If you look back at the April 2007 issue, you’ll read that I predicted 2009 as the greatest Bordeaux vintage ever. That prediction has come to fruition. In my 35 years of reviewing Bordeaux, I have only declared 15 Greatest Vintages Ever. (I define “Ever” as Eternity, since I’ve been dead now for four years and intend to declare hundreds more Greatest Vintages Ever.) Ten of those vintages have proven unequivocally to be the Greatest Vintages Ever. The other five proved to be the Greatest Subscription Boosters Ever, and must, therefore, be considered extremely important. Personally, I think 2009 is the most important Bordeaux vintage of my career, primarily because it means no one is talking about that unethical fat jackass I fired a few months ago any more.
WHAT MAKES IT A GREAT VINTAGE?
The great oenologist of the Bordeaux Institute, Denis de Menis, lists five conditions that need to exist in order to have a great vintage. 2005, the Greatest Vintage Ever, only managed to achieve four of the conditions. 2000, the Greatest Vintage Ever, only managed three, but it was the Greatest Vintage Ever so it doesn’t matter. According to Denis de Menis, the five factors necessary to a great vintage are, (1) an early flowering which, in France, usually leads to a youthful deflowering and makes those old boys happy; (2) a healthy set, preferably perky nipples pointed at the North Star, and unrelated to the set that unethical fat jackass I fired has; (3) early veraison, which gets better reception than AT&T; (4) the grapes have to ripen fully which simply means that they have to ripen fully, what’s so hard about that, dimbulbs?; and, most importantly, (5) I say it’s the Greatest Vintage Ever. Only if (5) is true is it a truly great vintage.
HISTORIC PRICES DECIDED BY MY SCORES
Yes, the prices for the 2009’s, at the top level, will be in the $1000 to $2000 per bottle range. You’ll never get to taste these wines, so don’t bother to criticize how many of them I scored 100 points. You can pretend you’ve tasted them, like most of my buttboys in my chat room, but everyone knows you haven’t. For one thing, you’re not Chinese, and they’re the people buying these overblown caricatures of wine. For another, who would sell you these wines? You don’t have the clout. Just get over it.
The good news is that at every level, even the cru bourgeois of the Medoc, the 2009’s represent great wines that are great values. Don’t focus on the best wines, the 30-50 Classified Growths and the cult wines of Pomerol and St. Emilion, you can’t afford them unless you sell your daughter into the Thai sex trade (more on that in my next “Hedonist’s Gazette”). Instead, check out my glowing reviews for even the bottom tier of crappy ass Bordeaux (as I affectionately call it when I’m wandering through BevMo in my bath robe and laughing my ass off at Wilfred Wong’s ratings). These wines represent sensational bargains and will certainly drink well for many years, or at least until I rate 2010 as the Greatest Vintage Ever, at which point they’ll begin to taste like your biggest regret.
INFLATED EGO, OR INFLATED WINE SCORES?
I’m certain that there will be a tendency after reading through my report to believe that either I’ve changed the way I score wines or that I’ve succumbed to score inflation. This is certainly not the case. I score wines exactly as I have always scored wines—whimsically, and without any reproducible method. I find that this is the most accurate way to be largely inaccurate. It is my method to first declare a vintage the Greatest Vintage Ever, then I assign large numbers, rather creatively and unpredictably I like to think, to many of the wines, thus confirming it as the Greatest Vintage Ever. I do the same for “Wineries to Watch.” I declare them a Winery to Watch and a few months later I assign them, rather whimsically I think, high scores. Voila! I told you they were Wineries to Watch! My system remains the same.
Have I fallen victim to inflationary scores? Hardly. I only awarded 19 perfect 100 point wines in THE GREATEST VINTAGE EVER! This is remarkable restraint on my part. But, want to hear something funny? Imagine the poor bastards I gave a score of 99+ to, I think there are about 15 of them. They’re going nuts now trying to figure out why they didn’t get 100 points. Pretty fuckin’ funny, don’t you think? What’s the difference between 99+ and 100? I can tell you in one word. Penmanship. But now all these crazy French Chateau owners will go nuts because 100 point wines are worth a LOT more money than 99+ wines. And a 94? In The Greatest Vintage Ever? Crap, that’s damn near worthless. So let’s stop this stupid talk of score inflation. You heard me. Just shut up, or I’ll sick my buttboys on you.
I invented perfect wines when I invented my 100 point scale. Until I came along, there were no perfect wines. I know perfect wines, and I’m telling you there are 19 perfect wines from the 2009 vintage. How do I define a perfect wine? I’ve always said that greatness is defined in wine by (1) the wine’s ability to stimulate the palate and the intellect in the 90 seconds I devote to deciding it’s perfect; (2) the difficulty normal people will have in obtaining it; (3) the ability to improve with age, especially financially; (4) me. The 2009’s indisputably meet these guidelines.
Much has changed since I first began reviewing wines professionally some 35 years ago. And by “professionally,” I mean I paid to have my notes published myself. I didn’t know crap about wine. Yet despite decades of being the King of Wine, admired and feared by everyone in the wine business; despite countless honors bestowed upon me by the French government, including a Lifetime Pass to Paris Disneyland and the much-coveted French Liver Society’s “Lesion of Honor;” and despite 35 years of tasting 150 wines a day, my palate and methods remain unchanged. Why would they change?
But wine, and especially the 2009's from Bordeaux, which I’m willing to stake my reputation on, is more perfecter than ever.