Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Brooklynguy's Blockbuster Trade

I was recently given the gift of two Grand Crus and two 1er Crus, both by excellent producers in Burgundy. That's what it feels like, anyway. I traded for them.

Back in early 2006 I paid good money for a case of 2005 Bordeaux futures. Back then I guess I thought I would want to cellar and drink this wine 20 years down the road. I know my palate better now, and it doesn't tilt in that direction. So when the store contacted me to tell me that my case is here, I asked if I could swap out the bottles I am no longer interested in. To my surprise, they agreed. Too quickly, maybe.

So I thought about it - I paid 2006 dollars for wine that the store now sells, if they still have inventory, at higher prices. If they can sell my 2005 easily at those higher prices, they're coming out ahead. Maybe you could argue that with inflation, return on investment, blah blah blah, that I'm coming out behind.But in the end, I decided to think about it in altogether a different way. The wine that I now owned has almost no value at all to me. If I can trade it for wine that does have value, I'm doing a smart thing. Since I spent this money over two years ago, anything I gain here feels like something for nothing. And that, friends, as you well know, rarely happens.

Problem is, Sherry Lehman doesn't offer many of the wines that I love the most. Little to no grower Champagne and nothing whatsoever that I wanted from the Loire. What an opportunity this would have been to grab a load of "free" Clos Rougeard! Plenty of Burgundy, but lots of Faiveley, Jadot, Bouchard, and other negociant bottles, not what I usually go for.

In the end I found some great stuff, wines that I will cellar for as long as I would have the Bordeaux. Wines that I will look forward to with great anticipation.

Check out this trade:

Brooklynguy gives up -
2005 Château Smith Haut Lafitte - 2 bottles
Château Monbousquet - 2 bottles
Château Lagrange - 2 bottles

Brooklynguy gets -
2005 Chandon de Briailles Grand Cru Corton Bressandes - 2 bottles
2004 Sylvain Cathiard Nuits St. George 1er Cru Aux Murgers - 2 bottles
2006 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvée Théo - 1 bottle

I could have gone all Corton, as they are about the same price, but I believe in diversification. Even though that 1971 Corton I had in Portland recently convinced me that this is the little Grand Cru that could. And Chandon de good. The Cathiard wine should be great too, as long as I'm patient with it. The Weinbach comes highly recommended, and seemed like the way to go as I'm trying to learn about Alsace wines. Think of it as "the player to be named later."


Anonymous said...

Well done. I think that the happiness factor outweights the dollar issue.

Personally, I’ve sat out buying Bordeaux since the 2000 vintage. And with 2005, the Bordelais were greedy and I did not want to support them and buy into the hype. But if, in the future, your taste circles back and you find yourself liking Bordeaux wines again, don’t worry because a “vintage of the century” comes around every two or three years now.

Anonymous said...

I would keep Smith Haut Lafitte, still a relatively good value in Bordeaux (I prefer their blancs though).

Greetings from Poland!

Director, Lab Outreach said...

What did you keep?

Brooklynguy said...

i hear that from lots of people asher - people who used to buy are sitting out.

i kept 3 bottles of sociando mallet, 1 bottle of calon segur, and 2 bottles of pontet-canet. the pontet is to auction off later on, since someone awarded it 96 pts or something, and the price has doubled since i bought it.

keithlevenberg said...

Sounds like a great trade. Smith-Haut-Lafitte is one of the only modern Bordeaux I actually like, but it's never better than the day of release.

Lyle Fass said...

Good trade. You don't want that Perse garbage stinking up your cellar. Lagrange is ok but boring. Bordeaux by . . . .Suntory!

Anonymous said...

i have to agree with the other commenters regarding the SHL. too bad you didn't keep a bottle of it, it's great juice...but no worries, they'll be making plenty more!

i also agree with your rationale though, happiness is what its all about.

Anonymous said...

"Faiveley,Jadot,and Bouchard and other negociatn bottles." FYI, these firms own a significant portion of their portfolios, and also own some of the best vineyards in burgundy. For instance Jadot owns plots in Musigny, Chambertin Clos de Beze, Clos St Jacques, Les Amourouses, and Bonnes Mares.