Ten Fine Years

Published by Paul Williamson on 26/09/2018

With RobersonWine.com celebrating its 10th birthday this month, Private Client Sales Manager Paul Williamson reflects on ten years in fine wine.

10 Years Re-Fining Your Palate

The world of fine wines is a fascinating place that never ceases to beguile and entice me. One of the reasons for this is the dynamic and fluid nature of fine wine trends and changes. Roberson began selling fine wines online 10 years ago, so it seems like the right time to look back and reflect on the changes in fine wine over that period.

Technology and the internet have had a huge influence on the way that people experience fine wine. 10 years ago, Roberson was one of the very first wine merchants who helped to revolutionise the way in which consumers could purchase their favourite Cru Classé tipple by launching an online shop. Back then websites were a bit simplistic, but now fine wine lovers have a wealth of resources and information at their fingertips in order to manage their portfolios. For example, there are now a number of trading platforms available for private collectors to buy and sell wines anonymously online. Today the better wine websites, such as ours, don’t just give you the name, region and perhaps grape variety of a particular wine, but can tell you how the wine was made, the back story of the winemaker and even provide a food pairing.

The increased access to information, direct communication with wine producers and the proliferation of wine consumer review websites has resulted in the waning influence of wine critics. Robert Parker’s ability to shape wine trends and consumer tastes was almost undisputed 10 years ago. These days consumers have a wealth of resources available to them to help them discover the wines, regions and styles that they love. Parker favoured wines that were big, powerful, fruity and oaky. Over the last 10 years there has been a massive stylistic change back to more elegant, balanced and refined wines. This is in no small part down to the lessening influence of Parker and the rising influence of the broadening stylistic desires of younger generations of wine lovers.

10 years ago, fine wine was almost exclusively limited to the classic regions of France and Italy. Today, the demand from consumers for new styles and tastes has brought obscure regions such as Tenerife and Mount Etna into focus. Even Beaujolais, once written off as a poor cousin of Burgundy, only good for cheap, fruity wines has had a renaissance with many quality producers making top end wines. If you were to look at the fine wine sales at Roberson in 2008, Bordeaux would probably account for 90% or more.

These days it is much more diverse, with Italy, Burgundy and Champagne growing steadily. There is one region above all which has been rising exponentially, USA. We are very proud that we discovered the growing trend of top quality fine wine being produced in the US before many others in the UK did. We now import from over 30 producers in the US, with the likes of Kongsgaard, Corison, Mayacamas, Kutch and Domaine de la Cote, amongst others, firmly challenging the very best wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy.

While trends and styles are constantly changing the thirst for luxury products and the finer things in life seems to continue unabated. As one of London’s finest wine merchants, we will continue to seek out the very best examples for you to enjoy.

To receive further information about Roberson's Private Client service, and to receive exclusive fine wine offers, please contact Paul Williamson.

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