Wine-Oh! The irreverent, insightful, occasional newsletter from No need to buy anything (but feel free to if you wish!) – just come on in and have a read.

 In this issue:
– An up-date on Brexit and what it means for our lovely UK customers.
– A great article from our wine investment partner Cult Wines on the ins’ and outs’ (well mostly the ins’ to be honest) of investing in fine wine.
– Some views on 2019 and 2020 vintages and some exciting news (well we think it’s exciting) about our own 2019 Chateau du Faure Haut Normand.
– A tongue-in-cheek piece about bluffing in the world of wine.
– Some shameless trumpet blowing with reviews of our wine from our customers and even one from a genuine wine critic – and no we have not edited them in any way.
– Finally a special offer on our Chateau du Faure Haut Normand 2018 – 12 bottles for the price of 10 (just send me an e-mail if you can’t be bothered to scroll down to the bottom)


Well actually some pic’s of a ‘field trip’ to Leoville Poyferre in the Medoc from last Autumn where we did a tour and some tasting including an amazing 2005!
Brexit and all that…
So as we all know (unless you live in a cave or Rotherham) the UK left the EU on 1st January. Despite assurances from the highest (and the lowest) levels of government it is, frankly, chaos. We, and all of our fellow chateau-owners have the same problem, have been unable to ship to the UK.We have all the right documents but the absence of an “approved process” for wine means that no shipments can be made without them being stuck on a cold and insecure dockside for weeks on end. We believe the situation will be resolved this month, and of course will let everyone know as soon as we can ship safely and efficiently.
Investing in Wine – what’s it all about?
To me drinking wine is only a part of the story, I love the backstory to the regions, the history of the chateaux and the way a wine evolves over time. Wine is, to me, more than just a drink it is a social history but for those with an eye for it, wine can be a serious financial winner as well. Let me explain.To start with this is not for the ‘happy amateur’.

There are tens of thousands of vineyards out there, many of them make rubbish, most make nice wine that is delicious to drink. Simple….so far.Some make really good wines but most of these do not increase in value including, sadly, our own Chateau du Faure Haut Normand. Some wines cost an awful lot more than others with little discernible difference to the average palette – we are not all Jancis Robinson or Robert Parker. Still no rocket science here.Some wines are different, not only do they increase in value over time, they do so at a rate that no equity can match. Furthermore, if you are UK tax resident you pay no tax* on any gains you make.Sounds easy….The problem is that if you do not know which wines fall into this category you may end up taking an expensive bath. Working out the best opportunities requires a substantial depth of understanding and knowledge of the global wine trade, a finger on the pulse of the chateaux owner’s mindset and insider knowledge of every vintage and vineyard.Here at we have linked up with Cult Wines to bring a combination of our detailed insider knowledge of Bordeaux with their global market intelligence and awesome buying power.Cult Wines is (we think) the world’s leading wine investment company, with a global client base, and assets under management exceeding $200 million. The company was founded in London in 2007 and has since opened offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and New York.Cult Wines provides fine wine investment advice using algorithmically based models applied across historic and projected data together with unrivalled knowledge of the world wine trade. The company tailors each investor’s portfolio to their specific risk appetite, investment level and target returns. The firm is dedicated to ensuring that only the highest-quality wines are included in its investors’ portfolios.We asked Cult Wines a number of questions for you but of course there are more you will have so you can click on this link and you can learn more Cult Wines &
 What are the 3 main reasons to use wine as an investment vehicle?
Undoubtedly the 3 main reasons for investing in wine would be diversification, long term stability, and growth potential.

