Parker perfection: 100 points for 19 Bordeaux 2009s

Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate has started arriving in mailboxes and issue #199 aas published on their site late yesterday. The top scores are mind-numbing. If you thought his love of Chateauneuf du Pape’s 2007 vintage was the high-water mark for his scores, think again: Parker hands out 100-point scores to 18 red wines, with several others (including first growths, Mouton, Lafite and Margaux) getting a mere 99 points.

Underwhelmed by the list, commenters on wineberserkers reacted, saying “Smith Haut Laffite. Wow.” and “It’s only March 1st – not April 1st. Is this serious?!?” and “When will Mouton Cadet [$8] join the list?” and “Who cares about any of the 99-point crap?” Tim Atkin tweeted, “Where does RP go from there? Explode in a puff of ludicrous hyperbole? 2010 is a better vintage.”

It will be interesting to see if these push prices any higher (as will likely be the case for Fourtet and Smith Haut Lafitte, which were originally forecast to have scores of 98 maximum) or lower in the case of Lafite-Rothschild, which had been coveted by Asian auction bidders before slowing but is not on the list of those receiving perfect scores. Or if it will elicit as much of a yawn from buyers has it does from the online commentariat–after all, 20 wines had received scores as possible 100 pointers based on barrel tastings. In January, I suggested that rampant score inflation posed the biggest threat to the use of scores and eighteen 100s do not reverse my view. What’s your take?

Parker confronted the issue of “hype” and inflation head on, saying:

So has there been careless scoring inflation? Of course not. The same standards that gave what looked to be super conservative and very modest scores 32 years ago, are the same criteria that are in play today. The problem is that 2009 is the greatest vintage I have ever tasted in Bordeaux. I am willing to say it loudly, and stake my reputation on it. In fact, perhaps the most remarkable thing about 2009 is that there is no “buzz.” We are all tired of the newest Vintage of the Century, but when the real one happens, it has to be recognized, and someone has to point it out. That is not called hype, but accountability, fairness, and independent professional reporting.

A few vintages ago, Parker wrote an essay entitled “Is 2005 the Perfect Vintage?” He gave out only two 100 point scores that year. In Food & Wine he wrote saying “But it would be reckless to claim the finest 2005s will surpass the top wines of 2003, 2000, 1996.” Vintage of the century, indeed–and this time he means it, dammit!

Here’s the list of Parker’s perfect 100-point Bordeaux 2009:

Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse
Bellevue Mondotte
Clos Fourtet
Cos D’Estournel
Ducru Beaucaillou
Haut Brion
Leoville Poyferre
La Mission Haut Brion
Le Pin
Pontet Canet
Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge

Also: Pape Clément blanc

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31 Responses to “Parker perfection: 100 points for 19 Bordeaux 2009s”

  1. I can’t wait to tuck in to cut-price Lafite Rothschild once it gets dumped for Smith Haut Lafite… Oh no I remember, things will just go up, not down, this is Bordeaux-nomics

  2. I like these scores 🙂 It gives mere mortal a slight chance to try 100-point wines, if we act fast enough. To the stores, people!

    I’m curious, though, how quickly these wines will disappear (not talking about Petrus or Le Pin, of course).

    May be it was a special request from Chinese to put a 100 points on something more affordable than Lafite?

  3. Why so early? Maybe blame the China’s Millionare…

  4. I’m surprised Parker missed the 2009 Chateau Le Pere Inconnu–101 points.

  5. yawn

  6. Petrus should top $10,000 a bottle with this rating.

  7. Perhaps Bobby is losing his palate and now everything just tastes incredible and blows his socks off and hair back

  8. @Juice…apparently it did a combination of just that…blew his hair off.

  9. It seems that Robert Parker is on the “I distrust you and despise you” list of a lot of people right now. The notable exception being Bordeaux. No more little dogs biting his ankles at barrel tastings.

  10. As a long time collector of fine wine including Bordeaux, Bobulous has taken the absurd in points and pricing to new all time levels of absurdity.
    From tweets to this is the best vintage in my 33 year professional career two weeks before the scores were released, which gave all the suffering dealers an opportunity to KY their inventory of 09’s up the ol pricing pole to these 19 “Perfect” wines it is both disappointing and shocking to me what has become of the wine market because of this anti consumer Winery Advocate. The prices of some of the wines Pontet Canet, Beausejour Duffau, Ducru, Poyferre, Clos Fourtet and Smith Haute Lafite have climbed from less than $100 E.P. to well over $300 a bottle at most dealers overnight and incredibly are being bought by the point chasers who are equally at fault in my view. Parker carries weight. Sadly in my opinion it is all anti consumer. He is entitled to his palate and scores. I am entitled to be offended and saddened by what used to be a mission of pleasure for me and passionate hobby.

  11. Even if the 09 Bordeaux Vintage is as exceptional as now rated, will the average consumer who tastes the wines even be able to understand why?

  12. Maybe the wines are that good but the problem with giving a score of 100 is a bit the same as giving an olympic gymnist 10 out of 10. There is inevitably going to be a better routine and a better wine but nowhere to go with the scores.

  13. I think, by the lack of responses here, is that his presence in the market is waning.

    In the “old” days, many of his super hyped, over inflated scores were on wines that were attainable to most folks buying fine wine. Even 2007 CDP scores.

