For all of the television and newspaper reports of French wine being poured down sewers reality tells a completely different story. Early on Thursday afternoon the Costco in Fairfax opened eight cases of 2000 Bordeaux and put them on display. This included two cases of Cos d'Estournel ($82.95-about $15.00 off), two of Lynch Bages ($59.95-half of retail list), one of Baron Pichon Longueville ($59.95), one of Chateau Palmer ($129.95) and at least two others. At 11:00 this morning, less than 48 hours later every single bottle was gone. Manassas at 3:00 had gone through six cases including one of Gruad Larose at $39.95 (list of $100.00) with only a handful of Cos d'Estournel left. Fairfax shelves were empty of 2000 bordeaux but I don't know what they started with.
The 2000 vintage is considered by most to be one of the best in Bordeaux in the last 100 years. It has also shown prices that are the highest in history with four wines rated 100 by the Wine Spectator and several (Margaux, Lafite) selling for $400 to 500 per bottle while Petrus is listed at $1,800 per bottle-if anyone can find it. (Assuming anyone is going to pay $1,800 for ONE bottle of wine.) On top of these horrendously high prices last week in Los Angeles the L. A. Wine warehouse put 2000 bordeaux on "sale" at prices that were all HIGHER than the prices listed in either the Wine Spectator or Robert Parker. When Costco started selling the same wine for LESS, in some cases dramatically less, there seem to be a lot of people buying up everything they can find. Whether they are buying this for future consumption or as an investment (arguably significant 2000 bordeaux at substantially discounted prices, properly cellared for ten or so years, may prove to be an extremely good investment) the market for French wine in America is extremely active. Much more so than some politicians would have the public believe.
In a week I will be in France on business. It will be interesting to see what it is available for there.
One last comment: with the Euro now at $1.16 and no indication that it is coming back down French, Italian, Spanish-all European wine_is only going to become even more expensive.