BI hits ‘gold mine’ with US collection12th February, 2014 by Rupert Millar
Bordeaux Index’s Los Angeles-based office is offering a collection of “staggering” US wines from some of the very best Napa producers between May and June this year.
The wines come from the cellar of a US collector that were bought on release and then kept in storage.
The collection includes wines from Abreu, Colgin, Bond, Dalle Valle and Sine Qua Non with vintages going back to the 1980s.
Highlights include: six bottles of Abreu’s 2004 Madrona for £275 apiece; a five-pack assortment case of Bond’s 2007 Melbury, St Eden, Pluribus, Quella and Vecina for £2,795; a three-pack of Colgin’s 2005 Tychson Hill for £625; a large amount of Dalle Valle Maya from the 1990s and a three pack of the inaugural 1988 vintage for £2,220 and finally Shiraz and Grenache from SQN such as a three bottle and one magnum lot of the 2009 “Next of Kyn” Cumulus Vineyard for £1,980.
All of the wines are extremely hard to find in the US let alone the UK and average 95-97 Parker points. They are among some of the top “cult” Napa estatesand often require customers to sign up to a waiting list for years before they get a chance to buy any of the wine.
Meanwhile, Antique Wine Company has also secured an allocation of another rare Napa star, Hundred Acre.
AWC has secured a tiny amount of the estate’s single vineyard Cabernets from the “Ark” and “Few & Far Between” plots as well as the non-vintage “Fortification”.
Described as being the equivalent of Screaming Eagle or Harlan but at a “fraction” of the price, the estate nonetheless only produces some 600 cases a year so its wines are incredibly rare.
Interest in US wines has been growing of late in the UK and there are also signs that the US market itself is returning to some of its previous form.
Joe Marchant, director at BI’s LA office, told the drinks business that the market was “not what it was” but that it had, “bounced back to a degree”.
With the decline of the US and rise of China in 2008, coupled with the collapse of Château & Estate Wines, Marchant explained that a lot of UK merchants switched their focus on the east and many US merchants likewise began shipping stocks of old fine wine out to Hong Kong.
At the same time they became less involved in en primeurs and Marchant said there seems to be, “less French wines in the US than there used to be.”
He added however that it was wrong to say the US had “lost interest” in Bordeaux.
In act having over-bought in previous years such as 2005, “they were just working through what they had.”
“Now that prices are down,” he noted, “there might be more interest” and pointed out that 2009 and 2010 Bordeaux were proving popular again as the prices are finding a lower level.
One key difference between the US and the UK/Hong Kong markets he noted was that there is still little use for wine as an investment or speculating tool in the US.
“Buying here is universally to drink,” he said, even adding there is a “deep-seated suspicion of investment”.
He said a lot of BI’s business in the US was in older vintages, “2003 and back across the spectrum”.
Old Bordeaux, old northern Italian, old Champagne, old Super Tuscans and old Rhône being the most popular.
“We do very little business with thins like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, “they’re well supplied here and we see prices in the rest of the world that are double the ‘shelf’ price here.
“We’re dealing with very wealthy people buying wines they want to drink,” he concluded.
“There’s not as much traction on the name. They’d rather buy a top vintage of a wine they know they like.”