Wine Talk

Snooth User: Benzibar

2009 en primeur, WTF?

Original post by Benzibar, Apr 9, 2010.

Not, I repeat not, a thread about whether the 2009 Bordeaux is great, but more about whether you trust the reviews. After the 2009 en primeur week, the opinion is unsurprisingly about a brilliant "vintage of the decade". I think this is the 3rd in the last 10 years n'est-ce-pas? 

So do we need to review how we review the en primeur? Do you trust the tasters or has it now become impossible to give an impartial review based on the hype and media mark-up? With the bitterness of the ever depreciating 2007 at the back of your mind, could you ever invest in good faith again?

Over to you reader...

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 12, 2010.

More evidence of how the 2009 is not only a conundrum, but a watershed year in the 'internationalization' of Bordeaux wines:

"Case in point, yesterday’s 2009 Cantenac-Brown (WA94-96)(WS93-96), a Margaux that caused a flurry in the market – one of the more hotly contested wines of the campaign thus far.  This was an example of a phenomena that will take hold more often than not with the 2009s – specifically, are you buying to drink or to sell? Unfortunately, I believe the latter represents more of the market.  With the 2009 Cantenac-Brown, a wine that drinks like a flame-throwing framboise liquor from the Roussillon (see Jancis Robinson 16/20, Neil Martin 84-88pts or Tanzer 88pts), the only possible allure of this wine is the Parker score and the potential value down the road. If you are in any way a classicist, the 2009 Cantenac-Brown will simply be taking up space in your cellar – it’s that over-ripe and over-done.  If, on the other hand, you are looking to profit, then we shall see if the Parker number is the only one that matters. Don’t forget, if Neil Martin takes over the Bordeaux duties at the Wine Advocate (which could be the very drawn out plan for the future), his score may become the Wine Advocate’s score...auctions do not like 84-88pt scores."


From Rimmerman at Garagiste...


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Reply by gregt, Jun 12, 2010.

Yeah I saw that too.  He was hawking some $11 bottle of something and I found it really funny because it was one of the wines I liked.  I don't think it's anything at all like he describes it.

He's an example of an interesting trend that IMO has a bit of a down side.  He's built a great following by counter-programming.  And he really does go out and source some great wines that I very often like very much.  In fact, I finally broke down and bought a few things from him and the problem is, I know that once I get comfortable w someone, it's likely to turn into another financial drain . . .

But back to my point.  Increasingly in these e-mails from wine mongers, I'm seeing a similar trend.  Also in talking to people and even to talking to a couple of friends (who frankly have zero clue although they're nice people).  And that trend is to posit to poles - Parker and the "other side" and I hate it.  I'm only speculating here, but I think it's a result of and at the same time an example of the polarizing that seems to hit just about anything today. 

"You disagree with such and such opinion?  That means you're racist, sexist, xenophobic, or whatever."

In politics it's embedded now - if you don't like a portion of the Obama plan for X, then you're obviously a supporter of virtually everything else proposed by anyone in the other party.  And within the parties people are cleaning out the people with incorrect thoughts and opinions. 

I hate it and the exact same thing is happening to wine drinkers.  People who started drinking wine maybe four years ago decide that they know more about wine than Parker or whoever and loudly declaim the damage he has done.  They have no context and really no right to have an opinion on a subject of which they know nothing.  People who've been drinking wine for a long long time usually gravitated towards something that they were comfortable with.  Today, even that is polarizing. 

"You like a wine from California?  Then all you like is fruit-bombs and you're a Parker sucker." 

On the other side - "You like a lean red from Austria or a white from Muscadet?  Then you're part of the 'anti-flavor elite'."  And that last phrase comes from Parker himself!  He gets tired of the other side claiming to be the "true" wine lovers, etc., but doesn't do much to help when he gets into the mud with them.  

I think it's fine to like what you like, but you don't need to see the world in either/or terms.  And I think it's fine to find your way somewhere in the middle, but I don't think that's always an interesting place to be.  Most of all, I think it's best to travel all over the map and enjoy things from all over, at least insofar as wine is concerned.  I think you gotta be a real a***hole to imagine that you've got some kind of moral superiority over someone who likes something that you disdain, solely because your palate disagrees. 

