Cult Wines assess the success of Parker’s 2005 retrospective tasting

Posted by Cult Wines on 15 July 2015 |

A lot has already been covered on Parker’s 2005 retrospective tasting and what is clear above all rhetoric is that this is another great vintage of Bordeaux – indeed, 12 wines have been elevated to 100pt status. However, whether it is superior to 2010, 2009, 2000 or 1982 is up for debate; a debate that splits many of us here in the office and will no doubt rumble on.

Most Bordeaux lovers have been following the 2005s with great interest since it was released 10 years ago and while we have been tracking the prices and patterns of demand, it is fair to say that the pending Parker re-score and changing market sentiment certainly encouraged us to pursue this strategy with ample vigour.

It was patently obvious from Parker’s original report that 2005 was an exceptional year for Bordeaux. We spent time identifying the wines that we felt had the most potential for a positive outcome during the rescore. Below is a table of the recommendations that were associated with this strategy, and with the rescore results being published on 29 June, the outcome for each has also been outlined.

Wine (2005)

Initial offer price (£/12x75cl)

Previous Score

New Score

Change

Last Trade Price

% Difference

Peby Faugeres

850

95+

100

5

£1,700

100.0

Cheval Blanc

4,100

96

100

4

£4,950

20.7

Haut Brion

4,200

98

100

2

£5,100

21.4

La Mission Haut Brion

2,900

98+

100

2

£4,313

48.7

Angelus

2,340

98

100

2

£3,200

36.8

Palmer

1,750

96

98

2

£2,150

22.9

Larcis Ducasse

1,050

98

100

2

£1,750

66.7

Pavie

2,250

98+

100

2

£3,000

33.3

Troplong Mondot

1,450

99

100

1

£1,800

24.1

Margaux

5,100

98+

98+

0

£5,500

7.8

Leoville Poyferre

635

93

93

0

£742

16.9

Leoville Las cases

1800

98

97+

-1

£1,800

0.0

Mouton Rothschild

3,600

99+

97

-2

£4,300

19.4

Grand Puy Lacoste

£640

95

92

-2

£750

17.2

 

While we are conscious that not every single one of our recommendations proved to be a success, we can confidently say that the positions that we sold by most volume were across the Right Bank of Bordeaux. More sophisticated wine buyers would consider the relationship between high volume and Right Bank as non-existent or a contradiction in terms, but it must be recognised that we adopted a fairly aggressive buying strategy for 2005s starting at the beginning of Q4, allowing us to take significant positions in wines such as Pavie, Angelus, and Cheval Blanc – long before the scent of Merlot was even noticeable for the rest of the wine trade. Of course, our position in wines such as Larcis, Peby Faugeres and Troplong Mondot were less substantial due to smaller production levels, but strong nonetheless.

What is now apparent from the updated scores, is that this is a vintage where Parker favoured the Right Bank over the Left. This has led to a range of commentary on whether or not this assessment is accurate, a point well raised on subjective grounds but we would strongly counter argue that, like it or not, the success of a Parker retrospective is based on analysis of the subjective grounds of Parker. Let’s face it, how many wine merchants would be offering 2005 Bordeaux to clients in isolation of a Parker re-score?

Having had time to consider the results and gather opinion, it seems an obvious point to make that when assessing a strategy based on the success of Parker’s judgement, one should consider his previous views and soundbites on this vintage. As we can clearly see from the Wine Advocate Vintage Chart, St Emilion seemed to be head and shoulders above other appellations:

 

 

It is fair to say that we were not as surprised with Parker’s assessment here as others have been and the high scores for St Emilion based on this graphic are easy to accept.

We agree that this vintage chart can be rather generic and does not provide an ‘in depth’ insight to the individual wines and how they are likely to perform when re-tasted and subsequently re-scored. So we took to the task of referring to each tasting note for the wines of notoriety across St Emilion and were not disappointed by the evidence we found that suggests there was a compelling case for wines such as Larcis Ducasse & Troplong Mondot to be upgraded.

Straight from Parker’s Mouth pre-rescore:

Parker on Larcis 2005:
“This amazing St Emilion is destined to become a legend…2009 does not live up the extraordinary quality of the 2005.”

Parker on Troplong Mondot 2005:
“The 2005 is one of the monumental wines of the vintage, and may eclipse their prodigious 1990.”

Parker on Bellevue Mondotte 2005:
“This monumental St Emilion requires a decade of cellaring, but it should last for 4-5 decades. It will unquestionably be one of the vintage’s immortals.”

It would seem bizarre for there to be an air bewilderment surrounding the upgrade of certain Right Bank wines ahead of the Left Bank. Of course, we are not suggesting that we did not recommend our clients to purchase Latour, Mouton and Leoville Las Cases, but through the interpretation of the data available, we were fortunately able to adopt a clearer focus on the Right Bank, which post re-score is a very pleasing outcome.

Although still too early to comprehensively evaluate the impact that these re-scores will have on the price trajectory of the wines, it is clear that with these revised scores the majority of wines are now available at a substantially higher price than our clients had bought almost 10 months ago. The wines that were downgraded may fall further but with the upgrades and general positivity surrounding the overall quality of 2005, there should be sufficient demand to support current levels.

 

 

 

 

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