I popped down to Sauternes and Barsac at the beginning of the week and checked up on the grapes at Guiraud, Liot and Clos Haut-Peyraguey. It’s looking good again but this is a critical stage and the embryonic botrytis needs the right conditions over the next few weeks.
The grapes themselves are excellent with good sugar levels and excellent aromatics. It will be an early harvest with the first picks starting as early as next week to weed out unwanted ‘beery’ grapes and capture some of the early botrytised bunches. This will leave the beautifully golden grapes you can see in the videos below to ripen fully and gain an added degree or so of potential alcohol. Bill Blatch
In case you missed the news a rare bottle of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem recently broke the record for the world’s most expensive bottle of white wine, fetching £75,000 – there’s a nice video all about it below:
Firstly, I was delighted to hear that the wine was being bought to drink – hat’s off to the buyer for that. I’m also pleased that Yquem is rightly being recognised as the finest white wine in the world. For me it follows naturally on from this that Sauternes is the finest white wine region in the world and everyone in Sauternes should take some pride from this sale.
There is also the undeniable fact that Yquem is a very good investment – a similar bottle sold in 2005 for around £35,000 and one in 2007 for around £50,000. I’ve no idea what it cost originally but it’s price has certainly soared since Robert Parker gave it 100 points when he tasted it in 1996. Most ‘savvy’ wine investors have a little Yquem in their portfolios, sometimes up to 10% (see wine investment blogger Jackson Taylor’s portfolio composition here).
Personally I am all for drinking Yquem at every opportunity (especially with oysters) but I have been known to sell some of the wine I have accumulated over the 30+ years I have worked in Bordeaux. There comes a point when a wine becomes worth so much that you begin to calculate what else you might be able to buy with the money if it were sold. Often I reinvest in more wine but sometimes more prosaic bills have to be paid.
At Bordeaux Gold we have just become members of the Liv-Ex fine wine trading exchange and would be happy to help anyone wishing to sell any wine they hold. Working through Liv-Ex your wine would be visible to virtually all the major buyers across the world, often leading to a better price than would be achieved at auction taking commission into account. Contact Steve by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in finding out more.
Finally, I am especially delighted that Yquem from a ‘Comet Year’ should become a world record holder. Anyone who has read my vintage reports know what emphasis I put on the weather and the ‘Great Comet of 1811’ which was visible for a record 260 days was particularly beneficial for wine-makers. I remember an amusing film called ‘Year of the Comet’ which was all about a record breaking bottle of wine from 1811 – I must track a copy down. Bill Blatch