Arden Fine Wines Advisory Board | Stuart MacLennan

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Arden Fine Wines welcomes Stuart MacLennan to its Advisory Board.

Stuart has been Director of Cows and Co Group since September 2015 and Chief Executive Officer of Cows and Co Energy Ltd. since September 2014.

Cows and Co is a group of like-minded artisan food producers, farmers, and entrepreneurs who are passionate about developing a brand of high quality premium food and drink products and making them available to a wider audience.

Stuart is focused on building routes to market for the high quality food and drink produced by Cows and Co in the UK and promoting and selling it to the added-value markets in the world.

Cows and Co’s investment in renewable energy investments and services hopefully further validates commitment to new innovative technology and the role this plays/will play in long-term growth and a sustainable rural economy.

His previous experience includes being an Advisory Board Member for Geno International and as a General Manager for Genus ABS.

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Arden Fine Wines Advisory Board | Simon Legge

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Arden Fine Wines welcomes to Simon Legge to its Advisory Board.

Simon is Co-Founder and Director at Commonwealth Research Centre Limited, which provides consulting and management services focused on infrastructure development and other related business activities.

He also works within Rudolf Wolff’s Commonwealth Infrastructure Fund.

Previously he worked in banking, including nine years based in Frankfurt with Merrill Lynch and then UBS Wealth Management.

Simon is a Freeman of the City of London and a member of The Worshipful Company of International Bankers.

He studied for a degree in Finanz und Investment Oekonom (Economics) at VWA Academy of Business and Administration in Frankfurt.

Simon Legge
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Arden Fine Wines Advisory Board | Ross Hatcher

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Arden Fine Wines welcomes Ross Hatcher to its Advisory Board.

Ross is CEO & Managing Partner at Rx Partners.

Prior to founding Rx Partners, Ross was a Director at MINT London in the Structured Products and Alternative Assets business, focusing on asset-backed securities and Eurocentric technology investment portfolios. Ross joined MINT in 2015, having served previously as the Vice President of ECO Capacity Exchange, which is a revolutionary platform for global institutions to trade illiquid asset-backed forms of new credit; he remains an advisor and shareholder.

Ross also worked for Novus Capital Markets in corporate finance focusing predominantly in the technology and renewables investment landscape.

He started his professional career at Ferrari.

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Arden Fine Wines Advisory Board | Victoria Cozens

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Victoria Cozens is co-founder and co-owner of Perky Blenders, the small batch, speciality-grade coffee roasters.

Following eight years in IT for an international law firm, Victoria spotted a gap in the market for a approachable specialty coffee brand. Investing in a 1kg coffee roaster with her husband Adam (who was a finalist for the 2018 Institute of Directors’ East of England Start-Up Director of the Year) and her brother in law, they focused on businesses in East London’s Walthamstow, where Perky Blenders now has four cafés. They supply over 50 stores, including Fenwick of Bond Street.

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Arden Fine Wines Advisory Board | Rory Broomfield

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Rory Broomfield is Co-Founder and Director at Commonwealth Research Centre Limited, which provides consulting and management services focused on infrastructure development and other related business activities.

He also works within Rudolf Wolff’s Commonwealth Infrastructure Fund.

Rory previously worked in the City of London for a range of small businesses; in Westminster as Director of The Freedom Association; and within the UK Parliament for various Members of Parliament.

He is a regular commentator on political issues to a range of domestic and international media outlets.

Read more here.

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What’s more expensive over the last 50 years: Footballers, art, wine, or whisky?

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I read Philip Hook’s Breakfast at Sotheby’s, which recounts his 35-years of adventures in the world of art auctions.

Hook does an interesting 40-year financial comparison of record prices for paintings and for footballers.

I have expanded this to include wines and whiskies, and to update it since the book’s publication in 2013.

I have used contemporary prices (not adjusted) and changed UK£ to US$.

Some pertinent – and quirky – facts and figures emerge.

Art is more expensive than footballers, wines, or whiskies.

