Firstly, wine making has never been so good. More importantly, viticulture has never been so well understood, and even more important, most wine makers now have a real understanding of when and where to let nature take its course without intervention, and if and when to use technology. Top vineyards in
Bordeaux have fully mature vines, and together with a perfect ripening season, hot days, cool nights and gentle occasional showers, 2005 was as good as it gets for a very long time, or even ever!
As a sure sign of how good it is, is the fact that so many estates made exceptional wine. Very few messed up, and the only criticism has been one of "style" of wine making- whether over extracted, over mature, or, for some, lighter by comparison with other wines, all critics are airing their own personal tastes rather than strict objectivity. It is fascinating to read of Bob Parkers almost over-excited enthusiasm for the vintage, and yet see that his scoring system cannot replicate these superlatives-, he would need to add a further 5 points to make a 105 point system, to truly reflect his comments in relation to earlier vintages!
So being a great, if not the greatest vintage, whats to be done?
First note these wines will be very expensive, have no doubt. Demand is very high, Bordeaux merchants and producers need the revenue, and the market is hot.
There is the danger that one could overpay, so my advice is to establish a comparison with an earlier top vintage with some maturity to judge if the prices being asked are crazy, or just high,-- 2000 would be a good comparison. Secondly, all the market money will be sucked into the '05s so there could be some excellent deals to be had in earlier vintages, something which could give a good shorter term return. The 2005s will take a long time to show value growth, as release prices will be full, I would suggest ten
years, but after that they should prove a wonderful long term investment, as the demand for top wines shows no signs of not continuing to grow indefinately as more people start to collect.
Last the scramble for first and early tranche releases, as in the last few years the Chateaux release small quantities at a lower opening price, then follow as demand dictates with ever increasing tranches at higher price levels. Overall my advice is to buy carefully, lesser wines for drinking, and great wines for the long term, dont get carried away- I personally hope to have a case of Margaux, Haut Brion and Latour in magnums in my cellar but I will be lucky to get these at the right price!