Robert Parker’s “magical 20” Bordeaux

Robert Parker, one of the most famous wine critics in the world, will host a tasting of his top 20 Bordeaux “wines to watch out for”, on 8 November in Hong Kong. The occasion will be the Wine Future event that month. I just came back from Shanghai where I judged a wine challenge, and I realize as a witness just how enormous the Chinese market is now – and its enormous potential for the future.

According to news reports, these wines have been coined the “magical 20”, wines that do not include the superstars like all the first growths or wines like Petrus but rather representing some sort of Super Second list… And many have already been recognized as such by the market, as their prices sometimes reach up to €200 per bottle or more, depending on the vintage. So you might expect further price increases for each of these wines as more Chinese hear about this list.

What can one say about these wines? The list is a sure thing. I think it is great that Chateau Haut Bailly made the list. For me, it represents a rival to Haut Brion. Haut Bailly has become one of the most consistently delicious wines in the last 15 years or so, and it also displays impecccable elegance. You see also the recent success of wines like Pontet Canet and Smith Haut Lafitte, as well as legendary wines like the two Pichons, the great Leoville Las Cases. Other choices seem obvious, including Trotanoy and La Fleur Petrus, while some may wonder why certain wines were left out. Leoville Barton, Montrose and Ducru Beaucaillou come to mind…

In terms of pricing alone, one wine on this list remains a steal in terms of quality-to-price ratios: Château Brane Cantenac, which has been making fine and elegant Margaux for many years now, but the market has never really caught up with the quality. The wine is never thick, never modern. Always a stress on aromatics. I think their 2005 was among the very best overall in Bordeaux in that great vintage, for example.  In any case, I certainly bought some in recent vintages. It may be in your interest to grab some, too, before the prices head north.

At the Wine Future event, a limited selection of 1,000 participants will taste the highly-touted 2009 vintage for each of the 20 wines, so certainly much coverage is expected in the Hong Kong trade press.

The “magical 20” (in no particular order, I think, just copied from a list from the Hong Kong Future event)


1. Château Cos D’Estournel St Estephe 2nd Growth

2. Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac 5th Growth

3. Château Pichon Lalande Pauillac 2nd Growth

4. Château Léoville Poyferré St Julien 2nd Growth

5. Château Léoville Las Cases St Julien 2nd Growth

6. Château Palmer Margaux 3rd Growth

7. Château Malescot St.Exupéry Margaux 3rd Growth

8. Château Pape Clément Pessac Leognan Cru Classé

9. Château Haut Bailly Pessac Leognan Cru Classé

10. Château Angelus St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B

11. Château Trotanoy Pomerol

12. Château La Conseillante Pomerol

13. Château Pichon Baron Pauillac 2nd Growth

14. Château Lynch Bages Pauillac 5th Growth

15. Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Cru Classé

16. Château La Fleur Pétrus Pomerol

17. Ch. Clos Fourtet St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B

18. Ch. Rauzan Ségla Margaux 2nd Growth

19. Ch. Brane-Cantenac Margaux 2nd Growth

20. Ch. Le Gay Pomerol

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