Little-known Bordeaux sells out in 24 hours
Proving that good-value Bordeaux has no problem finding a buyer in the UK, a top-end blend from Canon-Fronsac sold out in just over 24 hours this week through one London merchant.
The wine, called Cuvée Gaby, was the range-topping wine from Château Gaby in Canon-Fronsac, made by the estate’s winemaker Damien Landouar using the property’s best grapes.
According to Tom Davey, who looks after UK and Russian sales for Château Gaby, London merchant Bordeaux Index took the remaining stock of Cuvée Gaby’s 2008 vintage – amounting to almost 3000 bottles (from a total production of 4,000) – and offered it to their client base on Tuesday this week.
By Wednesday, Davey told the drinks business that the entire stock of wine had sold out, priced at just under £22 per bottle including duty and vat.
Indeed, so successful was the offer, Davey admitted that his boss, David Curl, a former asset manager who bought Château Gaby in 2007, was actually concerned that all the wine was gone – he was hoping to keep a proportion back for personal consumption and entertaining.
Boosting the success of the sale was the fact Cuvée Gaby 2008 was declared the best wine of the vintage in the Great Ranking of Bordeaux Wines by Belgian journalist Rémy Poussart.
The competition, which employs 169 judges to taste “the 596 best wines of Bordeaux” four years after the vintage, saw Gaby beat the likes of châteaux Lafite and Pape Clément to take top spot.
“The fact we finished number one with the 2008 vintage really helped Bordeaux Index,” recorded Davey.
He also said that Gaby may have attracted disaffected cru-classé Bordeaux drinkers following recent high en primeur release prices. “People have become fed up with first growth Bordeaux due to the high prices in 2009 and 2010, so they are looking around for alternatives with a story and potential,” he commented.
Cuvée Gaby was first produced in 2007, following the acquisition of Château Gaby by David Curl from Antoine Khayat, and entered into the Poussart competition, where it came in 76th place – “beating a host of big names” recorded Davey.
In 2008 however, Landouar changed the range-topping wine from 100% Merlot to a 50:50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, producing 4,000 bottles of the cuvée, which were aged in 100% new oak.
Davey told db that he has sent Bordeaux Index samples of Cuvée Gaby from the 2007 and 2009 vintage, and he hopes that the merchant will repeat the offer, which marked the first time this wine has been sold outside France.
The top eight wines in Poussard’s ranking of the 2008 vintage in Bordeaux can be seen on the following page.
The top 8 from 2008:
1 Cuvée Gaby
2 Château Martet, Réserve de Famille
3 Château Pape Clement
4 Château de Chantegrive
5 Château Lafite Rothschild
6 Château la Gasparde, Cuvée Prestige
8 Château Léoville-Poyferré
Bordeaux Index described Cuvée Gaby 2008 as an “exceptional bargain” and “one of the most exciting finds of the year”. The merchant gave it 95 points and the following plug:
“Taking the sensible mantra that ‘if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’ we opened a bottle in the office yesterday and immediately grasped what the fuss was about. Richly fruited, expansively-framed with solid but soft-edged tannins and refreshing acidity, precise and focused but with a supple texture and great finish, it had it all. It’s clear that there is serious terroir and considerable winemaking talent here, and with just 1,500 cases made annually, this is one of the best value wines we have come across.”