The world’s most expensive footballer has never cost more than the world’s most expensive painting.

Art is now nearly three times more expensive than a footballer.

The biggest gap between art and football was in 1990, when Japanese buyers drove the art market to record heights. This was at a time when football’s highest fees were invariably paid by Italian clubs: From 1976 to 1996 the world’s most expensive footballer – with the exception of Maradona’s brief spell at Barcelona 1982-1984 – belonged to an Italian club. Thereafter six of the ten record transfer fees have been to Spanish clubs, five of them to the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The football transfer record has increased 396-fold in 49 years, fuelled over the last two decades by TV revenues and the deep pockets of Russian, Arab, and Asian owners.

The owners of football clubs are sometimes major buyers of art. The Middle Eastern money that paid the current world record price for a work of art (sold by a Russian, incidentally) is also paying large transfer fees in football.

Maradona is the Macallan of football: He is the only footballer to have set the world record twice.

And Macallan is the Maradona of whisky: The Macallan 1926 60-year-old is the only whisky to have twice set the world record price.

The explosive growth of the whisky secondary market is shown by a more than six-fold increase in the world record price in only three years and a 13-fold increase in 11 years.

The 1990 Van Gogh record price stood for 14 years.

The 1787 Château Margaux bottle was broken (!) and insured for $225,000, so it became the record price for a bottle that wasn’t sold. Nonetheless, the record stood for 20 years.

But the proper record would be for the bottle of 1787 Château Lafite sold at auction in 1987 for $156,000, a price not exceeded for 23 years.

Both of the 1787 bottles came via the late (and discredited) German collector Hardy Rodenstock. It is probable that both the Margaux and the Lafite were forgeries.

It’s not conclusive that the world’s most expensive painting Salvator Mundi is by Leonardo da Vinci, which is not to say that it was created by a fraudster: It could simply be a misattribution.

It’s possible that the record price set by a bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti in 2018 could – with the much slower progress of fine wine prices vis-à-vis footballers, art, and whiskies – stand for decades.

Stuart George | Founder & MD | Arden Fine Wines

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An evening at the Savile Club with Michel Prunier

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An unexpected – but very enjoyable – evening of good wine, good food, and good company at the Savile Club on Wednesday evening. I did not have high hopes for a nearly 20-year old wine from an unassuming Côte de Beaune village and a likeable but not long-term vintage.

However, the Prunier Clos du Val retained a core of pretty Pinot fruit with softly-spoken tannins and an afterglow of aged flavours on the finish.

Former Savilians such as Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Evelyn Waugh, and H. G. Wells would doubtless have approved.

#ArdenFineWines #MichelPrunier #Bourgogne #Burgundy #vintage2000 #PinotNoir #Pinot #finewine #winetime #winetasting #wineoftheday #winelovers #sommelier #vintagewine #oldwine #rarewine #provenance #history #diligence #integrity #winemerchant #FineWineBusinessNetwork #AuxeyDuresses #PremierCru #instawine #winestagram #SavileClub #Mayfair #London #CotedeBeaune #HenryJames #Rudyard Kipling #MichaelPowell #EmericPressburger #Evelyn Waugh #HGWells

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On the Mayfair mantelpiece… CVNE Corona Reserva Blanco Semi Dulce 1939

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Another bottle on the Mayfair mantelpiece: CVNE Corona Reserva Blanco Semi Dulce 1939.

First encountered at a memorable tasting of old CVNE wines at the Groucho Club in 2005 and subsequently on a visit to CVNE in 2011.

Although the Spanish Civil War was declared to be at an end by Franco after the surrender of the Republicans on 1 April 1939, Spain was still in pandemonium by the autumn. In the Rioja region, harvesting was at the back of people’s minds and thus many grapes were left hanging on the vine, becoming affected by Botrytis, until somebody could pick them.

This Corona Reserva was probably made from Botrytis affected Viura, with some Malvasia and Macabeo, though nobody seems to know (or care).

