JJ Buckley Goes To Bordeaux

by Chuck Hayward

JJ Buckley Lands In Bordeaux!

Post by Chuck Hayward | Thursday, March 25th

JJ Buckley returns to the annual Union des Grand Cru tastings in Bordeaux next week to assess the 2009 vintage. This yearly ritual is the first time that most of the world's wine trade will have the chance to sample last year's wines. We will be among many sipping and spitting young wines while meeting winemakers and negociants, all in effort to learn about the various estates and their upcoming releases. From these tastings, the world's wine press will publish their initial assessment of the vintage while importers and wineries will finalize their first orders for Bordeaux futures.

Previously a quiet convocation of various parts of the wine trade, producers and sellers mixing with buyers and traders, today the event is a vital part of the Bordeaux wine market where upwards of 5000 people travel the roads of the region, tasting wines that will be released two to three years later. It was here that a young wine critic first tasted the 1982 Bordeaux some six months after harvest and proclaimed the vintage to be a great one. Ever since Parker's reviews came out, a spotlight has shone on this event that had been previously hidden from the wine world.

The tastings have become ever more important this year.  The 2009 vintage has been tapped as extraordinary based upon the shared hallmarks of the best vintages of the past century.  Meanwhile the state of Bordeaux sales in America is in a state of turmoil. Over the past 30 years, Chateau & Estates, the wine arm of the giant drinks company Diageo, controlled most of the the Bordeaux sales in America. The firm has announced they will no longer participate in the purchase and sales of Bordeaux wine futures, leaving all with a passion for Bordeaux, be they consumers, retailers, restaurants or wine distributors, with no easy way to source the 2009s. (Click here for more information.)

With this backdrop, JJ Buckley's visit to Bordeaux takes on even more importance. Rather than depending on third hand assessments by others, we will be able to make a direct analysis of the wines and vintage. And where American importers like Chateau & Estates provided a useful function for the Bordeaux market in the past, taking out the middleman combined with our ability to import direct will give you the ability to purchase Bordeaux futures at even lower prices than before.

More importantly, thanks to changes in modern technology, you won't have to wait weeks or months to find out what the wines look like. We'll be sending updates from the trenches along with comments and observations directly from the winemakers themselves. Join us as we embark on this adventure and feel free to send us questions for the winemakers and negociants we will visit.