Stability – Fine wine boasts a remarkable track record of stability through different market backdrops, including the recent coronavirus volatility as well as the GFC over a decade ago. Indeed research from Credit Suisse and HEC Paris in 2018 indicated fine wine has shown long term inflation-adjusted returns of 3.7% per annum from 1900-2018.Diversification – Fine wine prices are primarily driven by an ever-increasing supply and demand imbalance, meaning they do not tend to move in-line with traditional financial markets, historically showing very low correlation to equity markets. For example fine wine lost only 1% of value in 2008 (compared to the MSCI at -42%) and showed none of the volatility seen in equities in 2020.Growth – Fine wine has posted a 7.8% annual growth rate going back to 2004. Additionally, the increasing breadth quality of the global fine wine means that the market as a whole is more immune to regional-specific risks such as trade tariffs, seasonal quality variations and natural loss of crop through issues like frost and wildfires.What has the performance been like over the past 1,3 and 5 years compared to other investment vehicles?The Liv-ex 1000, an index that tracks the price of 1000 of the world’s most-traded fine wines and the broadest market index, returned 2.0% in 2020, has a 3-year return of 7.5% and 5-year return of 45%.Cult Wines returned 5.8% in 2020, has a 3-year return of 11.4% and a 5-year return of 53.1%, equating to a compounded annual growth rate of 8.9%.Is there any minimum investment? 
The entry point is £25,000 to ensure all portfolios all well diversified across region, vintage, producer etc.How easy is it to cash in a part, or all, of my investment? 
Very easy, there is no lock up period. Cult Wines have a major global trading network, and when a client wishes to exit the market their wines are listed for sale on our price list, which is sent daily to major wholesalers, brokers and merchants worldwide. Average sales period is 6-10 weeks but can be considerably shorter for smaller portfolios.
What are you charges?  
Cult Wines clients pay an annual fee of just 2% inclusive for everything – storage, insurance, brokerage, management, trading, and research. There is an “acquisitions and operations fee” on entry tiered by investor level of 5%, 2.5% or 0%. Clients pay investment market prices, and thus there is no spread. We take our fees from Cult Wines so there is no incremental cost to working through us. Effectively provide an additional level of client service at zero cost.How much input can I have in choosing the wines?
Clients pay us to build a well-diversified investment portfolio based on their risk appetite, timescales, investment level and target returns, using our experience, know-how and quantitative and qualitive research. That being said, we are always happy to discuss in depth all decisions and be led by the client if desired. are also always available as a sounding board for clients.How long do I need to keep my capital tied up?
Recommended holding period is 3-5 years, but there is no lock up.What is the tax treatment?
There is no duty or VAT to pay on wine when held in a government bonded warehouse – as all of our clients wines are. In the U.K. and much of Europe (not France unfortunately) fine wine is considered a “wasting asset” and thus exempt from capital gains tax. Inheritance tax is payable on the market value of the collection at the time of deceased death, much like any other investment. To caveat, we are not qualified tax advisors and would always suggest seeking independent advice based on your personal circumstances.