It was left ageing in wooden casks for over 30 years until it was “rediscovered” in the early 1970s and finally bottled, with only 1,000 or so bottles produced.

The beautiful golden amber colour of this wine immediately suggested “sweet”, though “semidulce” – as declared on the label – turned out to be an accurate description. The nose was not unlike an Amontillado Sherry, though there was also a faint hint of oxidisation.

Corona Reserva is still made by CVNE, albeit released only in 50cl bottles.

Stuart George | Founder & Managing Director | Arden Fine Wines

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Whinging (Champagne) Poms: 19th Century England tours to Australia and Pommery Champagne

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It has long been widely believed that “pom” – the not always well-intentioned Aussie term for somebody from England, and often joined with the adjective “whinging”  – was an acronym from “Prisoner of His Majesty” or “Permit of Migration”.

But recently I came across a novel – indeed, sparkling – explanation for the word.
Anthony Meredith’s Summers in Winter: Four England Tours of Australia under Jim Lillywhite, Plum Warner, Gubby Allen and Mike Brearley (The Kingswood Press, 1990) mentions a champagne reception held for the England cricket squad on the upper deck of the P&O liner Orontes before it departed from Tilbury for Australia in September 1903.

Meredith writes, “it is said that the first Englishmen whom the Australians described as Poms were the cricketers of Lillywhite’s era, so noted were they for their consumption of Pomerey (sic) champagne”.

James Lillywhite (1842–1929), scion of the family that established Lillywhites sports store at Piccadilly Circus, captained an England team in two matches against a Combined Australia XI (with players from New South Wales and Victoria only) in March 1877, both played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The matches were subsequently recognised as the first-ever Test matches.

In the past I’ve enjoyed some older vintages of Pommery’s Cuvée Louise: the generous 1998; the bracing 1996 (I wonder if that exulcerating acidity has calmed down yet…); the excellent 1990; the slightly blurred 1989 (is it still going…); the austere blanc de blancs 1985; and the very good (as good as 1990?) 1981.

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Pétrus 1995

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Although the wines of Pomerol have never been classified, all agree that Pétrus is a First Growth among equals.

Pétrus was considered a minor estate that produced underwhelming wine until hotel owner Madame Edmond Loubat gradually acquired it, becoming sole owner by 1945. Working with the negociant Jean-Pierre Moueix, who became her sole agent in 1943, she made Pétrus the world’s most renowned and sought-after red wine. The Moueix family became majority shareholders in 1969.

Pétrus is an intense and long-lived wine but this has far more to do with its unique terroir than with a heavy hand in the winery. The Pomerol “plateau” has a 20-hectare area of deep blue clay soils with a high iron content. Pétrus lies on more than half of this unique “boutonnière” (“button hole”), a mound at 40 metres above sea level and the highest point of Pomerol. The gentle slope allows rainwater to run off during wet vintages and the moisture-rich layers below nurture the vines in dry years.

Almost unique among Bordeaux wines, Pétrus is produced more or less entirely from Merlot, though older vintages apparently contain up to 20% Cabernet Franc.

My fellow Warwick University graduate Neal Martin assessed Pétrus 1995 in February 2018: “The nose is very ‘cool’ and refined. There remains plenty of black fruit on the nose, quite savoury in style to such an extent that blind, I was certain it contained some Cabernet Franc and was therefore Lafleur! The palate is extremely well balanced with superb density, wonderful structure and a crescendo of flavours. There is a touch of hung game towards the finish, dried blood and sage, the aftertaste ridiculously long. It has reached its drinking plateau, although on this showing, it is going to be a very long plateau. Divine. 2020–2055”.


#ArdenFineWines #Petrus #Pomerol #vintage1995 #Bordeaux #claret #wine #finewine #winetime #winetasting #wineoftheday #winelove #sommelier #vintagewine #oldwine #rarewine #provenance #history #diligence #integrity #winemerchant #luxurywine #FineWineBusinessNetwork #Moueix #Merlot

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