Nineteen-eighty-two was the Bordeaux vintage that turned Robert Parker, until then an obscure Maryland banking lawyer, into an international wine guru. Parker called it right-1982 proved to be an outstanding vintage-while other, once-prominent American critics got it very wrong. But Parker didn’t just advise the readers of his publication, The Wine Advocate, to buy these wines when they reached retailers’ shelves. No, Parker implored them to buy the ’82s as futures in 1983 and 1984 while they were still in cask. He got it right again. The ’82 Ch. Gruaud-Larose that was once $110 a case goes for about $1,000 now. The “Gold Dust” vintage, as it’s been called, set off a madcap race for Bordeaux futures that hasn’t abated to this day.

But is it smart to buy futures today? Generally speaking, the answer is no. Back in 1984, things were different: The ’82 vintage was great, but it was also large, and the rate of exchange was highly favorable (an incredible 10 francs to the dollar). In the case of 1997, the vintage is by no means first-rate, and many of the wines taste hollow.

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