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Parker’s Record-Breaking 2009 ‘In-Bottle’ Scores Reaffirm Quality & Spark Trade - 5th March 2012
By Tom Turner - Cult Wines Ltd -

After much anticipation and speculation, crashed when brokers and collectors alike descended upon the site to review Robert Parker’s 2009 Bordeaux ‘in-bottle’ ratings. After Parker’s recent Twitter comment that the ’09 was “…the single greatest vintage I have ever tasted…” it was clear the ’09’s appeared to be living up to their EP hype, but nobody quite expected what was to ensue on the first evening of March – a record eighteen 100-pointers ignited a flurry of activity.

Flat white’s in-hand, the UK trade were hard at work into the twilight hours, with overnight trading on Liv-ex for nearly all of the perfect wines running rife. Those members of the exchange who sat out the overnight fire sale would have been stunned upon their return to the office this morning, to find some ’09’s trading at nearly double their price of 24-hours previous. The exchange’s largest movers are listed below:

Source: Liv-ex Blog (02/03/2012)

Upon Parker’s announcement, he commented “What was clear in the tastings from the bottle (and most of the wines except for the first growths and a few other wines were tasted two, three and sometimes even four different times) is the remarkable consistency of the vintage.” This is reflected in the scores, where the eighteen Châteaux attaining the coveted numbers (listed below) are split across both sides of the Gironde and a wide variety of appellations.

The 100-point club (current market prices for cases (12x75cl) are indicated):

Beausejour Duffeau   (£2,300)
Bellevue-Mondotte   (£2,500)
Clinet   (£2,000)
Clos Fourtet   (£1,750)
Cos d’Estournel   (£3,200)
Ducru Beaucaillou   (£2,100)
l’Evangile   (£2,500)
Haut Brion   (£8,000)
Latour   (£12,000)

Leoville Poyferré   (£1,600)
La Mission Haut Brion   (£6,000)
La Mondotte   (£3,000)
Montrose   (£2,400)
Pavie   (£2,300)
Petrus   (£28,000+)
Pontet Canet   (£1,750)
Le Pin   (
Smith Haut Lafitte   (£1,400)

In his TWA article ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, Parker describes the 2009 as a “greatly improved” and “more consistent”, modern-day version of the 1982 vintage. Given the price levels for the top-rated 1982’s it is clear to see where the future value lies for those Grand Vins that achieved the coveted score.

But it is not just the 100-pointers that were making headlines, with many wines either being scored at the top end of their in-barrel score spread, or above that spread. Lynch Bages achieved 98-points, having attained a mere 94-96+ at EP, while Duhart-Milon Rothschild saw an increase from 94-96 up to 97-points. Lafleur’s 99 was a welcome premium over the previous 94-97, but one of the big surprises of the rescores was the Pichon Baron, which having previously scored 93-95, was awarded 98-points, making it the best scored physical Baron vintage, and at less than half the price of the ‘inferior’ 1990 (97), would seem to represent an attractive investment prospect…

With a below par 2011 En Primeur campaign expected, it is clear that there is going to be particular focus on the 2009 & 2010 vintages over the next few years. One should not forget that certain Châteaux made equally as good, if not better wines in 2010 and these back to back ‘stellar’ vintages will go down in the annuls of Bordeaux history. Will there be a similar frenzy this time next year for the 2010 release? Only time will tell, but if the new price levels for 2009 are at all sustained, then the relative value of a number of the ’10’s will become increasingly discerning.

Robert Parker Jnr Bordeaux 2009 'In-Bottle' Scores

2009 is a clearly a remarkable vintage when comparing the list of Parker’s 100 pointers from the most successful vintages since 1982.

The market has been greatly impacted by RPJ’s in-bottle scores and those investors/collectors perceptive enough to pounce prior to Thursday evening’s announcement are already looking at healthy profits.

It must be said, that as Parker stated there are a number of fantastic wines at affordable prices and the table below shows a selection of Chateaux which scored over 95 pts and look comparably good value:

The table above consists of wines which are traditionally considered ‘investment grade’ as well as those which wouldn’t normally fall within that category.

For those looking for good value drinking wines that may well provide upside then those wines highlighted  blue  look like strong buys. Conversely, those wines highlighted in  green  which always benefit from strong secondary market trading and are traditionally seen as investment grade, offer the best low capital 2009 investment buys.

The next week of trading is going to be particularly interesting for onlookers to determine where these 2009 prices will settle. It also poses a fascinating question as to where this leaves the 2010s…


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