Wine Talk

Snooth User: Rupert Degas

Bordeaux 2009 En Primeur

Posted by Rupert Degas, Mar 27, 2010.

Hey everyone, what's the buzz in the US right now about buying Bordeaux 2009 En Primeur?

I have never known a vintage to be so 'talked-up' by the press.  Investors are hanging on to Parker's index fingers waiting with drooling tongues and wagging tails for it to spout forth its Midas touch.  This is THE vintage of the last 100 years folks.  Brokers and merchants have proverbial blank cheques from their millionaire clients.  What will happen?  

Do you think the Bordelais will over-price?

Does anyone have any money to take the plunge into what will undoubtedly be a bull market stampede?

Has anyone been caught out by wine futures and lost a small fortune?

Is there insider dealing going on?  Back-handers?  (Heaven forbid!)

Does anyone actually care?

Let's have a heated debate...! 

1 2 3 next

Replies

20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Mar 27, 2010.

Guess you weren't around in 2005, or.... ;-)

Wouldn't you be tweaking the PR machine in every way you could imagine in the midst of this economy?

1
240
Reply by cigarman168, Mar 28, 2010.

En 09 Should be higher-priced as you can see many reports to talked up it. Better save money to find those value for money one.

260
56
Reply by atonalprime, Mar 28, 2010.

I don't have cellar space to even begin thinking about the 09 vintage, I don't have the money to be buying cases in any significant quantity to last me over the years, and I'm a just a little Bordeauxed out.  

I'm still learning the intricacies of Bordeaux from older and more recent vintages, so that I could even have the base knowledge to speculate how a terroir, weather pattern, hang-time, etc affects the grape in ways that bloom over time.  My buying tendencies are inclined to not buy Bordeaux, as it seems that many of them are inconsistent to what I enjoy in a wine.

My plan is to travel back to Spain and Italy in the glass for the summer, and quite a few trips to Germany and Austria as we head towards Fall 2010.  If I can work it in, South Africa.  I have no doubt I will open more of my own Bordeaux in the coming year, and have the inkling to buy another, but I don't crave it and dream about it like a Gran Reserva from Rioja.  In times like these, I'm putting more money into my dreams.

How about, on December 22, 2012, I'll investigate wine futures.

0
2758
Reply by gregt, Mar 28, 2010.

Never heard anythign so talked up?  Didn't you hear about 1990 or 1995 or 2000 or 2005?  Just about every five years Bordeaux has a vintage of a lifetime or vintage of a century.  In between they have a vintage of a decade, like 1996 or 1998 or 2003 or 2008. 

The anticipation of Parker notes is par for the course because the wineries want to see how high they can go with the pricing. 

This is really no different from many other vintages, except that the economic crisis world-wide has put a damper on a few expectations.  But as long as people want to pay for names that confer bragging rights, the Bordelais will do fine.

From what I've tasted, the vintage is going to be just fine.  If pricing were more in line with wine instead of conspicuous consumption items, I'd even buy some.  As it is, I'm as indifferent as ever.  There's a lot of great wine in the world and no reason to purchase any Bordeaux if it means competing with people who don't know any better and who are willing to spend foolish amounts of money as a result.

476
1138
Reply by John Andrews, Jun 19, 2010.

So I thought about purchasing some 09 Bordeaux of futures and one thing did stand out ... the prices are WAY up from last year.  Obviously someone believes the economy has turned around.  I'm nog going to step away completely but ... wow.

That said, would anyone be willing to share the names of their favourite unknown chateau I might be able to get at a reasonable price.  

One that I was thinking of is the 'second label' of Chateau Palmer, Alter Ego de Palmer, it is on for $52 a bottle.  Is that good, bad or just average? 

20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Jun 19, 2010.

