Monday

Cru-s Control

Greetings and a belated salutations; I have been all over the place this last almost year since my last posting, something that I will soon remedy.
As we approach the summer months, I am reminded of two things I hold dear; warm weather and the opportunity to buy futures in Bordeaux wines. A future is when you buy the wine, knowing ahead of time that it will be some time before you recieve that wine. Never fear, however, because in this increasingly young drinking(wine, as well as the age of the consumer) society it's probably safer in the hands of the Chateaus(yes I realize the french spelling is Chateaux) rather than in the hands of your impetuous social circles. It is in that vein that I am talking about the often lauded 'Premiere Crus' of Bordeaux's west bank.
2007 was an okay year for Bordeaux, and the artisans of their craft did make some generally above average wines out of sub average grapes- but the issue now becomes; why would we still pay such outlandish prices for just 'good juice'. I call it the 'Because We Say So' method of not just Bordeaux but of a good sized portion of Napa Valley as well. Chateau Latour, my favorite of the 2007 pluckings is just shy of $500, while the venerably lofty Chateau Mouton Rothschild is well over $700. Now these wines are far beyond a common market place good, but are they really worth the near mortgage payment price tags that they demand?
It's all relative to your budget, says the man who drinks a good deal for free, and I must tell you that I never buy them with my own money. There are too many good second and third cru class wines that are just as vibrant and expressive of the West Bank to even remotely consider a chapter 11 appetite. Will I buy a Premiere Cru future from 2009? It's hard to tell not having tasted the promises so many other critics have hailed as the best vintage in a generation, but one thing is for certain; I will buy the one I think stands up the best, not the rock star BS that the Rothschild shadow imposes. I will second that by saying that Rothschild wines can be good, even outstanding; but I will not be bullied into praising them above all others. I have had a few chances to try pre-1973 Mouton Rothschild(the year it was elevated to Premiere status) and I can safely say that when it was fighting for respect, it was just a darn better wine.
No stick to your guns when you buy these wines, and if you can try something like Chateau Carboneaux; affordable and surprisingly vivacious. Try investing in Chateau Gruad-Larosse; it's a fraction of the price with practically the same lifespan. Don't look at Premiere Cru as the head of it's class(no pun intended) unless it's willing to fork over the same explosive flavors and textures.
Cam

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