – theoretically, if the year was a good one, so will be the champagne. Longer-life base wines are blended into vintage champagnes contain, and usually offer greater tasting pleasure in the years to come as they have significant ageing potential. The appellation regulates that vintage champagnes are cellared for a minimum of thirty-six months.

Overall ranking 1

(12)

Palmer & Co Vintage 2008

92 p

2

(21)

Alexandre Penet Millésime Extra brut 2006

92 p

3

(25)

Henriot Millésime 2006

92 p

4

(36)

Gosset Grand Millésime Brut 2006

91 p

5

(39)

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2006

91 p

6

(45)

Taittinger Millésime 2008

90 p

7

(46)

Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2006

90 p

8

(51)

Deutz Vintage 2009

90 p

9

(52)

Beaumont des Crayères Fleur de Prestige 2006

90 p

10

(57)

Canard-Duchêne Brut Authentic Vintage 2008

89.75p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

75


Top 10

Prestige cuvée champagnes in 2016 Every bottle of champagne is a luxury product, but not everyone will settle for the classic non-vintage. At the tip of the luxury pyramid sits the Cuvée Prestige Champagne category, which originated in 1873, when Czar Alexander II of Russia found no ordinary champagne to be good enough for him and ordered his own special blend in a crystal bottle from his trusted supplier, Champagne Louis Roederer. Cristal by Louis Roederer, as we know it today, was only launched after World War II. In 1936, Moët & Chandon released the first commercial (if it can be called that) prestige cuvée champagne, Dom Pérignon 1921.

Overall ranking

76

1

(1)

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle NV

95.75 p

2

(4)

Dom Pérignon Brut 2006

94.25 p

3

(5)

Krug Vintage 2003

93.75 p

4

(7)

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne mgm 1996

93.25 p

5

(10)

Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006

92.5 p

6

(15)

Deutz Cuvée William Deutz Brut Millésime 2006

92 p

7

(19)

Louis Roederer Cristal 2006

92 p

8

(26)

G.H. Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou 2002

91 p

9

(28)

Pannier Egérie de Pannier Extra Brut 2006

91 p

10

(31)

Pierre Mignon Année de Madame Millésime 2006

91 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


FINE 100 Best

Top 10

Rosé champagnes in 2016 Rosé champagne is reported to have been made in the Champagne region since at least 1775, but it has never been as popular as it is today. Rosé champagne has a somewhat feminine image, but this does not reflect its actual style, which is wine-like possessing a strong character – hence, it is more masculine. Rosé champagne can be made either by macerating (rosé de saignée) or by blending in some red wine from the Champagne region to the base wine (rosé d’assemblage), which accounts for almost 95 per cent. Neither of these methods can be raised above the other.

Overall ranking 1

(3)

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV

94.5 p

2

(13)

Henriot Rosé Brut NV

92 p

3

(27)

Canard-Duchêne Brut Rosé NV

91 p

4

(47)

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé NV

90 p

5

(48)

Veuve Clicquot Rosé NV

90 p

6

(64)

Duval-Leroy Rosé Prestige Premier Cru NV

89 p

7

(71)

Ayala Rosé Majeur Brut NV

89 p

8

(77)

Ruinart Rosé Brut NV

89 p

9

(91)

Deutz Rosé Brut NV

88 p

10

(92)

Bollinger Rosé NV

88 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

77


Top 10

Prestige cuvée & Vintage rosé champagnes in 2016 Prestige cuvée and Vintage rosé champagnes are true rarities. These cuvées usually sit at the top of the offer that any champagne house may make. When a rosé champagnes is selected for a vintage, it is identifying itself as the best of the best in the world of champagne – a true luxury icon – Cristal Rosé, Dom Pérignon Rosé, Laurent-Perrier Alexandra (the house still uses the saignée method across its rosé production), Dom Ruinart Rosé and Pommery Cuvée Louise Rosé are all wonderful examples of the ageing potential, depth and multidimensionality of rosé champagne – they can amount to a king’s ransom!

Overall ranking

78

1

(2)

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003

95.25 p

2

(10)

Henriot Rosé Millésime 2008

92.5 p

3

(17)

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2006

92.25 p

4

(18)

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2006

92 p

5

(20)

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésime 2006

92 p

6

(22)

Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002

92 p

7

(23)

Louis Roederer Rosé 2009

92 p

8

(24)

Deutz Amour de Deutz Rosé 2006

92 p

9

(40)

Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut 2011

91 p

10

(49)

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Rosé de Saignée 2007

90 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


FINE 100 Best

Top 10

Blanc de blancs champagnes in 2016 The term “blanc de blancs” refers to wines that are made exclusively from white grapes, which in the region of champagne can be safely presumed to be from Chardonnay. A qualifier for the purists – there are three other white grapes in the region that are allowed by the appellation – Arbane, Pinot Blanc and Petite Meslier which are planted in insignificant hectares. The Côte des Blancs region is almost entirely dedicated to Chardonnay, where the creation of this category of champagne is at its masterful best. The elegant and fruity Chardonnay works very well by itself. When young, this champagne is acidic, linear and sometimes aggressive.

Overall ranking 1

(8)

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006

93 p

2

(9)

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995

93 p

3

(14)

De Saint Gall Orpale 2002

92 p

4

(16)

Dampierre Family Reserve 2007

92 p

5

(29)

Thiénot Cuvée Stanislas Blanc de Blancs 2006

91 p

6

(30)

Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Blanc de Blancs NV

91 p

7

(33)

G.H. Mumm Blanc de Blancs Mumm de Cramant Brut NV

91 p

8

(35)

Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

91 p

9

(41)

Deutz Amour de Deutz 2006

90 p

10

(50)

Pierre Mignon Harmonie de Blancs Grand Cru Millésime 2008

90 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

79


Top 4

Blanc de noirs champagnes in 2016 The colour contrast to the white, “blanc de noir” champagnes are made exclusively from the dark skinned grapes – Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (and the not so common Pinot Gris for the purists). They are powerful and broad, and occasionally heavy on palate. However, the best examples have structure and character that reminds more of a Burgundian red wine than champagne. Thanks to their style, they are a serious food wine rather than be served as an aperitif. There are considerably fewer champagnes available in this category, compared to blanc de blancs, and we are obliged to restrict our list to the Top 4!

Overall Ranking

80

1

(38)

Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs NV

91 p

2

(53)

Canard-Duchêne Charles VII Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

90 p

3

(63)

Jacques Rousseaux Grande Réserve Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

90 p

4

(80)

Palmer & Co Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

89 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


FINE 100 Best

Top 10

Cooperative champagnes in 2016 There are a great many cooperatives in the Champagne region, but at the moment, 67 of them make and sell Champagne under their own label – an astonishing number of different brand names – 2 234. Cooperatives may account for just about 9 per cent of total Champagne sales, but they process more than 50 per cent of all the Champagne produced, at one stage or another. In the recent decades, the direction is towards building strong own brands. Nicolas Feuillatte, Jacquart and Devaux would count among the most commercially successful ones. Palmer & Co, De Saint Gall and Collet are quality-conscious cooperatives on the rise.

Overall ranking 1

(12)

Palmer & Co Vintage 2008

92 p

2

(14)

De Saint Gall Orpale 2002

92 p

3

(28)

Pannier Egérie de Pannier Extra Brut 2006

91 p

4

(35)

Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs NV

91p

5

(44)

Palmer & Co Amazon de Palmer NV

90p

6

(52)

Beaumont des Crayères Fleur de Prestige 2006

90 p

7

(60)

De Saint Gall Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

90 p

8

(67)

Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d'Or Brut 2006

89 p

9

(74)

De Saint Gall Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

89 p

10

(75)

Devaux Cuvée D Brut NV

89 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

81


Top 8

Grower champagnes in 2016 A number of grower-producers are making and selling champagne under their own label. From an international perspective, grower-producer champagnes appear to be the closely guarded French secret – maybe because only 12 per cent of these are exported. The philosophy of winemaking is adapted to the conditions – to be a Recoltant Manipulant the wines must be made from their own grapes, often grown in a small area, making extensive blending near impossible – and typically represent the taste profile of the terroir. The grower community is facing constant changes, but there are still a number of ‘undiscovered’ growers in the region.

Overall Ranking

82

1

(40)

Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut 2011

91 p

2

(43)

José Michel & Fils Spécial Club 2008

90 p

3

(59)

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Spécial Club 2009

90 p

4

(63)

Jacques Rousseaux Grande Réserve Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

90 p

5

(73)

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Oger Grand Cru Brut NV

89 p

6

(86)

Roland Champion Carte Blanche Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

89 p

7

(88)

Paul Bara Special Club 2005

89 p

8

(93)

Doyard Clos de l'Abbaye Premier Cru Extra-Brut 2010

88 p

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


83_Hedonism.indd 1

15-Mar-17 9:04:58 AM


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FINE Tasting

By Richard Juhlin

D

uring a couple of rainy days at the end of June, we were

a small select group of international champagne

journalists who was invited to Bollinger to take part in something quite unique. The first night I ended up alone in an old nostalgiaawakening restaurant in Reims overlooking the park where my interest in champagne started with a bottle of Bollinger Special CuvĂŠe 30 years ago. I sat there and dreamed myself away over a bottle of Echezeaux accompanied by foie gras and entrecote while rain flooded the streets outside.

