I recently learned that if you go to wine-searcher.com and type in a recent vintage while leaving the wine name blank, it'll call up a massive list of wines in order by their search rank. As you could imagine, the original four first growths dominate the top 4, with Petrus #5, d'Yquem #6, Haut Brion #7, and DRC has a lock on the #8 spot. This order is virtually unchanged in recent years.
Thought i'd take some time to put up some stats of the top 100 and share. The 2008 vintage was used for this, as I was up late at night and just kind of stumbled upon this by accident. After checking other vintages like 2005, and 2000, I found everything to be not without some important differences, but altogether pretty well consistent.
The top 100 by search rank:
80 - French Wines: (46 - Left Bank, 18 - Right Bank, 6 - Sauternes/Barsac, 5 - Burgundy, 3 - Rhone, 2 - Champagne)
10 - USA Wines: (9 of 10 were from Napa, with Ridge being the only other. 2 of the first 3 USA wines have French ties. Opus One (most popular), and Dominus. Caymus had two, and is probably the most popular american wine brand with their flagship Cabernet and Special Selected coming in at #'s 37, and 76 respectively)
5 - Italy: Sassicaia, Tignanello, O'rnellia, Marchesi Antinori Solaia, and Flaccianello are the big names
2 - Australia: Both by Penfolds.
1 - Portugal: After checking other vintages, this was a bit of an anomally. Usually there are about 4-5 vintage ports cracking the top 100.
1 - NZSB: For dmcker...at least perhaps this wine isn't so collectible?
0 - Spain: After checking other vintages, it should be said that Vega-Sicilia regularly checks in at around #40, but doesn't yet show for 2008.
World Wines of Note (First Mentions of other Countries, Regions):
#100 - Lebanon: Ctx Musar Gaston, Bekka Valley
#114 - Chile: Concha y Toro, Puente Alto
#123 - Chile: Vina Alimaviva, Puente Alto
#138 - Portugal: Cockburn's Vintage Port
#141 - Spain: Domino de Pingus, Ribera Del Duero
#150 - Piedmont: Gaja Barbaresco
#154 - Washington, USA: Quilceda Creek, Columbia Valley
#161 - Spain: Marques de Riscal Reserva, Rioja
#213 - Argentina: Catena Zapata
#349 - Germany: Dr. Loosen Bros, Mosel
- Reply by dmcker, Aug 29, 2011.
Nice post. Not too surprising about the Euro-centric focus since that's more-or-less where wine culture began, where most of the rest of the world besides the States (obviously) looks first for standards, and Wine Searcher itself started in London. It later switched to New Zealand, so on the one hand we could wonder why so few results from down there in the Antipodes, but on the other population and market supply/demand realities put them in the shade. If the US industry were more interested in exporting, there might be a few more US labels (and maybe even a shift in flavor profiles--I was drinking with a Swiss wine importer into Japan last Friday and he claimed he wanted to throttle RP for starting and feeding a trend that was in the process of 'ruining' Bordeaux and even Burgundy these days; he was obviously aesthetically insulted).
CellarTracker is a US startup and it'd be interesting to see similar stats from them, though my gut tells me not to be too surprised if there is a similar European tilt there, as well. But then again I'm hardly a power user of the site, so I may be talking through my hat.
Are you a paying, or free, customer of WineSearcher, Jon?
- Reply by JonDerry, Aug 30, 2011.
For collecting, and for serious drinking to some extent, it seems to be France and everyone else. This was pretty much expected going in to this, but the results, or domination of French wine still surprise me. Of course, I have to think that these numbers don't in anyway represent the reality of wines drunk around the world, since many people still buy and hold French bordeaux or are just curious to keep up with the prices these wines are demanding. Those would be very interesting numbers indeed. I guess you could take the sales volumes/distributions of fine restaurants around the world for an idea.
Didn't know the origins of Wine Searcher, but it's been a tremendous utility. I'm a free user of the site, but have considered buying the pro version, which seems reasonable at $39 annually.
CT's of course another favorite site of mine, though i'm not sure if there's a way to grab any kind of statistics from their database, may have to e-mail Mr. Levine.
- Reply by GregT, Aug 30, 2011.
Jon - you won't see Vega Sicilia from 2008 for another five or ten years when it's released.
- Reply by JonDerry, Aug 31, 2011.
I figured as much, with the 06 riserva's being the current release. Looking forward to trying my first Sicilia, hopefully in the not so distant future.