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It’s going to be no surprise to you that the consumption of wine has risen in the last few weeks, but are you drinking what’s fashionable?
We spoke to Andrew Azzopardi, the CEO of No 12 Fine Wines, who deliver wines – wait for it – to super-yachts around the world. Apparently, it’s a real job! He told us about the last trade fair he attended and the trends for wines this summer.
We may not all have super-yachts, or even boats, or even be close to the sea, but we have class and imagination so let’s, for a few hundred words, imagine we are one of the 200,000 ultra high net worth individuals – what would be on our wine list?
“I nearly fell of my chair when I was requested to fly in a case of Mateus Rosé to Mykonos with only hours to spare. I thought the flask-shaped, somewhat pink juice, was only popular in the 80’s. I was obviously wrong, and some multi-millionaire was in dire need of this wine for some reason or other. Could it have been a bet of sorts? Or simply my palate is not refined enough to understand the complex flavours of this 1980’s icon? I’d never know, but more importantly he definitely couldn’t give two hoots about trend or bling and kudos to that,” Andrew starts.
Taking rosé wine as a case in point, it was only when rosé wine was introduced on luxury wine lists that sales amongst the ultra-rich exploded. Flamboyant new kid on the block Sascha Lichine introduced his winery Chateau d’Esclans, with his aptly named ‘Whispering Angel’ and gastronomic rosé ‘Garrus’, two wines that have taken the luxury market by storm. But 2019 was the year for Minuty rosé with the ‘281’ and ‘Rosé et Or’ taking centre stage amongst the celebrities.
Italian Pinot Grigio, which has gone out of fashion for quite some time, has lately had some form of resurgence, owing to the easy-drinking nature of wines such as Santa Margherita and Jermann, but it’s France’s most famous names like Baron de Ladoucette – wine’s enfant terrible, Didier Dageneau, who keep producing the most popular, complex and fascinating Sauvignon Blancs often so loved by the Elite.
Extremely expensive Montrachets from top Burgundy producers including Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Coche-Dury, Joseph Drouhin, Louis Latour, Olivier Leflaive and Louis Jadot often prevail, and I don’t foresee changes anytime soon.
I would say this year’s biggest trend is undoubtedly the ‘Super Tuscan’ which outsell all other Italian fine wines combined. The king of Super Tuscan wines, ‘Masseto’, one of the only sold through négociants, is the priciest, most celebrated and of course hardest to source of all.
Bordeaux continues to dominate wine lists in restaurants across the globe and it is of no surprise then that ultra-high net individuals drink the crème de la crème from such an important region, including Châteaux Lafite, Mouton Rothschild, Latour, Margaux and Haut-Brion
Cult wines such as ‘Screaming Eagle’ from California, or the latest talk of the town ‘Liber Pater’, with an asking price of €30,000 a bottle for the latest vintage are for a special and tiny portion of these high spenders who want way more than just a great bottle of wine. They are often passionate about wine, the story and the exclusivity that comes with the purchase. Indubitably, they also have the money to back it up. But would it stand up in a taste test?
And what about bubbles? “The powerful champagne brands such as Dom Pérignon and Louis Roederer Cristal still have the largest market share and Ruinart Blancs de Blanc and the Salon Cuvée ‘S’ vintage 2002, often fetch nearly a thousand euros a bottle. In my opinion Laurent Perrier Rosé is a Champagne brand that has really managed to remain somewhat affordable, yet still be amongst the most popular Rosé Champagne for the rich as well as the average Joe.”
All you need is to wear a polo shirt, collar up of course, shorts and your favourite Summer shoes, and encourage your neighbours to do the same. Chip in to get the wines, some of these are available at your local wine merchant and supermarket and if you can’t charter a yacht this year, you can always imagine your balcony is a boat.