It has been said of iDealwine auctions that they are somewhat reminiscent of the Olympics. But who buys what? Does our taste in wine depend on our culture?
Our round-the-world tour begins in Asia. Asian wine lovers are, contrary to what the stereotype would have you believe, far from ‘drinkers of labels’. In Hong Kong, tasting lineups never fail to impress us with their eclecticism and precision: a Prieuré Roch will often be seen rubbing shoulders with a Roc d’Anglade, a Bonneau du Martray or a Selosse champagne.
In continental China, lovers of the Grands Crus Classés of Bordeaux continue to resist against diversity, with Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion taking up the lion’s share. Some Burgundy wines are also beginning to appear as enophiles’ tastes open up to new things.
In the far East, Japan and South Korea are characterised by the precision of their choices. The wine lover reads, informs himself/herself and wants to taste the best, highly-regarded wine of each appellation. Overnoy’s vins jaunes, Grange des Pères or Montus in the south, Trimbach in Alsace and the Coulée de Serrant: it’s impossible to sum up the tastes in these countries with just one bottle! Precision and excellence are nevertheless the watchwords.
In France, no prizes for guessing that the great majority of wine drunk is French. Our European neighbours, on the other hand, have very varied choices. The United Kingdom has stayed true to its roots and imports enormous amounts of Bordeaux, Champagne and Rhone. Wines from Rayas, Jamet, Chave or even Salon and Bollinger are highly sought-after. Nordic countries, particularly Denmark, are unwavering in their devotion to Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Wine producing nations such as Italy, Spain and Germany are as chauvinistic as the French and split their purchases between a high proportion of wines from their country of origin and an eclectic selection of French regions. Italians will opt for Sassicaia, Jakot Radikon or Gaja, as well as many Burgundy wines such as Roumier, Perrot-Minot or Groffier. The Spanish, in contrast, generally set their sights on the greats of Bordeaux such as Palmer or Pichon Longueville but also stars of the Loire, for instance the mythical Clos Rougeard. Delicious German wines aside, our neighbours from across the Rhine buy from a variety of French regions but most of all Bordeaux and Burgundy, with wines such as those from Arnaud Ente or Raveneau’s famed Chablis.
Moving over to the United States, contrarily to Trumps infamous tweets, the American market is one of the most protectionist in terms of wine importation. Despite these barriers, our fellow wine lovers from across the pond are enlightened, passionate and always seeking out the latest rare pearl. From Trollat’s Saint-Josephs to Château d’Yquem, with a little Coche Dury, Overnoy and Krug thrown in for good measure, we can but salute American enophiles’ excellent taste 😉
You will have noticed that, while we can talk about certain trends, it’s nigh-on impossible to guess someone’s country of origin with just the wine they drink. And thankfully so; after all, the whole point of wine is that it brings people together!