This Week In Wine – May 28th 2011



Oh Camilla...

English sparkling wine should be called Champagne, says Camilla

English sparkling wine should be called Champagne, according to the Duchess of Cornwall.

The quality of English fizz is so good the drink "is champagne" the Duchess declared, echoing what many in the English wine trade believe, but showing scant regard for complex and strict European food labeling laws.

The Duchess’s comments came as she and the Prince of Wales toured the Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey, which last week won an award for producing the best rose wine in the world.

After taking a sip of the rose Charles turned to his wife and asked: "What does our resident expert think?" and she replied "It’s very good" and said a few moments later "That’s so good it’s absolutely delicious."

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My Thoughts

Oh, I’m sure the French are going to LOVE this one! I’ve been reading a lot about English wine lately, and more precisely how much the quality has improved, even just over the last few years. Comparing it to Champagne is a little bit of a stretch though, and that’s me talking without even tasting it!
I’ll promise you this though; I’m visiting England this year in August and I’ll definitely give you a video review of some “English Sparklers” whilst I’m over there. If it doesn’t match up to Champagne, I’ll be having some choice words with my good friend Camilla…


Bernie Madoff. Amateur Wine Collector.Madoff wines sell out

Morrell & Company sold all 58 lots from Bernard L Madoff’s wine and spirits holdings for US $41,530 on Wednesday.

The consignment had been estimated at US$15,000-21,000. The majority of the lots sold above their high estimates.

‘The proceeds from this auction are going towards compensating Madoff’s victims, so we couldn’t be happier with the results,’ said auction director Kimberly Janis. The buyers pay an 18% premium, which Morrell keeps.

Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence for running an investment scheme that was the biggest fraud in Wall Street history.

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My Thoughts

$41,530 down, only just under $18 billion left to repay to investors! My question is what kind of amateur wine collector was this guy!?!? An estimated cellar value of between $15,000-$20,000!?!?! My heart goes out to people who lost money, but I do have to say that Bernie had his wine collecting priorities all wrong!!!


Lots of vino = strong bones! Keep on drinking!For Strong Bones, Drink Red Wine

Milk builds strong bones, but apparently wine helps keep them. According to an Australian study recently published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, red wine contributes to stronger bone health in older men. The researchers found links between improved bone mineral density (BMD) and red wine consumption in men aged 50 to 80.

There is a long-established connection between excessive drinking and increased bone fractures due to osteoporosis and falls, but research on moderate drinking has found mixed results. The new study, which followed nearly 900 men and women over a two-year period, considered the benefits and detriments of beer, red wine and spirits on men and women.

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My Thoughts

What CAN’T wine do!?!? That’s what I want to know!!! Judging by some of the comments I get on this website and Facebook page, I think I might possibly have some of the most bone-strong readers out of any website!


Bordeaux in China. If they could make it themslves they would, and for half the price!Not enough wine in France to satisfy Chinese thirst.

Bordeaux’s famed vineyards cannot produce enough fine wine to satisfy China’s thirst, the head of one of the region’s most important chateaus has warned.

Xavier de Eizaguirre, who manages Chateau Mouton Rothschild, one of France’s five “Premier Cru” estates, said it has been a “huge struggle to stay fair” to his customers. “When the Chinese are willing to buy your entire year’s production, it is difficult to resist,” he said.

The five Premier Cru estates, which also include Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour and Chateau Haut-Brion, produce just 180,000 bottles to 200,000 bottles of wine each year, and there is only so much to go around.

With hordes of Chinese millionaires hunting down “icon” wine for their cellars, the prices of Premier Cru wines have tripled or quadrupled on the mainland in the past year.

Asian buyers now account for 60% of Sotheby’s wine sales globally and in 2010 a case of Chateau Lafite 2009, en primeur, sold for £43,000 in Hong Kong, three times the London price. A case of Lafite which sold for £2,500 ten years ago in New York or London now fetches as much as £37,000.

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My Thoughts

I still can’t wrap my head around this recent fascination by the Chinese with all things Bordeaux. From what I have read, it seems to stem from the history of the region, the symbol of prestige that owning Bordeaux has, and also the increased marketing efforts from the top Chateaux.
As a winery, I’m sure it’s hard to pick and choose between your customers and not to sell to the highest bidder, but I think Bordeaux producers need to be very careful not to damage relations with the rest of the world.
There’s always a chance the “Bordeaux-bubble” may burst in China!


Run DRC - It's like that, and that's the way it is!

Christie’s ‘record’ for Burgundy bottle

At the auction on 17 May at Christie’s Geneva a private American buyer bid US $123,889 for a single 750ml bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1945.
Other top wines at the auction drew bidders from Asia, Russia and Europe as well as from the United States, Christie’s spokesman Cristiano De Lorenzo told – driving up total auction sales to $3.4m, an 80% increase year on year auction, he said.
Other notable sales included a 12-bottle case of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982, sold to a French company for US $67,813 and six bottles of Romanée-Conti 1999, purchased by a Swiss company for US$84,766.

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My Thoughts

Let’s face it, the wine isn’t going to taste all that great, but I have always wanted to taste something from the European war-era. I need to find out which “American buyer” purchased this bottle and invite myself and my wife over for dinner. I’ve been known to be extremely ruthless when it comes to convincing people to open expensive bottles of wine….

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