I haven't looked at all, but as a reference point what are the prices for Les Forts de Latour, Pavillon Rouge (du Chateau Margaux), Carruades de Lafite, Bahans-Haut-Brion, Le Petit Cheval (Cheval Blanc) or Chapelle d'Ausone?  Often less expensive are Les Pagodes de Cos (Cos d'Estournel), Les Hauts de Pontet (Ponet-Canet), Les Tourelles de Longueville (Pichon-Baron), La Dame de Montrose, or Réserve de la Comtesse (Pichon-Lalande).

Not too surprising about the prices, considering the level of hype that's been surging. I say vote with your feet. Bordeaux can hope all they want for a quick recoup of money they weren't able to make over the last year or two, but, barring Chinese mass purchases, hopefully the response will be tepid enough to keep the prices soft. Better yet, start buying up all the 2004s, 6s and 7s you run across at reasonable prices....

476
1138
Reply by John Andrews, Jun 19, 2010.

Pricing for the following are not available yet (not released) at the store I'm looking at:

  • Les Forts de Latour
  • Pavillon Rouge
  • Carruades de Lafite
  • Bahans-Haut-Brion
  • Le Petit Cheval

But there is pricing for the following:

  • 2009 Les Pagodes de Cos $54.99 (2008 is $34.99)
  • 2009 Les Hauts de Pontet $31.99 (2009 Pontet-Canet is $129.99)
20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Jun 20, 2010.

It's ridiculous that Pontet-Canet is at that level now. I wonder if Parker was totally discredited or basically just disappeared how much effect other ratings would then have....

476
1138
Reply by John Andrews, Jun 20, 2010.

It looks like it is just a steal, here are the ratings listed on the shop site for Pontet-Canet. 

  • RP: 97 - 100
  • WE: 98 - 100
  • WS: 95 - 98

In case you are wondering the store is K&L (www.klwines.com).

How much would you expect it to be at? 

672
1099
Reply by zufrieden, Jun 20, 2010.

Any scoring results for the second wines of these estates you mention?  For example, the 2009 Les Hauts de Pontet seems reasonably priced - if the Grand Vin is as good as the ratings suggest and the second wine reflects at least some of the ambient quality.  

Anyway, although I have no evidence upon which to base my feelings of the moment, I am just a little suspicious about all this hype. I for one won't be plunking down good money until I have had a bit more exposure to these wines via the palate.  

But unless I move fast, I may be out of luck it seems.

20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Jun 20, 2010.

Considering that Ponkane (Japanese like to remove syllables in their nicknames), as it's called in wine circles over here, is a 5th growth, and that historically it was at the same price level as a Poujeaux or Chasse Spleen or Sociando Mallet or Potensac, it has been in my list of good QPR go-to Bordeaux wines (and in many cases just plain good wines) for nearly three decades now. I guess I still think of it that way and so unconsciously expect it to be at the same price level as its second label. I wouldn't feel so bad if it was in the $50-70 range, considering its quality (and recent good ratings) but $130 (at K&L which is always on the low end of the price range) is just plain obscene.

I have respect for winemakers that don't gouge when suddenly it seems they can. A number of comparisons can be made in California, between say a Ridge and some of Helen Turley's operations, or a Screaming Eagle or Sine Qua Non. I had thought of Pontet Canet quite familiarly, because of the hundreds of their bottles I've consumed over the years (and never their second label; I can't even think of the year they started marketing it), and the fact that they weren't pushing the pricing envelope. Developments in the second half of this past decade have forced me to change my opinion of them, as well as others such as Pavie (and even the likes of a Figeac) and now maybe Cos. Chateaux Mouton and Margaux and Haut Brion have always been ridiculously priced for the quality of what they deliver, though I still do have a soft spot for Latour and very occasionally Lafite. I will buy a La Mission Haut Brion pretty much whenever I have the opportunity because its wine is usually better than all the others except maybe Latour, IMHO. But its price is a little lower, too, so maybe that's contributed to my good feeling about it....

 

 

672
1099
Reply by zufrieden, Jun 20, 2010.

