September 25th 2011, by Gavin
‘Points v prices’ often throws up some anomalies but we couldn’t resist these scores by Jancis Robinson MW, the UK’s most respected critic. (Source: www.jancisrobinson.com). Prices are per bottle, UK.
Château Mouton Rothschild blanc 2009 £70 16 points/20
Château Bauduc blanc 2009 £8.95 16.5 points/20
Château Haut Brion blanc 2009 £750 17 points/20
Yes, Haut Brion blanc, a rare wine, is £750 a bottle from leading UK merchants. The Bauduc blanc is available online here.
June 26th 2011, by Gavin
Last week was a busy week, what with the biennial Vinexpo trade fair taking place in Bordeaux. After tastings and meetings, and five dinners on the trot (two small ones here, three flashier affairs at neighbouring châteaux), I was flagging a bit when a short email came through to firstname.lastname@example.org from Jancis Robinson MW OBE on Thursday morning: “Hope Vinexpo is treating you well. Much enjoyed your 2009 white, even if it is not based on the usual vines. What is the RS pse?”
Angela was about to reply ‘£8.95′ before checking with me at the show. ‘The Residual Sugar is 2.94 gms/litre’ was the answer Jancis was looking for. ‘Why?’ we asked. HRH replied “I’m planning to make it wine of the week on my website tmrw.”
Now that is good news at the end of a long week, and somehow all the effort we put in after the hail in May 2009 seems worth it. Here below is Jancis’s article on the wine, taken from the freebie part of her site. (Subscription costs £69 a year for ‘Purple Pages’ – essential reading for any wine nut.) Jancis then kindly tweeted the link to her 90,000 followers on Twitter. I did the same for my, er, 1,193.
May 5th 2011, by Gavin
I wrote this piece for Livex, “the insiders’ guide to the global fine wine market”, and was published on 3rd May.
There was something different in the air this year, and it wasn’t just the constant tweeting of what the stuff tasted like.
En primeur attendances were higher than ever at the top estates, according to Paul Pontallier of Château Margaux (right). Much in evidence there, and at all the Firsts, were the Chinese translations of the brochures, to add to the long-standing piles of English and French versions. Based on visits to the leading properties the week after the UGCs, these were still being snapped up by Bordeaux’s new best friends.
Perhaps that’s what’s changed. Opinions about many of the great wines no longer matter. For the top Châteaux, even huge Parker points or double asterisks won’t be required to sell the iconic brands and for most of us, some of the tastings were academic.
May 3rd 2011, by Gavin
Having posted my scores of 2008 Bordeaux Grands Crus Classés from the bottle, I’ve taken a look at the prices on the UK market (via Liv-ex and wine-searcher) to see what values there are before Parker releases any moment now. Spend a few moments checking the current price of the 2008 v the 2009 (2010 won’t be cheaper) and you could nab some top wines from great estates at reasonable prices. V? = Value? y = yes, p = possibly.
February 23rd 2011, by Gavin
Ronan Sayburn is one the leading sommeliers in the world and recently made a star appearance on Michel Roux’s ‘Service’ on BBC2. He’s also Director of Wines and Spirits at the Hotel du Vin, and has taken on one of the Scholarship winners, Danielle, from the programme. In this video from their new website – via the ‘HdvTV’ YouTube channel at the foot of the page on their site – Ronan talks through what to look for when tasting a dry white.
February 20th 2011, by Gavin
There are more than a few Châteaux owners, and wine merchants, who will be mightily relieved that über critic Robert Parker is coming to Bordeaux in March to taste the 2010s in barrel, as well as the 2008s which were bottled last summer. Thankfully for them, Mr P is now well enough to travel following knee surgery, having tweeted recently that flying to Bordeaux might be ‘a pipedream’ unless his rate of recovery improved.
Of more lasting significance, he announced on the 5th February that he has handed over the rating of Californian wines to his Wine Advocate colleague, Antonio Galloni, who also takes over the best bits of Burgundy. Parker is now concentrating on Bordeaux and the Rhône. See below for the important change to his review calendar, which shows that he’ll be coming to Bordeaux twice a year, not just once.
The new responsibilities for Parker and his team at The Wine Advocate and erobertparker.com are:
June 28th 2010, by Gavin
All over now bar the shouting.
Here, in my humble opinion, are the Best Buys – at the opening prices – of Bordeaux 2009, broken down as follows:
10 Expensive wines – but sound investments.
£400 to £1000 – 17 Fabulous quality, blue chip names.
£200 – £300 – This is where the values of 2009 lie: 20 cracking wines.
Under £200 - 12 lovely wines from the Left Bank.
June 28th 2010, by Gavin
For those who like lists: with the massive ‘en primeur’ price increases from 30 of the famous Bordeaux Châteaux last week – 196% up on average on 2008 – I thought it would be useful to compare points and prices of the top 2009s with both the 2008s and the last great vintage, 2005.
The table below shows my scores (GQ) and Robert Parker’s (RP) for the 2009s and 2008s from barrel, and the price in British pounds En Primeur (EP) from UK merchants. On the right hand side, I tasted all the top 2005s in bottle for Wine & Spirit magazine for the Dec 2007 issue, five months before Robert Parker released his final scores. Buyers are dipping back into the market for the 2005s and 2008s against the more expensive 2009s: there’s a lot of sense in that.
2008 was a very good vintage, even if, in many people’s view, Robert Parker was a little generous with some of his scores. It makes for some bizarre comparisons: Ducru Beaucaillou 2008 was rated 96-98 and the 2009 96-98+, yet the the latter is three times the price of the ’08. I’ll be re-tasting the 2008s from bottle in the autumn – follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/GavinQuinney for updates.
Meanwhile, the better deals on 2009s were to be found on wines released earlier in the campaign, so it’s worth searching them out as many are still available. See also my separate post to follow for my ‘Best Buys of Bordeaux 2009′ and my summary of tweets throughout the campaign.
June 25th 2010, by Gavin
“The Bordeaux circus is over until next year but it is already clear from British drinkers’ inquiries that there are as many clowns in the audience as there are on stage. Make certain you are not one of them.”
This stern warning came from Jane MacQuitty in The Times on May 5th, 2001, following the En Primeur tastings of the much-hyped 2000 vintage. Jane might have been a little wide of the mark in terms of investment advice back then, but her words ring true for many of the top end 2009s released this week.
Don’t get me wrong – there are some fantastic wines in 2009. It’s just that the market for them has gone bonkers and I believe that this time it’s different. I was a big fan of buying the 2000s and the 2005s En Primeur, despite warnings from many observers at the time that prices were too high: writing up the ’05 Primeurs for Wine and Spirit magazine, I urged readers to buy the wines, and re-stated that in December 2007 after I’d tried them all in bottle.
There have been some terrific 2009 values, and I’ll highlight those shortly. However, the prices for many of the ‘second’ tier of top 2009s from Bordeaux, released this week, simply beggar belief (see below). According to Liv-ex, prices announced in the final week are up nearly 200% over 2008 and 57% over 2005 – and much more than this above ’05 in £ terms. Even more astonishing is that many are selling out, apparently. I have been receiving emails, asking advice on ‘should I buy this, should I buy that, what should I buy?’ which I’m only too happy to answer. I usually refer to my up-to-date list of 2005s v 2009s.
June 24th 2010, by Gavin
Here are my Tweets on the prices of the main 2009s to date, with the most recent ones first. To be kept up to date, follow me on Twitter.
I’m also keeping my handy 2009 v 2005 Buyer’s Guide up to date as prices are released.