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

85


T

he next morning we were picked up and driven to Aÿ. I sat myself next to my former mentor and motivator, the ever-vital and elegant queen of champagne - Serena Sutcliffe. Between us we shared what life brought us during the last 10 years. We certainly agreed that this tasting would be mightily exciting because she, in recent years and I never, had tasted any old wines at all from Bollinger in the auspices of the house. Over the last three years, the house secretly pursued a gigantic inventory of every corner in the cellars. Earlier in this decade, Bollinger had found a forgotten cellar with extremely old bottles, and decided to renovate every single bottle by disgorging, replacing corks, etc. The modern technology in the form of laser aphrometer, that is designed to measure the pressure in the bottles without opening them, has been the key to success in this task. In the forgotten cellar, behind a huge number of empty bottles, they succeeded in finding vintages going back to the founding of the house in 1829. At the end of this fantastic project, they had secured

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FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

4,000 bottles. Most bottles were disgorged a la volée and tasted separately. Bollinger have now created two unique vinoteque galleries – 1829 and La Réserve. Gilles Descôtes, the new chef de caves who led the project, showed us around the two very impressive cellars. The cellar La Réserve shows something even more unique. Because Bollinger is making its standard cuvée from the amazing collection of reserve wines, stored in magnums under light pressure, they have separate crus in a gigantic amount of vintages to follow. The whole lot of 3,000 magnums are located in the beautiful and ornamented by artist’s cellar aisle. It was with a slight weakness in the knees and anticipation, that we sat down at the table to get a taste of what the cellars had to offer. I would never have expected that I would get to taste the top old wines Bollinger ever made. To get them served in the best condition at the house, made the experience even more magical. Here are my tasting notes from the historic tasting in Aÿ. >


2002 Bollinger Verzenay Réserve 100 % PN

90p

Reserve wines stored in magnums with half the amount of carbonic. Brilliant, clean and typical of the village with a spiciness and blood orange notes reminiscent of R. Lalou from the same year for obvious terroir reasons. Deep, soft, long and intensely expressive already in the young phase the wine is in now.

1999 Bollinger Verzenay Réserve 100% PN

91p

Large, smoky and roasted bouquet with an acidity that made me believe it was the 1996 in the blind tasting. Strong minerality and depth in the aromas with a dry reverberation.

1992 Bollinger Verzenay Réserve 100% PN

90p

Developed style with hints of pepper, motor oil and white Burgundy. Strong body structure with mandarin and cream in the finish.

1985 Bollinger Verzenay Réserve 100% PN

93p

Depth and majestically aged. Again with notes of engine oil, pepper and mandarin. Rich oily texture and a sleek maturity disguise.

1969 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes FranÇaises Collection 99p 100% PN I just needed to dip my nose for a second before I realized what wine it was. Here you are met by a blast of smells with an equally unmistakable as indescribable crystal clear identity. The volume is huge, but the wine is extremely fresh and acidic thanks to vintage. The aromatic spectrum is ranging from jasmine, passion fruit, sea buckthorn, liquorice toffee, black olives, tar and charcoal grilled meat. A perfect bottle from the debut year.

1952 Bollinger RD Collection 75% PN, 25% CH

97p

Disgorged for Madame Bollinger´s private cellar in 1969 with 11 grams of sugar. A great depth and at the same time vitality charming with a

creamy silkiness. Notes of freshly baked bread, dried fruits and caramel confide the chord.

1945 Bollinger Collection 75% PN 25% CH

97p

Disgorged for Madame Bollinger´s private cellar in 1969. Not as dark and truffle-scented as bottles I previously encountered on the open market. There is a depth and a classic tight construction with a dry basis. Minerals, smoke and spicy funds dominate the overall impression.

1937 Bollinger Collection 75% PN, 25% CH

FINE Tasting

Tasting notes

99p

Disgorged for Madame Bollinger´s private cellar in 1969. Fantastic and impressive with juicy nectar notes, oily texture and a quite vibrant colour and mousse. Young style with deep concentration and voluptuous overtones. A wonderful beauty filled with the most that you can associate to in a champagne.

1924 Bollinger Collection 80% PN, 20% CH

96p

Disgorged for Madame Bollinger´s private cellar in 1969. I had never before beheld a 1924, so it was no wonder I guessed on a 1929 when we got to try the delightful treasures directly at the house in Aÿ. Something lighter than the greatest vintages of Bollinger but still mightily impressive. Hazelnut notes, popcorn, mango, passion fruit and butterscotch take turns on leading the aroma spectrum into a long fresh aftertaste.

1914 Bollinger Collection 75% PN, 25% CH

99p

Disgorged for Madame Bollinger´s private cellar in 1969 and now in perfect condition at Bollinger. Made from across 23 crus with Bouzy as a main component of 18%. A startling bouquet. Golden light colour and a long majestic taste that lasted for hours. Most impressive is the incredibly intense scent which in its complex creation contains diverse and at the same time nicely orchestrated ingredients such as; cardamom, lavender, lilac, vanilla, orange blossom, bergamot, Chinese tea and mandarin. Well thickened fat and at the same time a youthful champion. Probably the house’s most outstanding vintage.

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

87


1830 Bollinger Collection 80% PN, 20% CH

88p

Disgorged 2016 without carbonic pressure and without any dosage. The first vintage Bollinger ever made and obviously a historical great experience to taste one of the 13 bottles that survived in good condition. However, I must point out that, considered objectively, that this wine appeared as the worst bottle the house picked up from the collection in June 2016. Youthful colour even though the bubbles were missing. Oxidative on the nose with great similarities with vin jaune or the finest sherry. Almonds, fallen fruit, figs, dates, and a fiercely refreshing acidity. Clean, very long and holds nicely in the glass. Lovely wine in its almost 200-year-developed style.

1973 Bollinger RD (Jeroboam) I have always been very fond of Bollinger 1973 in any form. The Grande AnnĂŠe bottles are a little lax now and it is the same with the first RD renditions. On magnum, they are deep and nutty, but on Jeroboam ridiculously youthful with floral notes, metal, acacia and freshly laundered sheets. Maybe not in the most impressive phase, but still my favourite size right now.

1966 Bollinger (Magnum)

88

98p

1988 Bollinger RD (Jeroboam)

97p

Unpleasant that you have to drink it on Jeroboam to get the full impact. It has a fragrant acacia elegance and a marked mineral, almost metallic purity in the acid-based backbone. In between, there flows volatile ethereal perfumes and lifts the wine to sensual highlights.

1996 Bollinger RD (Magnum)

96p

It took many years before I completely embraced the grandeur of this magnificent vintage. Today only a couple of years is missing on a Magnum for full bloom in a rich flowing style.

1970 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes FranÇaises 99p The grandest and monumental of all vintages of this wine. Almost viscous and colossally dark both in wine as in the aromatic. Surreally concentrated.

1979 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes

99p

Completely different style than the 1970 with fresh floral and nutty classic appropriations complemented by peach driven fruit. The most elegant edition of this wine along with the debut vintage of 1969.

It was a long time ago since I tasted this revelation, but I assume that it must be in a fantastic shape still.

1996 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes FranÇaises 97p

1975 Bollinger RD 97p

A little less impressive lately, but trust me, it will come back within 5-6 years!

My first great love in Champagne. This is where I realized how great Pinot Noir could taste in a champagne. Hazelnut notes, the mushrooms and the deep dark cocoa note, I will forever remember.

There you go. There we have the essence of almost two hundred years of wine history that is absolutely world class.

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


Josef Hoffmann, auteuil Fledermaus

TASTE CULTURE

”Tradition is the passing on of the fi e, not the worship of the ashes.“ Gustav Mahler www.austrianwine.com

Wine & Champagne Jugendstil Rot.indd 1

26.06.15 09:59


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FINE Tasting

PHILIPPONNAT

CLOS DES GOISSES VINTAGES Text: Richard Juhlin

I

always find this impressive world-class wine one of the most elusive and perplexing wines out there. Sometimes I don’t get it and ask myself whether I’ve over-estimated its potential, only to wonder the next time how I could have under-rated this uncut diamond. Why is it like that? The most obvious explanation is that we are dealing with a “slow starter”; a real cellar wine that needs decades to fully unfurl its colourful peacock’s tail. But assuming that time by itself can explain the phenomenon would be to trivialise this single-vineyard wine’s dual personality.

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

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I think an equally weighty explanation is that the wine has a paradoxical, almost schizophrenic character. It quite simply has too many completely different facets that stand out with different levels of strength at various times, pulling in opposite directions. Sometimes the rocky mineral quality is at the forefront, while at others the wine’s vegetable, grassy, almost blackcurrant leaflike aspects hold back its masculine side to such an extent you’d think you were in the Loire. In blind tastings, many of us detect medicinal notes leaning towards echinacea in the youngest wines from this vineyard, while other times we’ll associate it with Salon’s citrusy, buttery and walnut bouquet. All the vintages seem to have in common on a certain nutty, smoky, Bollinger-like aroma of grilled steak at the top of its development curve. The simpler vintages seem to vary a bit less than the colossal giants, which teeter back and forward like a true manic genius. The Philipponnat family, owners of the award-winning vineyard, have been in

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Mareuil-sur-Aÿ since 1522. In 1935, the founder of the champagne house, Pierre Philipponnat, bought the 5.5-hectare vineyard, and created Champagne’s first clos wine in 1947. Today, the house finds a place in the Lanson–BCC portfolio and is managed by Charles Philipponnat, who is also the winemaker charged with the peculiar task of trying to tame the wild style of Clos des Goisses. He is the man who returned the wines into oak barrels, but it is very difficult to detect the influence of that move, as even the steel tank-fermented vintages develop an oak-like bouquet as they age. The unique steep slope by the canal in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ is planted with 70 per cent Pinot Noir and 30 per cent Chardonnay, but most vintages contain 65 per cent Pinot Noir, as a small portion of the grapes end up in other cuvées. In some years, the house also produces a rare but unexciting still red from the crop. Even rarer and much more exciting are the 200 bottles of still Chardonnay that Philipponnat produces each year

for its own use. For me, it is Champagne’s number one still white wine, together with Giraud’s Aÿ Blanc. For the sake of precision, it might be proper to note that this, one of Champagne’s finest vineyards, is not a grand cru and only has premier cru status. A serious flaw in the system, it seems. At a recent evening, I brought together a small group of like-minded Clos des ­Goisses fans to taste the last seven vintages. It was very obvious that the simple 2001 had the most linear development in that set. This phenomenon leads to there being highly diverse personal descriptions even when wine experts try to capture the vineyard’s true essence. I think timing is a key factor, even more so than usual, when enjoying Clos de Goisses. If you have no idea what phase the wine is at, it is best to be sure and wait until the wine’s 20-year mark. Then the characteristic nuttiness and cakey tones will stand out in one way or another. If you lack the patience for that, invest in lesser-known vintages, which mature sooner. Regardless of


2003 Clos des Goisses 89 (92) One of the true giants of this vintage. Rich, exotic character that is representative of the vineyard. Quite reminiscent of the warm 2000 vintage, and with indications of a future resemblance with the 1976.