The exorbitant prices now being charged for admittedly decent wine has affected both my drinking habits and attitude toward the growers. I came to the buying of the finest wines somewhat later in life than some, but I have spent enough on Bordeaux to know that many wines of the region are often eclipsed by less expensive fare from either the same region or from somewhere further afield.

Sad, really, because I truly love the traditional wines of Bordeaux.

476
1138
Reply by John Andrews, Jun 20, 2010.

After all this ... I think I'm going to stick with California ... of course if someone can recommend a super second or third or fourth I should really consider, I'll consider it ... :-) 

20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Jun 21, 2010.

Don't give up so easily. Buy several, at least of the Pontet-Canet 2nd label, and other seconds (Les Forts will likely be one of the most expensive but it is shockingly good) as they become available. Drink one right away and lay the rest down. Look elsewhere around the region, too. The wine there is very, very good, depending on the producer. So shop around a bit....

476
1138
Reply by John Andrews, Jun 21, 2010.

I'll put it on my list ... I did have Smith-Haut-Lafite but there bottles have gone up to $90 each.  I've added a few of the Les Hauts de Pontet to my list.  I do have Cantely's Rouge which is the second label of Smith-Haut-Lafite as well.  Any other suggestions? 

20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Jun 21, 2010.

I like S-H-L's white better than their red. I'm only on for a second, now, so let me think about it and get back when I have time. Would be curious about suggestions from both the Gregs, too....

20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Jun 21, 2010.

The below came from Rimmerman at Garagiste this morning. I suppose I'm happy I'm not the only one disgusted by this marketplace, though 'happy' has nothing to do with this display of greed. I'm certainly going to be following up my 'vote with your feet' recommendation by staying away from any of the First Growths and equivalents. Without the Chinese, I wonder if it would be possible to engineer a response at an auction along the lines of his last sentence.

Note also, John, that K&L's price may be high for Pontet Canet.

 

2009 is now officially what I refer to as an “auction vintage” in Bordeaux and the top-tier wines have become nothing more than a commodity to be traded back and forth (that may never be uncorked).

What a shame.

You may as well put water in the bottles?  Why even bother with a growing season?

I used to have a simple formula: When a bottle of wine on 1st tranche is more than an ounce of gold, we have a problem.  I was certain that this year, the wine would be lower (as gold has been trading above $1000/ounce) - I was wrong.

With the release of 2009 La Mission and 2009 Lafite-Rothschild this morning, I'm not sure whether to throw up or applaud a group of owners for their stone-faced greed? If a person can look themselves in the mirror and feel no sense of shame for a decadent (disgusting?) display of capitalism (especially during this economy) then I'm not sure what to say?  $800-900 for La Mission Haut Brion on 1st tranche? $1000-1100 for Lafite on 1st Tranche? The last time I checked, you could still purchase 1989 Haut Brion for $750-850 and it is one of the greatest wines ever produced in Bordeaux. 2009 L’Evangile for $250 now looks like a “bargain” and $80 for 2009 Pontet Canet and 2009 Leoville Poyferre may be the steal of the vintage (although $65-$70 for Calon-Segur is just as worthy). In addition, how can one vintage (2008) be so inexpensive and the next so outrageous?  I cannot stress enough how good the 2008 wines are but I'm almost hesitant to give support to the same greed that opens their arms one minute and kicks you in the face the next?  What other industry could survive in this manner? What if their brand was so tarnished, the entrance of a bottle of Lafite at a special event was met with “no thanks” by the collector circuit?

20
6234
Reply by dmcker, Jun 21, 2010.