    In this instance, only a couple (literally) of his 100 point, 2009 Bordeaux wines are actually priced in some reasonable scale, even to collectors. Was L’Evangile really selling for nearly $400 before the 100 point score? Will it sell for that after? Does any other vintage of L’Evangile sell for anywhere near that amount?

  14. I really think Parker’s affluence is showing. He used to tout bargain wines. Now wines costing $25 are his idea of a bargain. I guess there are 1%ers who drink $25 wine as a daily drinker, but not many others.
    I went to a 1989 vintage Bordeaux tasting headed by Parker. It was a very good vintage and the wines were pretty affordable at a futures price. But these are not. And I would say the fault lies at the feet of the wineries. I suppose of you can sell it at these insane prices, go get it.
    But it’s a different clientele than previous years. I bought a couple of bottles of 86 Lafite back then as a splurge. I wouldn’t even consider buying their stuff anymore. Lets see…a case of Lafite or a vacation in Bordeaux for the wife and me, then come home and buy that used Harley I’ve been looking at, same price.

  15. Parker has become a Tool. Anyone who wants to pad the number of responses to his blog need only mention Parker and readers by the dozen will respond.

  16. Jack – good catch on the Tweet from a few weeks ago as I didn’t see it. For others who also missed it, here it is:

  17. Parker may have started out as a consumer advocate, but his reviews have little to do with consumer advocacy anymore. Afterall, what percentage of people who read the Advocate will be able to afford ANY of the 2009s that received big scores? Instead people read Parker’s Bordeaux reviews to experience the wines vicariously. They’re looking for an exciting read, not practical consumer advice.

    I have to believe Parker understands this on some level, which would mean the smartest business decision he could make would be to hype the wines as much as possible.

  18. With the plethora of 98+ rated wines, the credibility rapidly deteriorates.

    A certain wise man once said “Don’t believe the hype” – Chuck D

  19. This is fantastic just like the movie TITANIC E Robert is trying to save a sinking ship, his relevance to wine. Just like Miller to little to late fading into the sunset not to be heard from again. Who cares just the Chinese who own our debt can afford his rated wines. There is an ocean of wine out there wake up and enjoy.

  20. There’s an old adage embraced by most radio talk-show hosts: “I don’t care if you love me or hate me, either way you’re listening to me.” Ditto your post and the comments, as relevant as they are.

  21. He is willing to stake his reputation on it? It don’t think he will have to worry about losing his douchebag status. What does Suckling have to say about all of this?

  22. Want to know the effect — on wine-searcher Sokolin is listed as selling the Smith Haut Lafitte for $125/bottle. Click the link to their site — $279/bottle (with the 100 points noted). Yikes!

  23. Yeah, interesting price for the Smith Haut Lafitte.

  24. If you read about the technical and analytical components of the 2009 Bordeaux vintage, you will understand how so many great and perfect wines were made and hence reviewed as such. It’s not just parker, guys, James Suckling, Steven Tanzer (who is just a hack), Jancis and many/most other Bordeaux afficionados are rating 2009 just as high. I remember complaining back in 2000 when Petrus was $1500/bottle saying how ridiculous it was and how nobody was going to buy it. It is now $5000/bottle and people are still buying it. My advice: buy as much 2009 as you can afford and in 10 years, when your Margaux is $4k/bottle, auction it and deposit the profits without paying capital gains tax.

    Bordeaux supply is finite and demand will continue to grow EVERY year whether it’s the chinese, Indians, Russians or whatever hot economy is birthing new multi-millionairs. Bordeaux pricing will continue to rise until it is little more than an extremely tasty status symbol!!

  25. gspence, my nauseau with Robert Parker’s take on Bordeaux began in 1999 when he wrote in his bi-monthly periodical that great Bordeaux prices were finite in nature and the prices will continue to climb uninterrupted until cases of first growths and Petrus/Le Pin were over $10,000 a case. Then in 2000 he granted three 100 points to the FG and a couple of 98’s. His self fulfilling prophecy largely dictated by his ever increasing and bloated scores sounds remarkably like your above post. Then he wrote the wines would be over $20,000 a case and granted three 10’s for FG in 2003 then 2 in 2005. You and he may be right, but trust me, not with my money. This is speculation of the worst degree with the added caveat of sudden cooling interruptions that could render the wine valueless overnight. Take your own advice with caution. I am suspect to say the least.

  26. wow. listening to this conversaition about bordeaux prices is like an analogy for our economy. hopefully wall street isn’t as full of sh*t as robert parker

  27. […] So when Robert Parker re-reviewed the 2009 vintages  ( which he calls “1982 Déjà Vu All Over Again – But Greater”) and anointed many top Bordeaux wines with 100 point and 99+ point (near perfect) scores, it set the geeky wine world a buzzing. […]

  28. […] is unquestionably the greatest Bordeaux vintage I have ever tasted.” Forget accusations of point inflation contributing to his 100-point awards for 18 different wines.  Turn your back on naysayers claiming high extraction […]

  29. […] Vino was on the topic of score inflation few weeks ago. Check out the post and the conversation. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  30. […] a formal seated tasting of Bordeaux wines from the famed 2009 vintage – including several 100-point wines – as well as older vintages, presented by representatives of the chateaux in attendance. There […]

  31. […] Parker released his scores for the 2009 Bordeaux offerings – and he was in a generous mood, with damn-near twenty wines garnering “perfect” 100 point scores, including the likes of Bellevue Mondotte, and Clos Fourtet, along with stalwarts such as Le Pin, […]


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