" are a somewhat cheaper way to buy fine wine - the idea is that you buy the wine before it is bottled, so the price is lower than buying a bottle in the store since the producer gets his money quicker; he then "passes on" the savings to you. This practice has become quite common in Bordeaux. The main disadvantage is that you don't know what the finished product is going to taste like - the critics get to taste it while it is still in the barrels that it will be aged in, and write in their publications such as the Wine Spectator -
but you all know what I think about the critics....
Also, there's no guarantee that the final product will taste like the barrel sample.
Why do I bring this up? Because I bought tonight's wine as a future back in 2001. It cost about $20-25 per bottle, and got a "Good-Very Good" rating of 86-88 points. The Canon de Brem, Canon Fronsac 2000
is from a minor appelation in Bordeaux. It actually tasted exactly like the critics said it would - a nice restrained nose, beautifully elegant and medium bodied on the palate (that means it is a smooth easy drinking wine, no overpowering elements, just "well balanced"). There is a mild oakiness to it, the result of barrel aging. The Verdict: A solid good. Value: At the price I paid, good. It would probably sell for $30-40 today in my neck of the woods; would I buy it for that? In a nutshell, no. But I'm glad I have some more left over for the
When I popped the cork I got a bit of a scare - if you look carefully you can see "red" staining the sides of the cork - that indicates a poor seal with the wine leaking around the cork. This is usually bad - it means air can get into the bottle, with the potential to oxidize and spoil the wine. Happily in this instance, the wine was not spoilt.
This is one of the reasons a lot of producers are turning to screwcaps....