Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

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Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Isaac » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:12 am

My daughter was married last summer. Lately, I've been having the idea that I'd buy some 2005 wines to lay down, saving a few for her silver anniversary.

My first thought was Bordeaux. 2005 is being heralded as a great year, one for the ages, etc. Then I saw the prices!

So, I went to California. Unfortunately, 2005 seems to have been an ordinary year at best in the Golden State. It's early yet, but the prognosis isn't good.

then, I had a brainstorm. Port! Of course! It ages better than most, and I know she likes it. Unfortunately, 2005 seems unlikely to be declared a vintage year at any of the houses.


So, I'm back to Bordeaux. I'm open to suggestions. I've never purchased futures before, but I've noticed the prices rising already for the top chateaus. I'm open to suggestions. I'm currently leaning toward La Cour d'Argent. Not a classified growth, and might not last the 25 years, but, you know, silver anniversary, Cour d'argent...

Would I be wasting my cellar space? Anything else in my price range that makes better sense?
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Paul Savage » Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:37 am

Well, if you HAVE TO have '05s, I think there will be some worth cellaring that won't be terribly expensive, if $50 - $70 a bottle is do-able, for a few bottles? Then you CAN look at decent classified growths. I'll have to look at http://www.premiercru.net for prices again, to see what looks vaguely promising. Chateaux like Brane Cantenac, Clerc Milon, Smith Haut Lafitte, Fleur de Bouard, and Lascombes have been doing well recently - which reminds me, I should check the reviews too! :wink: ...Paul
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Otto » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:35 am

Germany isn't an option? And why not wait a few moments to see what Burgundy and the Rhone and all the other regions which are rumoured to have had an excellent year are like?

What price range is the Coeur d'Argent? For relatively affordable Bx that ages well, I would perhaps stick with Haut-Bailly and Léoville-Barton. Vieux Chateau Certan used to be relatively affordable, and I don't *think* they've increased their prices as much as some others.
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Dale Williams » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:58 am

In the under $20 range (I think Cour d'Argent is Bdx AC,so assume in $10-15?) there are some 2005 Right Bank satellites that are very tasty, but unlikely to be at their best in 20 years. You might instead try a Haut-Medoc like Caronne Ste. Gemme or Lanessan (both have a record for aging, particularly the latter) or one of the less expensive St. Estephes like Tronquoy-Lalande or Petit Bocq. All of those are between $13-17.
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby OW Holmes » Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:06 am

If you stay with Bordeaux, you might check out Sociando Mallet, traditionally a very long lived bdx that seems to perform well, year after year. $40 to $45 on futures and I think highly rated for 2005, if you care about that sort of thing. I have a case of '96 sitting in my cellar waiting for my granddaughter's wedding. Or her 30th birthday. Whichever comes first. She is 14.
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Dave Erickson » Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:43 am

Couple good links for '05 Bordeaux recommendations:

http://www.bbr.com/GB/shopping/bordeaux2005.lml?ID=0D61BLW5PVX0015

http://www.winereviewonline.com/specialreport_bordeaux.cfm

Send me a PM and I'll tell you what my place has on offer--we don't have any special pipeline, mostly second-tier stuff that we tasted and thought had, in our judgment, a decent CQR. I'll also caution you that we're not offering anything that we can honestly say has the kind of ageing potential you're looking for.
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby CraigW » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:11 pm

I believe Smith Haut Lafitte came in en primeurs around $85 a bottle while Lascombes I have here at $95 a bottle, all CDN figures.

I was married last summer and did the 2005 Bordeaux route, and I figured, in my hedonistic madness, that 20, 30 and 40 years from now I will not care how much I spent but I will care deeply that in celebration of one of the proudest moments and best decisions of my life that I have the best wines to enjoy. I was in your boat thinking how great it is that 2005 was a benchmark year, and then cringing in horror when the prices came out, but I concluded that it was more or less irrelevant. There are prices to satisfy everyone, and we can all hope in our utopic imaginations that their quality truly justifies their prices (of course that's not the case, but...).