If you are interested please drop me an e-mail – – or click on the link below and someone from Cult Wines will get in touch for a no fee, no commitment conversation.Learn more*We are not financial advisors so are not qualified to make investment decisions nor comment on an individual’s tax position. Always seek qualified, professional, independent advice before making any investment decision.
2019 & 2020 Early Vintage Report
2020Starting backwards because it is such a topsy-turvy time – 2020 will obviously be known as the Covid vintage but early signs are that it will be a very good year. Winemakers are essentially farmers so of course the weather was not perfect. In 2020’s case not enough rain (but the winter has more than made up for that!) which reduced yields by 20% or more. On the plus side the wines I have tasted are concentrated and powerful. Too early to make any definitive calls but I think it will come close to 2018.2019Obviously we are getting close to the En Primeur season (early May) so there is considerable chatter in the trade about 2019. The great and the good say it will not match 2018, my own view is that it will actually be better. Certainly the barrel tastings Pen and I have done show it to be better now than the 2018 was at the same stage. We are going to bottle a very small quantity in March to taste it ‘in bottle’ before making any more judgement but we are excited!
The 8 Words You Need To Sound Like A Wine Expert – As Long As You Use Them Carefully…. 
The world of wine is a complicated and often intimidating place, a place filled with such a massive number of products, brands, words, tastes and smells that even the most esteemed of experts cannot claim to have universal knowledge.
Those of us who are lucky (?) enough to live and work in this world have learnt to cope with equal mixtures of experience and knowledge but before we got to anywhere nearing expert level we needed to use two other key attributes…. ‘bluff’ and its partner in crime ‘bluster’. These two skills enabled us to navigate tasting sessions with the great and the good, to pass muster with the most scary of critics, fellow winemakers, and of course to sell our wines to experts and novices alike.
So armed with this experience here is the guide to the key words, and how to pronounce them (if you are not French), to use to get you past any wine snob – well most of them anyway.
1. Terroir (pronounced ‘tairwaar’) – most people think this is just the soil in which the vines grow – this is wrong. Terroir is the whole ecosystem in which the vineyard sits from soil type, to climate, to the direction the vines are facing – South is best here in the Northern hemisphere. Always good to start talking about this by saying “Of course, as you know, the ‘tairwaar’ is so much more than just the soil”.
2.Bouquet (pronounced just like a bunch of flowers!) or nose – in simple terms what the wine smells like. The good thing about this is that everyone, absolutely everyone, has a different sense of smell that is unique to them. You can therefore say with absolute confidence that “To me this has a bouquet of wet fish” and nobody will be able to say anything other than “well to me it smells of roses and lilac”. If anybody has the nerve to question your description simply give a Gallic shrug and say “each to their own”. As a Covid update it is now possible, in extremis, to add…”well I have to admit that since I recovered from Covid my sense of smell has got weird”.
3. Drinking window – an entirely non-scientific term that has some basis in knowing the grape type and the ‘tairwaar’ but is largely a broad guess as to how long the wine will last. White wines have shorter drinking windows than red, pink wines have a drinking window that can be measured in weeks. Most whites can be drunk within a year of bottling, most reds (apart from things like Beaujolais) are usually best after at least 3 years – our Chateau du Faure Haut Normand 2018 is just starting to drink “really well”. 
So when talking about any wine you can say any of the following
– “it is already drinking well” – if someone tells you this it is either because the winemaker/ merchant needs the cash so buy it now or that it is as good as it gets and will go downhill from here on. 
– “it is drinking well now” – this means it is delicious 
– “probably not drinking well yet” – tastes like iron filings – good wines will improve with age, bad wines will always be bad wines and will always taste of iron filings (but see above point about ‘bouquet’)
– “probably not drinking well anymore” – tastes like wet socks
4. Chai (pronounced ‘shay’) – this is the winemaking and warehousing facility in the vineyard. No idea why it is called a chai but the Americans would call it a winery. Anyway these can be anything from a garage to a multimillion dollar architectural landmark. It does make a difference to the wine how well equipped it is but there are some awesome wines that come out of simple garages because the best winemakers know how to make the best wine with whatever tools they have to hand.
5. Vinified in..usually oak or steel. This says how the initial winemaking process begins to turn grape juice into wine. Vinified in oak is usually regarded as the better option for most top end red wines but most whites and pretty much all roses will be at worst fine and often better in steel. This term is best used simply as a question “So was this vinified in oak or steel” – just make sure you ask this BEFORE you taste it. That way you can say with confidence…. “Ah yes I can tell the oak/ steel in it”. If you forget and ask after you have tasted it you will have given the game away. 
6. Cave (pronounced ‘kav’). The wine cellar, needs to be dark, cool, even in temperature and low (but not zero) humidity. Underneath a staircase is fine, next to a radiator in the living room is not.
7. Millesime (pronounced ‘millayzeem’. Simply the year the wine was harvested. Not the same as the year it was bottled which is the ‘mise’ (pronounced ‘meez’). Every region, every vineyard will have different great ‘millayzeem’ there is no golden rule here so if you don’t know the best thing to ask is…. “how do you think this ‘millayzeem’ compares to…last year/ the last great ‘millayzeem’ or similar.
8. Vigneron (pronounced ‘veenyaron’). The chap who makes the wine. Well in fact this is a pretty broad term which covers lots of bases. I like to call myself a ‘veenyaron’ sometimes even though my input is limited to telling the real experts what sort of a wine I want made. At its heart he or she is the person who sweats in the vines, pores over weather forecasts praying for rain/sun and stands in the ‘shay’ pondering the meaning of life.
This is not an exhaustive list but is a good starting point. Next time we will give some terms to avoid….
John Mitra is co-owner of Chateau du Faure Haut Normand and one of the leading online wine merchants specialising in small estates across Bordeaux.
 What Real People Are Saying About 
Chateau Du Faure Haut Normand 2018
So as many of you know I have a rather dim view of most wine critics …not that they are not nice people of course, but sometimes they talk utter tosh. Now some of our lovely customers have provided their own commentary, unprompted and un-edited by us, of our wine and I thought it would be good to share. Luckily (well to be honest luck has nothing to do with it) everyone has been very kind and generous about our wine but we will let their words speak for themselves.

