When I was in Bordeaux last week tasting a couple hundred 2006s, wine producers and wine merchants alike were debating whether to sell their newest wines en primeur or as futures. That’s when the wines are sold while they are still in barrel, about eight to 10 months after the harvest, for delivery after they are in bottle. Top vintages such as 2005 have seen the top names of the vintage sell for small fortunes.
Anyway, some Bordeaux vintners said 2008 futures made no sense because no market would exist for the young wines considering the recession encompassing the world. Others thought the 2008 should be sold as futures but prices should come down significantly, perhaps below 2004 levels or even lower.
I favor the latter. Châteaus and wine merchants alike have made so much money in recent years with futures that it’s time to give the consumer a break. I am not sure about the quality of 2008 since I have only tasted a few very young barrel samples. But I expect it to be good overall quality for the best names, perhaps slightly better than 2007 or along the lines of 1999 or 2001. But what would be wrong with offering first-growths such as Margaux and Latour to the consumer at under $200 a bottle or second-growths such as Cos and Ducru at $50?
Of course, the Bordeaux wine trade for the most part doesn’t want to drop prices, even with new vintages. Moreover, a cheap vintage of young wine would devalue older vintages as well, particularly 2007. However, prices are coming down anyways in the secondary market for Bordeaux wines in both young and old vintages due to the recession. So there’s not much they can do, even if a number of them said there was no recession for their wines.
I will be in Bordeaux next spring to taste the new vintage and inform you of the quality regardless of whether they sell as futures.
Jon Burdick — December 23, 2008 11:50am ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — December 23, 2008 11:53am ET
William Delaney — Arlington VA — December 23, 2008 12:10pm ET
Jordan Horoschak — Houston, TX — December 23, 2008 1:02pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — December 23, 2008 2:12pm ET
David A Zajac — December 23, 2008 3:09pm ET
Massimo Marinucci — December 23, 2008 3:20pm ET
Greg Neidballa — Chicago, IL USA — December 23, 2008 4:47pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — December 23, 2008 6:11pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — December 23, 2008 7:16pm ET
Marchello Chacchia — Connecticut — December 24, 2008 10:21am ET
Thomas Hughes — Texas — December 24, 2008 11:17am ET
John Jorgenson — Seattle, — December 24, 2008 6:41pm ET
Lorenzo Erlic — victoria canada — December 24, 2008 8:37pm ET
Horacio Campana / Butler Me — Monterrey, Mexico — December 24, 2008 9:13pm ET
Brad Baker — Vancouver Canada — December 26, 2008 10:43pm ET
Dennis D Bishop — Shelby Twp., MI, USA — December 29, 2008 11:40am ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions