As brokers and critics alike returned returned from Bordeaux in April, a consensus formed that this is certainly a great, classic vintage.
It should be noted that with Robert Parker standing down as the world’s pre-eminent fine wine opinion leader, the critical world is in a state of some flux. Whilst Neal Martin was Robert Parker’s own anointed successor, Martin agreed to take on the role only if he was given free rein over his reviews. It was seemingly agreed that there would be no influence exerted from ‘on high’.
There has also been not inconsiderable discussion about which reviewer to follow now that the Sage of Baltimore has moved into retirement, although he hasn’t ‘shuffled off’ completely. Will the market refer to one person, or look to a stable of critics to follow? Key to this is what the market believes, what is reflected in prices, not what the trade wants us to believe. The trade will always prefer fog as this allows them to suggest that their opinion matters, when the reality is that they are conflicted, they want to sell wine after all.
Speaking to people close to the market, the emerging view seems to be that whilst there are without doubt some influential critics out there, what the market craves is stability and consistency. Jancis Robinson is inconsistent in that she will give wines different ratings from one tasting to the next, while this could be considered as showing ‘integrity’, misunderstands what the markets needs; James Suckling is seen as too effusive, giving chateaux the excuse to keep inflating prices, therefore favouring the trade rather than the consumer; Galloni started out as a new world specialist and has not focused enough on Bordeaux, so isn’t ready yet to break into the ‘clique’; and none of the rest are highly regarded enough; however, Neil Martin seems to have emerged from the fog of this particular battle relatively intact. Only time will tell if he wins the war…
For now we present all of the major critics' scores for Bordeaux 2016 for your perusal. There is agreement on some wines and wild dichotomy on others. As always. we will refer to our data tool to establish which wines are investment-grade, based on liquidity, production levels, outperforming its peer groups and, most importantly, how the wine performed with a similar rating in comparable vintages.
AG = Antonio Galloni (Vinous)
CK = Chris Kissack (The Wine Doctor)
GQ =Gavin Quinney (Gavin Quinney)
JA = Jane Anson (Decanter)
JCL = Jeannie Cho Lee (Jeannie Cho Lee)
JL = Jeff Leve (The Wine Cellar Insider)
JM= James Molesworth (Wine Spectator)
JMQ = Jean-Marc Quarin (Jean-Marc Quarin)
JR = Jancis Robinson (Jancis Robinson)
JS = James Suckling (James Suckling)
NM = Neal Martin (The Wine Advocate)
RG = Rebecca Gibb (Rebecca Gibb)
RV = Roger Voss (Wine Enthusiast)
TA = Tim Atkin (Tim Atkin)