robert parker downgrades bordeaux 2008

Robert Parker has released his in-bottle scores for 2008, the vintage that he previoulsy loved but that other critics weren’t as positive about. The result is quite extraordinary: the vintage as a whole is downgraded by a massive 1.18 point.

Issue #194, which also covers Parker’s scores for the Bordeaux 2010 En Primeur wines, has had a bit of an impact. The 2010 vintage receives massive scores (we will cover those next week) whereas – with more of an immediate impact – Parker downgrades 2008. In the last 9 years, only 3 vintages have seen lower in-bottle scores than barrel-scores, the other 2 being 2002 (-0.83) and 2007 (-0.06). So 2008 by far sees the largest downward revision. Having previously ranked above 2006 and 2003 and only marginally lower than 2005, the result of the downgrade is that 2008 now ranks below all 3 vintages with an average score of only 94.40

Overall, the majority of the scores fall at the lower end of Parker's initial barrel score spreads whilst there are quite a few scores that are even lower than that. On individual wine level, some of his scores are quite remarkable. Let’s start with the First Growths:

Wine
in btl
barrel
Lafite-Rothschild
98
98-100
Haut Brion
96
95-97
Latour
95+
96-98
Chateau Margaux
94
95-97
Mouton-Rothschild
94+
94-96

There are only 10 wines that score 96 points or more, 98 being the highest. Please see below for all wines receiving 95 or more:

Wine
in btl
barrel
Ausone
98
96-100
Lafite-Rothschild
98
98-100
Petrus
97
98-100
Chateau d’Yquem
96
95-97
Haut Bailly
96
95-97
Haut Brion
96
95-97
La Mondotte
96
93-95+
Pontet-Canet
96
96-98+
Troplong-Mondot
96
95-97
Trotanoy
96
96-100
Bellevue Mondotte
95+
96-98+
Chateau de Fargues
95
94-96
Clos de Sarpe
95
93-96+
Clos Dubreuil
95
92-94
Ducru Beaucaillou
95+
96-98
Gracia
95
94-97
Hosanna
95
96-98
L’Eglise Clinet
95
94-96+
La Conseillante
95
92-94+
La Fleur Petrus
95
92-94+
La Violette
95
96-98
Latour
95+
96-98
Magrez Fombrauge
95
92-94+
Montrose
95
95-97
Pape Clement
95
94-96
Pavie
95
96-98+
Pichon-Longueville Baron
95
92-94

Note that this list of 27 wines does not include Mouton or Margaux...

The biggest "losers" are the wines that have fallen outside of their initial, barrel spread:

Wine
in btl
barrel
Petrus
97
98-100
Ducru Beaucaillou
95+
96-98
Hosanna
95
96-98
La Violette
95
96-98
Latour
95+
96-98
Pavie
95
96-98+
Chateau Margaux
94
95-97
Le Dome
94
95-97
Palmer
94
95-97
Cheval Blanc
93
95-97
La Providence
93
95-97
Leoville-Las Cases
93+
95-97+
Cos d’Estournel
92+
94-96+
Le Pin
92
94-96
Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
92
94-96

Pichon Lalande, Le Pin, Cos Estournel, Leoville Lascases and Cheval Blanc receive the biggest downgrade.

However, it is not all carnage. There are also wines that do better. Below is a list of the winners that receive 95 or more points: 

Wine
in btl
barrel
La Mondotte
96
93-95+
Clos Dubreuil
95
92-94
La Conseillante
95
92-94+
La Fleur Petrus
95
92-94+
Magrez Fombrauge
95
92-94+
Pichon-Longueville Baron
95
92-94

The effect on the trade and on prices so far has been modest. Whilst Mouton Rothschild is being off-loaded by some, we will have to wait and see what the longer term effect on pricing will be. If anything, it will make some of the back vintages look good, in particular 2006. We have covered the "back-vintage" investment strategy before and will continue to do so during the 2010 En Primeur campaign. 

At the moment though, most attention seems to be for the winners of 2008. In particular Ducru Beaucaillou (despite it’s downgrade still a monster score), Pichon Baron (which has also received a fantastic score for the 2010 and at £800 a case, the 2008 looks to be an excellent opportunity) and Pontet Canet.

Pontet Canet

Pontet Canet is the darling of everybody it seems. Critics, the trade, investors and drinkers alike, they all love Pontet Canet. No surprise really given the scores for the last 3 vintages. It outscores 1st Growths at a fraction of the price. The 2008 at £915 seems an utter bargain. The story behind the wine is equally compelling.

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