Every year in April the Chateaux in Bordeaux release their newest vintage and invite the international wine press and merchants to try it (out of the barrel) two years before it is bottled. This process is called En Primeur and this year the world will review the 2012 vintage. Prior to this, in late February and early March, Robert Parker (the world’s leading critic and benchmark for wine quality) re-scores the vintage from bottle, two years after their original examination. This year it is the turn of the prestigious 2010 vintage.
Parker generally gives an estimated score from the barrel, for example 97-100 and then gives a more exact score once the wine is bottled. In 2009 Parker scored Leoville Poyferre 97-100 from the barrel, two years later he remarked it 100 points from the bottle. These re-scores can provide an opportunity for capital growth, for example Poyferre jumped from £1,100 in February to £1,750 in March; however buyers need to be careful.
It has been the view of IG Wines that the highly priced vintages of the last few years tend to fall in value on bottle release as investors look to liquidate holdings they have had locked up for two years (unless we are in a bull market). However, if Parker rescores a wine higher, it generally jumps in price; that said, second guessing Parker can be difficult. Last year with the seminal 2009 vintage there were a few wines that doubled in value after Parker scored them 100 points eg Smith Haut Lafitte, but overall the vintage dropped in price. Will we see the same in 2010, its twin vintage.
This month James Suckling and France’s leading taster Jean-Marc Quarin rescored the 2010 vintage from bottle. As expected they considered the 2010 vintage great, with Suckling giving out more 100 points, 11 in total, than for the 2009 vintage, where he gave nine. On the other hand, Quarin only gave two 100 point scores which were to Cheval Blanc and Latour. When Parker tasted the 2010 vintage from the barrel two years ago, he gave eight potential perfect scores.
Is there potential short-term growth for the 2010s?
The 2009s in general are trading at a discount relatively speaking to the 2010s, even assuming Parker marks them higher. This means that IF the 2010s such as La Mission Haut Brion were to achieve 100 points, it would be over 5% more expensive than its 2009 equivalent. This is also true of the other wines with the exception of Petrus and Beausejour, which could look undervalued if they achieve 100 points. Outside these the 2010 potential 100 pointers look overvalued.
The same is true of many of the other leading estates. Yet, there do seem to be some potential movers such as Smith Haut Lafitte, Lynch Bages and Ducru Beaucaillou. James Suckling has confirmed Parker’s potential points, however, it will be Parker’s verdict that will increase or decrease prices overnight.