FINE Tasting

Clos des Goisses Vintages

2002 Clos des Goisses 89 (95) Misleadingly soft and inviting with lavishly sweet fruit and creaminess. Below the surface are walnut tones, a deep chocolaty indulgence and the seriousness of tobacco. Simultaneously acid and closed.

2001 Clos des Goisses 92 (92) Probably the best champagne of this vintage, with a nutty depth and obvious green terroir. A wine which really demonstrates the uniqueness of this plot. Will outlive its competitors from that year. In 2013 it is completely mature, with a buttery, nutty and tricky ripeness, like a great white Bourgogne from 1992.

2000 Clos des Goisses 94 (95) I can remember like yesterday a wonderful experience I had among the vines on the slope that year. Dark of colour and, strangely, more hotly masculine than the 99. Concentrated and a little old-fashioned. Impressive strength.

1999 Clos des Goisses 92 (93) Unusually soft, caramely and polished style from the start, thanks to the soft and sweet charm of the vintage. Slightly smoky and nutty with bright citrus and elderflower notes. Roundly closed and long but highly drinkable. Slightly thin and polite beside the rumbling 2000 these days.

1998 Clos des Goisses 88 (91) the vintage, remember always to decant Clos des Goisses and serve it with carefully considered food. Decanting a champagne can be tricky, as it is crucial to cool down the carafe to the same temperature as the bottle, and to have a very steady pouring hand so as not to lose too much of its sparkle. Our chef Carl Ljung very skillfully combined veal, mushrooms, seaweed, turbot, puy lentils, duck liver and Comté fondue with these gastro-friendly wines. As you can see, that was no light and airy spring menu, and to sip Clos des Goisses in the garden on a hot summer’s day would be just as wrong as taking a Christmas ham to the beach. Let your Goisses rest in the cellar until the autumn chill and use it to crown magnificent winter dinners with its deep, golden majesty. The following are some of my personal tasting notes. The first score denotes the quality when I first tasted the wine, while the score in brackets is the wine’s maximum score at full maturity. >

An unusually direct and charming Goisses that is tempting with its perfect harmony and layers of intense and soft almond aromas in both the bouquet and the taste. That is at the forefront, but there are also toasty notes, walnut and flower aromas and an impressive refinement right from the start. Reminiscent of what the 86 was like at the same age. Lately a little too oxidising and characterised by overripe, slightly botrytised grapes.

1997 Clos des Goisses 91 (92) Most 97s have been ripe for several years, but this wine won’t be quite ready until its twentieth birthday. Now excitingly animalistic.

1996 Clos des Goisses 93 (95) Ancient Bollinger barrels on the nose with walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and dark chocolate. Still clean and vibratingly fresh. So young and so structured, at the same time soft but with good acidity. Majestic length and great drive. Dry and a little unwieldy for a while, but a great Goisses for those who are around when it reaches its peak! Already creamier and more tempting, even though some bottles exude hyacinth smells and unbalance. Delicious in my last tasting.

1995 Clos des Goisses 92 (94) Only 2 800 bottles were produced so don’t hesitate if you catch one. No official release here. Somewhat closed of aroma but exceptionally tight and chocolaty. Sharp angular quality reminiscent of the explosive 75.

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CLOS DES GOIS 1994 Clos des Goisses 84 (87)

1985 Clos des Goisses 95 (96)

Have not tasted it for several years. Experience has shown us countless times never to disregard a Clos des Goisses and always to give it huge amounts of time to mature. Even this rarity, which was not officially released, must be stored for a really long time. What will happen in the cellar? It’s very hard to say which way it will go. Currently it has a delicious creaminess and significant marmalade notes of peach, apricot and quince. Still waiting for the nuttiness. Unfortunate side note of throat lozenges.

Henrik Arve, my best wine taster friend, considers this one of the greatest wines he has ever tasted. I was also greatly impressed by the colossal, creamy fruitiness, the complex interweaving of nuances from all ends of the champagne spectrum. One of the most elegant vintages ever.

1992 Clos des Goisses 93 (93) A really creamy and delicious, light Clos des Goisses. People often prefer the simpler vintages of this wine, as the greater ones are a bit too demanding. If that’s the case, you’ll enjoy this one!

1991 Clos des Goisses 93 (93) Exciting bouquet with touches of petrol and Sauternes, in lovely harmony with sweet exotic fruits and the slightly sharp acidity of unripe grapes. Exceptionally rich and good 91 with a chewy concentration that other wines from this year lack. Long, modern, developed and elegant taste.

1990 Clos des Goisses 93 (95) This vintage of Clos de Goisses seemed great from the start. I thought I detected some acidity over a foundation of concentrated fruits. At the Millennium Tasting this characterful wine did not do itself justice. Now I’m not so sure. It is as if botrytised grapes had taken the upper hand and the wine feels flat, reminiscent of a dessert wine. A certain question mark hangs over its future but the latest tasting proved it had found its place!

1983 Clos des Goisses 92 (92) A fascinating wine, whose smell indicates an old champagne but whose taste is still very youthful. The bouquet is richly chocolaty, smoky and nutty. The attack on the tongue is fresh and the fruits are very young. Very long aftertaste. The latest bottle was more one-dimensional, significantly simpler than before. Is that how it will develop?

1982 Clos des Goisses 95 (96) The first times I tasted the 82, it made me doubt the greatness of the vineyard. The wine was flowery and shy for several years before unfolding its peacock’s tail of flavours. In an extensive horizontal tasting of the top 20 1982s, Clos des Goisses and Salon stood out as the least developed wines. The long aftertaste was evident from the very start. By now I have been able to enjoy several deliciously exotic bottles. The penultimate sample was smoky, but with a youthful touch. The latest one was a veritable cradle robbery.

1980 Clos des Goisses

1989 Clos des Goisses 93 (94)

A very elegant wine with a graceful lightness and uplifting features. Coffee and hazelnut whirl past in the nose, together with snow and sea scents. Crisp and clean taste with a high-octane mineral quality. Far from a typical Clos des Goisses, but that is of no consequence when it is just as captivating. Some bottles taste like a full-bodied Dom Pérignon 1980. Unfortunately it has suddenly turned more muscular but also more tired. Drink it up.

Lustful and rich in honey, with a high syrupy concentration. I am unsure of its future development as many 89s have suddenly gone downhill.

1979 Clos des Goisses 95 (95)

1988 Clos des Goisses 93 (94) I will never quite understand how Clos des Goisses behaves when it is young. Experience has shown that all vintages become powerful packages as they grow old. The 88 is not as undeveloped and grassy as the 82 was at the same age. Instead it is only medium-bodied and delicate, with bready, toasty aromas and a fine, crispy fruitiness. Some bottles are actually medicinal with a taste of gooseberries. What will happen to it?

What a dazzling wine! Huge aroma with flowery, youthful features and simultaneously nutty, older and more serious notes. As the wine warms up in the glass, hazelnut and honeysuckle begin to dominate. The taste is deep as a well and vibratingly fresh. Unfortunately some bottles are already overripe.

1978 Clos des Goisses 94 (94) In this relatively weak year, this unique specimen stands out as brilliant. Fully developed with a lot of fruit and an abundance of toasty aromas. Less nutty than usual but very fine.

1986 Clos des Goisses 94 (94) It was at a lunch at the estate that its then manager convinced me that some champagnes really benefit from decanting. An undecanted and a decanted glass of the 86 proved incredibly different from each other. The smell from the decanted glass reminded me a lot of Bollinger R.D., and had a great smoky, nutty and classically heavy Pinot bouquet. The taste was very concentrated and rich. A barrage of hazelnut and chocolate notes hit my tongue. The aftertaste was aristocratic. The wine easily handled its accompanying ox fillet with morel sauce. A huge wine!

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1976 Clos des Goisses 95 (95) In a fabulous year this fabulous vineyard could surely only produce a fabulous wine, one would think. Naturally this is a wonderfully rich and monumental wine with a gigantic taste. It is just that it’s so rich it nearly oversteps the mark and trips over itself. The scent is so strong that it is difficult to discern its nuances, and I have to step away from the glass time and again before approaching it cautiously to try to capture its nature in the first second. The taste is a uniform tidal wave thick with


sweets. I wonder whether the wine will become any less overpowering in the future. Probably a 100-pointer on the other side of the Atlantic, but I look for a little more refinement for complete satisfaction.

1975 Clos des Goisses 94 (94) Clos des Goisses is the champagne that has taken me the longest to get to know. This vintage is a kind of key, as the wine’s magnificent maturity is relatively clear in it, while still maintaining some of the young, somewhat tricky aromas. Slightly coarser than expected now that maturity seems to have set in.

1955 Clos des Goisses 99 (99) A recently disgorged magnum was filled with some of the most delicate nuances to which my senses had ever been exposed. Everything that was delicious in the 53 and 52 could be found here, too. The difference I find is that the 55 has an added depth, an extra dimension that elevates my thoughts to religion and higher powers. One of the most beautiful champagnes in history.

1953 Clos des Goisses 98 (98)

Unfortunately I have not tasted this vintage straight from Philipponnat’s own cellar. The only bottle I have had access to was somewhat low in level and had only kept a thin ribbon of mousse. Still very good, with a bouquet of nuts, old Riesling, oil and resin. Big, intensely chocolaty and well-rounded taste. A real duck-liver wine!

One of the very last magnums left in the world. Naturally direct from the estate, and disgorged two months prior to the tasting in question. I was instantly faced with a unique and fascinating aromatic spectrum stretching between extremes such as cedar, resin, eucalyptus, grass, grilled meat, gooseberry and gunpowder! After a while in the glass all three wines from the 1950s came to resemble one another with a fabulous, euphorically perfumed bouquet bordering on passion fruit. This is definitely the richest and most flattering of the unbeatable trio.

1971 Clos des Goisses 94 (94)

1952 Clos des Goisses 96 (96)

Deliciously nutty and classic, but somewhat less concentrated than the best I have tried from the vineyard. Otherwise reminiscent of the 79.

A magnificent wine whose character is slightly softer and more buttery than the other 1950s vintages from the house. It has the slightly gingery spicy note typical of the vineyard, as well as the youthful fruitiness bordering on passion fruit. Other clearly detectable nuances are orange blossom, sandalwood, cloves, eucalyptus and duck liver.

