Auction report April 2020 | Dreaming of sunshine

Bandol, Palette, Corsica…names that we’ve dreamt of during the long month that April has been. Some of our wine enthusiasts have revealed a real passion for the sunnier appellations. Let’s head to the south!

Last month, our auction catalogues contained bottles from across France’s viticultural regions, though we decided to shine the spotlights on those residing further south. From Provence, two appellations stand out. Bandol, with terroirs perfect for the growing of Mourvèdre, a grape variety that produces wines that keep for a very long time. This is certainly the case of the Cabassaou cuvée from Domaine Tempier, a historic property with vines planted during the time of Louis XV. Produced in limited quantities from grapes collected only at their full ripeness, this bottle always goes for top prices at auction. The 1990 vintage was sold for €307 last month to a French buyer. The Migoua cuvée, made from a blend of 50% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache and finished with Cinsault and Syrah, has seen great success in its more mature vintages (1986: €160). As for Tourtine, this is an up-and-coming cuvée that is selling well even in its more recent vintages: (€63 for the 2013, €61 for the 2015).

Another of the appellation’s historic domains is Château Pradeaux, which was founded in the 19th century and belongs to the Portalis family, an ancestor of whom was a co-writer of the civil code. The wines, prized for their wonderful ageing capacities, are gradually increasing in value (€68 for the 2000 vintage), much like those of Château de Pibarnon, a more recent but already classic domain.

Moving further away from the Mediterranean shores, we find the landmark name of the Alpilles, Domaine de Trévallon. A relatively new vineyard since Eloi de Durrbach chose to clear space on the region’s hills in order to plant vines in the 1970s. These wines are labelled under the appellation of Côteaux d’Aix and IGP Alpilles, and the ‘collectors’ vintages have really taken off at auction. A 1990 went for €221 in April.

Closer to the sea again (we know that’s what you’re dreaming of at the moment!), Palette is home to Château Simone, a domain that continues to excite bidders with wines that age gracefully in all three colours. The whites, made up mainly of Clairette (80%) as well as Grenache, Bourboulenc, Ugni and Muscat, are particularly coveted, and the 2009 is now reaching the €100 per bottle marker (a bottle went for €94 in April, +35%). Wines from this domain can be aged for some time, gaining in complexity and aromatic richness without losing any freshness. This also goes for the rosés, even if we don’t often see these at auction. Quite normal, since they are more likely to be enjoyed than sold on! The reds are also doing well, with lots from 1997 and 1998 selling for €88 a bottle last month in our auctions.

Corsican wines have not been as present at auction recently, though we did see some names stand out during April’s sales, most notably those who work biodynamically. The Général de la Révolution cuvée from Domaine Comte Abbatucci, an amazing white blend of Vermentino, Rossola Brandinca, Riminese and Carcajolo, sold for €58 in its 2013 vintage (+10%). Other well appreciated domains were Stiliccionu from the south (Ajaccio) and Giudicelli from the north (Patrimonio and Coteaux du Cap Corse). Just hearing their names makes us want to set sail for the Ile de Beauté. But since we’ll have to wait a while, we can be there in spirit with a Corsican Muscato – those from Clos Nicrosi are still affordable…

The full report is here (scroll down to sales tables)

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