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In early June the futures–wines that have not made it into bottles and thus will not be available for a long period of time—came online for consumers. Offers to purchase the futures have been inundating my email accounts. Wine shops in California and all over the world that procured soon-to-be treasure troves of liquid are now presenting their customers with them. Presenting: futures of Bordeaux, class of 2009.

Bordeaux (as I have said before) demands a lot of respect and is one of the most, if not the most collected wine on this planet. It is a hotbed of activity throughout the year but it intensifies when a new vintage is about to be unveiled (generally around April). Critics flock to Bordeaux to begin their assessments of what might be the next great vintage.

Certain bottles of Bordeaux, at select vintages are analogous to status symbols like the Maybach or a Rolls Royce. Cases of Chateau Latour, Haut-Brion or Petrus can command sky-high prices and dominate the wine world. The Holy Grail for collectors. I personally will always remain dubious of prices that are in the thousands for 750ml of liquid (regardless of vintage, I cannot justify it) yet those exorbitant price tags are met with fervor because of the sterling reputation of the chateaux.

Futures are a business and homework must be done if you decide to participate. You are banking that the wine will go up by the time it is sold in the marketplace. When executing an order these factors are to be considered:

The vintage plays an enormous role in the prospect of buying futures—a good reputation overall implies a steep price. If the ideal conditions for the vintage were met, satisfying the idealized grape-growing requirements, then the product could prove fantastic. However, there are underachievers in every vintage so you need to be cautious even when selecting from those with an excellent pedigree.

The reputation of the vineyard is also very important—even in off-vintages (or years that did not yield any wines that were too exciting) certain Bordeaux proved to be bright spots.

Ultimately, you should immerse yourself in literature. Follow many sources and do not get mired in the ink cycle—publications that extol indiscriminately.

Most importantly, if you find yourself swayed by critics and feel inclined to make a purchase then make sure the people vending the futures are reputable, not hucksters. You are paying up front for a bottle of wine that does not exist yet and will not be in your possession for up to a couple of years.

Futures are prevalent, not just in Bordeaux but all over the world. People are offering their wines before they are bottled; it can be costly or even reckless to gamble when buying them, making sure you have done your research will avoid unnecessary purchases and reward you with lucrative (and enjoyable) wines in your cellar. Prudence is invaluable.

As for the class of 09 (regarding Bordeaux) it seems bona fide.

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