The friends I like to drink wine with are a pretty savvy group: they know the good ones when they taste them, and they appreciate the quality, especially when it is one of my bottles. Fortunately, wine friends love to reciprocate! But even most of these friends don’t consider buying Bordeaux as futures, and they are missing the boat!
Bordeaux futures simplified: In the spring every year, the Bordelaise offer to the trade a chance to sample the new vintage, while the wine is still in barrel. The trade, including Robert Parker and others, assign preliminary scores to each wine, and publish the results.
The estates release a small amount of the wine for sale to negociants, who in turn offer it to their clients, like ABC. We then offer it to consumers with the knowledge that they will pay now, yet not receive the wine for 2+ years. Not for everyone, especially since you have to ante up now…and what will you drink today?
There are a number of reasons to consider buying futures, as long as Bordeaux is something you enjoy. Most importantly, the wines are usually more expensive once they hit store shelves a few years later, so you are almost always saving some cas … but in today’s marketplace, supply plays a part, too. Many of the top wines, as well as most of the small estates, only make so much wine for the world demand. To ensure you get the wine you want, futures may be the only guaranteed way, since many of the wines never make it to store shelves.
Some would argue that buying on futures is only viable in ‘GREAT’ vintages, but I suspect they are buying them only in great vintages because the prices for the top wines escalate dramatically in these vintages. Certainly more people buy futures in the great years, which makes the most sought after wines even more scarce, driving up the price even more. Or perhaps they intend to resell them? It is, after all, an investment.
I typically buy a few cases every year, but certainly not the great wines. I don’t have enough patience or money. I look for wines that represent great value and are in my budget. I get them at the lowest price possible, and once they arrive, I have 12 bottles to experience over the next 2-5 years. The great value wines never last in the stores, but what a feeling I get when I open an old one with my pals, knowing the bottle is no longer replaceable, knowing what I paid for it, and knowing how much we are enjoying it!
Interested in Bordeaux futures? We are currently offering the last of the 2008 vintage, due to arrive in the Fall/Winter 2011……..and the 2009 vintage, arriving Winter 2012. View our selection at www.abcfws.com.
–Shayne Hebert, Wine Supervisor, Central Florida