I respect what John's done and I like a lot of the wines he offers, and I realize that as a business, it's easier to paint yourself in black if the other guy painted himself in white.  But I wish he wouldn't have written as he did and I don't like seeing the wine world devolve into these stupid factions.

Although, I gotta say - we just tasted a series of 2007 Rhones and Priorats and if you want to talk about flame-throwing framboise liquor, you'd have a point with those wines.

Sorry for the rant.

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Reply by gregt, Jun 12, 2010.

Typo.  Top of the rant  I meant "posit two" poles

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Reply by penguinoid, Jun 13, 2010.

I have to agree with you there. This polarising of arguments is an increasingly annoying problem, and it does seem to be influencing the wine world - along with just about everything else.

I guess at least part of the reason is that it's easier to "win" a strawman argument than a real one. It's annoying, and a real problem, as it can and does kill any attempt at reasoned discussion or dialogue.

Not wine related, but from memory* Umberto Eco's book Turning Back the Clock has an interesting essay critiquing this. Worth looking up, if you come across it...

 

*I don't have my copy to hand, and my memory is infamously fallible.

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 13, 2010.

Personally, I've always liked the Hegelian dialectic: thesis, antithesis, synthesis....

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Reply by gregt, Jun 13, 2010.

Holy Crap!!! Where did you guys come from?!

Umberto Eco, Hegelian dialectics . . .

I checked the thread while having breakfast and it seems like I woke up in another world. 

Forget it.  Let's just go back to name calling.

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 13, 2010.

Well technically, I suppose, it was only Hegel's description of Kant's dialectic. I think Hegel actually used the terms 'Abstract-Negative-Concrete'.  I wonder what kind of wines he drank... ;-)

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Reply by gregt, Jun 13, 2010.

wisea**!

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Reply by zufrieden, Jun 13, 2010.

You guys are a hoot.  Parker, Hegel and Eco all on the same page - plus detraction - just in case you are averse to over-intellectualizing.  

Frankly, I don't find any of the name-dropping (of historical personages and contemporary authors) a problem because, as all of you seem to be saying, the polarization of argument affects wine and other forms of sensory/aesthetic appreciation just as much as it does the social and political world generally.

It's just too bad that all the fun of discussing quality in anything is ruined by the desire of certain marketers to milk any energy in a subject or passion simply to promote a personal economic benefit or score a political point.

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 13, 2010.

Strangely enough, Greg, that's not the first time I've had that epithet bandied at me. ;-)

Yeah, Zuf, it'd be better if the marketers could just FedEx us free samples and we could decide for ourselves (as if). Wonder when 'Beam me up Scottie' technology makes that possible in whatever century in the future what excuses they'll then have about molecular shift or some such after you say you don't like a wine delivered that way.

No, I haven't been smoking anything for breakfast over here. But maybe I do need another cup of coffee!

One minor brainstorm (or something like that). Maybe Greg DP needs to organize an en primeur tasting tour for the GCC next year....

 

 

 

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 13, 2010.

And Zuf, all GregT was doing was offering up a 'negative' to my 'abstract' (or anithesis to my thesis) in the dialectic of the Hegel/Kant discussion. You playing Mr. 'Concrete/Synthesis'?

;-)

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Reply by cigarman168, Jun 13, 2010.

So I have tasted the 09 EN of the wines before I make the purchase rather than listen to the reviews from those so called spcialists.

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Reply by zufrieden, Jun 13, 2010.

Good to see you back Cigar Man (168 - no less). Yes, I would give old taste buds a whirl before believing in any testimonial - especially as I recall your interest in futures.  I would have liked to sample some barrels but alas I was a bit early.  

Meanwhile, like you, I will continue to synthesize the concrete world of facts.

;-)

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Reply by cigarman168, Jun 13, 2010.

@Zufrieden, How are you, also nice to hear you again. April and May are busy month for wines ie Vinexpo, tasting, auction...Make me nearly forget to back to snooth. So, as you say our taste buds make the choice. And I have just started to buy some Larrivet Haut Brion Rouge and Blanc 09 EN.

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