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Following Cary Fiebleman’s recent article “Is Sanity Finally Coming To The Market,” I received an offer discounting a list of 100-point wines. Included were 2000 Latour, La Mission Haut Brion, Margaux, Pavie, and Leoville-Las-Cases as well as 2005 Haut Brion and Petrus. Many were in different bottle sizes. Also, nine different Rhone wines, mostly from the 2007 vintage and a Sonoma County Red Wine. Per bottle prices were originally from $325 for a Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee du Quet Mas de Boislauzon up to $5,500 for 2005 Petrus. The new discounted prices per bottle are now $243.75 to $4,125.

What is the “real” value of these wines? Who knows? “Real” prices are determined by the price paid by a willing buyer and a willing seller at any point in time. “Real” value is an entirely different matter that will only be determined by the market over time. People who buy these wines and then immediately drink them (I wonder how many of these folks there are) will determine if they have received “real” value. If enough people react positively, then prices will hold or go up. But, if people react the other way, prices will go down. Then there are the people buying as an “investment” who buy the wines based only on the intent of keeping them for some period of time with the hope of selling them for more than they paid. That’s where it gets sticky. For this strategy to work, the current 100-point perfect scores for these young wines will have to hold up over time.

Time will tell, but my belief is that the large increase  of young 100 point perfect wines in recent years has resulted in an over supply of over hyped and over valued wines. Will 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Papes turn out to be the greatest wines ever? I like Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but I seriously doubt that over-extracted, high alcohol 2007s that have received 100-point perfect scores will ever live up to the early hype. Combine this with the increasing number of years that are labeled “vintage of the century” and more and more wines joining the 100 point perfect wine club in their infancy, and I think an argument can be made that supply is already running ahead of demand or at least  is in danger of running ahead of demand. That being the case, the “Get ‘em while you can” pitch will prove to be just more hype designed to get rid of inventory. Caveat emptor!

In Vino Veritas,

John Tilson