Burgundy is hot. It’s en fuego. So hot, it’s becoming a better investment than classified Bordeaux.
The Sideways phenomenon helped turned American wine drinkers into Pinot Noir lovers, and recent good vintages have kept the train rolling. That's on the surface. Underneath, though, is another reason – supply and demand.
Industry insiders are familiar with this second reason, which is caused by a small group of wealthy collectors who are basically cornering the market on the top wines. Producers like Roumier, Méo-Camuzet, DRC, Vogüé and a few others have their wines snapped up immediately with a price-is-no-limit voraciousness. It doesn’t take much for a few wealthy individuals to absorb the typical production of an elite grand cru – usually just two or three hundred cases. Then, with the available supply seemingly gone from the retail market, the wines trickle out at auction and suddenly command a hefty premium over their initial release prices. And this is for wines that are still basically current releases.
The 2002 Bonnes-Mares from Roumier fetches $350 a bottle at auction right now (it was released at $120 in May of last year), and the just-released ’03 Bonnes-Mares from Roumier has already garnered nearly $300 a bottle, almost doubling the suggested $175 release price (assuming standard markup when purchased via the licensed importer).
It’s a game a few people are playing, and playing to their benefit. That’s sad on two counts – one, wine is meant to be enjoyed, not speculated on. And second, if anyone should profit from the sale of the wine, it should be the person who made the wine. Think any Burgundian vintners are getting commission checks from these collectors? I don’t think so...