Happy New Year! The world of wine is a dynamic and amazing place to be. 2020 is quickly shaping up to be one of the most interesting in the world of wine in many years. Over the past decade we have seen the United States become the largest wine consumer on the planet and regions that have been relegated to the sidelines take the top spots in some cellars.
But we cannot start the talk about 2020 wine trends without facing the glooming threat of higher tariffs on wines from the European Union. In October 2019, the United States government imposed 25% tariffs on the majority of wines from the EU, excluding Champagne, all wines from Italy and wines over 14% in alcohol. This is not what any importer, retailer, restaurant or consumer was hoping for, but the price increases were manageable.
Then in late November 2019, the United States Trade Representative announced that proceedings had begun to evaluate increasing tariffs on ALL E.U. wines up to 100%. This has now caused a panic amongst importers, retailers and restaurants across the United States. What will happen we won’t know until later in January.
So, what does all this mean for your cellar? If the tariffs go into place, I predict an increase in the value of topflight European wines across the board. We will see the auction market as the main and possibly only market in which to get the wines people want. There will be fierce competition amongst collectors and restaurants that pride themselves on their wine lists. So, if you are sitting on some gems, it will be important to follow the auction markets and see if and when you may want to buy or sell.
As this year begins to heat up in the auction market I thought it would be good to highlight some regions and estates that may not be on your radar. As the allocations of the highest and most established tier gets smaller, there are always estates right at your fingertips that will provide great drinking pleasure AND will appreciate over time.
When it comes to Bordeaux, it is always amazing to grab the 1st growths and the Super-2nd’s, but if you can, further down the Classification and one will find some great wines that will bring additional value to your cellar.
Burgundy still represents some of the most beautiful wines in the world AND even if tariffs go through, you will be able to fill your coffers in the meantime with these gems that may run under the radar.
Domaine Genot-Boulanger – they own 22 hectares, which is a lot in Burgundy and produce wines from over 30 appellations – in 2008 the converted to biodynamics and are quickly becoming a darling of the region
MC Thiriet – based out of Chateau de Comblanchien in the Cote-d’Or this micro-negoce is making unreal wines. This is one of the young guns of the region who are quickly making their mark heard not with a pop but with a BANG.
Domaine Chandon de Briailles – this estate is very underrated and older vintages can be found at auction and the domestic gray market. From Corton to Savigny-les-Beaune the wines are specific, beautiful and most importantly delicious.
Jean-Philippe FIchet – A master of Meursault. If you love white Burgundy and have not had Fichet – go get it. It is amazing, ages well and makes lieux-dits, especially the Le Tesson that will blow your mind.
If you love the Rhone you will be happy to know that the importer, Vineyard Brands, has brought in a significant amount of Chateau de Beaucastel older vintages. I recently was able to taste a few different vintages: 2001, 1999 & 1995. Each was perfect and delicious.
If Barolo and Barbaresco is where you heart lies, fear not there are historic producers AND under-the-radar producers to quench your thrist.
Produttori del Barbaresco – one of the most classic and historic of producers has good quantity state side with their most recent Riserva vintage landing just recently. The 2014’s are amazing. You can also find them in the auction market for great prices.
Poderi e Cantine Oddero, located in La Morra, this estate is producing wines of such depth and character that they were recently invited to Antonio Galloni’s Festa del Barolo this January. If Antonio is hot on it…you know its great.
Last but not least, if you like bubbles there are some Champagnes that should be in your cellar, that over time will 100% either make you happy when you drink it OR your wallet when you sell it.
Pierre Paillard – located in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy – the brothers running this estate are making amazing wines. From their classic Brut to their single vineyard wines the entire line is superb.
Chartogne-Taillet – this is another estate where the younger generation has taken the bull by the horns and elevated the wines to new heights. The wines “Les Barres” & “Cuvee Heurtebise” both are mind-bending and will age for a long time.
Suenen – this may be the hardest of the bunch to find, but look high and low. Located in Cramant in the Cote de Blanc, this estate is ALL that. Each of the wines are lasers and pristine.