Bordeaux futures — the 2008 en primeur campaign

The Bordeaux Futures campaign kicked off this month, providing consumers with the opportunity to purchase wines from this vintage. The wines are currently still in barrel, ageing in the cellars of their respective Chateaux. Accordingly, wines bought now won’t be delivered until 2011. Robert Parker and other wine critics have declared this to be a good vintage, but note that it is not on par with 2000 or 2005. More specifically, they are comparing it to 2001.

Given the economic climate, the initial prices have been dropped with some wines being offered at the same prices as 2004. However, some of the prices have since increased as purchases have been made, indicating more interest from the trade than was initially expected.

While some people have cautioned that it is not necessary to buy this vintage during the Futures campaign given the economic climate, others have suggested that this is a great opportunity to buy Bordeaux from a quality year, at more reasonable prices than we had seen.

As an indication of the mixed messages, some wine merchants who traditionally offer a large selection of Bordeaux wines through a Futures campaign have decided to forgo participation this year or will be offering only a small set of wines to their customers.

For consumers who do choose to buy en primeur, it is extremely important to buy from a reputable merchant to ensure that you will actually receive the wine you purchase. The key issues are that the store will still be in business when 2011 rolls around and, more importantly, that you are not being scammed as had been the case with a number of dishonest people in 2003 with the 2000 campaign.

If you don’t have a trusted store (or if yours isn’t offering Bordeaux Futures), here are a few recommendations. I have personally had continued success with Sherry-Lehmann, which has posted a list of 59 wines to its site for the 2008 campaign. I have not bought Futures from, but would also recommend, Zachy’s (located in Scarsdale, but you can do a search on their site with key words: Bordeaux 2008) and Acker, Merrall & Condit (no information is on their site, but you can call and speak with a salesperson to discuss availability). In addition, while I am less familiar with Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, they, too, are offering Bordeaux futures (there are 38 wines listed on their site) and they have a good reputation. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list.

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