Anthony Rose: Except in great years, the wine world no longer revolves around Bordeaux and Burgundy

Who'll give me £600m for a nice little property in Pauillac? It has earnings potential of about £10m a year and the three features required of a top wine property: prestige, great wine and location. Since François H Pinault, the French luxury goods tycoon who also owns Christie's, is down to his last billion or so, he's apparently putting Château Latour on the market, but is unlikely to accept as little as the low estimate of £150m for one of the most prized jewels in the Bordeaux crown, especially as first growths (the others are Haut-Brion, Lafite, Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild) rarely come on the market. Going, going ...

Of greater concern to the not- impoverished Bordeaux château owner (less so I suspect to you or me) is whether anyone will bother to offer anything at all for the latest vintage, due on the market in April when it will be sold en primeur, ie before its release in bottle two years down the track. Ever since the 1982 vintage popularised the idea of selling the new Bordeaux vintage pre-release, an early sales campaign cranks up each year, allowing château owners to get their hands on as much cash as possible before their wine's even bottled. This cunning plan has worked in the past because in excellent years, like 2000 and 2005, we consumers have been able to cash in too by buying wines that are still relatively affordable.

Prices for the top 50-odd, most in-demand châteaux have been creeping up relentlessly since 2005 though, even in the less successful vintages of 2006 and 2007. Now, to the disgust of many of Bordeaux's château-owning elite, one of Bordeaux's most influential merchants, Jean-François Moueix, has warned that a combination of overpricing since 2005 and the likely lack of global demand for a lacklustre vintage could result in no en primeur campaign for the 2008 vintage this year. Well, bully for Jean-François Moueix, because while 2008 might yet turn out to be better than expected, so what? Even if prices fall back to 2004 levels (unlikely), when spare cash is scarce to non-existent, you'll still be able to buy these wines at similar prices (or less) in years to come.

If you're heartened by the thought that there's really no need to think too hard about stocking up on Bordeaux this year for your cellar, much the same may well apply to red burgundy too, whose 2007 vintage is in the process of being tasted in London this week as a prelude to sales. The word on the grapevine is that a miserable summer produced at best "pretty" reds, wine-merchant speak, that is, for mostly average, early-drinking wines. The surprise, though, could be among the white wines, which have been called "excellent" and "brilliant" by two of the most respected burgundy watchers. If so, I'll soon be giving you some pointers on white wines for laying down.

If you're breathing a sigh of relief at not feeling blackmailed into parting with cash you don't really have, the flip side of that particular coin is that, except in great years, the wine world no longer revolves around Bordeaux and Burgundy. So while the 2008 vintage in France may float few boats other than a château-owner's yacht or two, let's not forget that any of our discretionary income not gobbled up by the unfavourable exchange-rate may usefully be directed towards some excellent wines from outside France. 2007 was a blinder in the Rhône and South of France and German Rieslings from this vintage are gorgeous. 2004 and 2006 was excellent for Italy, 2005 for Spanish and Australian reds and 2006 is the year of Argentinian malbec, more of which soon.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot