Wines of India


Wines of India‘ WOI, a collective body set up by India‘s leading wineries is an initiative to support and promote Indianwine in India and internationally. Wines selected to be part of the Wines of India Programme have been selected on the basis of merit only and will represent only the best India has to offer. The list of participating wineries include Good Drop Winery, Charosa Vineyards, Four Seasons Wines, Fratelli Wines, Grover Zampa Vineyards, Myra Vineyards, Nine Hills Wines, Reveilo Wines, Soma Wines, Sula Vineyards, Vallonne Vineyards and York Winery.

WOI has selected All Things Nice to manage all marketing activities on behalf of the entity, they have also appointed Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal as the Director of the Programme. 

The Ausone Layer

Something is rotten in the state of Ausone. APM asked a local trader for a price last week and he told us that “Ausone is toxic”. Now, whenever sentiment is that bad against a company and its share price is plumetting, you ask yourself two questions: is the company going bust? Or is this a situation to keep an eye on with a view to cheap acquisition?

So, what’s the back story? Ausone has a pedigree second to none. The chateau has been producing wine for longer than anyone else in Bordeaux, and it is blessed with what is commonly considered the most enviable terroir in the whole region. “The steep, hillside terroir with its grades of 15% to 20% is clay with limestone, and limestone over asteria limestone in the soil. This is what gives the wine of Chateau Ausone its intense mineral character.” I’m not surprised. That’s a lot of limestone!

Notwithstanding, for a great many years Ausone was considered not merely alongside the First Growths of the Left Bank, but as equivalent until very recent history to the mighty Petrus. Le Pin is a mere parvenu in comparison with Ausone, having produced its first wine in 1979. Ausone is “the wine connoisseur’s wine”, and so on. It should be on your bucket list.

As we know, the more recent fortunes of Petrus and Le Pin have been tied somewhat inexorably to the status of Robert Parker, whose rave reviews have propelled their prices to stratospheric heights. Undeniably, scarcity also plays a part in this. Le Pin’s annual production is between 400-600 cases, similar to someone like Domaine de la Romanee Conti, whose prices, incidentally, are around 5 times higher. That’s right. You don’t get much change out of £100,000 for a case of any vintage of DRC.

Petrus, meanwhile, produces around 2,500 cases a year, which although more than Le Pin is still dwarfed by the 15-20,000 cases produced by most First Growths. This becomes very important when you consider that fine wine is not only a drink, but also a “collectible”.

Collectors of “passion items” do so in the knowledge that not many other people own them. You might have to wait 30 years or so before supply of a high production fine wine starts to really taper off, at which point pricing becomes much more akin to such as prevails in the fine art market. This effect becomes noticeable much sooner in smaller production producers, like Petrus, and obviously Le Pin and DRC.

So, where does all this put Ausone? Ausone might have a pedigree to equal the best, but does it have scores to match? Since it is unarguably Robert Parker who has drawn the world’s attention to Le Pin, and although JF and Jackie K famously enjoyed Petrus, Robert Parker Jr’s interest has done it no harm at all either, so I think we can happily use his scoring system as a point of comparison.

Going back to the last great vintage of the 80s, the 1989, the average scores are as follows:

Petrus – 95 pts.

Lafite – 94.7 pts.

Ausone – 93.7 pts.

Le Pin – 93.2 pts.

Nothing the matter with Ausone there then. But it’s worth remembering that Ausone was revamped towards the end of the 90s, so how do scores look since 1999?

Ausone – 97 pts.

Lafite – 96.7 pts.

Petrus – 95.5 pts.

Le Pin – 94.6 pts.

Ausone, then, has indisputable pedigree, and quality. If you now factor into the equation that it produces only 1,500 cases per year, you have to wonder what on earth is going on in the market place right now. How can this wine be a pariah?

Let’s have a look at the price differential of three comparable 100 pointers from two great vintages.

We are seeing here the price comparison in absolute terms. The Petrus and Le Pin are around £25,000, the Ausone barely £11,000. Note the hike in the price of Le Pin. This resulted from the Parker upgrade from 95-98 to 100. If you were in any doubt about the Parker influence, there it is again.

Now let’s look at the comparison from slightly lesser vintages, but where Ausone still scored well. The 2001 vintage in Pomerol scored 90 points, as did the 2003 in St Emilion, so we have equivalent vintages. Ausone scores 100 points, Petrus 95, and Le Pin 98. 100 point scorers typically trade at a generous premium. Not the Ausone 2003!

Now we see something very interesting happening. From the initial rally through to 2009 Ausone is right in the game, however it doesn’t participate in the second phase up to mid-2011, and clearly underperforms quite badly in the correction, whilst the Petrus and Le Pin hold their own. Why might this have been?

I have heard several explanations, from poor marketing to the fact that “it just didn’t catch on in China”, some of which I am sure contain a kernel of truth. Let’s look at the price action a bit more closely. The following chart details the performance of the 2003 and 2005 against the Liv-ex 100, rebased.

