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Parker is not good for the consumer


ctgm
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With the recent release of Cos d'Estournel 2003 at €90 a bottle, I am finding that RPs scoring is having a very bad effect on the prices that the consumer has to pay. Cos was one of the wines that RP raved about and as a result it is 40% more expensive than the 2000 vintage.

I realise that RP does not set the prices but as soon as the chateaux owners see what he has written they know how much more they can charge.

Surely it would be in the consumers best interest if RP released his notes after all the prices had been released.

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Surely it would be in the consumers best interest if RP released his notes after all the prices had been released.

It will make no difference.

Producers will release in trenches (thereby adjusting prices upward as they go) and retailers will mark it up accordingly.

Parker is a fact of life; one deals with him or one lives a fantasy. For me, the best way to deal with him is to ignore him completely. Thus, I base my buying decisions on the quality I taste and the price I can afford.

Of course, buying en primier is impossible my way but there is more than enough great wine available to make-up for it.

One man's opinion.

Best, Jim

Edited by Florida Jim (log)

www.CowanCellars.com

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Unfortunately, that's not how it works. A better solution would be to send French winemakers a message by not buying their wines at absurdly high price points.

There's simply too much good wine out there to be stuck with buying a label or a rating.

After one or two vintages sitting on inventory, French winemakers might reconsider their pricing policies.

Problem is, even under those circumstances, its probably not likely. :sad:

Jay

You are what you eat.

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A great point!

I have found the prices impossible to deal with and seems like I will skip this vintage.

As long as wine is meant for consumption such prices should be avoided, otherwise, other type of investors will seek this money making opportunity which means sky is the limit.

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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Surely it would be in the consumers best interest if RP released his notes after all the prices had been released.

It will make no difference.

Producers will release in trenches (thereby adjusting prices upward as they go) and retailers will mark it up accordingly.

Jim,

I agree that they will continue to release in tranches. I think that they are doing this more so this year than in past years and the "secondary" market is already in full swing. For example I have already been offered by a Bordeuax negociant, some 2003 Cos at €99 a bottle. Needless to say I will not be taking up the offer.

I agree that RP is here to stay and that there is a lot of good wine out there that is not scored but surely the influence over the Bordelais is not good. Sure if any wine gets a huge score the price will go up and up as people try and hunt it down (supply & demand) but certain Bordeaux wines must be at least 20% more expensive due to the points they get which isn't helping anyone apart from the producer.

EDIT: P.S. what has happened to the opinion of the wine merchant you buy through. This seems not to count anymore with Bordeaux.

Edited by ctgm (log)
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EDIT: P.S. what has happened to the opinion of the wine merchant you buy through. This seems not to count anymore with Bordeaux.

If your local wine merchant does not have the latest PR, WS, Tanzer or Burghound (the latter only in an advanced knowledge merchant) score on shelf talkers or quickly available the majority of the wine buying public will think that they know nothing about wine. A wine merchant that recommends from having tasted and studied the wines he or she sells is considered an oddity.

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EDIT: P.S. what has happened to the opinion of the wine merchant you buy through. This seems not to count anymore with Bordeaux.

If your local wine merchant does not have the latest PR, WS, Tanzer or Burghound (the latter only in an advanced knowledge merchant) score on shelf talkers or quickly available the majority of the wine buying public will think that they know nothing about wine. A wine merchant that recommends from having tasted and studied the wines he or she sells is considered an oddity.

True! But a knowledgeable wine merchant can both post the "shelf talkers" and then recommend others wines of comparable quality for far lower cost. This won't tempt the collectors but should and could have an impact on the serious consumer. I buy from a few very reputable dealers who often do this out of concern and respect for their customers.

Jay

You are what you eat.

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Unfortunately, that's not how it works. A better solution would be to send French winemakers a message by not buying their wines at absurdly high price points.

There's simply too much good wine out there to be stuck with buying a label or a rating.

After one or two vintages sitting on inventory, French winemakers might reconsider their pricing policies.

Problem is, even under those circumstances, its probably not likely. :sad:

Sadly there is a whole population out there that has more money than taste and so will buy whatever Mr Parker recommends, however ridiculous the price. Fortunately for me my preferences rarely coincide with his, and where they do, well I can live without high priced wines. Mind you if he ever got into an area that commands my affection I might have to seek him out and cauterise his taste buds to stop him ruining another market.

