Expensive wines have been taking a beating this year as the recession changed people’s drinking habits. Though wines are still being consumed, it seems like the $10 to $20 range is the most popular, with much lower demand for wines selling at more than $30.
I have been waiting for the bargains to appear. It has taken a little longer than expected, but in the last few weeks, there were some excellent buying opportunities.
A few weeks ago, I saw the Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays 2006, a grand cru red Burgundy with a suggested retail price on release of $165, offered for $90 at not one, but two retailers. This is a terrific price for a wine whose quality has been steadily improving and is still, in my opinion, flying under the radar.
Just last week, Michael Skurnik Wines reduced its inventory of 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 2006 red Burgundy. Two New York retailers, Grapes The Wine Company and Acker Merrall & Condit, subsequently offered several Burgundies and a few Châteauneufs, sometimes at roughly half off the original retail price.
For example, Grapes offered David Duband’s Charmes-Chambertin 2006 (93 points, $150) for $89 and its Clos de la Roche (92 points, $120) for $65. Acker was blowing out Duband’s Clos Vougeot (93, $128) for $69 and the Robert Groffier Chambolle-Musigny Les Hauts-Doix ’06 (92, $135) for $59.
Yesterday, the sell-off continued with two ’06 reds from Domaine de l'Arlot, its Nuits-St.-Georges Clos des Forets St.-Georges (92, $80) and Nuits-St.-Georges Clos de l'Arlot (91, $80). Grapes prices were $55 and $49 respectively.
Daniel Posner, the owner of Grapes, conceded it has been difficult for expensive wines like red Burgundy, but that “… at the right price, people are buying.”
Last Friday, Grapes also offered the Domaine Ferrando Châteauneuf-du-Pape Colombis 2006 (93, $60) for $39. My colleague Mitch Frank recently bought the Pierre Usseglio Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2006 (91, $53) for $25 from Premier Cru, a West Coast retailer.
So, if you have a few extra dollars and are willing to be patient, watch for more of these types of deals in the next several months. As cash-strapped companies slash prices to reduce inventory, wine lovers will reap the rewards.
Fred Brown — Maryland — August 6, 2009 8:42pm ET
Daniel Posner — New York — August 7, 2009 5:46pm ET
Colin Haggerty — La Jolla, California — August 9, 2009 10:55pm ET
David Metz — Atlanta, GA — August 10, 2009 4:21pm ET
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