This reminds me of that song by The Specials: “You’ve done too much, Much too young.” Perhaps the sheer degree of outperformance against the rest of the market has been the cause of the subsequent trouble. Once the slide began, investors, speculators, buyers of whatever hue, were watching a falling knife, and over time, the name became discredited. This argument stacks up if you look at how the Petrus and Le Pin performed against the same index during that period, again rebased:

Petrus seems to have performed in line, then at the time of the correction was likely “bailed out” by a combination of pedigree and scarcity. Le Pin was likely bailed out by scarcity, but even it didn’t achieve the same euphoria in the early run as the Ausone ’03.

This is Ausone ’03 against Le Pin ’01 rebased:

or the Ausone ’05 against Le Pin ’01 rebased:

So, as they say on “A Question of Sport”: what happened next?

In a stock market context, it can take a while for a discredited company to regain its former glory, but at the same time, the best returns are made by buying companies which the market thinks are bad, but which are not as bad as they seem. If you know something no-one else does, or which everyone is ignoring, you are likely on to something.

Ausone has not become a bum producer over the last 5 years. Its heritage is still very much intact. Hear what Robert Parker has to say about the 2012 vintage:

“One can’t say enough about the amazing job that Alain Vauthier and his daughter have done at this historic property on the decomposed limestone slopes of St. Emilion. Not surprisingly, the 2012 Ausone is one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage.”

Obviously we at APM have no idea exactly when current opinion will change towards Ausone, but since fine wine investment is for the long haul anyway, we would very strongly argue in favour of including Ausone in the portfolio, particularly when sentiment is currently so much against.

Best buys: Ausone 2003 and Ausone 2008.

11 Health Benefits Of Whisky

A Brief History

The first confirmed accounts of whisky distillation are from the early 15th century, when the Irish and Scottish distilled it, calling it “Aqua Vitae” (Water of Life / Lively Water), for medicinal properties.

During the American Revolution, it was used as currency and George Washington even owned a distillery in Mount Vernon. During the Prohibition era (1920-1933), whisky was the only alcohol permitted for consumption, provided you had a doctor’s prescription.

The Health Benefits of Whiskey:1. Memory Boost: Whisky contains antioxidants that help improve the health of the brain. Additionally, alcohol boosts blood circulation, both of which contribute to your memory. Also, the Ethanol in whisky helps your neurons function properly, which further aids recall.

2. Stress Relief: In moderation, whisky can reduce stress and calm the nerves. The combination of slowing down brain activity and increasing circulation (which helps provide the body with oxygenated blood), are essential for achieving tranquility.

3. Fight Weight Gain: Compared to its counterparts, whisky is a low-calorie alcohol, free of fat and cholesterol. If you’re on a diet but still want a drink – it’s your best choice.

4. Reduce the Risk of a Stroke: Whisky prevents cholesterol from accumulating in the cardiovascular system and can help remove excess cholesterol from the body. It also relaxes the walls of the arteries, reducing the risk of obstruction. All of these factors help reduce the risk of stroke considerably.

5. Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Whisky contains an antioxidant called ‘ellagic acid’, an acid that stops DNA from coming in contact with cancer-causing compounds, such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It is also beneficial in protecting the body from damage during chemotherapy.

6. Helps with Digestion: For centuries, whisky was considered a digestive aid, to be consumed after a heavy meal. Whisky’s composition and high alcohol percentage also make it an effective appetite suppressant.

7. Live Longer: The antioxidants in whisky help fight free radicals – the number one cause of aging, as well as prevent various diseases. This double-whammy helps your body live a longer, healthier life.

8. Diabetic-Friendly: Containing zero carbs, whisky won’t affect blood sugar levels, making it the number one choice for diabetics. However, it should be in moderation and never on an empty stomach. Consult your doctor before drinking.

9. Improve Your Heart’s Health: Drinking whisky actually helps your heart stay healthy, similarly to red wine. It reduces the risk of blood clots, thus it can prevent strokes and heart attacks. The antioxidants in the whisky also inhibits the oxidation of low density lipoprotein – a main factor in heart disease.

10. Improve the Health of Your Brain: A 2003 study found that, thanks to the antioxidant qualities of the ellagic acid, moderate consumption of whisky reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and also improves cognitive functions. Basically, one drink a day will keep the brain doctor away.

11. Prevent & Treat Cold and Flu: Whisky is known for its positive effects in battling allergies and colds. It’s an effective cough syrup for people suffering from an itchy throat, and the alcohol helps kill bacteria in the throat. The best results are achieved by adding a little bit of whisky to a cup of hot water and lemon.

Bodega Roda Reserve 2007, Rioja, Spain

Bodega Roda Reserve 2007, Rioja, Spain


The 2007 Roda Reserva is a blend of 89% Tempranillo, 8% Garnacha and 3% Graciano with half the crop aged in new oak for 16 months. It has a ripe, dark berry, espresso and cassis bouquet that unfolds nicely in the glass and demonstrates complexity and harmony. The palate is medium-bodied with taut tannins. It displays fine acidity with clean fruit flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry, tart red cherries and a touch of citrus peel.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand

Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand


Te Koko 2011 offers aromas of lemon citrus, bees wax and passion fruit flower. The palate is generous with layers of green mango, white pepper and flint; it’s richly textured but shaped by fresh acidity. Subtle tropical fruit and taught minerality linger on the plush finish. Te Koko is incredibly food friendly, complementing a range of cuisine. We particularly enjoy it with savoury dishes highlighted by fresh herbs or aromatic spice.