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While it is true the RP's scores have an effect on vintages that he rates highly, I have found that there is a boomerang effect that benefits consumers, as well. The '99 vintage was a good example. As the '98 and '99 Bordeaux were in the market when the scores and high praise for the 2000 vintage was released, wholesalers were forced to take large positions on that vintage. This caused them to dump their stocks of '98 and '99 at ridiculously low prices to make room for the 2000s. Some examples of '99s I bought or was offered (these are wholesale prices per bottle): Clerc Milon $19.99, Pichon Lalande $33, Palmer $59, Haut Brion $75! I predict this will happen with the 2001 and 2002 vintages. You read it here!

Mark

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Unless you live in Ontario, however, when there is rarely anything called a "wine sale," regardless of inventory levels.

Actually, I was just reading that if the LCBO decides to delist a product, they bill back the producer 25% of the value of remaining stock in their inventory before decreasing the cost a couple dollars per bottle.

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EDIT: P.S. what has happened to the opinion of the wine merchant you buy through. This seems not to count anymore with Bordeaux.

If your local wine merchant does not have the latest PR, WS, Tanzer or Burghound (the latter only in an advanced knowledge merchant) score on shelf talkers or quickly available the majority of the wine buying public will think that they know nothing about wine. A wine merchant that recommends from having tasted and studied the wines he or she sells is considered an oddity.

True! But a knowledgeable wine merchant can both post the "shelf talkers" and then recommend others wines of comparable quality for far lower cost. This won't tempt the collectors but should and could have an impact on the serious consumer. I buy from a few very reputable dealers who often do this out of concern and respect for their customers.

I completely agree. I am fortunate enough to have at least 3 wine merchants in my area who are true wine geeks and enjoy making recommendations. They have sold me wines that I would never have bought otherwise and they have saved me money in the process. This has also increased the volume that I purchase from them. IMHO we are not the average consumer though.

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It's not Parker's fault. If he didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent him. The real problem is that the Bordelais can sell all their prestige wines before even 1% of the retailers have had a chance to taste. The primeur system forces people to rely on the palates of critics tasting absurdly young, unbottled wines in order to make purchasing decisions. I'll buy a few bottles untasted, but if you've got the time and interest, nothing beats trying wines yourself.

Walt

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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With the recent release of Cos d'Estournel 2003 at ?90 a bottle, I am finding that RPs scoring is having a very bad effect on the prices that the consumer has to pay. Cos was one of the wines that RP raved about and as a result it is 40% more expensive than the 2000 vintage.

This is really only an issue if you simply must have 2003 Cos. I feel for those who are fans of Cos, and have bought the wine year after year.

But, really, there are plenty of great wines out there that Parker doesn't review or doesn't give big scores to. His scoring either has no effect on the prices of these wines, or can actually make them cheaper.

--- Lee

Seattle

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Actually, I was just reading that if the LCBO decides to delist a product, they bill back the producer 25% of the value of remaining stock in their inventory before decreasing the cost a couple dollars per bottle.

That's not the half of it. We are a consignment agent and if our wine sits in the LCBO's warehouse more than 90 days, they seize it, do the 25% billback thing, and then dump it into their stores at a discounted price. They also don't tell us where it's going, forcing us to to call stores and see if we can't buy some of it back for our restaurant customers. Crazy!

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I had a good laugh this morning when Ausone 2003 was released

I won't tell you the release price (i am sure that most can work backwards) but I would imagine that it will be selling for about £2100-£2200 a case (which is about $3800-4000) :shock::shock:

Edit: I have seen on a trade exchange that someone is offering it at £2,900 a case (although someone has not met this and bid £2,600)

Edited by ctgm (log)
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The real problem is that the Bordelais can sell all their prestige wines before even 1% of the retailers have had a chance to taste. The primeur system forces people to rely on the palates of critics tasting absurdly young, unbottled wines in order to make purchasing decisions.

