Super-expensive ‘collector wines’ are all the rage these days. Every winery seems to feel obliged to produce one. Even Taylors (Wakefield Estate in the UK), normally a happy hunting ground for Joe and Josephine Average with its many affordable, good-value wines, has a pair of $200 reds. More about those in a week or two. Cullen, with its Diana Madeline (tastings) already a market-topper at $125, now has the magnificent Vanya 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon at $345 (tasting).
Champagne Devaux, which is based in the southern Champagne region of Côte des Bar, has released a fancy new deluxe wine called Sténopé (tasting), at $375 a bottle or $799 a magnum. It’s a collaboration between Champagne Devaux and Michel Chapoutier, the Rhône Valley winemaker and entrepreneur who’s always had his fingers in lots of pies. The debut wine is from the outstanding 2008 vintage and is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Each bottle has the disgorgement date lasered onto the glass.
Yes, it’s a great wine, but I wonder why we bother with these sorts of wines when they are so expensive and so limited in production – export manager Jean-Noël Girard informed me there are 30 bottles and five magnums for Australia. The total make was 3400 bottles and 620 magnums.
Sténopé is planned to be an ongoing release. The name relates to an early camera and evokes the idea of a great wine being like a photograph of the vintage.