Random Musings

The Wine Spectator Top 100: Making the Case for 2009 Bordeaux

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The Top 100 Wines of the Year is one of the most anticipated issues of the Wine Spectator since its inception in 1988. The wines included on the list are determined by the Wine Spectator editors based on quality, price, availability and “excitement” factors.

Many wine collectors and consumers speculate on which wine might be given the title of Wine of the Year by purchasing bottles in advance of the publication date. Recent winners, including the ’09 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast and ’07 Saxum James Berry, have appreciated in price by more than 400%.

The Wine of the Year prediction has become even more complex as somewhat average wines, like the ’99 Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape and ’05 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, have inexplicably been awarded the title.

The 2012 Wine of the Year should be a 2009 Bordeaux.

The world’s most famous wine region captured Wine of the Year in three of the first seven years:

  • 1988 – ’85 Lynch Bages
  • 1992 – ’89 Pichon Baron
  • 1993 – ’90 Chateau Latour.

Bordeaux has only claimed the honor once in the past 18 years though, in 1998 with the ’95 Ducru Beaucaillou. The so-called Vintages of the Century, 2000 and 2005, were overlooked. If there was ever a time for the magazine to right its wrongs, it’s this year.

Using the Wine Spectator Vintage Charts as a guide, the ’09 vintage is every bit as good as both the highly regarded 2000 or 2005. Some might argue that Bordeaux is not worthy of the top spot due to escalating prices. This may be true for First and maybe Second Growths. However, there are other classifieds growths that are considerably less expensive than previous winners (think Penfolds Grange, and Super Tuscans Solaia and Ornellaia).

What Bordeaux might be worthy of number one status?

How about the ’09 Canon La Gafelliere at 96 points? Or the ’09 Pavie Macquin at 95 points? There will be other wines with higher scores at lower price points, including any number of 2010 wines from the Southern Rhone. As I mentioned above though, there are a number of factors the Wine Spectator uses, and I think they will recognize Bordeaux this year. The next opportunity to do so might be many years off.

The Wine of the Year is always a great discussion topic among wine lovers – everyone has an opinion. As always, I would love to hear yours!

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6 thoughts on “The Wine Spectator Top 100: Making the Case for 2009 Bordeaux

  1. I think you make a good argument Tom, and I’m rooting for you to be right. Selfishly, I think it would be a good thing for the wine world in general. Yes, people should and can drink whatever style of wine they like, but acknowledging a style of wine that is elegant, fresh, and balanced (bordeaux generalization) as opposed to rich, dense, and oaky would be a very public signal of the “movement” or shift taking place in the U.S. Since the Spectator is a highly visible publication, it would probably further the market pressure to further the style with producers domestically. Crossing my fingers.

  2. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more momentum behind 2009 Bordeaux, but 2010 Rhone definitely seems to have trumped it. 95 point wines in the $30s that are widely available (St. Cosme Gigondas) – can’t find that in Bordeaux that I’ve seen. We’ll find out starting Wednesday!

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