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Jun 15, 2011 12:49 PM

2009 and 2010 Bordeaux- Too good to be true?

I'm trying to figure out if I should invest in 2009 and 2010 futures for personal consumption, not for profit.

I made out like a bandit when I purchased 2008 Lafite, Haut Brion, Latour, and Mouton. Except for the Latour, I got them for $199-$219 a bottle. Prices have since doubled on all of them. My only regret is not having purchased more.

Now with back to back "100-point" years, I'm trying to figure out if this is a lot of hype generated by the bordelais with the help of a small group of very select and highly influential critics or if this is the real deal. Many 2000 and 2005 bordeaux initially heralded as "possible 100 point" wines have been significantly downgraded.

My question to the trusted hounds on this site is:

1. Is there any personal experience with the 2009 and 2010 vintages?

2. If so, what do you think? And any opinion on which year actually has more substance or it it too early/impossible to tell?

3. Any plans to purchase 2010 futures as they continue to be released in the next few weeks or are you holding out to see what the next few years bring? 2009 prices as inflated as they were have all been gobbled up.

The only argument against #3 is what I describe with my 2008 purchases.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I have not bought either the 2009 or 2010 as en primeur pricing has been catastrophic (to budget planning that is). I also won't live long enough to enjoy them in their prime drinking windows, and there isn't a need for me especially as there are still good selective bargains for 2006, 2007 and 2008 (even the odd 2003).

    I did meet someone a couple of weeks ago who has been purchasing Bordeaux for the past 25-30-odd years (he is a Bordelais) who has done barrel tastings of both. His personal preference from barrel was for 2010 but he also cautioned that as winemaking styles have changed significantly it would be a tough call to determine how each would develop in bottle. He also said that was only important if one was selling. For drinking the good château will still produce something quite quaffable over the years.

    1. After learning to appreciate fine wines for over 30+ years now, I have come to learn that ' it all boils down to personal preference and even 'expert' ratings can be a hit and miss'! A fine example was the 1988 Mouton, which I bought based on WS's Suckling's barrel tasting rating of 100 pts. Subsequently, that wine was given only 88pts by Parker!!! ( which was later up grated to about 92pts! But still??!! ). Upon drinking a bottle a few years ago, IMO, the 1988 was no where near perfect! ( like the 82 )!
      As for buying the 2009 or 2010 for personal consumption. Are you planning to buy the 'easier to drink' lesser growth? If not, be ready to wait for at least 10-15+ years before even contemplating opening one of the first growth! Otherwise, it'll be a waste of money not to be able to appreciate the true potential of the wine! I opened up a 100pts, 1990 Latour three years ago ( 17 years! ) and it was still closed!!!

      18 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Good point.

        I am talking more Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Las Cases and not any of the first growths in the 2009 and 2010 vintage. Maybe Chateau Palmer depending on what their 2010 prices look like. I doubt I'll be in the market for any of the first growths in these two vintages because pricing is looking to be prohibitive for me. But even Lalande and Pontet Canet prices in these vintages are hovering around $200/bottle and Palmer is looking like $300+. I'm wondering if these wines are good enough to put away half a case to a case of each or if I should pass for a more reasonable year in terms of quality to price ratio. And of course, I will not start opening even these until after 10 years.

        Now if people here are telling me that the 2009 and 2010 first growths are truly that great and that it would be wise to put some away now for consumption in 20-30 years, then I will put away a couple as a treat in 20-30 years in addition to buying more of the lesser growths.

        1. re: Porthos

          If indeed the 2009 and 2010 are as great as the experts are touting, then even for the Palmer, Pichon Lalande and the Leoville Las Cases, they have to be lay down for 'at least' 10-15 years!! In fact, recent Palmer is made as well as the Margaux ( occasionally even outshines it )and would need the same amount of time to develop its true potential! Man! 15 years is a long time to wait!!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Man! 15 years is a long time to wait!!!
            Yes. I'm drinking 2004s until then.

          2. re: Porthos

            I suppose you buy the wine for drinking purpose only. I wonder why do one want to spend $300 on a bottle of 2009/2010 Palmer when you can buy a bottle of 1999 Palmer for less than that to drink it now?

