Langton's is Australia's best-known wine auctioneer, responsible for what is in effect Australia's answer to the various Bordeaux classifications. The Melbourne-based firm has just announced a new wheeze, selling futures in some of Western Australia's best-known wines online.
Langton's 2007 Great Wine Estates of Western Australia En Primeur Campaign, they say, "sets a completely new direction for selling ultra-fine Australian wine. This important Futures fixed price offer is especially geared to Australian and international wine collectors who wish to buy wines from the exceptional 2007 Western Australian vintage before general release into the open primary market. The wines are extremely limited."
The campaign offer (including opening prices per bottle in Australian dollars, currently worth 90 US cents and 44p, and release date) comprises Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon ($70 -2010), Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot ($85– 2009), Devils Lair Chardonnay ($38 – 2008) & Cabernet Sauvignon ($52 -2008), Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon ($64 -2010), Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay ($70 -2010) & Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon ($42 -2012), Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon ($85 -2010), Pierro Chardonnay ($58 – 2009), Plantagenet Shiraz ($40 -2009), Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet Sauvignon ($56 – 2010), Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot ($36 -2011) and Xanadu Barrel Selection Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($52 -2009).
The new online selling campaign is designed as a progression from the live barrel auctions that have been held in Margaret River since 1996. The Great Wine Estates of Western Australia grouping was established initially by Langton's with the help of founder of Cape Mentelle David Hohnen in 1996 to highlight the great wines of Western Australia on the secondary wine market. Live wine auctions were held in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005. Langton's claim that this new campaign "follows the traditional annual Bordeaux en primeur method of futures selling, but employs cutting edge on-line trading technology – completely unmatched by any other wine trading system in the world."
Langton's must be kicking themselves that the Australian dollar has strengthened so remarkably very recently (all China's fault apparently). These wines are not being given away. You can find the Cullen Diana Madeline 2005 at the equivalent of about Aus$75 in the UK and Pierro Chardonnay 2005 at Aus$56 in Australia, for example, according to winesearcher.com.
I cannot vouch for these six month-old wines lying in cask on the other side of the world from my base but you might like to take a look at some of my recent tasting notes on some top WA Chardonnays here. I have certainly been impressed in the past by Cape Mentelle's entire range, Cullen's Diana Madeline in particular, Leeuwin's top Chardonnay and Moss Wood's Cabernet.
The campaign will close at 6pm (Melbourne time, I assume) 10 Dec 2007 or when allocations run out.
The details of the offer include tasting notes by Andrew Caillard MW, background information and can be found here.