A very happy, if slightly belated, New Year to you all.
Hopefully you all had a restful festive period and are looking forward to a fun and prosperous 2016.
2015 was a pretty decent year at BI, winning both the major Bordeaux Merchant awards for the second year in a row but, most importantly, with global sales slightly ahead of 2014 – a good effort considering how many others in our market have found life increasingly difficult. Of course our huge thanks must go to you, our loyal and valued customers, for your continued support. We look forward to enticing and entertaining you for another year!
With that in mind, we’ve put together some vinous highlights to look out for in 2016:
Champagne releases have been thick and fast over the past couple of years and given the quality particularly of the 2006 and 2008 vintages, we expect to see more throughout 2016. However the one we’ve all been waiting for is finally here: Krug 2002 will be launched in the next few weeks. There can be few doubts about what this wine will deliver – the only question will be how much is available and how much room is in your cellar. Not quite enough, in both cases, we expect.
Burgundy 2014 is obviously the talk of the town and we will continue to put the very best wines we can find in front of you. As you may have seen from our offers so far, we have been blown away by the quality, particularly of the whites – it’s the best young vintage many of us have tasted in years, if not ever – and there are some superb reds to be had too if you (and we) choose carefully.
Spring will also see the release of many exceptional wines from the Rhône, starting with the 2012 La La's from Guigal. These promise to have the perfect balance of (relatively) early approachability and a wide drinking window. As with every vintage, these are a buy. 2013's from Chave and the ever-magnificent Hermitage La Chapelle from Jaboulet have already received mid to upper-90s scores, so keep your eyes peeled for these. In late spring, Michel Chapoutier will look to grow his world-beating list of perfectly-scored wines with the 'Selection Parcellaires' release from the eagerly-anticipated 2015 vintage.
One of the most popular and fastest-growing categories over the past few years has been Italy, with dramatic increases in quality and a string of excellent vintages across the country. The good news is that 2016 will see more of the same.
Central Tuscany enjoyed superb growing conditions in 2013, with Chianti and Brunello achieving great heights. Whilst the Brunellos won’t be around for a couple of years, this spring’s Chianti releases will offer huge quality and value, and the centrally-based Super Tuscan producers will deliver some top-drawer wines with great balance and intensity. For Brunello lovers, the good news is that with an extra year under their belt the Brunello Riservas from the benchmark 2010 vintage will also be available in spring and the recently-rated 100-point Madonna del Piano Riserva from Valdicava should be released in September.
The 2013 releases from the coastal region of Bolgheri will be focused on spring and autumn, starting with Sassicaia and Ornellaia in March, and subsequently Masseto and Solaia in September. Some of these already sport serious scores and we expect more to follow.
If your tastes lie further north, then look out for the 2012s from Barolo and 2013s from Barbaresco. 2012 is a vintage where producer is key – as in Burgundy the different vineyards and their owners produced wide disparities in quality but, as one well-known American critic with whom we tasted out in Piedmont was heard to proffer, at their very best the ‘12s are magnificent Barolos that should court the attention of those that appreciate Nebbiolo at its purest. We couldn’t agree more. He also intimated one of our favourite producers, Vietti, was at the very top of its game in 2012 – look out for these wines on release as they are nothing short of spectacular. 2013 Barbaresco looks likely to be a game-changer for the appellation, having already been crowned as ‘epic’ by both Antonio Galloni and Monica Larner and described as boasting ‘Regal classicism’.
Spain has also recently enjoyed boom-times at BI and we look forward to new releases early in 2016 from López de Heredia (producers of the legendary Rioja Viña Tondonia, of which we expect to see two superb vintages: Gran Reserva 1996 and Reserva 2004) and Ribera’s finest, Vega Sicilia, who will be releasing their 2008 Único. In the summer we will be offering new vintages from two of our favourite bodegas La Rioja Alta and Bodegas Muga.
Our fastest growing category for the second year in a row was Spirits, driven by a burgeoning global appetite for fine and rare whisky, and our ability to source exceptional parcels of rare Cognac, Armagnac, Rum... We will continue to identify the very best bottles, casks and parcels for drinking and investment, and our Spirits whiz Isabel will remain at the very cutting edge of global Spirits trends.
From elsewhere in the world we look forward to more stunning wines from New Zealand and Australia – 2013 in NZ was reportedly the ‘vintage of a lifetime’ – plus the already-legendary 100-point 2013 from Dominus (Parker recently described 2013 as the best vintage he had ever encountered in Napa in 37 years of tasting). From South America we will see the burgeoning reputations of both Seña (2014) and Almaviva (2013) continue to grow. These are wines worth taking very seriously indeed.
Have we missed anything?
Ah yes, Bordeaux 2015...
So much has been said already about this vintage. It carries the weight of being a vintage ending in 5, which has proven significant in the past few decades, but more rationally, it has the scientific strength of an almost perfect growing season behind it. There seems little doubt (although we will of course confirm ourselves after our visit in April) that the wines will be very good to excellent, it’s as simple as that. All that remains to be seen is the price...
Here’s to a happy, healthy and exciting 2016. Cheers!
Don't forget, if you have any questions you would like to ask, do not hestiate to get in touch with us directly.