Wine Words & Video Tape

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Bordeaux 2009: Parker effect

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Chateau Léoville Poyferré – one of a bevy of Parker 100 point wines in 2009

What an extraordinary day yesterday! From what I could see there was phenomenal trade in top Bordeaux 2009 ahead of Robert Parker’s final scores on this vintage now it’s in bottle. It’s the final word, for now, on what is clearly one of the most remarkable vintages of modern claret. James Suckling gave it a huge thumbs up last week and from what I’ve seen reported Robert Parker has awarded no fewer than 18 perfect scores in his latest Wine Advocate published yesterday. I watched prices climb dramatically on Farr Vintner’s website and elsewhere throughout the day, particularly for the dozen or so new ‘first growths’ – the likes of Léoville Poyferré, Pontet Canet and rest that have [now] been duly awarded the Parker perfect one hundred score. What a days work that must have been in fine wine brokers the world over? It’ll be a big day again today as his scores and comments fully dissected and digested.

Spare a thought for Charles Chevallier at seeing Chateau Lafite-Rothschild [one of my wines of the vintage when tasted en primeur] awarded ‘just’ 99+ points in that context. As ever Parkers words and more important than his numbers [if you see he’s Lafite review you will be edified, especially if you own any]. Hopefully you’ll have read here what I feel about 2009 Bordeaux – and my penny’s worth. 2009 is a sumptuous vintage, alluring and ravishing in the context of 2010’s more classic grandeur. An obvious tip [though caveat emptor ] is to immediately take a peek at 2010 and the best wines there. I’m sure those Chateaux newly anointed with the perfect score may well achieve something similar when their time comes next year. I expect we’ll begin to see both vintages as equal in stature, just different style. 2010 was all just too much to take in following directly on the heels of 2009. And with Bordeaux 2011 clearly not in the same category [I’m off to taste these new wines next month], those in search of the best wines in the best vintages will have plenty of time to consider their options.

What I actually found most fascinating about events yesterday is that far from Robert Parker’s influence being on the wane [as has been reported], it feels quite the opposite. It’s almost a return to the status quo where one man moves markets. At the very least we appear to be getting a slightly better balance where the critically appraised wines get the best prices, not simply the strongest brands or those with Chinese labels and lucky years [where did that all get us in the end?]. So in front of us lies a maturing, increasingly complex and nuanced wine investment market that taking greater note of what’s reportedly in the glass rather than simply on the label. Fascinating times.

Alfred Tesseron of Pontet Canet – presumably delighted with their perfect score

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