2009 Bordeaux Sound Bites

Comparing prices for 2009 Bordeaux futures versus those for what's available in bottle shows the 2009s might not be so outrageous after all
Jun 8, 2010

I was thinking today about all the cyber talk about 2009 Bordeaux futures, and price increases and percentage jumps spoken of the same way my friends in London's City, the financial district there, speak about the fluctuation in the Dow Jones or Footsie 100 (FTSE). They are all a little nervous at the moment with all the debt in the private and public sectors, but let's talk about Bordeaux. We don't have to take to the streets yet.

There is so much noise out there on 2009 Bordeaux. This château is up 50 percent from 2005, that property up 20 percent from 2008. But where are prices if you or me just walk into a wine shop in the United States and we want to buy some 2009 futures? How does it compare to Bordeaux already on their shelves and cellars?

I took the liberty of looking online at prices in one of my hometown wine shops, Wally's Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles, and I pretended that I walked in today with some money in my pocket (more likely on my credit card) to buy some 2009 Bordeaux futures. But I would look at what's available in bottle as well.

Well, if I wanted to buy some Clerc Milon, the fifth-growth Pauillac estate that is the baby brother of Mouton-Rothschild and a wine I always love, I could buy the 2009 as futures for $55 a bottle. That doesn't seem that outrageously priced for a wine that I scored 93-96 points. The 2008 is a little less expensive, at $45, but not on the same quality level, at 88-91 points. The 2005 is $100, and ready to be bought and taken out the door. Of course, it's not ready to be drunk, but it's satisfying to walk out with the bottle in hand and place in your cellar or locker. Not sure what I would do, but I imagine I would buy the 2009 future.

Maybe Gloria, the cru bourgeois St.-Julien, is a more compelling example. I can buy the 2009 future from Wally's for $37 and I scored it 90-93 points from barrel, but the 2005 is $52 and ready to rock'n'roll. I drank a bottle of the 2005 a few months ago at home in Tuscany, and with an hour of decanting, it was a gorgeous, silky and sexy young Bordeaux with plenty of fresh fruit and silky caressing tannins. It's still 92 points, as I scored it originally. But 2005 is more than $16 more expensive than the 2009.

Let's look at Giscours, the classified Margaux that is on a quality roll right now and a top contender in the appellation. I can buy the 2009 future for $56 (92-95 points), the 2007 in bottle for $60 (89 points), the 2006 for $62 (91 points) and a magnum of the 2005 for $154 (93 points).

This has been an interesting exercise. For me, it says that 2009 futures are relatively good values compared to what else is in the market at the moment, at least in Los Angeles and from Wally's. What really counts is what we can buy as consumers from wine shops and online. The rest appears to be mostly noise. What do you think?

France Bordeaux 2009

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