Since we turned the page on the 20th century, there have been five excellent vintages out of Bordeaux: 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2015. The just released 2016s, which have initially received extraordinarily high ratings could also be included; however, reviews and pricing continue to be released, so I’ve not listed that vintage in this analysis. One could also argue the virtues of the 2003 vintage, but the heat that pervaded that year’s crop has in many cases not helped some of the wines as they age.

With that in mind, I’ll take a look at some of the most representative wines of those five outstanding vintages — compare their ratings and prices and make a determination as to their values. Included here are Châteaux Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Lafite Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Pavie and Angélus as first growths and La Mission Haut Brion (an almost first growth). Also here are a few other significant wineries on both banks: Châteaux Beauséjour-Duffau, Cantenac Brown, Cos d’Estournel, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Pichon Lalande and Valandraud. Other than first growths, all are chosen as being some of the better wines in their appellation.

FIRST GROWTHS + LA MISSION HAUT-BRION
Listed from lowest to highest average scores. 

Château Mouton Rothschild
2000: RP 96 + – $1489 *
2005:  RP 96 – $550
2009:  RP 99 –  $650
2010:  RP 97 – $695
2015: WA 97-99 – $489
Average score for all vintages is 97.2
* Note that the 2000 Mouton was sold in a special edition bottle.

 

 

Château Lafite Rothschild
2000: RP 98 – $1250
2005: RP 96 – $799
2009: RP 99 – $835
2010:  RP 98 – $775
2015:  WA 96-98 – $540
Average score for all vintages is 97.6

 

Château Angélus
2000:  RP 97 – $339
2005:  RP 100 – $375
2009:  RP 99+ – $300
2010:  RP 99 – $348
2015:  WA 95-97, JS 99-100 – $325
Average score for all vintages is 98.2.
*Note that Angelus became a first growth in 2012.

 


Château La Mission Haut-Brion

2000: RP 100 / $500
2005 / RP 97 / $545
2009 / RP 100 / $576
2010 / RP 98+ / $518
2015 / WA 97-99 (JS 100) / $369
Average score for all vintages is 98.6

 

 

Château Margaux
2000:  RP 100 – $799
2005:  RP 98 + – $699
2009: WA 99 – $775
2010: RP 99 – $745
2015: WA 98-100, JS 100 – $495
Average score for all vintages is 99.

 

Château Ausone
2000: RP 98+ – $995
2005:  RP 100 – $1245
2009:  RP 98+ – $1145
2010:  RP 98+ – $1199
2015:  WA 100 – $795
Average score for all vintages is 99.

 

Château Cheval Blanc
2000: RP 99 – $799
2005:  RP 100 – $649
2009:  RP 99 – $818
2010:  RP 100 – $995
2015:  WA 97-99 – $648
Average score for all vintages is 99.2.

 

Château Haut-Brion
2000: RP 99 – $699
2005: RP 100 – $745
2009: WA 100 – $745
2010:  RP 100 – $745
2015:  WA 100 – $510
Average score for all vintages is 99.8.

 

 

Château Pavie
2000: RP 100 – $435
2005:  RP 100 – $300
2009: RP 100 – $290
2010:  RP 100 – $360
2015:  WA 96-98, JS 100 – $320
Average score for all vintages is 99.8.
*Note that Pavie became a first growth in 2012.

 

A few thoughts on the First Growths listed above:
On Vintage: All wines score over 97 points average. Actually, 2009 gets the highest rating with an average of 99.2 (not surprising as it received the most 100 points), with 2010 right behind at 98.7, 2000 and 2005 at 98.5 and 2015 at 98.1. Please note that Parker (because of health considerations) has not gone to Bordeaux from the 2015 vintage on and that Neal Martin’s ratings since that time have been a little tougher. If you factor in the Suckling ratings for the 2015 vintage, it garners an average of 98.8. Over the five vintages, the two highest rated wines are Châteaux Haut-Brion and Pavie with a 99.8 score. Wow! The lowest is Mouton Rothschild with a 97.2 tally.

On Pricing: The 2000 vintage is the costliest, with an average of $811.66, followed by 2010 with an average of $708.88. 2009 prices averaged $681.55, 2005 cost an average of $656.33 and 2015 $499. Also, the most expensive wine is Château Ausone with an average cost of $1255. Ausone, along with Le Pin, Lafleur and Petrus, has in the past 15 years or so been one of the priciest wines, due to its commitment to quality and small production. Least expensive are Pavie and Angélus. Of course, these wines were only rated Premier Grand Cru since 2012 and pricing prior to that vintage is usually lower. Pavie is priced at an average of $328 while Angélus is at $382. The Angélus Estate has little to no library wine, explaining a higher cost on their available older vintages than Pavie.

Château Ducru Beaucaillou, one of the best of the 2015 vintage.