The rest of his comments about Bordeaux today (with a section also remarkably similar to what I was saying about Parker above):

 

Maybe I should open a bottle of 2009 Le Pre de la Lande ($12) for the owners of all five First Growths to demonstrate that good is still alive and well in their region?  On second thought, maybe not – they’ll buy the property and convince everyone the same wine is worth $100. Don’t get me wrong, this is not crying over spilled milk, but the top chateau owners have short memories and a negative PR campaign of this significance should have a lasting affect. Will It? The only factor that has a chance to curb this predicament is for Parker to take a year or two off. Bob, if you are reading this, it’s in no way your fault – you are simply a messenger and you “call ‘em as you see ‘em” but...we’ll see what happens to prices if you decide to take an extended vacation for a few years? Parker has certainly earned the right to affect the market in a downward sense as well increase the fervor every spring. What if Bob simply ignored the 2010 and 2011 campaigns and made no mention of them (regardless of quality) on his blog or in the WA? Stranger things have happened...

Not only is the current 2009 pricing ludicrous, but a business model that searches for the 1-2 buyers that can afford its goods each year (in this case, it’s China et al) and then switches like the wind to the buyer that has the most funds to burn the next year is not only foolhardy but, at some point, there are no other buyers available? If the Chateau owners are attempting to set themselves up for smart business, with another 100 years of financial success ahead, they have a funny way of showing it. At some point in the cycle, each of the spend thrift flavor-of-the month nations they court will go through a recession and they will be forced to come calling to the nations they burned in a previous campaign. Will we say no? In addition, I used to think our own domestic “cult” wines were bad but it’s hard to imagine an industry that shuns their own people more than the classified growths of Bordeaux – do you think the French collectors are lining up for $1200 Lafite? They are snickering at those that do and hoping their taxes will be off-set by the windfall.

If nothing else, there are so many worthy, well-priced small producers in Bordeaux that a purchase of the 2009 First Growths and many of the Super Seconds (like La Mission) just feels unclean and wrong. Don’t let the poison of a few trickle down and spoil the goodwill established by the Pre de la Lande’s of the world. As far as I'm concerned, if you were going to spend $12,000-13,000 on a 1st tranche case of 2009 Lafite this morning, give your money to charity instead – the drink will be that much sweeter.

672
1099
Reply by zufrieden, Jun 21, 2010.

Well, what a refreshing exposition of ethical clarity. Jon Rimmerman is spot on with his statements on how Parker's scoring machine has influenced wine buying habits - especially among the well-heeled. 

Prior to the Parker era (and before the 1982 Bordeaux vintage), wine reviews no doubt affected wine prices - but somewhat obliquely and mainly in select circles.  For one thing, wine connoisseurs - much like art aficionados - were once considered eccentric amateurs.  But we now live in the age of the professional critic - a time where the serious appreciation of almost anything sensual or artistic has become the bailiwick of a full-time subject expert.

Is the next step a 5-star score for art?  We've seen this in the review of recorded music for some time now, so why not?

I find these developments unfortunate on many fronts but most importantly in the realm of price influencing.  One does not need to be a sophisticated sybarite to identify and possess the most well-regarded wine.  If the expert proclaims quality, one simply points to the score. It matters little if I can actually appreciate substantive merits of the product. 

As for the garagistes who make surprising wines like Chateau Le Pin, there is little hope for keeping their prices in line.  Parker will see to it that this does not happen. 

 

3343
326
Reply by VegasOenophile, Jun 21, 2010.

What's more obscene I wonder, the 2005 Pontet Canet retailing about $150 when it got some of their best marks ever, or the first growths asking $1500-$1800 PER BOTTLE for their 2005s?  Which, incidentally, have all come down over half way (except Latour I haven't seen cheaper).  I mean really?!  Their cost is under $20 a bottle and the consumer is expected to shell out that kind of money, when the world economy is so weak?  Hmmmm.  I wish I was around prior to the late 70s when you could get great Bordeaux and Italian wines in addition to CA soooooooo much more reasonably.

1 2 3 next



Continue to the end of the thread to reply
Back to Categories

Top Contributors This Month

847804 Snooth User: EMark
847804EMark
63 posts
125836 Snooth User: dmcker
125836dmcker
58 posts
324443 Snooth User: outthere
324443outthere
54 posts

Categories

View All





Snooth Media Network