Anthony Rose: 'Some of theBordeaux high flyers have come out with jawdropping prices'

"Let them drink wine" goes the cry in Bordeaux as the gap between the Marie Antoinette haves and the sans-culottes have-nots widens. After months of dragging their heels, the Bordelais have pronounced, or their cash registers at least have rung to a familiar tune. All the tricks of the Bordeaux trade were deployed to stoke demand for the 2009 vintage. According to the wine exchange, Livex, average price rises over the great 2005 vintage were up 13 per cent until mid-June.

Between the 14 and 18 June, they went up to 29 per cent. In the final reckoning between 21 and 25 June, when Bordeaux's big hitters fired their salvoes, prices soared by 57 per cent above 2005, and 200 per cent above 2008. The pace-setters were the tiny handful of first growth châteaux like Lafite and Latour, at the retail price of £7,000-£10,000 a case, and other top estates anxious to peg their prices to the new gold standard.

Encouraged by lavish praise from the wine trade and press, but above all from the American super-critic Robert Parker's potential ratings of 100, some of the highest flyers have come out with jaw-dropping prices. Haut-Brion and La Mission are up 165 per cent and 272 per cent respectively on 2005. Yapping at their heels, other so-called "super-seconds", such as Cos d'Estournel, Palmer, Ducru Beaucaillou and Léoville Las Cases, have also priced their wines extravagantly in the expectation that the Asian market and wine-investment funds will bite. They may do, but at starting prices of £2,000-£2,500 a case, it puts an entire swathe of super-seconds out of the reach of wine lovers and into the grasp of investors. It's bitterly disappointing for consumers (I bought a case of the great 1982 Cos d'Estournel for £120) and a decision Bordeaux may come to regret if the bubble should burst.

However, the feeding frenzy that accompanied the late June releases obscures a more complex picture. For all the hype, the majority of wines in this vintage, some of which are excellent, are reasonably priced because they are not collectors' baubles or investment fodder. Among many cru bourgeois, d'Angludet, Poujeaux, Potensac, Monbrison, Phélan Ségur and Les Ormes de Pez will give immensely pleasurable drinking when the time comes.

As for classified châteaux: Cantemerle, Lafon-Rochet, Giscours, Gruaud-Larose, Branaire-Ducru and Talbot have not overcooked their release prices, but have all made superb wines worthy of cellaring for a few years. Even Calon-Ségur, excellent in 2009, only raised its price over 2005 by 11 per cent, while Grand Puy Lacoste, 5.5 per cent up, is another value choice.

Traditionally, the en primeur system has allowed wine lovers to get a good enough deal to make it worth taking the gamble of paying for wine while waiting two years before bottling and delivery. For the ego- and greed-driven wines, that's no longer the case because overpricing has raised the stakes too high. Ironically, the ambitious prices make earlier vintages look cheaper and in some cases, almost cheap. Inconceivable as it seems today, could we one day look back on 2009 and marvel at what great value it was? Or will we see heads on pikes as the tumbrils are wheeled from the Médoc to Mme Guillotine standing in the Cours du 30 Juillet, the square in Bordeaux named in 1791 for the abolition of the aristocracy? For a detailed chart of wine merchants selling the Bordeaux 2009 vintage en primeur and their prices, check out anthonyrosewine.com.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?