1973 Clos des Goisses 92 (92)

1970 Clos des Goisses I have only tasted two murky, madeirised samples. Presumably a dead vintage by now.

FINE Tasting

SES Vintages

1951 Clos des Goisses 90 (90) 1966 Clos des Goisses 97 (97) It was extremely enlightening and educational to taste the 66 and 64 side by side. The 66 is lighter and more slender, but it makes up for it with unsurpassable finesse and a euphoric toasty bouquet. Somewhat less impressive at the Millennium Tasting.

A bottle straight from the estate is naturally always in excellent condition. The mousse was faint and the colour a beautiful gold with splashes of more elderly amber. The aroma is powerful with notes of molasses and tar under the strong foundation of browned butter. It maintains a good bite in the mouth and an impressive fullness, but oxidation is gradually bringing the aromatic spectrum closer to that of a Tokaji.

1964 Clos des Goisses 97 (97) Actually somewhat closed in its bouquet, especially in comparison with the aromatic 66. That is the drawback with recently disgorged old wines. On the other hand, the wine benefits from the disgorgement date in its youthfully fresh and generously creamy taste. Highly concentrated and pleasant aftertaste.

1959 Clos des Goisses 98 (98) Despite Pinot Noir being the dominating grape, it has a great resemblance with the 59 Salon. I tasted it blind beside five old cuvée champagnes from large houses and it was exceedingly clearly a monocru, with all the advantages that entails in terms of power, intensity and personality. This is a creamy and youthful thing with a hypnotically seductive, bouquet. Extremely full, explosive and creamy taste with citrus notes. When it had stood long in the glass, its special youthful aroma of grass and gooseberries appeared. A wine like a journey. Unfortunately not quite as impressive once newly disgorged. The latest bottle was more uniform and chocolaty than before.

2002 Clos des Goisses Juste Rosé 85 (94) In some years, the house produces a rare and sought-after delicately coloured rosé with the skin contact method. Elegant and inviting appearance with a very pale salmon colour. Brutally intense in an anything but populist manner. Competing maritime, vegetable and meaty notes. Grass and petrol do not yet harmonise with the fruit. Store long; this has enormous potential.

2000 Clos des Goisses Juste Rosé 90 (93) A vintage in which Clos des Goisses had greater power than its neighbours. Despite the pale colour and certain strawberry notes, this is a meaty and sturdy wine for large dinners.

1999 Clos des Goisses Juste Rosé 93 (94) The first time a rosé wine was made from the front part of the prized slope, “La Dure”. I can imagine the prices will be astronomical, as only 1,000 bottles were made. The colour is pale, like a Krug or Cristal Rosé, and the bouquet is also similar to theirs with a creamy and strawberry-like base note. Caressing taste with delicate aromas of white chocolate and honey.

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COLUMN

KEN GARGETT

Fine Wine and

Memories J

anuary 27th. I am looking at an empty old bottle. My father, had he lived, would have turned 88 today. He was an extraordinary man, full of boundless energy – excelling at sports, law, fishing… Dad was not one for relaxation. He was happiest when he could get to the office by 4am, so that he would not be bothered by

anyone. I guess I was a complete mystery to him, since I was (and remain) of the view, that the only reason to rise prior to 10am would be fishing or flights! In fact, we would often pass each other at home. Me heading to bed and him to work.

No one is perfect. Dad had absolutely no interest in wine. He rarely drank, not because of religious or health objection nor did it run in the family – my grandfather enjoyed fine whisky and a good cigar – but because he simply didn’t enjoy it. My obsession with wine was utterly unfathomable to him. But, he did try (though fail) to understand it. He’d read pieces I’d written and ask thoughtful questions, even though the answers left him shaking his head at the sheer stupidity of man wasting time, money and lives over something so trivial. To his credit, he even tried to find common ground, seeking a wine he might enjoy, with fleeting success. After a legal dinner, he shared that he’d finally found a wine he quite liked – ‘Barsac’. He was not at all pleased when told that as a diabetic, he was never to go near it

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again. Now, he was aghast with the absurdity of wine. Sometime in the mid eighties, it did all become a little much for him. My friend, Greg Scott, put together a special tasting of Chateau Yquem – more than 50 vintages, with many back to WWII and others back to previous century. Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces flew out for it. Greg limited it to 26 only, to include some of Australia’s most famous wine personalities – Len Evans, James Halliday, Michael Hill Smith MW, Kit Stephens MW. I was an articled clerk earning a less than princely $50 a week. Dad was furious when I put down $500 on this – he made it abundantly clear that I had “wasted” money on what I thought was an extraordinary and truly memorable day.


FINE Gargett

Studying (and subsequently working) in London, opened up some opportunities to familiarise myself with wine. I reckon I put more effort into attending tastings, visiting vineyards, reading wine magazines and books, than on my studies. I spent time at Christie’s, buying wine on behalf of wine friends back home. These were stored under my bed till I could get them home or they came by to collect. Conditions were never an issue – the room was so cold that I’d put things out on the window to warm up – it was friends who post bars closings did not understand why the ‘59 Romanee-Conti was not to be drunk. I signed up to every mailing list – ‘Reid Newsletter’ by Bill Baker was my favourite. Occasionally, I managed to cobble together an order. And sometimes, I’d include something that any reasonable audit of my financial state would suggest was fiscal insanity. The 1929 Moulin Touchais from Anjou in the Loire was one such purchase, and this bottle is in front of me. It had cost me £30. I’d had the bottle shipped back home with my things as I went off around Africa. Dad grudgingly paid duty on a box of “rubbish”. Dad’s health began to catch up with age, and when we had him home for his 65th birthday, we were determined to make the most of it. 1929 was his birth year, and the birthday lunch with the family seemed the ideal time to

open the insane buy. What I remember of the wine – it was pleasant, drinkable, extremely mature, tiring quickly, interesting but hardly spectacular – was irrelevant. I remember the pleasure Dad got from drinking a wine from his birth year. Dad loved the wine, not because of the way it tasted, but for the link it represented to his life. I’ve had older bottles and many that were better than this one, but none I’ve treasured quite as much. Having moved from a legal career to a liquid one, I met a larger than life ‘Pickwickian’ Bill Baker a few years later. I mentioned my 1929, which he remembered well and hoped I still had it. “Because it is now worth about a thousand pounds a bottle”. I could see Dad looking down from his abode, very grumpy, questioning why I’d opened a bottle of that value, even if to share with him. I told Bill what had happened to the bottle, and he thought it could not have had a better fate. That was the only time I met Bill, but learnt that he passed away some years later. The date? January 27th! >

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FINE Science

BORDEAUX WINE VINTAGE QUALITY AND THE WEATHER “Nor let thy vineyard bend toward the sun when setting”

Text: Orley Ashenfelter, David Ashmore, Robert Lalonde Photos: Pekka Nuikki

I

n this article we show that the quality of the vintage for red Bordeaux wines, as judged by the prices of mature wines, can be predicted by the weather during the growing season that produced the wines. Red Bordeaux wines have been produced in the same place and in much the same way for hundreds of years. When young, the wines from the best vineyards are astringent, and many people find them unpleasant to consume. As these wines age they lose their astringency and many people find them very pleasant to consume. Because Bordeaux wines taste better when they are older, there is an incentive to store the young wines until they are mature. As a result, there is an active market in young wines (similar to “new issues” in the securities markets) and an active market in older wines (similar to the secondary markets in securities).

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BORDEAUX WINE VINTAGE Surprisingly, the weather information that is so useful in predicting the prices of the mature wines plays little or no role in setting the prices of the young wines. We show that young wines are usually overpriced relative to what we would predict based on the weather and the price of the old wines. As the young wines age, however, their prices usually converge to our predictions. This implies that “bad” vintages are over-priced when they are young, and that “good” vintages may sometimes be under-priced when they are young. Rational buyers should avoid bad vintages when they are young, but they may sometimes wish to purchase good vintages. Although the evidence suggests that the market for older wines is relatively efficient, it implies that the market for younger wines is very inefficient. Why don’t the purchasers of young wines wait and buy them when they are mature? And why do purchasers ignore the weather that produced the vintage in making their decisions? Although there are no simple answers to these questions, we discuss one possible explanation in the final section of this article. Vineyards and Vintages The best wines of Bordeaux are made from grapes grown on specific plots of land and the wine is named after the property (or chateau) where the grapes are grown. In fact, knowledge of the chateau and vintage provides most of the information about the quality of the wine. That is, if we imagine 10 vintages and 6 chateaux, there are, in

principle, 60 different wines of different quality. However, knowing the reputations of the 6 chateaux and the 10 vintages is sufficient to determine the quality of all 60 wines. That is, good vintages produce good wines in all vineyards and the best wines in each vintage are usually produced by the best vineyards. Although this point is sometimes denied by those who produce the wines, and especially by those who sell the young wines, it is easy to establish its truth by reference to the prices of the mature wines. To demonstrate the point, Table 1 indicates the current market price in London of 6 Bordeaux chateaux from the 10 vintages from 1960-1969. These chateaux were selected because they are large producers and their wines appear frequently in the secondary (auction) markets. (A blank in the table indicates that the wine has not appeared in the market recently. Lower quality vintages are typically the first to leave the market.) The vintages from 1960–1969 are selected because, by the 1990s, these wines are fully mature and there is little remaining uncertainty about their quality. From the table it is obvious that knowledge of the row means and the column means is sufficient to predict most of the prices in the table. (The explained variance from a regression of the logarithm of the price on chateau and vintage dummies is over 90%.) A ranking of the chateaux in order of quality based on their prices would be Latour, (Lafite, Cheval Blanc), Pichon-

