A waiter is pouring generous rations of wine in the private dining salon of Chateau Margaux on the left bank of the Gironde estuary in southwestern France. Baccarat crystal schooners are filled to the brim with one of the world’s rarest liquid investments. The costly history of downing Chateau Margaux unfolds.
Karl Lagerfeld provoked both boos and cheers for his rustic sketch of Chateau Rauzan-Segla on the 2009 label of the Bordeaux estate, celebrating its 350th anniversary. The wine inside, though, is no dashed-off impression.
Even with the smallest grape harvest since 1991 in Bordeaux, France’s biggest wine-exporting region, producers of the most-prestigious bottles will see prices fall as buyers shift to cheaper alternatives.
Buying Bordeaux 2012 futures was always going to be a question of prices. Now that the majority of chateau owners have released theirs, it’s apparent they’re tone deaf to today’s market. Most prices are down less than 10 percent, nowhere near low enough.
In 2010, I once again sipped thousands of wines looking for the few worth recommending. I’m happy to report I found more compelling high quality wines than ever -- especially from the 2009 vintage in Germany, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, and Burgundy -- among a sea of plonk and expensive disappointments. Here are my 10 picks of the year.