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El Dorado. That’s the tag that lawyer-cum-wine critic Robert Parker Jr. affixed this spring to the 2000 Bordeaux vintage, thereby setting off a liquid gold rush the likes of which no one in the wine trade can recall. But El Dorado might prove a dry hole — especially if you’re thinking about buying these wines for investment purposes. Beginning with the 1982 vintage, there’s been an ever increasing trend to buy claret (the red wine of Bordeaux) as “futures” — that is, while still in cask — on the theory that the cheapest price is always the opening price. Then, goes the theory, you wait and watch as your investment doubles, triples, even quadruples — and you get rich on wine! Alas, it ain’t necessarily so. I’m sure the 2000 Bordeaux vintage is, in fact, a grande ann�e. It may well be as great as Parker thinks it is, and that would put it ahead of even 1982 and 1961 as the best of the past 40 years. The real question is: Should you buy now? First, the obvious point: The wines are still in cask. They won’t be arriving on these shores until 2002 at the earliest; and few will be mature before 2007, or even 2010. Secondly — and before you leap off the edge in pursuit of a case of the exquisite Ch. Cheval Blanc (a mere $8,300) — it’s important to remember that buying futures only makes financial sense under very limited circumstances. In 1982, it made all the sense in the world. The dollar was extremely strong ($1 = 10 French francs), the vintage was great, the production was huge — and the ex-chateaux price (that is, the price charged to importers) was dirt-cheap. Consider: Futures for Ch. Cheval Blanc 1982 started out at about $400 a case in 1984. And Ch. L�oville-las-Cases, in that same year, was $135; a case of the 2000 will run you $2,268. What’s wrong with this picture? The 2000 ex-chateaux prices are nothing less than extreme. Two of the most astute people I know in the wine trade, both of them veterans of many a campaign — one as a retailer, the other as a consultant to restaurants in the Boston area — said the same thing to me recently: “It’s nuts. I’m not buying this stuff.” The reason: Prices so hyperinflated have little or no room for growth. Personally, I’m stocking up on — and drinking — the delicious 1999 white burgundies. But many of my friends feel they simply must have some 2000 Bordeaux in their cellars. Here are some wines that I recommended to a friend just the other day. The criteria I used had nothing to do with investment and everything to do with enjoyment. Prices (by the case) are the lowest we could find on the Web from well established, reputable dealers. 2000 BORDEAUX � Ch. Lanessan (St. Julien), $168 � Ch. Potensac (M�doc), $204 � Ch. Olivier (Graves), $228 � Ch. Batailley (Pauillac), $234 � Ch. Duhart-Milon-Rothschild (Pauillac), $239 � Clos du Marquis (St. Julien), $269 � Ch. du Tertre (Margaux), $275 � Ch. Haut-Batailley (Pauillac), $285 � Ch. Sociando-Mallet (Haut-M�doc), $299 � Ch. Prieur�-Lichine (Margaux), $324 � Carruades de Ch. Lafite-Rothschild (Pauillac), $329 � Domaine de Chevalier (Graves), $420

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