That said, again, I completely sympathize with your reaction to prices.

I debated over quite a few releases, and the debate often circulated around expected or anticipated aging potential. The cheaper releases, while great value in many cases, would not stand up to 40+ years of aging (if that's what you're after).

In the end, I ended up splitting my buy and got a couple of cases of less expensive wines to enjoy between 2008 and 2020 and then a couple of cases of bigger stuff for 2021 and beyond.

For the 25 year mark, I don't know if I've seen any wines offered for less than $100 a bottle.

Why not revisit your strategy and buy them a quantity of Bordeaux that they can enjoy annually for the first 10-15 years of their marriage?
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Paul Savage » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:54 pm

I checked the prices at http://www.premiuercru.net for the Chateaux I mentioned, and they are all in the $40-$70 range. Parker's scores are also listed, and it looks like they were all pretty good, though I forgot to check Clerc Milon, and they didn't have the Fleur de Bouard.

Any of the ones I mentioned should last 20+ years IF, IF, IF the storage is IDEAL! This means 55F - 58F all the time. They may make it at slightly warmer conditions, but I wouldn't bet on it. So you have to be able to provide excellent storage conditions too. In some areas there are professional storage facilities available. If you don't have a storage cabinet, etc., I suppose you could buy a very small one (Home Depot sold rather inexpensive ones last year?). Something else to think about! ...Paul
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Ian Sutton » Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:06 pm

Whilst not being interested in the feeding frenzy surrounding Bordeaux 2005 (or other years for that matter), I do note comments suggesting that after an initial volatile period, prices often settle down once the wine gets into bottle. Whether this will occur this time is for each person to assess, however the question that arises, is do you need to but the wine now? Is it a good time for you to buy, or would it be easier in a few years time?

p.s. 2006 is currently very hot, so I believe this is indeed the next vintage of the century :wink:

regards

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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby CraigW » Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:37 pm

without jynxing the Grape Gods, yes, I too have heard that 2006 is currently on equal measure with 2005. There are many months to go yet, however, and the last thing we need is the entire region of Bordeaux getting comfortable with charging these kinds of prices and still selling out of product.

My boss just returned last week from 10 days in Bordeaux and he said it was sweltering hot.
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:07 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Germany isn't an option? And why not wait a few moments to see what Burgundy and the Rhone and all the other regions which are rumoured to have had an excellent year are like?


And let's not forget the great year that it was in the Loire. I'll bet that the '05 Clos de Briords Muscadet will go as long as he'd like. Heck, it might even get better!!! :D

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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Dan Donahue » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:25 pm

Isaac--I haven't read any reviews of '05 yet, but another long-lived alternative to Port is Banyuls, especially from Domaine du Mas Blanc (Parce). Very reasonably priced. Those and some Rieslings (Prum, Trimbach, ZH) would be a lot of fun to open down the road.
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Re: Looks Like I'm Back to Bordeaux

Postby Isaac » Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:29 pm

Interesting suggestions, and I thank you all.

No, Germany is not an option. My older daughter doesn't care for Riesling at all, nor Gewurztraminer. My younger daughter adores them, but she hasn't married yet, nor even started dating seriously.

The Cour d'Argent is around $10, and I don't suppose it will last until their argent anniversary. Too bad. Better wines incur higher prices, of course. There is also a higher risk of getting a bad one. Well, not actually, but there is a much better chance of having a good one if I have 12 than if I have 2, or even 1. If that one is bad, there is no recourse. If 1, 2, or 6 of the less expensive ones are bad, I can simply open another one.

The lesser houses of Margaux are certainly an option. Brane-Cantenac has been mentioned, and I've had a Cantenac-Brown I liked in the past. Another thought I haven't investigated (and no one has mentioned, which surprises me a bit) is Italy. Maybe a Barolo would be the ticket.

No, I don't suppose I have to buy now, but I don't expect to be in any better position any time soon, and, if prices continue to go up, now might be better than later. My net income has, in fact, been trending downward over the past several years, when corrected for inflation.
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