(analysed in detail in full report)
In the latest issue of the Wine Advocate, Robert Parker reviewed 490
“Rhone Rangers” from vintages 2006-2009, though coverage of the most
recent vintage is comparatively thin.
In all, three Californian reds received 100-point in-bottle scores and
another six were ushered into the realm of the potentially perfect.
Parker’s scores leave little doubt as to his enthusiasm for the 2007 vintage
and his preference for Central Coast Syrah, which he describes as “the
most consistent high-quality wine in California”. Of the nine top scorers,
eight are Syrah blends and five are 2007s.
According to Parker, weather conditions were particularly harsh in 2008
and 2009, whilst 2007 was a year of quiet balance—”a perfect vintage
virtually everywhere in the Central Coast”. Good growing conditions
produced powerful and intensely fruity wines that have greater ageing
potential than their 2008 and 2009 equivalents. Still, 2008 was not
without its share of superb wines, with around 30 Rhone Rangers
receiving upwards of 95 points.
The “forgotten” 2006 vintage also boasts some beautiful wines. Three
2006s were awarded the full 100 points, including Alban, Reva Syrah 2006,
which was upgraded from its previous score of 96-98—”spectacular in
(more analysis in full report)
Final Thought: Surveying the funds
In the 18 months since we last produced a survey of the major wine funds,
the fine wine market has experienced a dramatic turnaround. Back in
February 2009 the market was struggling for direction after experiencing
falls of up to 25% in the second half of 2008. Today, prices are continuing
to hit new highs and the market remains buoyant following on from (or
perhaps despite) a long and expensive 2009 campaign.
The first eight months of 2010 has been a strong period for fine wine
investment, with all of the major Bordeaux-dominated funds posting
impressive performance figures (Noble Crus is Burgundy dominated). If we
look over a longer time period, we find similarly good results, with only
those who had invested money immediately before the 2008 downturn
sitting on losses (and even here some funds have shown increases). Of
course, with a number of different base currencies, fund structures and
valuation methods being used, direct comparisons are difficult – there is
no equivalent of Reuters Lipper to help when making wine fund
performance comparisons. As such, the results in the table below should
only be considered with reference to the data shown overleaf. The strong
recent performance of the Fine Wine Geared Growth Fund, for example, is
largely due to the fact that is heavily geared, so its initial losses and
subsequent recovery are exaggerated. Nevertheless, this gearing has
ensured that FWCG is the only fund to outperform the Liv-ex Fine Wine
100 Index this year.
(detailed analysis in full report)