Sorry Oz Clark but you are now redundant 🙂

The 2018, full Merlot, to me tastes more powerful or bolder than the 2017 and has a very pleasant longer taste. The initial tannins unearthed savoury red berries (not sure which ones) that pleasantly lingered on the tongue. I thought each mouthful got even better as the wine became more aerated.  

Had half a bottle last night and the rest is planned to be consumed this lunchtime plus a bit more – rather lovely may I say!! I’m sure I’ll be back for more!

Just pouring it, I loved the colour the deep plum was very tempting the smell classic. First taste was very dry I could feel my cheeks puckering up, so some tannins but not overpowering and I thought OK. I left it an hour whilst we prepared lunch and the next glass was, a different wine, fruity and full but still had classic French undertones that gives it that dryness and aftertaste on the pallet that new world wines lack. All I can say is I enjoyed every mouthful and every mouthful made me think about what I was tasting and I really savoured every taste. 
In short I think it is lovely, if possible and again what do I know, it seems to bridge the gap between classic wines and the New World well done. I loved it, the price for the quality is brilliant. I will be getting the next vintage when it is ready and look forward to your next release after that.

Fortunately our taste buds were saved by your Merlot. It was luscious and lovely.

Just tasted one of your reds. Most enjoyable smooth and easy drinking 

Lovely, more structured than some Merlot which is very welcome as it gives it something of a Right Bank style. Still young so needs decanting (this was the 2018 vintage) for an hour but the tannins are lovely and the nose sweet.

If you ever have the opportunity to try this you simply must. An absolute triumph! 

You must be very proud.
Guys I have been meaning to write ALL day! We opened our first bottle…WOW! What a triumph! Sublime!

And finally and just because we can, Forbes magazine wrote a lovely little piece on Fronsac including a bit about us.

“Of all the non-classic areas of Bordeaux—outside the areas of Haut-Médoc, Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Émilion and Pomerol—Fronsac wines have the most definition, the most personality…A good Fronsac wine will usually cost less than a Médoc cru bourgeois, or a minor Saint-Émilion grand cru classé and is normally a better wine. So the area has value for money, too, on its side.
’Château du Faure Haut Normand. 2018. €15.00/$18.25 [Excellent Value ♫♫]

From 65 to 70 year old grapes this 100% Merlot includes aromas of cherries, dark licorice, menthol, peaches, chalk and slices of orange. Well integrated in the mouth with flavors that include those of cranberries and menthol.”

Just goes to prove that not all wine critics talk utter tosh! 🙂
 So if this has convinced you click here and we will get some sent across to you asap. If you quote ‘Wine-Oh!’ in your e-mail we will send you 12 bottles for the price of 10 (€150 instead of €180 plus transport). – A unique combination of winemaking and wine selling. Bringing together the knowledge of winemaking with extensive personal contacts within the Bordeaux wine trade to deliver a new approach to selling wine.