2005 Bordeaux - a Comment

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2005 Bordeaux - a Comment

Postby Bill Spohn » Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:36 am

This is a comment received from my friend Albert Givton, offered for your consideration:

"Again, just for fun, I made a small list of wines I have
purchased in Paris in my last 2 trips there earlier
this year, from auctions at Drouot, from a couple of
wine shops and a couple of bottles from a private
collector. I have tasted many of them, and most were
excellent at least, and some were stunning. All have/had
excellent levels, appearances etc.

So, the 2005 Lafite, for instance, is offered as futures
forapprox.US$7000 per case of 12 bottles, or approx. euros
5600.

Here's what I got for approx.5600 euros:
2 magnums of 1934 Ch.Haut Bailly
2 b 1961 Ch.Sigalas Rabaud
1 b 1943 Ch.Calon Segur
1 b 1945 Ch.Cos D'Estournel
1 b 1955 Ch.La Gaffeliere-Naudes
2 b 1961 Ch.Grand Puy Lacoste
2 b 1971 Grands Echezeaux DRC
2 b 1964 Ch.Latour
3 b 1975 Ch.Cheval Blanc
4 b 1998 Ch.Lafite
4 b 2001 Meursault-Perrieres 1er cru,Comtes Lafon
2 b 1947 Cognac Planat Fine Champagne
2 b 1937 Ryst(Da Silva)colheita port.

In total:26 bottles and 2 magnums of excelent,even
great wines etc.

NOW, the bright people who are actually buying these
2005's will either never taste/drink them, or the few
who might, will have to wait 15-20 years to do so. The
chances for speculators to make money on these wines
at these silly prices are, shall we be
diplomatic, almost nil (or worse).

As years go by, my respect for human intelligence is
taking an ever-increasing beating. Am I missing
something?"
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Re: 2005 Bordeaux - a Comment

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:07 pm

Bill,
This whole issue is a matter of perspective and money. If you are among the wealthy elite, you hopefully already have the wines on your friend's list. Why not get the case of Laffite? Money is not an objection. That person wants the prizes in the cellar.
The less wealthy elite, who still have this type of discretionary money to spend on wine, would be wise to follow your advise and skip the "05 Laffites and grab that good stuff. For them The "05 Laffite is clearly a waste of money. Your arguement is for this group of people alone. Unfortunately it is this group of people who do the exact opposite of what they should.
That leaves the rest of us poor schmucks. The "wine poor" who don't have the discretionary funds to even think about that kind of purchase. For us it's an esoteric conversation. But it's nice to think about. As I said, it's just a matter of perspective.
Cheers!
James
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Re: 2005 Bordeaux - a Comment

Postby Dale Williams » Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:34 pm

For the most part I'm sitting out the 2005s. Certainly no Firsts for me, as a matter of fact none of the Second Growths that have historically been my futures purchases, either. Just too damn expensive. All I bought were a couple of well-priced petit chateaux, 6 bottles of du Tertre, a few bottles of Beausejour-Duffau, and a case of Rouget in halves (a smaller than average upcharge made it worth it to me, it's hard to find 375s on release, and I like for dinners alone).

I think the prices are shocking. Still, whether they hold up depends on a variety of things:
1) For US customers, the dollar.
2) The general economy (worldwide and each nation). The actual economic situation will of course affect prices of any luxury goods, but consumer confidence will make a huge difference also.
3) Emerging markets - Asia and Eastern Europe. I don't think this is as big a factor as some others do, but there is a lot of wealth being generated in areas where Bordeaux consumption is historically low. So far most new Chinese millionaires aren't interested in Western wine, but if only 0.1% of the Asian nouveau riche did get interested, that would be substantial. And it doesn't matter whether they are investors, true wine geeks, status seekers (with or without Coca-Cola)- demand drives prices.
4) Expanding markets. While some young Europeans might be getting away from drinking wine, more and more Americans are getting into it. And that's particularly true of the young lawyers, investment bankers, tech hotshots who make the big bucks. They might not be geeks, but they're the type who hear "vintage X is a great vintage in Bordeaux", and go buy a couple cases.
5) Scores, especially of course Parker.
6) The next vintages. If a lot of good/great vintages follow, will lessen the rush for 2005s.

I think anyone who says "prices will do X" is overly confident- just too many factors to be certain.

But I've decided that I can live without this vintage (for the most part). If prices stay the same I'll probably try to pick up some cru bourgeois, lesser St. Emilions, or 5th growths on release after I taste them.

As to what one buys instead, that's of course individual choices. I'm sure your friend has tried these wines and liked in past. But for those (not me) who only want "the best", most of those wines wouldn't cut it. They probably wouldn't bother with the '55 la Gaffeliere. Even on those rare occasions I really splurge, I wouldn't spend what he probaby did on the '75 Cheval, as I think the '79 & '81 are at least as good and less $(and the '83 & '85 aren't much more). Some would say "'64 is better on Right." Etc. This isn't an attempt to disparage his choices (my guess is some awful good drinking there), but just to point out that we all have individual reasons for our buying choices.

As to whether people will actually drink their wine, there are always speculators. But every person I know who has bought 2005s (and admittedly, only two friends have said they bought any Firsts) is doing it so they can drink them. They already have plenty of mature wine, and plan on drinking them in 20+.
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