I have been interested in the comments in my blog and the general buzz in the marketplace about our choice for the Wine of the Year. It seems that some people are upset that the wine was not a 2005 Bordeaux, or the 2005 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor. In regard to the latter, I don't think it should have been named Wine of the Year--I'm not a huge fan, due to its slightly sweaty aromas--but obviously, I can better comment on Bordeaux.
The bottom line is that the top Bordeaux in 2005 were too expensive. They started out too expensive, and they're still expensive. For instance, my favorite 2005 Bordeaux I tasted this year was the L'Evangile, which was No. 21 in our list of the Top 100. It's a stunning wine, with wonderful concentration of fruit and tannins and an everlasting finish. But the release price, according to our list, is $260 a bottle, and the average price in the marketplace now appears to be about $400 a bottle. That’s too much to be in the Top 10, especially this year. Sorry.
I have been talking to a number of wine merchants around the world and they say that the top Bordeax in 2005 are basically unsaleable at the moment. No one wants to buy a young first growth at $1,000 a bottle or more. It doesn’t feel right under the terrible economic conditions, even if someone could afford it. Consumer confidence is very low. Besides, I really don't know many people in the world who are going to drop a grand or more on a bottle of wine to drink at the moment – young or old wine.
Granted, it’s not fair to say that all 2005 Bordeaux are too expensive. There are a number of excellent values in the Top 100 this year. The best that comes to mind is 2005 Château Puygueraud Côtes de Francs. The release price was $18 but now it’s about $30. And I gave it a blind score of 92 points. What’s not to like?
And it’s not fair to say the best 2005s are not some of the greatest young wines ever produced. I scored nine wines from the vintage in Bordeaux a perfect 100 points. But that doesn’t mean one of them deserved to be the Wine of the Year.