I keep getting emails about 2009 Bordeaux, the latest vintage of the century. They’re alluring, and I must admit I have been allured once or twice in the past. Within months of my first joining the Wine Society they started to sell the 2005 vintage – the last vintage of the century – and I dipped my toe in the pond with a case of the cheapest thing they mustered some enthusiasm for, Chateau Roland La Garde. This has come into its drinking window, and it’s, well, it’s good. But I haven’t found it enormously exciting. When push comes to shove, it’s a decent bottom-end claret.
At the top end, investors buy first growths to trade and can make hundreds or thousands of pounds in profit from buying en primeur and trading at a later date. At the lower end, I don’t really see why the en primeur market exists. It seems to help everyone except the consumer, who shells out a not particularly bargainous price to secure wine years before they’ll be able to drink it and then gets to pay some more for its storage. Why don’t I keep my cash in my pocket, avoid the risk of getting a dozen bottles of something I’m not in love with and get some 2009 clarets in a few years time when they’re ready for drinking?
Tonight, I’ve been enjoying a Craggy Range Te Kahu, also from 2005 and also fashioned from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. There’s no great qualitative difference between this and the CRLG, but one was all sold up years ago, and the other is still available from M&S for a tenner. I think, in short, that there are enough actual ready-to-take-home wines in the shops to keep me happy, without saddling myself with some-time-in-the-future wine. That’s something for my future, I think.
I might be missing out on a bargain (Chateau Couhins Lurton looks enticing, I must admit), but I think it’s a risk I’m ready to take, for now at least.