Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ranking the First, and some Second Growths

Belgium Wineblogger Peter Vergote from Wijnblog performed a small research around the ratings for the Médoc First Growths (Lafite, Haut-Brion, Margaux, Latour and Mouton) and a few "Super Seconds" (Léoville-las-Cases, Cos d'Estournel and the Third Growth Palmer). He looked at the vintages 2000 − 2007, took the ratings from six journalists (Parker, Robinson, Bettane & Desseauve, Wine Spectator, Decanter and La Revue du Vin de France) and basically started ranking the châteaux. After recalculating a journalist's rating, the maximum score a wine could receive (from one journalist) was 10. Thus 60 points is the maximum for a vintage. Here's the list with the average scores over the last eight years:

1. Château Latour (53,50/60)
2. Château Margaux (50,65/60)
3. Château Lafite-Rothschild (49,30/60)
4. Château Mouton-Rothschild (46,95/60)
5. Château Léoville-las-Cases (45,65/60)
6. Château Haut-Brion (45,30/60)
7. Château Cos d'Estournel (39,83/60)
8. Château Palmer (35,63/60)

One conlusion: only one Médoc can compete with the First Growths: Château Léoville-las-Cases. Always a good investment this wine ;-) Costs about 1/3 of a First Growth. In comparison Palmer has become too expensive.

Taking a closer look at the data reveals the following conclusions:
- Mouton-Rothschild seems to be improving, it ended up first place both in 2006 and 2007. Interesting detail: since 2006 father and son Boissenot consult for Mouton...
- Latour apparently had a problem in 2007: where it always ended up in place 1 or 2 it now ends up in place 5. In 2003, 2004 and 2005 Latour even scored the maximum of 60 points in Peter's comparison! Another interesting detail: 2007 was the first vintage made without Frédéric Ardouin as technical director (Ardouin is now working for Château du Tertre).
- Lowest scores for: Margaux 2002, Haut-Brion 2006, Mouton-Rothschild 2003 and Léoville-las-Cases 2001.

Then Peter also looked at the amount of points a vintage as a whole had gathered. That produced the following list:

1. Bordeaux 2005 (278)
2. Bordeaux 2006 (255)
3. Bordeaux 2004 (252)
4. Bordeaux 2007 (244)
5. Bordeaux 2001 (242)
4. Bordeaux 2000 (239)
6. Bordeaux 2003 (228)

What to think about this? At least that we should take into account that − in general − ratings can be mutually compared within a vintage, but not necessarily between vintages. Well perhaps a little bit: Robert Parker for example has definitely given lower ratings for the Bordeaux 2007 vintage.

Anyway, if you want to read the whole story (quite convenient if you understand Dutch), here's the link to Peter Vergote's posting.

Quite a ballgame altogether. It's the last summer weekend (officially), and the last summery weekend (supposedly), so I will leave my computer now and pour myself a nice cold Loire rosé!

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