Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bordeaux 2006 - Yet another vintage of the century?

As August swings into view, the news from Bordeaux is of temperatures of 40 C. and national fears by the French government of a repeat performance of 2003's apalling death toll among old people. Drought is a problem, of course, as it was in 2003, (and irrigation is still illegal), and there are already quiet whispers that this could be yet another warm dry year, producing the kind of rich, intense wines that have caught the fancy of the US critics in 2003 and 2005. Another great year would be welcome of course - though it's worth noting that 2001 and 2004 were both pretty good, in their leaner, more traditional ways - but it would raise some interesting questions about the prices that have been asked for the 2005s. The buzz from New York - where such things are ultimately decided - is that some of the people who said they wanted top 2005s at any price are balking at the premium those wines finally carried. reported that retailers such as Sam's in Chicago, Federal Wine & Spirits, in Boston', McCarthy and Schiering in Seattle and the Park Avenue Liquor Shop in New York have all seen customers going cold on cost of the new vintage and that none of these merchants is enthusiastic about buying more than their initial allocation. One of the trends of this vintage seems to be that the prople who have been buying the top wines are super-rich individuals who are new to the market. Traditional first growth buyers have traded down to second growths and even lower on the ladder.

So, the obvious question is how ready these new buyers will be to go on buying a succession of highly priced "historic" vintages. Once the goose has been laying golden eggs on a daily basis, eggs however glittery can lose their appeal...