This was a surreal week in the wine world, if you think about it. We have the famous, or infamous, Two-Buck Chuck winning best Chardonnay from California at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition in Sacramento, and the 2006 Bordeaux first-growths coming out around $500 a bottle to US consumers. I am not sure which is harder to understand. I am nervously laughing as I write this. I think a glass of 2006 Domaine Temper Rosé is in order this evening to contemplate it all.
I have always thought that the results of California wine fairs were questionable at best. Granted, I haven’t followed them in a long time. But when I was around in the 1980s, the big-medal winners never impressed me. Some were absolute jokes. Similar events in France that I have attended, and been part of over the years, were also not very impressive. So dubious medals are not exclusive to California, or anywhere else.
I guess it is possible that a brand that sells most of its wines for $1.99 and has sold 300 million bottles in the last five years, as my cohort James Laube points out in his blog, could have produced my home state’s greatest Chardonnay. And, yes, I do believe that there may be life on Mars. Peace in the Middle East is imminent, and that Elvis Presley is not dead but making wine in the outback of Sicily. But I have my reservations. I have to admit this, so please forgive me.
I also have my concerns about the close to one million bottles of young wine laying in the cellars of some of the greatest wineries on earth selling for $500 a bottle. I am sure one day they are going to be consumed. But I have to wonder if there are enough affluent people in the world to buy these expensive wines from a very good, but not great, vintage. The 2006 vintage produced many very good to excellent wines from the top names of Bordeaux, but it is not 2005 or 2003 or 2000. Is 500 bucks a fair price for something that isn’t even in bottle yet, even if it is from a lofty name such as Latour, Haut-Brion, Lafite, Mouton and Margaux?
Just for comparison sake, I looked up the current auction prices for Château Margaux in the US, according to this magazine’s database. And you can still pick up bottles of all of the past vintages in the last two decades for less than $500, with the exception of 2000, 1996 and 1990. Even that I don’t understand because in my opinion, the 1995 and 1989 are superior to 1996 and 1990, respectively, and they sell for less, but that’s another discussion.
Sometimes it’s better not to take things too seriously in the wine world… I hope you are all drinking something gorgeous and wonderful this weekend. Can’t wait for next week.
Brad Kanipe — Atlanta — June 29, 2007 5:08pm ET
Tony Wood — Brighton U.K. — June 29, 2007 7:27pm ET
John Miller — Windsor, CA — June 29, 2007 7:56pm ET
David A Zajac — June 29, 2007 10:13pm ET
Brian Greenglass — Toronto, Canada — June 29, 2007 11:14pm ET
Robert Fukushima — California — June 29, 2007 11:57pm ET
Brian Greenglass — Toronto, Canada — June 30, 2007 12:35am ET
Yaron Zakai Or — Israel — June 30, 2007 6:14am ET
Jack Bulkin — June 30, 2007 8:06pm ET
James Suckling — — June 30, 2007 8:57pm ET
Chris Carrad — New Zealand — June 30, 2007 10:34pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — June 30, 2007 10:35pm ET
James Suckling — — July 1, 2007 10:17am ET
Aidan Campbell — Calgary, AB, Canada — July 9, 2007 6:34pm ET
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