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Bordeaux Buzz surrounding Suckling’s 2009 in-bottle scores - 17th February 2012
By Aarash Ghatineh (Senior Portfolio Manager) - Cult Wines Ltd -

This week saw James Suckling release his official in-bottle scores for the much heralded Bordeaux 2009 vintage. The internationally acclaimed wine writer has described Bordeaux ’09 as the ‘best ever modern vintage’, awarding a staggering nine Chateaux with the maximum 100pts rating. All First Growth received the 100pts score, with the omission of Mouton Rothschild, which only scored 98pts.

The nine wines given the top accolade are: Ausone, Cos d’Estournel, Haut Brion, Lafite, Lafleur, Latour, Margaux, Montrose and Vieux Château Certan.

Suckling likened the 2009s to the excellent 1989 and historical 1982 vintage, with a further twenty-two Chateaux receiving 98pts. The global fine wine trade is now eagerly anticipating the release of Parker’s in-bottle scores and according to Liv-ex, the preeminent wine critic will publish his scores in the next issue of the Wine Advocate. Given Parker’s recent appraisal of the vintage as ‘one of the greatest vintages of (his) lifetime’, we accurately predict equally impressive, if not higher ratings, prompting investors, collectors and consumers alike to take serious note of this must have vintage. (if they haven’t already!)


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The first official release of 2009 in-bottle scores has led to a revitalised wine market and we are certainly witnessing renewed interest and a general buzz around the market place. Montrose and Cos d’Estournel have topped volume sales, achieving record new highs on the London exchange and retail market. Montrose 2009 has now reached £1,566 up 19% from £1,315 (Liv-ex) and Cos d’Estournel 2009 has bulldozed its way to £2,600+.

It is refreshing to see Bordeaux once again dominate the status quo of market and there is clear indication that the high in bottle scores for the 2009s will lead to renewed buyer confidence.

What to buy:

First Growth: The fundamental to any wine portfolio is highly prized First Growth Bordeaux. With the recent market downturn, we have witnessed a return to quality and vintage over brand. The 2009 First Growth wines will go down in the annals of Bordeaux history and provide strong and stable growth over the long term.

Our investment pick out of the five estates:

Ch. Haut Brion 2009 @ £7,200 per case (12x75cl)

Parker’s ‘Magical 20’: At last years ‘Magical 20’ ‘09 tasting in Hong Kong, Parker identified twenty estates that ‘produce wines of First Growth quality…that are under-valued and very smart acquisitions’. The solitary 100pts wine from Suckling’s scores is the opinion divided Cos d’Estournel 2009, which is also expected to achieve the perfect Parker score. Upon tasting the wine in October, Parker pronounced ‘“a thrilling wine, decades ahead, quite magnificent, stunning, stunning, stunning stuff, BRAVO! Richest wine yet today”. This, together with Suckling’s recent appraisal, has led to an increase in demand and a subsequent price rise of around 8%.

Other ‘Magical 20’ estates to note from Suckling’s assessment are Pontet Canet (98pts), La Fleur Petrus (97pts) & Ch. Lynch Bages (97pts).

Our investment picks out of the ‘Magical 20’:

Ch. Cos d’Estournel 2009 @ £2,650 per case
Ch. La Fleur Petrus 2009 @ £2,100 per case
Ch. Pontet Canet 2009 @ £1,250 per case
Ch. Lynch Bages 2009 @ £1,200 per case

Other investment recommendations from the 2009 vintage:

Ch. Montrose 2009 @ £1,550 per case

Suckling has described the Montrose 2009 as ‘better and cleaner than the great 1990’, which currently trades at £4,800, three times the price of the ’09.
If Parker’s 2009 scores cast a shadow over its predecessors, which we are preparing for, this vintage is a sine qua non for investors and collectors.
It is worth noting that with the 2011 vintage described as ‘average and variable in quality’ we anticipate renewed and heavy trading in the 2009s over the coming months. As they say the cream always rises.


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