            1. re: skylineR33

              Because K&L is out of 1999 Palmers as is Wine House and Wally's (I live in the LA area). I know because I try to buy the older stuff to drink if I can. A 1999 Palmer will run about the same price now. Even the 1991 Palmer cost $189, which by the way, was pretty tasty.

              Also because if the 2009/2010 is as good as reported, then it's going to cost me double in 5-10 years and I'd rather buy it for half price now...only, if these two vintages are all that they're cracked up to be and not just marketing hype. Which goes back to my original post.

              1. re: Porthos

                Then the 1999 Palmer will also be double by the time.

                1. re: skylineR33

                  So you're saying the 1999 Palmer is of the same quality and has the same potential as the 2009 and 2010?

                  1. re: Porthos

                    i don't know, wine can get downgrade and upgrade by wine critics, it just that I would rather use the money to get a 1999 Palmer, in which I did, and I think the price of those 2009/2010 are too expensive right from start.

                  2. re: skylineR33

                    This is actually fairly presumptuous. There is a good possibility that your bottle of Palmer may be in decline 10-15 years from now (cork, storage, etc).

                    Predicting how any wine of any vintage ages isn't a science and what someone might think is acceptable may not be in line with what you'll drink. A critic can guide you in general terms but should not be the be all and end all for your purchase decision making.

                    En primeur ratings are based on barrel tastings, and the wine can act somewhat differently once it's been bottled. If you know which chateau you like, the question becomes are you willing to pay what the chateau is asking for a bottle in order to get it?

                    1. re: wattacetti

                      But a wine critics can influence the price of the wine, this is what I am referring to. So it is hard to say if the price of the $300 2009 Chateau Palmer will be double or not in 5-10 years. as you said "wine can act somewhat differently once it's been bottled".

                      1. re: skylineR33

                        Yes they can to some extent, but you explicitly stated that the *1999* Palmer would be double the price in the timeframe indicated, which isn't the case.

                        Irrespective of what a wine critic might say or write, the underlying question is "do you like Château Palmer wines enough to be willing to spend $300 per bottle"? I didn't pay attention to what Parker scored the 2009 Palmer, but I do know that my response was "nice wine, but I prefer to drink something else".

                        1. re: wattacetti

                          What I am saying is if the 2009 Palmer can double in price, it is also possible for a 1999 Palmer to double in price in 5-10 years. The 1999 is still at its drinking window in 5-10 years. Plus the 1999 Palmer is a famous wine in Asia. Try to search for the word "1999 Palmer 神之雫", you will know, but it is all in Chinese. And of course, their price may not be double. No one knows.

                          My response is also same as you that $300 for a 2009 Palmer is too much for me, I would rather spend it on some other wine, as I stated before.

                          1. re: skylineR33

                            I generally discount anything coming from the mainland. While there might be some real oenophiles, the majority are point chasers and purchasing for trophies.

                            1. re: wattacetti

                              But I think you are wrong in this case, it is from Japan. Try to do the same search in Japanese.

                          2. re: wattacetti

                            Exactly the type of response I was looking for. Which 2009s did you really like?

                            1. re: Porthos

                              I didn't go barrel tasting and I didn't buy any. The person I met buys first growth, Gruaud, Pichon-Lalande, some St-Émilion (unnamed) and others (unnamed). That's his preference.

                              1. re: wattacetti

                                In your above post you said: "I didn't pay attention to what Parker scored the 2009 Palmer, but I do know that my response was "nice wine, but I prefer to drink something else"

                                Sorry, I thought you meant the 2009 Palmer specifically, not Palmers in general.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  I've had the fortune of tasting different Palmer vintages, so I know the general style of the château.

                                  It's nice, but it doesn't pull me enough to want to buy it over say some of the Greenock Creek or any number of Pinot noirs.

            2. To answer my own post. Looks like the 2010 is being priced higher than the 2009. It makes no sense at all especially for example in the case of Pichon Lalande where the 2010 is priced higher despite it being rated lower than the 2009. Also there is the possibility that the 2011 will be yet another "blockbuster". Looks like I'll buy a little Pontet Canet now and wait the rest out.