Wine Futures for the 2005 Bordeaux Vintage Part 2

Wine Futures for the 2005 Bordeaux Vintage Part 2
I like futures buying as a matter of principle, for the consumer that has done some homework. This is for two main reasons. First, the prices for a futures contract are likely to be the lowest price that you will ever find the wine available. Second, by investing in futures, you will be making an essential start to that wine cellar which you have been sort of promising yourself for years that you would start. If you wait, prices will rise, and there will be the further problem of availability.     Let me give a few personal examples of this. We recently enjoyed a magnum of 1978 La Mission Haut Brion, that had cost $69 when purchased. I asked a retailer a week later what that bottle would have cost on the open market and was quoted a figure six times higher, “if it was available at all – which it isn’t.”  A double magnum (four bottles) of Chateau Brane Cantenac 1982 was recently the hit of a family celebration. I was told that it would cost $750 if it could be found. It had cost me $95.  And of course, the oddity is that these wines are now unobtainable at precisely the time when they are well aged and should be enjoyed. I can’t imagine what my magnum of Chateau Haut Brion 1982 would sell for now at auction!     For most of us, the most famous and costly wines, such as the first growths of the Medoc, are simply no longer affordable. Their prices are skyhigh. It is a better economy to  budget down the line and attend a 2005 Vintage Dinner in a year or two. It will be expensive to be sure, but an entire dinner with flights of fine wines will set you back less than the cost of a single bottle of the first growths that will be featured. Your retailer will know when the 2005 Vintage Dinner will be held, if you live in or near a major metropolitan area.     Some writers have concluded that 2005 vintage futures are so costly that they should be ignored entirely, and the less costly recent vintages purchased instead. I have several problems with that. First, that argument underrates the fact that an excellent vintage across the board will still produce some comparative wine bargains. You just have to know what to look for, and some suggestions will follow. Why skip over excellent, well made wines from a fine vintage just because they are less costly? That makes no sense to me. On the other hand the 2001 and 2002 Bordeaux vintages are reasonably priced, good wines if not worldbeaters, and still more or less available, and worth considering on their own merits. The 2000 vintage, like the 2005, on the other hand received fine reviews throughout the Bordeaux region and is of fine and consistent quality, but now there would be a problem of its availability.     And so, let us search out some wines from the Medoc, that classic region of fine wines. The region includes the areas of St. Estephe, Pauillac, Margaux, and St. Julien. As with last month’s article on the wines of Sauternes, I’ll single out some favorites, which will age well over the years. And for good measure, we’ll toss in some favorite wines from St. Emilion and Pomerol as well. I’ll start with a case of six magnums of wine. These double bottles create a sense of occasion for your dinner party. Then, we’ll splurge a bit more and look into cases of wine. This will be more expensive, as most dealers deal in case lots. If you can buy more than one case, more power to you. I’ll just list some wines, and Washington area prices, and you take it from there.     Here is a mixed case of 2005 Vintage Magnums: St. Emilion Clos Fourtet ($149.99); Pomerol Clos Rene ($59.99); St. Estephe Haut Marbuzet ($93.99); Pauillac Clerc Milon ($93.99); Margaux Brane Cantenac ($105.50); St. Julien Beychevelle ($98.99).  The total of $602.36 before tax is just a shade over $100 per magnum, and in years to come those wines in magnum format will be more expensive, if they can be found at all. But the real pleasure will, of course, be drinking them with friends in years to come.     Here are futures case prices for six well received wines. In that connection, I still recall the case of 1988 Chateau Lafite Rothschild that I bought for $550 after sampling the wine in the cask in Bordeaux. I sold the case years later at auction, and the proceeds paid for the airfare of my trip! A HALF case of 2005 Chateau Lafite Rothschild would now set you back $3299! And so I will offer some well made wines, affordable and capable of offering real pleasure in the long run. All may be enjoyed within 6-8 years. They are the following –     Chateau Clarke Baron Edmond Rothschild Listrac ($249). Baron Edmond has recreated a fine wine property, and after some trevails, his wine is worth seeking out. Chateau Potensac Medoc ($279). Long known to people who value good wine at a reasonable price, this would be a good choice for your cellar. Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker Margaux ($299). This is an exceptional year for the Margaux appellation, of which this is a fine example. Chateau Grand Corbin Despagne St. Emilion ($279). Long a favorite of the Bordelais, it’s time you discovered this excellent wine. Chateau Gloria St. Julien ($399). More and more people are discovering this well made and unclassified wine. Now for those who want to splurge a bit, I suggest a case of Chateau La Tour Figeac St. Emilion ($419). This is…
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