Italy (and Burgundy) points the way…

There has been much glum talk in recent months over the sorry state of the fine wine market. However, the reality is that it’s only the market for fine Bordeaux (vintages new and old) which is in such a sorry state at the moment, for reasons well and widely documented. Outside of this traditional engine room of fine wine trading things are actually pretty perky. Burgundies and Italians, particularly top Tuscans, are trading briskly on the back of a succession of fine vintages and a strong (and fully accurate) market perception that they offer real strength in the key department of the price:quality ratio.

It has much to do with sentiment of course, and positive sentiment towards Bordeaux remains in short supply at the moment. An increasingly sophisticated international market has broadened its scope, to the aforementioned Burgundies and Italians, but also extending to top Rhônes, top Australians (Penfolds Grange 2008 anyone?) and various other fine and rare gems from around the world. And so, along with increased interest, deeper trading and widening global demand, we have seen prices of top Italians steadily climb.

This week in particular has seen a keen focus on 2010 Super-Tuscans. The world’s leading wine critic, Antonio Galloni (now newly independent of The Wine Advocate) has published a raft of seriously impressive reviews of the 2010s from such leading lights as Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Tignanello and Solaia. Mr Galloni considers 2010 to be a quite brilliant Tuscan vintage, by any standards, and this has prompted some enthusiastic trading over the last few days.

We’re entirely sympathetic to all of this, as Italy (Tuscany, Piedmont, Campania and plenty of other places in Italy besides) makes wines which rank alongside the best made anywhere in the world. They’re not just wonderful in the sense of out-and-out quality, but also style: many are highly distinctive and innovative, which makes them among the most exciting wines made anywhere today, whether from the many wonderfully fine local Italian grape varieties or blends with the classics of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, among others.

Ian Paveley, Clarion Wines, August 16th 2013

Comments are closed.