It is clear that the fine wine world has come out of the crisis as fast as it got in...
Indeed there was a crisis, and we all saw the value of top chateaux going down for a while, following the poor vintage in 2007 and a world wide financial slump in 2007-08, things were not looking bright.
And yet, Auction houses recorded there highest sales in 2008...
What really happend, is many private collectors in the US and Europe were in need of cash and prepare to sell their holdings for lower prices, as long as they can liquidate them. But buyers were not keen to go on a spending campain and prices continue to go downwards. But when it came to auction offerings, the BIG spenders were not looking at slowing down their bids and because so many wines that were hiding in private collectors cellars, came back on the market, it was the best time to buy.
As for the crisis, it did not last very long. 2008 vintage turned out to be quite good, or even excellent for the top properties and the world of $ has slowly recover with the "humongus" bail out from gouvernments. Prices went down on the en primeur, which stimulated sales and all Bordeaux needed, was a great vintage to go back to post 2005 prices.
The 2009 en primeur...
Outstanding weather conditions, great care in the vineyards and wineries, attention to detail on the fruits, tannins and structure of the wines, 2009 was aiming for the bull's eye!
The top chateaux have not yet release their prices, but we can imagine the level of 2005 coming back to be the norm accross the upper end of the properties.
So what wine did perform really well on the first barrel tasting?
According to livex.com this is the list of the best wines, from an average of all critic's point systems:
1. Chateau Latour
2. Chateau Haut-Brion
3. Chateau Lafite-Rothschild
4. Chateau Margaux
5. Chateau Lafleur
6. Chateau Ausone
7. Eglise Clinet
9. Chateau Mouton Rothschild
10. Chateau Leoville Las Cases
Where are the buyers?
A major shift in the share of the market has been seen recently with asian buyers starting to bid more and more at auctions and buying stock for investment from major UK merchants.
They were however against the purchase of wines at such an early stage. Only when bottled, they would buy what came out to be the best.
But this year, things have change and 2009 will be the Asian 1982's of the US. China will not be the only one, with other countries joining the buying wave.
Should I buy 2009 or 2008?
These two vintages are perfect for two types of buyers. The 2008 "drinkers" and the 2009 "investors". 2008 will be great drinking for the 2 or 3 decades ahead, and that's were the value is. And even though it has great potential for the future, I am afraid it will be shadowed by 2009. Just like 95 and 96 in Champagne.
2009, is and will be a shining star over the next 40 to 50 years for the top chateaux and will definitely be a great investment vintage. And for the lucky ones, a beautiful drinking vintage too!