Yesterday I should have driven a boat to Bordeaux instead of a car! But I finally arrived around 8 p.m. in the famous wine city after close to 10 hours of driving in the rain and snow. I was in Piedmont over the weekend, and the snow was knee-high in some parts. I couldn’t get to the Côte d’Azur the normal way because the Savona road was closed due to snowstorms. The weather has been horrendous this November and December in Europe. Hope it gets better.
I am sure the Bordeaux wine estates are hoping the world economy gets better as well. I hear it is tough out there. Just look at first-growth 2005s. Apparently, they are now trading in Bordeaux for less than 600 euros a bottle compared to 1,200 euros a few months ago. I hear that some wine merchants in England are selling their 2006s and 2007s below cost. I think it is only going to get worse as the global economy continues to fall.
Some people, whether in the wine trade or not, are going to have to liquidate their liquid assets, and they are not going to care if they take a loss or not. They may be holding on in hope for a better market in 2009, but it’s over for them. That may be good news for anyone who wants to buy top-end, young Bordeaux at good prices. But your crystal ball is as good as mine on this. Let’s just wait and see.
What I do know is that the 2006 Bordeaux are very good from the many of the estates. Following up on my barrel tastings last year, I have reviewed close to 450 wines in blind tastings so far, both in my office in Italy as well as in Bordeaux, and there are many very good to outstanding wines. The wines have really improved with barrel aging and show lovely perfumes, good, fresh fruit and fine tannins. Granted, some wines are hollow in their center palates. Others are diluted. But a number of wineries made as good, if not better, 2006s than their 2005s.
How could this be? I guess that they thought it was so easy in 2005 – a clearly superior-quality harvest -- that they didn’t make as much effort as they did in 2006, when the growing season posed obvious difficulties. So in effect, similarly good wines were made in both vintages. Of course, the 2006s do not have the ripe and rich character of the 2005s. They are much colder and firmer. In other words, they are more typical clarets. I have not yet tasted the ultra-top wines such as the first growths and collectible Right Bankers, but I will soon. So stay tuned.
The 2006 vintage could turn out to be another 2001 – a sleeper vintage. Prices will most likely be very good, less than when they sold as futures, or en primeur. And the wines will be close in quality to the 2005s. The only catch will be that the U.S. market did not buy much of the 2006 futures after putting so much money into the 2005s, and the decline in the dollar in 2007 dissuaded many U.S. merchants from buying 2006 as well. But I am sure the 2006s will sell one day, especially if they are sold at knock-down prices. Cos or Pichon at $80 a bottle, or Haut-Brion and Latour at $200…maybe I am just dreaming?
Jon Burdick — December 16, 2008 12:52pm ET
Mark Reinman — NJ — December 16, 2008 1:48pm ET
Lorenzo Erlic — victoria canada — December 16, 2008 2:09pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — December 16, 2008 3:14pm ET
Johnny Espinoza Esquivel — December 16, 2008 5:32pm ET
Jimmy Hwang — Atlanta , GA — December 16, 2008 8:37pm ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — December 16, 2008 8:44pm ET
James Suckling — — December 17, 2008 2:49am ET
Jean-michel Laporte — December 17, 2008 2:56am ET
James Suckling — — December 17, 2008 3:03am ET
James Suckling — — December 17, 2008 3:20am ET
Vignobles Trocard — saint emilion — December 17, 2008 10:07am ET
James Suckling — — December 17, 2008 10:09am ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — December 17, 2008 11:56am ET
David A Zajac — December 17, 2008 4:18pm ET
James Suckling — — December 17, 2008 4:45pm ET
Lorenzo Erlic — victoria canada — December 17, 2008 7:27pm ET
Michael Tracy — Corona, CA — December 17, 2008 10:59pm ET
Jean-michel Laporte — December 18, 2008 3:18am ET
James Suckling — — December 18, 2008 3:23am ET
Thomas Hughes — Texas — December 18, 2008 11:54am ET
Mr Damian Zaninovich — Bakersfield,Ca — December 18, 2008 12:36pm ET
Lorenzo Erlic — victoria canada — December 18, 2008 1:12pm ET
David A Zajac — December 18, 2008 3:35pm ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — December 18, 2008 5:41pm ET
Vignobles Trocard — saint emilion — December 19, 2008 7:39am ET
James Suckling — — December 19, 2008 7:41am ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — December 19, 2008 8:59am ET
James Suckling — — December 19, 2008 9:05am ET
Michael Tracy — Corona, CA — December 22, 2008 6:59pm ET
Ben Gilliberti — Washington, DC — January 1, 2009 4:39pm ET
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