Logarithm of Price

4.60517

2.30259 1950

1955

1960

1965

Vintage

1970

1975

1980

Figure 1: Red Bordeaux Wines, Price Relative to 1961 Vintage

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Lalande, (Cos d’Estournel, Montrose). In fact, as Edmund Penning-Rowsell points out in his classic book The Wines of Bordeaux, the famous 1855 classification of the chateaux of Bordeaux into quality grades was based on a similar assessment by price alone. Surprisingly, the 1855 classification ranks these chateaux in only a slightly different order: Lafite, Latour, Pichon-Lalande, Cos d’Estournel, and Montrose. (Cheval Blanc was not ranked in 1855.) Likewise, a ranking of the quality of the vintages based on price alone would be 1961, 1966, (1962, 1964), 1967. The remaining vintages (1960, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1969) would be ranked inferior to these 5, but, perhaps because of this fact, many of the wines from these inferior vintages are no longer sold in the secondary market. Real Rate of Return to Holding Bordeaux Wine It is natural to ask why the prices of mature wines from a single chateau, made in the same way from grapes grown in the same place by the same winemaker, would differ so dramatically from vintage to vintage, as is indicated by Table 1. There are two obvious explanations for this vintage variability. First, the older wines have been held longer, and so they must bear a normal rate of return. This fact alone would make the older wines more expensive than the younger ones. Second, the quality of the wines of different vintages may vary because the quality of the grapes used to make the wines varies. Figure 1 provides a test of the hypothesis that the price of the wines varies because of their age. In this figure (and throughout the remainder of the paper) we use as a measure of the price of a vintage an index based on the wines of several chateaux. The chateaux are deliberately selected to represent the most expensive wines (Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Cheval Blanc) as well as a selection of wines that are less expensive (Ducru Beaucaillou, Leoville Las Cases, Palmer, Pichon Lalande, Beychevelle, Cos d’Estournel, Giscours, Gruaud-Larose, and Lynch-Bages). We construct the index of vintage price from a regression of the logarithm of the price from several thousand auction sales


Temperature

Temperature

Rain About Average Price

FINE Science

QUALITY AND THE WEATHER

Rain

Below Average Price

Figure 2: 1952-1980

1952-1980 1981-1991

Figure 3: 1952-1991

Bordeaux: Temperature in Summer and Rain in Harvest Relative to Price

on dummy variables indicating the chateau and the vintages. (The precise composition of the sample has very little effect on the results.) The regression coefficients for the vintage dummies are then used to construct the vintage index. This provides a simple way to construct a vintage index in the presence of an unbalanced sample design. (We compute the antilogarithm of these coefficients and then express the price relative to the index price for 1961. This is merely a convenient normalization and affects only the intercept in the regressions reported below.) Figure 1 is a scatter diagram of the logarithm of the price of the wines of a vintage against the vintage year. (The vintages of 1954 and 1956 are not plotted, as these wines are now rarely sold. These two vintages are generally considered to be the poorest in their decade.) It is apparent from the diagram that there is a negatively inclined relationship. The slope of the regression line through these points is -.035. This is an estimate of (the negative of ) what economists sometimes call the real product rate of return to holding Bordeaux wines. A “real product rate of return” is a number such that its reciprocal indicates how many bottles of wine one would have to keep in the cellar in order to be able to consume one bottle per year in perpetuity. These data indicate that it would be necessary to have about 28 bottles in a perpetual cellar that was intended to support the consumption of 1 bottle per year.

With a cellar of this size the proceeds from the sale of the older vintages would be just sufficient to restock the cellar and provide the consumption of one bottle. Since it is denominated in bottles of wine rather than dollars, this measure does not tell us what the return to holding wine denominated in generalized purchasing power (money) is. We have analyzed the relationship between the (log) price of Bordeaux wine and its age for many individual chateaux. So long as sample includes at least 20 ­vintages, we invariably obtain a negative slope to this relationship of around -.03. It is notable that the study of the various vintages of wine provides so reliable and simple a measure of the real rate of return. As we shall see, most of the remaining variation in the price of the wine of different vintages is due to variation from vintage to vintage in the weather that produced the grapes. Vintages and the Weather It is well known that the quality of any fruit, in general, depends on the weather during the growing season that produced the fruit. What is not so widely understood, is that in some localities the weather will vary dramatically from one year to the next. In California, for example, it never rains in the summer, and it is always warm in the summer. There is a simple reason for this. In California a high pressure weather system settles each summer over the California coast and produces a warm, dry grow-

ing season for the grapes planted there. In Bordeaux this sometimes happens--but usually it does not. Great vintages for Bordeaux wines correspond to the years in which August and September are dry, the growing season is warm, and the previous winter has been wet. Figure 2 establishes that it is hot, dry summers that produce the vintages in which the mature wines obtain the higher prices. This figure displays for each vintage the summer temperature from low to high as you move from left to right, and the harvest rain from low to high as you move from top to bottom. Vintages that sell for an above average price are displayed in dark shading, and vintages that sell for a below average price are displayed in light shading. If the weather is the key determinant of wine quality, then the dark points should be in the northeast quadrant of the diagram and the light points should be in the southwest quadrant of the diagram. It is apparent that this is precisely the case. Even ­anomalies, like the 1973 vintage, tend to corroborate the fact that the weather determines the quality of the wines. The wines of this vintage, which are of somewhat above average quality, have always sold at relatively low prices; insiders know that they are often bargains. Table 2 contains a regression of the (log) price of the vintage on the age of the vintage and the weather variables indicated. In practice, the weather variables are almost uncorrelated with each other and with the

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Table 1. London Auction Prices for Selected Bordeaux Wines, 1990-1991 Vintage Lafite Latour Cheval Cos Montrose Pichon Average Blanc D’Estournel Lalande 1960 494 464 466 479 1961* 4,335 5,432 3,634 1,170 1,125 1,579 4,884 1962* 869 1,064 821 521 456 281 977 1963 340 471 251 406 1964* 649 1,114 1,125 315 350 410 802 1965 190 424 256 307 1966* 1,274 1,537 1,260 546 482 734 1,406 1967* 374 530 441 213 236 243 452 1968 223 365 274 294 1969 251 319 123 84 152 285 Average 1,504 1,935 1,436 553 530 649 Note: Column averages are calculated only for vintages marked (*), where market price is available for every chateau. Row averages are calculated using only Chateau Lafite and Chateau Latour, where prices are available for all vintages. Exchange rate between US $ and Sterling as of November 30, 1992. Prices per case of 12 in US $. Source: Liquid Assests. The International Guide To Fine Wines

age of the vintage. As a result, the regression equation is remarkably robust to the addition of other variables. The second row of the table contains the basic “Bordeaux equation,” while the third row shows the effect on the regression of adding the temperature in September as an additional variable. It is obvious that this variable does not have a statistically significant coefficient and, indeed, in further experimentation we have not found any other statistically significant variables to add to the regression. It is possible, of course, to predict the relative price at which the new vintage should be sold as soon as the growing season is complete. In fact, we have been doing this for several years and publishing the results in the newsletter LIQUID ASSETS: The International Guide to Fine Wines. The basic idea for these predictions is displayed in Figure 3. Here we have added to Figure 2 the data for the vintages from 1981-1992. Two things are immediately apparent from the figure. First, all but one of these recent vintages (1986) was produced by a growing season that was warmer than what is historically “normal.” It is no accident that many Europeans believe global warming may already be here! This unusual run of extraordinary weather has almost certainly resulted in a huge quantity of excellent, but immature red Bordeaux wine. Second, the weather that created the vintages of 1989 and 1990 appears to be quite exceptional by any standard. Is it appropriate to predict that the wines of these vintages will be of outstanding quality when the temperature that produced them is so far outside the normal range? Before making the prediction for 1989 we did, in fact, turn to Professor Lincoln Moses (of Stanford University) for informal advice. Moses suggested two informal tests. (a) 102

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Market Inefficiency It is natural to inquire as to the prices at which the wines listed in Table 1 were sold when the wines were first offered on the market. In particular, were the relative prices of the young wines good forecasts of the relative prices the mature wines now fetch? It is difficult to answer this question because the young wines were all sold in different time periods and at prices that are not generally known. Instead, we have explored a closely related question: Were the relative prices of the vintages when they were first sold in the auction market good forecasts of the relative prices of the mature wines? And were the prices of the young wines, viewed as forecasts of the prices of the mature wines, as good as the predictions made using the data on the weather alone? Table 3 reveals the answer to both of these questions. In this table we have listed, for each calendar year from 1971-1989, the price of the portfolio of wines from each vintage relative to the price of the portfolio of wines from the 1961, 1962, 1964, and 1966 vintages. The benchmark vintage portfolio is a simple average of the 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1966 vintage indexes. The second column gives the value of the benchmark portfolio in pounds sterling in the year indicated, and provides a general measure of the overall inflation in wine prices in the London auction markets. The entries for each of the vintages in the remaining columns are simply ratios of the prices of the wines in each vintage to the benchmark portfolio in column 1 of the table. The 1961, 1962, 1964, and 1966 vintages were selected for the benchmark because the

Would the last major “out of sample” prediction have been correct? The idea here is to use the past to indirectly test the ability of the relationship to stretch beyond the available data. In fact, the last major “out of sample” prediction for which all uncertainty has been resolved is the vintage of 1961, which had the lowest August- September rainfall in Bordeaux history. Just as the unusual weather predicted, the market (see Table 1), and most wine lovers, have come to consider this an outstanding vintage. (b) Is the warmth of the 1989 and 1990 growing seasons in Bordeaux greater than the normal warmth in other places where similar grapes are grown? The idea here is to determine whether the temperature in Bordeaux is abnormal by comparison with grape growing regions that may be even warmer. In fact, the temperature in 1989 or 1990 in Bordeaux was no higher than the average temperature Table 2: Regressions of the logarithm of price of different in the Barossa Valley of vintages of the Bordeaux wines portfolio on weather South Australia or the Independent Variables Napa Valley in California, places where high quality Age of Vintage 0.0354 0.0238 0.024 red wines are made from (0.0137) (0.00717) (0.00747) similar grape types. Average Temperature 0.616 0.606 Based on these two Over Growing Season (0.0952) (0.116) informal tests, we are (April - September) convinced that both the Rain in September -0.00386 -0.0038 1989 and 1990 vintages and August (0.00081) (0.00095) in Bordeaux are likely to Rain in the Months 0.001173 0.00115 be outstanding. Many preceeding the Vintage wine writers have made (October - March) (0.000482) (0.000505) the same predictions in Average Temperature 0.00765 the trade magazines. Of in September (0.0666) course, it is still too early 2 R 0.212 0.828 0.828 to determine whether the Root Mean Squared Error 0.575 0.287 0.293 wines will fulfill their promise. Note: Regressions use the vintages of 1952-1980, excluding 1954 and 1958, which are now rarely sold. Standard errors are in parenthesis.


