Rioja mystery cases: a good idea?

Now that the dust has settled on the Lopez de Heredia mystery cases, what do people make of this as an idea for the Society? (I.e. two known wines, and one rare mystery wine). In particular, should this be a one-off, or is there something here that could be a template for future in demand wines?

Maybe this was a one off, as I think there were four high value in-demand wines, and some lesser wines to mix them with. But what other situations are there where this kind of thing could work?

Or do you think this was just infuriating - there were good wines, but you couldn’t order what you wanted and had to gamble what you would get?

Personal view: I think this is was a good way for the Society to manage an allocation of these wines and spread them around a bit. Sure it’s a lottery, but you don’t have to play if you don’t want to. And a good example of the Society getting access to in demand wines and then selling at below market price, and making flipping difficult.

I thought useful to see other views though so the Society can get a bit of feedback on this…

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I personally would have preferred an En Primeur-style lottery/ballot but I understand the thinking and I don’t hate it. I think it’s pretty telling the relative lack of moaning here and elsewhere compared to other high demand releases. I know LdH now bundle their gran reservas with an increasingly large conditional buy of the lower order wines so it seems a neat way for TWS to shift some of that stock while giving access to as many people as possible and deterring resellers. I think it’s interesting to think of the mystery bottle as a kind of mandatory equivalent of the subsitution check box in en primeur campaigns. How many people didn’t get their first choice but are happy anyway? I think it heads off the frustration of seeing things go out of stock.

Overall it makes sense for these particular wines (especially as I like the reserva + cubillo) but i’m not sure I’d like to see the method used for other releases/different situations.

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Personally I don’t like putting up that amount of money and not knowing what I’m going to get. I might love red Rioja but hate Rose for example. It’s not how I like to spend my money! I monitor the mystery case threads out of interest and there are some great deals there sometimes but there are frequently wines I simply wouldn’t want. So I’d rather a lottery where if I lose I’m not paying anything.

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I guess that if you really hated the mystery bottle you could invoke the promise and return the case?

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I guess but I’d rather not go there if I can avoid it.

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It is a useful way of deterring flippers. Also helps prevent first movers from hoovering up all the bottles within minutes of release.

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Have a much anticipated Rioja offline tonight. Most of the bottles were bought 4-5+ years ago before LdH prices went stratospheric.

It’s a real shame that current prices are becoming unaffordable for many wine lovers starting off now.

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How long before it is used on Burlotto?

I would have preferred a more expensive mystery case 1 with the Tondonia Blanco or Rosado combined with 2 bottles of the red 2010 Tondonia Reserva and none of the 2013 Cubillo. I can understand why the Cubillo was included but it has less ageing potential and without it the case would have been more balanced for cellaring in Members’ Reserves and being withdrawn in future.

Cubillo can absolutely be cellared so would sit nicely in members reserves for at least a decade from release if not longer . It has the structure and backbone to further develop.

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Given the wines they’d be bundled with, I am 100% here for this!

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I was going to say, here’s hoping!

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Haha it would actually give me a chance of getting some of the Barolo so I suggested it in a half hoping way!

A Friesa, Pelaverga, Barbera, Monvigliaro, Canubi, Acclivi case anyone?

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You joke but they used to do this!

Swap the Barbera out for a Langhe Nebbiolo or a Dolcetto and I would be very happy with that.

Edit: that’s given me a thought, I wonder why the WS don’t sell the Langhe Nebbiolo anymore? The recent Burlotto offerings have been limited to Barbera and Pelaverga, and I’d love some Freisa too.

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I like the idea in the round. Not sure it’s exactly right - though I’m out of (firm) suggestions as to how it could be improved.

I suppose the theory/motivation, other than to avoid flipping, is to target the wines at true LdH fans, who will happily have anything from their stable in order to get at the top wines (although point taken from above that it may have been a stipulation of sale from LdH to TWS? Or at least certainly a mechanism to clear the extra stock required to get the wines in the first place?).

Other than that, a slight criticism is that people with the deepest pockets can take these risks most easily, but then that’s always going to be the case for anything on open sale. But are we already swamped by EP style offerings?

Anyway in part, I’ll admit to the (much cheaper!) vicarious pleasure of seeing people on here (who I assume to be in this for the hobby rather than the money) getting to experience the rare and the unique. In that sense, it certainly is pointing in the right direction.

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It looks like there might be a slight change of direction. Here’s an extract from an email from the CEO today, which some might not have received yet:

" we will be offering new selections of in-bond wines with our First Release series launching soon. This will offer yet another fantastic way to snap up sought-after wines, and I hope you enjoy reaping the rewards."

I suppose the big difference is that they will be in bond, for those to whom this is important. ( not me!)

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The flippers will be rubbing their hands in glee. Buy in bond, transfer to BBR or L&W, stick on their broking lists for a tidy profit, rinse and repeat until they get bored of it.

I may have completely misread the email, but I took the context of it to be these would be TWS branded releases as an extension to the Own label/Bin/Exhibition, which would make it slightly more difficult to flip quite so easily. I read this as TWS wanting to cash in on the success of EP with a Bin Series/EP hybrid.

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I read it as something between EP and Museum Release - like many of the current so-called EP offerings, already a few years old, but now offered IB.

We’ll find out soon enough.

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