Interestingly, about 20-30 years ago many people simply bought en primeur their preferred labels. In better vintages maybe some cases more. Bordeaux was the finest wine anyway, so who cared. For example, Las Cases was at roughly $150 a case. Picking "the best" was no big issue. And if, you bought some Latour or Lafite. That was it. "Life was so much simpler then when I was young." :smile:

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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I had a good laugh this morning when Ausone 2003 was released

I am laughing even more now. I have been offered Ausone by one of my negociants for 40% more than the release price (1 day after it was released). :laugh:

Negociants are in a priveledged position of being able to buy directly from the chateaux and I feel that this blatant profiteering is slightly unethical. Along with the Ausone, there were many other wines that I had asked for (to be told that they were unavailable) that have magically appeared at hugely inflated prices (which I am sure is not to do with a 2nd tranche being released).

Sour grapes? Definitely, but think that along with RP this is not doing the consumer any favours.

By the way, the Ausone was being offered at €325 a bottle :shock:

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Sadly there is a whole population out there that has more money than taste and so will buy whatever Mr Parker recommends, however ridiculous the price.

Absolutely true. And that's what primeurs are implicetely about (for the first growths for sure) : speculation.

Ausone 2003 at Eur 325 is just plain laughable...

"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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Sadly there is a whole population out there that has more money than taste and so will buy whatever Mr Parker recommends, however ridiculous the price.

Absolutely true. And that's what primeurs are implicetely about (for the first growths for sure) : speculation.

Ausone 2003 at Eur 325 is just plain laughable...

Its interesting that in the mid 80's that's about what a CASE of Ausone cost.

Mark

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in the mid 80's that's about what a CASE of Ausone cost.

Maybe the should split like in stock market and create 3 oz flacons. :biggrin:

Generally, prices are on the rise these days here in Switzerland. One of the big en primeur dealers cranked up the price for Montrose twice since the first release.

It's correlating with stock market recovery, I believe. I knew bankers who bought Bordelais 2000 for more than $ 500'000. They have been abstinent for 3 years. I suspect these buyers are back again. Interestingly they still don't seem to understand the difference between value and price.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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It's correlating with stock market recovery, I believe. I knew bankers who bought Bordelais 2000 for more than $ 500'000. They have been abstinent for 3 years. I suspect these buyers are back again. Interestingly they still don't seem to understand the difference between value and price.

True. But the price increase is also related to lower yields this year (something around 30% less ?). And the negociant are also left with shed loads of 2001 and 2002 that they have to get rid of ... So by putting high prices on the 2003's they may hope that they can get rid of some of the previous year's bottles ??

If prices stay at that level, I just do not see the primeurs market to be of interest to individuals anymore.

For instance, Yquem 2003 is selling at 210 Eur ... yeah, right ... I can find Yquem 1990 at less than Eur 250, why would one even think about buying 2003 at that price ???

"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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True. But the price increase is also related to lower yields this year (something around 30% less ?). And the negociant are also left with shed loads of 2001 and 2002 that they have to get rid of ...  So by putting high prices on the 2003's they may hope that they can get rid of some of the previous year's bottles ??

If prices stay at that level, I just do not see the primeurs market to be of interest to individuals anymore.

For instance, Yquem 2003 is selling at 210 Eur ... yeah, right ... I can find Yquem 1990 at less than Eur 250, why would one even think about buying 2003 at that price ???

I am not sure about the yields. Undoubtedly some have been affected by the adverse weather but I was speaking to one producer of a classed growth Margaux and they said that they had in fact made more than last year. Trying toget a straight answer from individual chateau would be impossible as this is one of their reasons for upping the price.

I am not sure that the negociants do have a lot of 2001 and 2002. I spoke to one of mine and they did what I did last year in as much as they placed orders when they took them. Their allocations have also been affected by not buying last year.

As to buying previous vintages I could not agree more. The Montrose 2003 is going for silly money now. What is it - $1800 a case? I recently had the Montrose 1982 which goes for about $1500 and thought that it was both far from mature and a really superb wine.

Edited by ctgm (log)
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As to buying previous vintages I could not agree more. The Montrose 2003 is going for silly money now.

It's not unlike when Port got fashionable again in the mi 90s. They charged up to $100 for a parkerized Taylor Vinatge 1994 infant. You could buy 1963 for the same price back then. Incredible.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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