Wines of a Lifetime, Not Vintage of a Lifetime | '09 Bordeaux Futures Offer #1

by Chuck Hayward

Wines of a Lifetime, Not Vintage of a Lifetime:

2009 Bordeaux Futures Offer #1

Post by Shaun Bishop

We visit Bordeaux every year in March to taste the new vintages, but this year was different. After years of flying under the radar, JJ Buckley was the talk of Bordeaux. Nobody could understand why we had just flown in ten of our people to taste and evaluate the 2009 vintage out of barrel— a larger group than any other US wine merchant and more than most contingencies from anywhere in the world. But it's our job as a Bordeaux merchant to wade neck-deep into each vintage and sort out what's what— which wines we'd be buying and which we would take a pass on. And in the case of 2009, to see if the reality would live up to the hype.

We spent ten days there sampling 50 to 200 wines per day, often tasting the same wine two to four times over the course of our visit. We talked to owners, winemakers, negociants, competitors, vineyard managers and even to our own customers from the US and abroad. Buyers of this vintage will need guidance and we are fully prepared to answer all your questions, give thoughtful and educated advice, and provide a personal perspective on the hundreds of wines that we tasted.

We want you to know that before you make a decision to buy these wines,
that you can count on the following:

As a licensed importer, wholesaler and retailer, JJ Buckley buys directly from Bordeaux, bypassing third party wholesalers and/or importers. This gives us and you a significant pricing advantage.

In order to secure large allocations of the most sought after and highly rated wines, JJ Buckley has worked hard over the years to build strong relationships with the most respected negociants and other suppliers. We are in Bordeaux at least twice a year to ensure we stay informed and well connected.

Our sales team has a broad and deep understanding of the vintage. Please call, email, or stop by and discuss the wines with our sales team who have just returned from Bordeaux. Over the past few weeks, they have analyzed, lived, breathed, and bathed in the vintage, so no question will go unanswered.


So, what about the hype?

Many have talked about 2009 as another "vintage of a lifetime". The truth is, that term is starting to wear thin as there have been other vintages that were more consistently excellent across all appellations and Chateaux. 2009 did produce some very, very special, even brilliant wines, perhaps more so than any "vintage of a lifetime". However 2009 required work, both in the vineyard and in the winery. Winemakers were dealing with some off the charts measurements that required expert skill to manage. The bottom line in '09 is if you didn't have a skilled winemaking team and if you didn't invest in your vineyards, you were likely left with an unbalanced mess.

But those that got it right in 2009 got it very right. In fact, some made wines unlike anything we, and many other wine professionals we have spoken to, have ever tasted. Some wines transcended their humble appellations and some even hit it out of the park. The truly brilliant wines show a perfect balance between tannin, fruit, oak, alcohol and acidity. They are rich and round, fresh and powerful, with the mineral notes and structure that defines Bordeaux terroir.

There has also been a lot of talk about how great the First Growths are in 2009 and how expensive they may turn out to be. Of course, we will offer the wines for sale. But truth be told, we don't find 2009 to be a 'First Growth year'. If you want the wines that will knock your socks off, you will find them at the lower levels, from the super seconds to the values from Cotes de Castillon and Fronsac. Wines from St. Estephe, St. Julien and Margaux are some appellations in particular to keep your eyes on. (Some appellations, like Pomerol, we feel made better wines in 2008). The professional critics will ultimately provide you with the final quality evaluation, but we will be there to help guide your decision making with informed, first-hand knowledge. Stay tuned for a full list of our tasting notes and opinions on hundreds of specific wines.

Our futures campaign begins today and we'll continue to send you offers for the most noteworthy wines as they are released over the next couple of months. For starters, take a look at the wines below which are among the first 2009s released. It's refreshing to find 90-95 point reds from proven appellations that can still be had for under $25. Enjoy!

-Shaun Bishop, JJ Buckley Proprietor and Buyer

Read about our adventures in Bordeaux on our BDX09 blog!


Pre-Arrival: ETA 2012

2009 Chateau La Tour De Bessan (Margaux) - $19.99

The Wine Spectator, April 2010, 91-94 points: "Blueberry and floral aromas follow through to a full body, with superfine tannins and a long, flavorful finish. But very refined and subtle. Love the texture."

Decanter Magazine, April 2010, 3 Stars: "Purple red, fine smoky cassis nose, almost a feminine touch, very good Margaux. Drink 2013-18."

2009 Chateau Côte Montpezat Cuvée Compostelle (Côtes de Castillon) - $14.99

The Wine Spectator, April 2010, 91-94 points: "Beautiful nose of crushed blueberries and raspberries. Full-bodied, with soft and velvety tannins and lots of pretty fruit."

Decanter Magazine, April 2010, 3 Stars: "Round and supple with a little more fruit intensity than previous years. Drink 2012-2016."

JJ Buckley Fine Wines, April 2010: "The nose is very attractive with nice complexity and layers of aromas with nicely integrated oak scents underneath. The palate mirrors what the bouquet offers up showing some juicy oak and very fine tannins. This is a very complete, harmonious wine at this point and quite hard to resist. Another great wine from Stephane Derenoncourt who was in top form with his 2009s." -Chuck Hayward

2009 Chateau Gigault Cuvée Viva (Côtes de Blaye) - $17.99

The Wine Spectator, April 2010, 90-93: "Grapey, with lots of mineral and floral aromas that follow through to a full body, with well-integrated tannins and a juicy, fruity finish. Love the raspberries. Excellent as usual."

2009 Mauvais Garçon (Bad Boy) by Thunevin (Bordeaux) - $15.99

The Wine Spectator, March 2010, 90-93 points: "Intense coffee bean, toasted bread and concentrated ripe fruit. Full-bodied, with soft and velvety tannins and a medium finish. A juicy wine in a flashy style. This is now called Mauvais Garçon, which means "bad boy" in French."

2009 Laroche de Beaulieu Aster (Côtes de Castillon) - $17.99

The Wine Spectator, April 2010, 91-94 points: "A blockbuster wine for this appellation, with masses of fruit and velvety tannins, toasty oak and chocolate. 75 percent Merlot, 25 percent Cabernet Franc and 5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon."

2009 Chateau Domeyne (St. Estephe) - $21.99

The Wine Spectator, April 2010, 91-94 points "Full-bodied, with plenty of ripe fruit, toasted oak and spices. Long and caressing. A relatively new estate to watch."