Table 3: Price of the Bordeaux Chateaux portfolio relative to the price of the vintages 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1966 portfolio Year Benchmark of Portfolio Sale

Vintage

1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972

1971

£54

1.66

0.79

0.41 0.76

1972

£97

1.58

0.76

0.26 0.70

0.79 0.27

0.96

0.77

0.75

1973 £119 1.62 0.71 0.28 0.74 0.24 0.93 0.62 0.28 0.70 0.83

1974

£85 1.31 0.77 0.39 0.84

1.08 0.78 0.30 0.70 0.88

0.3

1975

£76

0.80 0.57 0.31 0.41 0.84 0.61 0.44

1.65 0.77 0.29 0.84

1976 £109

1.67 0.83 0.30 0.65 0.29 0.85 0.51 0.23 0.36 0.69 0.54

1977 £165

1.67 0.83 0.26 0.63 0.26 0.87 0.50 0.23 0.36 0.70 0.51 0.32

1978 £215

1.67 0.76 0.26 0.55 0.18 0.91 0.45 0.25 0.31 0.70 0.53 0.25

FINE Science

weather data in Figure 2 predict they would be good, and the wines from these vintages are, no doubt as a consequence, still widely traded. The vintages that are studied in the table include all those between 1961 and 1972. Listed in the bottom row of the table is the predicted relative price of the vintage as taken from the “Bordeaux equation” in Table 2. The data in Table 3 confirm two remarkable facts. First, most of these older vintages began their lives in the auction markets at prices which are far above what they will ultimately fetch. For example, the bottom row of the tables indicates that, based on the weather, the wines of a vintage like 1967 would have been expected to sell for about one-half the price of an average of the wines from the 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1966 vintages. In fact, the wines entered the auction markets in 1972 at about 50% more than expected, and slowly drifted down in relative price over the years. Second, the predicted prices from the “Bordeaux equation,” which is fit from an entirely different set of data, are remarkably good indicators of the prices at which the mature wines will u ­ ltimately trade. One interesting way to see the inefficiency in this market is to compare the prices of the vintages of 1962, 1964, 1967, and 1969 in calendar year 1972. As the weather data in Figure 2 indicate, and the prediction in the bottom row of Table 3 confirms, we should have expected (in 1972) that the 1962 and 1964 vintages would sell for considerably more than the vintages of both 1967 and 1969. In fact, in 1972 these four vintages fetched nearly identical prices, in sharp contrast to what the weather would have indicated. By around 1979 the prices of the 1969s and 1967s had fallen to around what would have been predicted from the weather. It is apparent from Table 3 that most vintages are “over- priced” when the wines are first offered on the auction market and that this state of affairs often persists for ten years or more following the year of the vintage. The over-pricing of the vintages is especially apparent for those vintages which, from the weather, we would predict are the poorest. This suggests that, in large measure, the ability of the weather to predict the quality of the wines is ignored by the early purchasers of the wines. An interesting recent example of this phenomenon is the 1986 vintage. As Figure 3 indicates, this is a vintage that, based on the weather, we should expect to be

1979 £274 1.61 0.73 0.20 0.66 0.23 1.00 0.49 0.24 0.29 0.71 0.5 0.23 1981 £296

1.75 0.62 0.22 0.77 0.04 0.93 0.47 0.25 0.29 0.82 0.52 0.22

1982 £420

1.8 0.71 0.15 0.6 0.18 0.89 0.39 0.17 0.24 0.77 0.55 0.19

1983 £586

1.77 0.53 0.10 0.59 0.18 1.11 0.36 0.18 0.21 0.91 0.48 0.2

1985 £952

2.19 0.53 0.12 0.50 0.21 0.78 0.30 0.11 0.14 0.68 0.46 0.13

1986 £888

2.10 0.56 0.25 0.54 0.17 0.80 0.30 0.15 0.19 0.65 0.46 0.14

1987 £901

2.11 0.56 0.53 0.80 0.32 0.19 0.20 0.64 0.49 0.18

1988 £854

2.01 0.56 0.21 0.51 0.14 0.82 0.34 0.23 0.20 0.67 0.58 0.17

1989 £1,048

2.09 0.61 0.28 0.53 0.19 0.77 0.27 0.24 0.66 0.43 0.15

Predicted Price 1.74 0.72 0.29 0.76 0.16 0.78 0.49 0.21 0.29 0.6 0.53 0.14 Note: Wines from 15 leading chateaux make the vintages portfolio. The same chateaux are used for each vintage. The “benchmark” portfolio consists of wines of leading chateaux from the vintages 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1966 in absolute prices. Predicted price is derived from the “Bordeaux Equation”.

“average”. Compared to the other vintages of the last decade, this vintage should fetch a considerably lower price. In fact, the vintage was launched with great fanfare as among the finest two vintages of the decade. The wines were sold at similar, and sometimes higher, prices to initial buyers than the wines of the other vintages of the past decade. The enthusiasm for these wines has dampened somewhat because they have not fetched auction prices higher than those of the other vintages in the decade. We should expect that, in due course, the prices of these wines will decline relative to the prices of most of the other vintages of the 1980s Conclusion Why does the market for immature red Bordeaux wines appear to be so inefficient when the market for mature wines appears to be so efficient? We think there may be several related explanations. The current Bordeaux marketing system has the character of an agricultural income stabilization system, and this may be its purpose. Complete income stabilization for the growers would require that the price of the young wines be inversely related to the quantity produced, and independent of the quality. Although the actual pricing of young Bordeaux wines falls short of this ideal, it is clearly closer to it than would

occur if purchasers used the information available from the weather for determining the quality of the wines. The producers do attempt to raise prices when crops are small, despite the evidence that the quantity of the wines (determined by the weather in the spring) is generally unrelated to the quality of the wines. Moreover, it is common for the proprietors to claim that each vintage is a good one, independent of the weather that produced it. Indeed, there is no obvious incentive for an individual proprietor to ever claim anything else! A more fundamental question arises about the motives of the early purchasers of the wines. Why have they ignored the evidence that the weather during a grape growing season is a fundamental and easily measured determinant of the quality of the mature wines? And will they continue to do so as the evidence for the predictability of the quality of new vintages accumulates? >

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FINE Lifestyle

FERRARI A fine investment Text: Pekka Nuikki Photographs: Ferrari and Nuikki

Y

ou have probably heard people say that the value of a new car decreases the minute you drive it off the lot. Many of us know from experience that this is the case. But we only have ourselves to blame – we should have made a better choice. There are cars whose value immediately begins to increase – cars that make a profit for their owner even after decades of use. Out of all cars, a Ferrari is by far the best investment, not to mention a pleasure to drive.

According to the Financial Times, the prices of vintage cars have risen at an unprecedented rate since 2000. Their prices have increased by nearly 400 per cent, clearly more than those of gold, art and wines. Over the past three years, Hagerty’s Blue Chip collector car index has increased by more than 50 per cent, and the Rosso Corsa index of Ferraris has doubled. Ferrari has led the way in the collector’s car market since the turn of the millennium. For example, in the 2013–2014

auction season, more than half of the cars that went for US$ 1 million or more were Ferraris with Astons, Porsches and Maseratis trailing far behind. Investors typically choose older models of specials cars, mainly from the 1950s and 1960s. Ferrari is an exception: it has succeeded in making cars whose prices have not started to decrease immediately after leaving the forecourt – on the contrary, their prices increased and have continued to do so.

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1963 Ferrari 250 GT california SWB

1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

2dr Spyder (closed headlight) 12-cyl. 2953cc/280hp 3 Weber Carbs

2dr Coupe 12-cyl. 2953.72cc/280hp 3 Weber Carbs

Value change over time

Value change over time

$2,400,000

$2,400,000

$1,800,000

$1,800,000

Values

$3,000,000

Values

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$600,000

$0

$0

Condition 2

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Lähde: Hagertin Rosso Corsa -indeksi

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Condition 4

ec

A

D

ec

A

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20 pr 06 A 200 ug 7 2 D 00 ec 7 2 A 00 pr 7 A 200 ug 8 2 D 00 ec 8 2 A 00 pr 8 A 200 ug 9 20 Ja 09 n 2 A 010 pr A 201 ug 0 2 D 01 ec 0 2 M 010 ay 2 Se 01 p 1 2 D 01 ec 1 A 201 pr 1 A 201 ug 2 20 D ec 12 2 A 012 pr A 201 ug 3 20 13

$1,200,000

20 pr 06 A 200 ug 7 2 D 00 ec 7 2 A 00 pr 7 A 200 ug 8 2 D 00 ec 8 20 A pr 08 A 200 ug 9 20 Ja 09 n 2 A 010 pr A 201 ug 0 2 D 01 ec 0 2 M 010 ay 2 Se 01 p 1 2 D 01 ec 1 A 201 pr 1 A 201 ug 2 20 D ec 12 2 A 012 pr A 201 ug 3 20 13

$1,200,000

Condition 1

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The GTO was the pinnacle of the Ferrari 250 GT series, 1961 was a good year for wines. The harvest was small, even though it was intended as a road car. The early stages but the quality of the grapes was exceptionally high, and of the planning process were kept top secret. Led by Giotto the grapes were used to produce some of the best wines Bizzarrini, the purpose of the secret project was to create ever. Today, these wines are some of the best investments. a car that would challenge and defeat the Jaguar E-Type. The year was good for cars as well. Two legendary cars Bizzarrini understood the importance of aerodynamics were introduced: the Jaguar E-Type and the Ferrari 250 at high speeds and in extreme conditions. The technical GTO, which today is the most expensive car in the world. details of the GTO were fine-tuned at the University of When writing their cheques for US$ 9,800 to Ferrari in Pisa’s wind tunnel and on the race tracks of Monza. the Autumn of 1961, the buyers did not know that their The 250 GTO (Gran Tourismo Omologato) was first cars would become the most coveted automobiles on the introduced to the public at Monza in September 1961, planet. In September 2013, a Ferrari 250 GTO was sold shortly before the Italian Grand Prix, and was nicknamed for US$ 52 million. This price was nearly 50 per cent “Il Mostro” (Monster). This was because the car was still in higher than the previous record, which was also held by a the prototype stage, and its design was more or less coarse. Ferrari 250 GTO.

