I thought I probably wouldn’t do a Blog about Robert Parker’s 2009 Bordeaux scores as it’ll get lots of mileage and whilst it is important I didn’t think it was that surprising. For the record I think Parker has done a lot of good, he has tasted well, constantly and consistently, for a long time, tried to help the consumer and push the producer to better things. He has shaken things up but never tried to do so and the whole time there has be never been any “dirt”. He also clearly loves wine and gets what the consumer is about. The style of wine he likes often doesn’t match what I am after but I certainly know where he is coming from and I think, in Bordeaux especially, he gets things right a massively impressive amount of the time. There were just a few questions that struck me from his scores and their release so a blog resulted…

What does it mean for 2009’s? Well one answer could be that it is the new 1982, by which I mean “the” glamour vintage. There are similarities in more that just the fact that Parker was a massive fan of both vintages, similarities like the fact the wines are expressive and likely to stay that way rather than hide a way a bit as the more classical (over used wine word of the year but relevant here) vintages like 2000, 2005 and 2010 which have a more savoury edge. The exotic, sunny, rich style is also a similarity. The reviews also mean that it will be the “go to” vintage and there is a lot of relevance in this as it is not a vintage with any obvious bias to one side of the river or the other, there is no weak link commune in 2009 (for reds anyway). All this and the scores themselves mean that ultimately it will be expensive so the most straightforward answer is that the the scores mean higher prices. I just hope that enough people who have bought and buy them now do so with at least the intention of drinking them. If they become too expensive for even big spenders to drink them there could be a bit of a bubble…we’ll see.

What does it mean for Bordeaux post Parker? One thing that the large amount of press and hype around the 09’s has done in the light of the scores is beg the question of what happens when Parker stops doing the ratings himself? It is highly likely that the 2009’s will be the last vintage that Parker so clearly pronounces (makes him sound pompous which he isn’t) as the dogs bo**ocks. The landscape for Bordeaux will change because there will not just be one person who everyone waits for. You can say what you like about the many other good critics out there but nobody, absolutely nobody, holds sway like Parker when it comes to the main wine market…Bordeaux. I think that post Parker it will be very interesting to see who the investment market locks to and how they sell. The merchants will still perform the same roll but people will surely buy blind much less…I haven’t answered this question as there isn’t an answer yet…does make you think though

Does so many 100’s dilute things? Not necessarily would be my view, I am not (I should have looked) sure how many 100’s there are in other vintages like 1982, 1990, 2000 & 2005 but I imagine it is less than half. It certainly won’t dilute the efforts at Chateaux that aspire to the best as it has shown that 100 is possible outside the first Growths etc with the score for Pontet Canet and Poyferre providing first 100’s. I think the number of 2009’s probably just emphasises the greatness that Parker feels is there and the fact that winemaking is of such a level now that we have to except more “perfection”…you won’t find me complaining about that. As a small aside I do think 99+ as score is a little less that helpful.

What does it mean for 2010’s? I think it means that 2009’s will sail past 2010 in price, some have already, and I also think that people will wait until just before this time next year and therefore Parkers verdict on 2010, before acting on them…the 2011 pricing has an impact here and lets face it nobody knows what that will be like except that a few Chateaux will feel move confident of their market perception on the back of 2009 scores.

Which 2010’s are the 100pters? With only two of the 1st Growths – Latour & Haut Brion – getting the top score there is a, slightly cynical, view that the other three will get 100 next year…we’ll have to wait and see, there seems to have been genuine surprise that Margaux did not get the ton this time..

Anything else? One thing is it’ll be fascinating to see what and how much stock gets released by negociants and the Chateaux in the next few weeks and also if it is “tied” to other things…does a great vintage review make people sell while the going is good or sit on the stock with a warm glow?

Right, my head hurts, time for some wine…