OTHER NOTABLE WINERIES
Like all First Growths, ratings and pricing are very similar for these outstanding 2nd tier wines, except for the 2009 vintage. Châteaux Ducru-Beaucaillou, Cos d’Estournel, Beauséjour-Duffau, Pichon Lalande and Valandraud all rate between 94 and 96 points except for the 100 points score for Ducru and Cos in 2009 and also for the 91 points score for Cos in 2000. This is truly amazing: Are the wines that consistent or do the folks who rate them think: “Oh, these are sort of super seconds, so they should not really get a 98-100 points score and I am probably safe giving them a 95-97 points rating.” I personally don’t have the answer, but it is kind of odd.

This group of wines is very similarly priced, with Valandraud slightly more expensive as a cult-like wine and of course, the wines with the 100 points ratings approach $300 in cost or almost 40% more than in other vintages. Best buys seem to be Pichon Lalande 2005 at barely over $100, while average pricing is around $165. 2015 seems to offer the best rating/price ratio, just like the First Growths.

WHAT TO MAKE OF ALL THIS

  • Prices for all First Growths are usually quite high due to their collectors value.
  • Other wineries seem to offer great pricing for just slightly less ratings.
  • With changes in the people who rate, scores are now very different from before, for instance, Suckling rates the 2015 vintage much higher than Neal Martin does.
  • The 2000 vintage seems to be the priciest.
  • The 2009 vintage seems to be the very best.
  • 2015 would appear to be the best value. The main reason is obvious: the Euro which was worth $1.40+ for 2009 and 2010 is now trading at around $1.10, or approximately 25% less.

The 2015 Château Pichon Lalande is a great buy at $150.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS
If you want to put wine aside for a long time, opt for the 2010’s. If money were no object, buy 2009’s. For the best bang for the buck, choose the 2015’s. If First Growths are too expensive for your budget, pick Château Pichon Lalande (average $150 for a top vintage) or one of the great buys we have listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

AMAZING SELECTION FROM 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, & 2015
Contact [email protected] or call 850-687-1370 to reserve your wines.

2000 Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux: WA 95. $119.99. 12 bottles.
2000 Château Calon-Ségur, Saint-Estèphe: WA 94. $102.99, 6 bottles.
2005 Château Lascombes, Margaux: WS 93. $89.99. 7 bottle.
2005 Château Latour, Pauillac: WA 100. $ 797.99. 6 bottles.
2005 Château Tertre Roteboeuf, Saint-Émilion: WA 98. $281.99. 9 bottles.
2009 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien: WA 100. $ 294.99. 24 bottles.
2009 Château Pape Clément, Pessac-Leognan: WA 100. $179.99. 24 bottles.
2009 Château Clinet, Pomerol: WA 100. $289.99. 7 bottles.
2009 Château Beauséjour-Duffau, Saint-Émilion: WA 100. $395.99. 5 bottles.
2009 Château Montrose, Saint-Estèphe. WA 100. $289.99. 7 bottles.
2009 Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Leognan. WA 94. $39.99. 3 bottles.
2009 Virginie de Valandraud, Saint-Émilion: WA 94. $48.49. 60 bottles.
2009 Château Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Leognan: WA 94. $54.99. 3 bottles.
2009 Château Le Bon-Pasteur, Pomerol: WA 94, $69.99. 9 bottles.
2010 Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan: WS 92. $33.99. 20 bottles.
2010 Château Pontet Canet, Pauillac: WA 100 $219.99. 1 bottle.
2010 Carruades de Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac: JS 95. $199.49. 11 bottles.
2010 Château Lynch Bages, Pauillac: WA 96. $145.99. 18 bottles.
2010 Château Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estèphe: WE 94 & Top 100 Wines of the Year. $23.99. 6 bottles.
2010 Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe: WA 97. $179.99. 8 bottles.
2010 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac: RP 97. $179.99. 6 bottles.
2010 Château Montrose, Saint-Estèphe: WA 100. $244.99. 24 bottles.
2010 Château Léoville-Barton, Saint-Julien: WE 100. $129.99. 24 bottles.
2010 Château Lanessan, Haut-Médoc: JS 92. $19.99. 24 bottles.
2010 Château Bernadotte, Haut-Médoc: WE 92. $19.99. 60 bottles.
2015 Château Palmer, Margaux: JS 99-100. $269.99. 24 bottles available in Spring 2018.
2015  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac: WA 96-98. $124.99. 12 bottles available in Spring 2018.
2015  Château Gazin, Pomerol: WA 94-96. $60.99. 36 bottles available in Spring 2018.
2015 Château Beauséjour-Duffau, Saint-Émilion: JS 98-99. $94.99. 33 bottles available in Spring 2018.
2015 Château Cantenac Brown, Margaux: WE 94-96. $45.99. 39 bottles available.

Santé! Enjoy the savings.