1968 Ferrari 275 GTB/4

FINE Lifestyle

250 GTO – The birth of a legend

1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso

2dr Coupe 12-cyl. 3285.72cc/300hp 6 Weber Carbs

2dr Coupe 12-cyl. 2953.21cc/240hp 3 Weber Carbs

Value change over time

Value change over time $3,000,000

$2,400,000

$2,400,000

$1,800,000

$1,800,000

Values

Values

$3,000,000

$600,000

$600,000

$0

$0

Condition 2

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ec

A

D

ec

A

D

Condition 1

20 pr 06 A 200 ug 7 2 D 00 ec 7 20 A pr 07 2 0 A ug 08 2 D 00 ec 8 2 A 00 pr 8 2 0 A ug 09 20 Ja 09 n 2 A 010 pr A 201 ug 0 2 D 01 ec 0 2 M 010 ay 2 Se 01 p 1 2 D 01 ec 1 A 201 pr 1 A 201 ug 2 2 D 01 ec 2 2 A 012 pr A 201 ug 3 20 13

$1,200,000

20 pr 06 A 200 ug 7 2 D 00 ec 7 20 A pr 07 2 0 A ug 08 2 D 00 ec 8 2 A 00 pr 8 2 0 A ug 09 20 Ja 09 n 2 A 010 pr A 201 ug 0 2 D 01 ec 0 2 M 010 ay 2 Se 01 p 1 2 D 01 ec 1 A 201 pr 1 A 201 ug 2 2 D 01 ec 2 2 A 012 pr A 201 ug 3 20 13

$1,200,000

Condition 1

Condition 2

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Condition 4

Nevertheless, test-driven by Stirling Moss, the car The Ferrari 250 GTO won many international races, including the Tour de France Automobile in 1963 and achieved record-breaking lap times, much better than 1964; the GT class of the Targa Florio in 1962, 1963 and those recorded for the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta passo 1964; the GT category of Le Mans in 1962 and 1963; and corto. Later in the same year, Bizzarrini found himself the Nürburgring 1,000 kilometre race in 1963 and 1964. replaced by Sergio Scaglietti, who was assigned to finalise After that, Enzo Ferrari decided to focus on Formula One. the frame of the GTO. He is the man behind its iconic The GTO was by far the most intense and most exciting design. Ferrari 250 GT car. It was at home in the city, on the road Like many other Ferraris of that time, the GTO had a and on the race track, and has achieved an iconic status 3-litre V12 engine, with the cylinder heads set at a 60 degree among Ferrari enthusiasts. Its track record in racing – angle to each other. The engine had two camshafts, one in combined with the fact that only 30 cars were produced each cylinder head. Designed by Gioacchino Colombo, – has also made it the most appreciated Ferrari among the engine was equipped with six Weber carburettors and collectors. generated 300 horsepower. The top speed of the car was a dizzying 298 km/h. The car had a 5-speed synchronised gearbox designed by Porsche.

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F50 F50 – The super machine

The F50, the Ferrari super machine of the 1990s, was the successor to the F40. It is also a super-profitable investment, much like its predecessor. The owner can drive the car without worry for 15 years and easily get double the original price if they decide to sell the car. The F40 and the F50 were special models, with the latter celebrating Ferrari’s first 50 years as a car manufacturer, albeit slightly ahead of schedule. The new model was introduced in Geneva in 1995. At the launch event, Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari, stated that the company was going to produce only 349 cars, one fewer than they were expecting to be able to sell. The technology was beyond cutting-edge: the car had an ultra-light composite chassis, and its body was mainly made of carbon fibre. Ferrari wanted to create a road car with the performance ability and qualities of a Formula One car. The company wanted nothing to come between the driver and the driving experience and feel of the road. The car was stripped off all electronic driver assist systems, such as antiskid devices and anti-lock brakes. The engine was Ferrari at its best: the 60-valve 4.7-litre

V12 engine was modelled on the Ferrari F1 engine that brought Alain Prost many victories in the early 1990s. It was installed lengthwise in the middle to generate 500 horsepower and a top speed of 325 km/h. The car accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds. These were record figures for Ferrari at the time, but were nowhere near those of the McLaren F1 model, for example, which generated a top speed of 390 km/h. However, in my opinion, the F50 sounded much more powerful than the McLaren. The F50 produced intense sounds, mainly because the engine, differential and 6 speed stick-shift gearbox were located behind the driver’s seat, which had a thin structure made from carbon fibre. Its sound insulation was poor for a road car, which makes it one of the few cars that you do not want to test-drive without wearing a helmet to protect your ears from the noise. The engine has a dualistic soundscape: at low revolutions, it is misleadingly gentle. At higher revolutions, it sounds as if the roaring and thundering engine wants to take control of your brain and make you push the accelerator deeper and deeper in a state somewhere between lucidity and insanity.

Designed by Pininfarina, the F50 did not have the raw beauty of the F40, and it had little in common with any other Ferrari models either, except for the satin black indents on the sides and the traditional tail lights. It was characterised by arched and rounded shapes, as well as intakes and outlets, and a rear spoiler even more radical than that of the F40. The design of its frame was intended to be aerodynamic rather than aesthetically pleasing. The F50 is destined to become soughtafter by collectors. It marked the end of the mechanical era before the electronic revolution. It is also a Ferrari that causes a severe, lifelong addiction. When the owners of the F50s were asked about selling their cars, only 1 per cent said they were planning to do so over the next five years. Rarity and practically non-existent availability guarantee positive price development. Why buy a small investment apartment in the heart of London when you can get a bright red devil of a car for the same price – a car that will bring you a new zest for life, more visibility, new friends, new experiences and a better return on your investment?

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Named after the founder of Ferrari, the Ferrari Enzo was created to celebrate Ferrari’s first Formula One championship of the new millennium. Only 399 cars were produced and even though the car was not introduced until 2002, its value has already doubled and is predicted to rise almost fivefold by 2025. The Enzo was designed by Ken Okuyama, former head designer of Pininfarina. It was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 2002. The company had invited its best customers to the event, especially those who had previously bought a F40 or F50. A total of 349 cars were sold at the event, before production had even begun. The price was € 482,419 (US$ 659,330). After many requests, Ferrari later decided to manufacture 50 more cars, which increased their total number to 399. The purpose of use had never before affected the design of a Ferrari as much as it affected that of the Enzo. Thousands of hours of testing were carried out in a wind tunnel, on a track and on the road – all aiming at maximum performance ability. The result was perfect and without compromise: a car that deserves to be called a Ferrari. The design and purpose of the front part were inspired by F1 cars. However, the car did not have a F1 type spoiler at the back. Instead, the engineers went for more sophisticated aerodynamics and a strong ground effect. Pininfarina combined these with other functionalities to create an incredibly captivating design. The body was made from aluminium and carbon fibre, weighing just 202 kilos. Perhaps surprisingly, the engine was modelled on the magnificent Maserati V8, while also being based on Ferrari’s experience in F1 racing. The Enzo was equipped with a 6.0 litre V12 engine that generated 660 horsepower. The engine produced a unique combination of amazing power and immense torque, as well as a broad, very flexible range of use, even at low revolutions. The 6 speed semi-automatic gearbox was located behind the engine and was directly connected to the engine. The design focused on producing as short gear shift times as possible (150 milliseconds in the Super Shift

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Ferrari Enzo – In honour of four consecutive F1 constructors’ championships

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mode) to create the perfect sport driving experience. This was achieved by designing a completely new, computerguided electronic control unit that adjusted not only the transmission, but also the engine, suspension, antiskid system and brakes. The brake system was specifically designed for the Enzo by Brembo, making the Enzo the first Ferrari road car with highly effective, lightweight ceramic brakes reinforced with carbon fibre. However, Scuderia had already been using Brembo in Ferrari F1 cars for years. The Enzo accelerated from 0 to 200 km/h in 9.6 seconds, and its top speed was more than 350 km/h. Its cockpit was surprisingly spacious, with relatively good rear visibility. The doors opened upwards, and the F1style steering wheel had buttons for various functionalities, tachometer indicator lights and shift selectors. The Enzo

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even had fully automatic air conditioning and power steering, both of which are useful qualities to have when traffic is stalled and complicated in the city and the hot V12 engine is breathing behind your back. However, the car has very much the feel of racing car, including a few tricks that you need to learn to be able to start the car. First, you need to turn the key and put your foot on the brake. Then you need to put the car into neutral using the paddles behind the wheel and push the red button in the middle console to wake up the engine – which has a more subdued sound than you might expect. It sounds surprisingly soft and gentle. Before my test drive, the owner of the car reminded me to warm the tyres before I put the pedal to the metal. He also recommended that I avoid traffic jams. In normal driving, the Enzo

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behaves in a sophisticated manner, which may cause the driver to become a little complacent. However, it is impossible not to worry about the width of the car in the narrow streets of the city. In true Ferrari style, the steering is highly responsive and accurate. The transmission is highly responsive as well: more so than that of any other car of the same era, but it is also loud. Even in second gear, the car reaches speeds that make the brake very useful on a motorway: other cars appear in the windscreen much more rapidly than an inexperienced Ferrari driver would expect. In fact, I was more impressed with the car’s ability to stop abruptly, if needed, than its insane acceleration.

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T h e Enzo is in a class of its own, even among supercars, and a great display of homage to Enzo Ferrari, the founder and soul of Ferrari. “Enzo Ferrari had the ability to always look forward, even under the most difficult circumstances. He made his dream come true with determination and great passion – qualities that are shared by the people now working for the company that carries his name. I am convinced that he would be proud of the people who represent Ferrari


FINE Lifestyle

in the twenty-first century. Ferrari is a major resource for motor racing and the automotive industry. The company produces dream cars and continues to be at the top of motor racing, bringing joy to its millions of fans around the world,� says Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari. The most famous Enzo owners include Tommy Hilfiger, Nicholas Cage, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Michael Schumacher. In addition, Ferrari gave an Enzo as a gift to Pope John Paul II to replace his previous one, which was destroyed in an accident. This was the 400th Enzo, the last one ever produced, and it was auctioned by the Catholic Church and the Pope to help tsunami victims.

