At 6pm Eastern Seaboard Time tomorrow (or today if it’s March 1st) Robert Parker will publish his in-bottle scores on the 2009 vintage. This will be fun. What is potentially the greatest young vintage of Bordeaux (James Suckling reckons it’s the best he’s tasted and, whilst I do prefer the pin-sharp perfection of the 2005s, I think I might agree) is going to have the calibration that it has been waiting for. Nine litres of Chateau Batailley, Lynch-Bages, Pontet-Canet – whatever – are going to be different wines at the flick of a switch somewhere in Baltimore, despite very little happening in Bordeaux, Basingstoke or Battersea. Because Batailley (currently 90-92), Lynch (94-96+) and Pontet-Canet (most interesting at 97-100) will have just one number, not a spread. These wines will have been measured.
I own none of these wines. I’d like to own the former and the latter and I’m indifferent to the Lynch, which has become more of a commodity than a wine. But if I did own them I’d be very interested (well, I am anyway) in Mr Parker’s scores as the values of these wines will change in a matter of hours if his scores are significant. What is 2009 Pontet-Canet worth with 100 points? £2,000 a case? More? I reckon it will come in with 98 (partly because the 2010 is better). Lynch with 97 points as opposed to 96? £1,500 a case? This really is fun. Cases of wine lie peacefully in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Bordeaux. The wines do not change. The labels are the same. But the wines do change, and will.
The wine that I find most interesting is 2009 Ch. Cos d’Estournel. I’ve written about this here and here. If the better of the two samples I tasted some time back comes in as the winner then (a) we have 100 points and (b) we have a legend of a wine, and a wine that whilst doesn’t sum up St Estephe, certainly sums up the 2009 vintage.
I know people who have said that there is more in Mr Parker’s scores than meets the eye, that he “underscored” the top 2005s either to cool the market or to show off his power. For the record I think this is rubbish, and that he calls it exactly as he sees it. This is why I am a fan, and I’m a fan of Neal Martin for the same reason: there are no cloaks nor daggers in the notes.
I could go on for pages and pages but would miss the timing so, to finish, a few bets:
100 points: Cos d’Estournel, Eglise-Clinet and (irritatingly) Lafite. Plus some random St Emilion jam.
99 points: Latour (despite the God-meeting experience that it is).
98 points: Pontet-Canet (just missed again, but wait for the 2010).
Lynch will come in at 96, Batailley 94+.
Sadly no one will quote me odds on all of the above. And if you want to buy some 2009 Bordeaux tomorrow, before the scores are out, I’ll bet you that you have to pay up front.