With the August hiatus now firmly behind us, September will have us forget faraway beaches and instead think of beautiful vineyards in all corners of the earth as it is the month of international icon wines releases from Bordeaux’s La Place.
More and more global wineries are opting to release their top wines in this way. New additions this year include, from Napa Valley, Joseph Phelps’ Insignia, from Argentina Cheval des Andes and from South Africa Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance. Not all the big releases this month will come via Bordeaux, however, and we highlight a few of our top picks of other notable releases here as well.
Although the September releases have long presented the cream of the crop, looking at this year’s line up it seems that the quality of wine being made by the global greats keeps climbing to ever greater heights, with an almost uniform sea of 97, 98, 99 and 100 point scores from the critics. There are a record nine releases that have scored a perfect or potentially perfect 100 points!
We start on Monday with Opus One 2016– the cult Mondavi/Rothschild collaboration from Napa Valley – and with its highest score since the 2013 vintage, this is one that loyal followers will be jumping at. Other US highlights include, all from the 2016 vintage, the trio of Verité, with too many 100- and 99-point scores between them to even mention, and Dalla Valle’s 100-point Maya, all of which will be released in the second week of the month. Joseph Phelps’ Insignia and Stag’s Leap’s 2016s are also worth looking out for from this strong vintage for California.
Another region that enjoyed a tremendous 2016 vintage was Tuscany. This month we will see two hotly anticipated 100-point releases in one week: 2016 Masseto will be released on Tuesday and 2016 Solaia on Thursday next week. Both these perfect Tuscan icons will top the must buy lists for many fine wine collectors. Bibi Graetz first joined the La Place fray last year with his release of 2015 Colore. His 2016 Colore, with 98 points from James Suckling, is again sure to be well received.
From the Southern Rhone, we will see next Friday Beaucastel’s top cuvée Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2017, with a potentially perfect score from the Wine Advocate. According to Joe Czerwinski, “it's the second consecutive potentially perfect vintage of this cuvée, which never misses the mark, in any event”. Another big release from France later in September will be from Chateau Yquem – the 2017 Yquem (97-99 points WA) and 2018 Y d’Yquem. Unlike most of Bordeaux, Yquem does not release its wine during the En Primeur campaign of the previous vintage, instead, they release the finished wine 18 months later.
South American fine wine producers are outdoing themselves, with tops wines from Chile including the 99-point Clos Apalta 2016from the Lapostolles in Colchagua, Mouton Rothschild and Concho Y Toro’s 100-point Almaviva 2017, Eduardo Chadwick’s 99-point Seña and 100-point Vinedo Chadwick 2017. Fans of Argentinian wines will have Catena Zapata’s 2016s and the 99-point Cheval des Andes, the joint venture between Chateau Cheval Blanc and Terrazzas de los Andes, to look forward to.
Back in Italy, 2016 was also a sensational vintage in Barbaresco, and towards the end of the month we will have the release of Gaja’s single vineyard Barbarescos – including the 98-point Sori San Lorenzo.
From Champagne, look out for some new releases from the already iconic 2008 vintage, including Philipponnat’s Juste Rosé which has just scored 98+ points in the Wine Advocate's latest report (along with the 2010 Clos des Goisses and a special late release) and Charles Heidsieck Millesime.
Collectors will be spoilt for choice with so many sensational vintages coming out from these regions all at once. We are immensely excited and hope you enjoy getting involved in these fantastic releases, which will include some of the best wines ever made at these estates.