Relative reality, relatively speaking.

I’m hopefully going to stop banging on about 2009 Bordeaux soon.  The jewels that I tasted a couple of months ago are now wearing me out.  The Emperor’s new clothes, or the Brave New World, are both made out of money…

We’ve now many 2009 clarets on the market and available for sale (if you get on with your merchant).  To say that prices are full is a bit like saying that Katie Price has big tits.  You see, it’s all about relativity: one thing (or two) relative to another.

A few 2005s, 2000s and even 1996s are beginning to look cheap.  1996 Ch. Palmer is widely available at £1,200 per case or less and I expect the 2009 to come in at around twice that figure.  2005 Lynch-Bages is around the same price, or cheaper than the 2009.  You can have a look around on wine-searcher for plenty of these, though most of the cannier merchants have taken them off their lists for the moment.  We can all sell dimes for a nickel a piece: wait until you can sell them for a quarter a go.

If you believe Robert Parker’s appraisals of the vintage, then the bargains are in 2008 (though expect the same again).  These wines are starting to look dirt cheap compared the punchy 2009s and, forget what the cynics are saying: the 2009s are selling.  Wines that were sold by the pallet last year are on allocation this year.

But there is a flaw in relative pricing.  2008s might look relatively cheap compared with 2009, even when 2009 is Katie Price and 2008 is Keira Knightley (focus here: we’re talking about one thing, well two).  Mouton-Rothschild looks cheap compared to Lafite-Rothschild.  Even the Silverback – Latour – looks cheap compared to Lafite in almost any vintage.

Greed, excitement, a good salesman: any of these can make something look like a bargain, but one of my favourite words is “intrinsic”.  Is what is in the bottle worth it?

I’m in relatively good nick considering my lifestyle over the past twenty years.  I’m relatively clever compared to a few people I know, and a genius compared to the dog.  I’m slim, handsome – even wealthy – compared to many.  A tiny group might even say I’m a relatively cheerful bloke.  This is the problem.  Fat, grey, skint, stupid and ugly.  But sitting next to the right person anyone can look like a Prince.

So, what do you buy?  It depends on how much cash you have, and how much you believe in Parker (would the world be fighting over 2009s if he didn’t like them?  Are the 2008s really that good?).  If you like wine, if you’re actually going to drink it – and those words break my heart – then both 2005 & 2009 have some real bargains.  Wines that escape the eye of the speculator.  Ormes de Pez, Batailley, stuff like that.  If your tastes are slightly more expensive then it gets more difficult.  A small cashflow issue prevents me from buying 2009s and I’m not really bothered.  If I did have some cash I would be piling into 2005s and picking off the odd case of 2000 where I could.