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FXX – The Super Enzo

Three years after the creation of the Enzo, the Bologna Motor Show witnessed the introduction of the FXX, a new car based on the Enzo and known as the Super Enzo. The FXX was intended for a small group of Ferrari’s most loyal and passionate customers, and a highly inventive cooperation programme between the manufacturer and the customers was developed around the new car. The FXX, a pure racing car, is the technologically most advanced Ferrari ever to have been produced by the Maranello factory. The FXX has not been approved for road or race use and can only be driven on tracks. A total

of 30 FXX cars were produced. The FXX is the culmination of Ferrari’s expertise in manufacturing limited series of special sports cars using all of its knowledge and skills in motor racing. The new car will serve as a framework for the development of future special models and their qualities. The FXX is exceptionally powerful, even for a Ferrari. Its performance ability is in a class of its own: its free-breathing 6.3 litre V12 aluminium engine generates more than 800 horsepower. Its transmission makes use of F1 technology, producing gear shift times of less than 100 milliseconds. Its aerodynamic design is even more innovative than that of the Enzo, with a 40 per cent higher downforce, even though the Enzo has a very impressive downforce to begin with. Ferrari’s F1 tyre partner, Bridgestone, developed

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special 19-inch slick tyres for the FXX, and Brembo developed for the first time in 2006. At the time of writing, his black highly effective CCM (Composite Ceramic Material) brake FXX, with a mileage of 900 kilometres, is for sale at a Swiss discs. dealership for US$ 2.7 million. Each buyer of an FXX will be given an advanced driving course by the best professional drivers to ensure that they will be able to control the whole package: the exceptional performance ability, the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in less than three seconds, the top speed of 345 km/h and everything else about this unique car. The courses are held at the Fiorano Circuit, which Ferrari uses to test-drive its F1 cars. After the seat and pedals have been adjusted to suit the new owner, they will take part in a traditional shakedown test, followed by a lesson about the methods of test-driving. A group of pre-selected Ferrarists were given the opportunity to buy an FXX at a price of around US$ 1.8 million. The car was introduced in 2005, and its value has since increased by a million dollars. The 30th FXX was gifted to Michael Schumacher after he decided to end his F1 career

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F12 F12 – Rise or fall in three seconds

For a long time, I dreamt of buying a 599 GTB Fiorina, as it had everything that a classic Ferrari can offer its owner: a powerful 12-cylinder engine under a long, curved hood, in addition to rear-wheel drive and a delicate yet masculine body design. When I was eventually able to buy one, I was exhilarated – but only for a short while: I found myself disappointed with the car after the first few weeks. With the 599 GTB Fiorina, the tried-and-tested Ferrari recipe did

not seem to be working. The car was simply too powerful, and Ferrari had needed to resort to extreme measures in terms of electronics, the chassis and the brakes in order to control its power. The car behaved like a capricious child, even at low speeds, and all the torque and power made the anti-skid warning light flash during the ride to the grocery store. When accelerating on a ramp to the motorway in third gear, I had to concentrate hard on ensuring that the rear tyres did not lose traction. The 599 may be

suitable for the racing track but not for dayto-day use. It was the first car that I refused to lend to my daughter. I found it uncomfortable, unstable and dangerous: it was a beast, p ­ rowling amidst ordinary traffic and putting its driver at risk. For this reason, I did not even consider changing it to a new Ferrari when the company introduced the F12berlinetta, “the most powerful Ferrari ever intended for road use”. I chose a four-wheel drive Lamborghini Callardo instead.

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Ferrari F12berlinetta

Motor: 65° V12 Maximum power: 740 hv 545 kW Top torque: 690 Nm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h 3,1 s Top speed: 340 km/h coupe Height: 4618 mm Width: 1942 mm Weight: 1525 kg

F12 BERLINETTA F12berlinetta – Fighting the g-force

The F12berlinetta is equipped with Ferrari’s next-generation, free-breathing, 6.3 litre 12 cylinder engine, which produces 740 horsepower. It is immensely powerful, but more successfully so than its predecessor, the 599 GTB Fiorina. In fact, excluding special series, the F12 is the most powerful car ever to have been introduced by Ferrari for road use, and it has the highest performance ability. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.1 seconds and from 0 to 200 km/h in 8.5 seconds, and produces a top speed of 340 km/h. These are impressive, if not scary, figures for a rear-wheeldrive car with the engine in the front. Scaglietti, a master of processing aluminium, carbon fibre and other light car body materials, designed a completely new type of aluminium frame and a revolutionary body using 12 alloys, some of which were being used for the first time in the automotive industry. Scaglietti also

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employed new installation and joint techniques. As a result of all of this, the torsion of the body improved by 20 per cent, and the weight of the vehicle decreased to 1,525 kilos, which is 70 kilos less than the weight of the 599 GTB. In addition, the distribution of weight between the axles is ideal, with 54 per cent of the total weight resting on the rear. The impressive technologies in the F12berlinetta also include Ferrari’s thirdgeneration carbon-ceramic brakes (CCM3) and the newest version of the SCM-E suspension control system. In current Ferrari style, the control systems for the gearbox, engine, brakes, suspension, anti-skid functionalities and aerodynamics have been integrated. All of these sub-systems take one another into account to maximise the total performance of the car. The F12berlinetta is a super coupé with streamlined, aggressive shapes, as well as compact dimensions but an exceptionally spacious and comfortable interior. The

Poltrona Frau leather interior accentuates the balance between advanced technology and sophisticated, handcrafted details. The new ventilation grilles in the centre of the narrow, elegant dashboard are made from carbon fibre and aluminium, and were clearly inspired by the world of aviation, as was the entire car, for it makes you feel as if you were flying. Much like other modern, front-engined Ferraris, such as the 550 Maranello and the 575 GTB, the 599 GTB has not retained its value very well. After a few years of use, a 599 GTB has lost a third of its value, and I do not think that the F12 will be much of an exception in this respect. However, the delivery times for new F12berlinettas are currently two to three years. This means that, for the time being, there are used F12s on the market, with a mileage of a few thousand kilometres that have sold for more than new ones.


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FF FERRARI FOUR FF – Ferrari Four

The FF offers a new perspective on Ferrari’s traditional Grand Tourer theme. Not only is it the first four-wheel-drive Ferrari, but it also clearly differs from previous models in the sense that it effortlessly combines the extreme performance ability of a sports car with the versatility and high usability of a genuine GT. In addition, it comes with a highly innovative design. In fact, each aspect of the FF oozes innovation, including its engine, the first 6.6 litre V12 engine paired with a 7 speed dual-clutch F1 transmission. The V12 engine generates a massive 660 horsepower. This gives it the performance ability of a sports car: the FF accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 335 km/h.

It intelligently distributes torque between all of the four tyres. This has been achieved by combining all of its dynamic driving control methods (E-Diff, F1-Trac and PTU) under a single CPU. The FF performs better than a considerable number of more powerful supercars, particularly on rainy days and in slippery conditions. Its chassis design ensures an ideal distribution of weight, which is typical of Ferraris. The engine is located in the middle in the front, and the gearbox is located above the rear axle, with 53 per cent of the total weight resting on the rear part of the car. Its third-generation carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes are lighter and more durable, with practically non-existent wear in normal driving.

Its elegant interior ensures a comfortable ride for the driver and up to three passengers. It is the first car in the history of Ferrari with an entertainment and information system for the back-seat passengers, with two screens that enable them to watch TV and DVDs. In addition, the car has a 1,280 watt, 16 channel stereo system with Quantumlogic Surround Sound. Its 450 litre boot is also new for Ferrari and can be expanded to 800 litres by folding down the back seats. The FF car is a genuine family car – with a world-class price. .

Ferrari FF

Motor: V12 65° Maximum power: 660 hv 486 kW Top torque: 683 Nm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h 3,7 s Top speed: 335 km/h coupe Height: 4907 mm Width: 1953 mm Weight: 1790 kg

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LA FERRARI

LaFerrari – Ooh la la

MMaranello, 5 March 2013 – The new LaFerrari was finally unveiled. The much-awaited special car by the Prancing Horse team debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show. Only 499 cars will be produced. “We decided to name this model LaFerrari, as it embodies superiority, our core principle,” said Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari. “The new car is superior in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary design and the sheer excitement of driving. This special car is intended for collectors, and it features highly advanced solutions that will be applied to other models in the future. It is a benchmark for the entire automotive industry. The LaFerrari is the finest expression of our unique, unparalleled

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engineering and design expertise, and also draws on our F1 experience.” Limited series of special cars offer Ferrari an opportunity to try new technological solutions, some of which will later be used in mass-market cars. The introduction of Ferrari’s hybrid system plays a significant role in this respect. Making full use of Scuderia’s knowledge of the F1 Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), Ferrari has developed a solution that highlights the company’s core values: performance and the excitement of driving. The LaFerrari posed a major challenge to the Prancing Horse team in the initial stages of the design process. The challenge was related to the layout of the cockpit: the seat is customised to the driver, while the pedals and the steering

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wheel are adjustable. As the driving position resembles that in one-seat cars, Ferrari’s F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa contributed to the design. They also played an active role throughout the entire design process. Four grades of carbon fibre are used in the chassis, all of them laminated by hand and shaped at the racing car department. The design and manufacturing methods are the same as those used in Formula One. Headed by Flavio Manzoni, the Ferrari design team created the LaFerrari in close cooperation with engineers to ensure an optimal balance between form and function. This resulted in a highly innovative design that is respectful of brand traditions, which is best evident in the profile: the car has a sharp, sloping front and a very low bonnet that highlights its strong tyre arches – a nod to the luxurious shapes of the Ferrari prototypes of the late 1960s.

Overall, the LaFerrari ensures almost unbearable excitement in driving in all situations, with excellent performance. Its new V12 engine is aided by an electric motor, which adds 160 horsepower to the 789 horsepower generated by the V12 engine. The LaFerrari accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than three seconds and from 0 to 200 km/h in less than seven. Its lap time at Fiorano was less than 1 minute and 20 seconds, meaning that it was five seconds faster than the Enzo and more than three seconds faster than the F12berlinetta. In other words, the LaFerrari is the fastest car intended for road use in the long history of Maranello. >

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