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Bordeaux 2008 receives downgrade from Parker

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

Robert Parker published his scores is his latest issue #94, together with those for Bordeaux 2010 (covered by us here). However, the scores for the 2008 vintage have had the most immediate impact with an overall downgrade. Bordeaux 2008 now ranks below 2003, 2005 and 2006 having previously almost pared with the high quality 2005 and come in above the other two vintages. Only 3 such downgrades have occurred in the last 9 years, and this in the middle of the very high scoring Bordeaux 2010 vintage.

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 heaviest losses have come from those wines who did not meet their barrel spreads:

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

The biggest downgrades are among Cos d’Estournel, Leoville Las Cases, Cheval Blanc, Le Pin and Pichon Lalande

This was not the story for all however. Some chateau scored 95 or more outperforming their previous rating:

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

Mouton Rothschild has seen the biggest softening of prices, despite predictions that the chateau’s commissioning of a Chinese artist for its label would lead to higher demand once the wine became physical, the Chinese are not fools! Nonetheless, overall it would appear that the trade and its customers had factored in a potential downgrade with only a modest correction in prices as a result.

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.

With a compelling story and consistently strong recent vintages, Pontet Canet would seem to be the toast of the trade, beloved of collectors, merchants and critics alike, it has outscored the First Growths for a fraction of the price.

Ditton Wine Traders is a wholesaler ofBordeaux classed growths and equivalent wines from Burgundy and Italy. Ongoing commentary and analyses can be found on ourfine wine blog