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Robert Parker’s ‘Magical 20’ thriving in 2020

Buyers who took a punt on Robert Parker’s ‘Magical 20’ Bordeaux wines from the 2009 vintage would be looking at average gains of 40% today, according to Liv-ex.

Source: Liv-ex

In 2011, the famed critic Robert Parker selected 20 Bordeaux wines from the 2009 vintage that he said were “of first growth quality” but were not first growths.

Spanning estates from the Left and Right Bank, including Pichon Baron, Angélus, Léoville Poyferré, Pontet-Canet, Palmer, La Conseillante and Clos Fourtet, these were wines Parker considered “under-valued and very smart acquisitions”.

Liv-ex has recently looked back on how these wines have performed in the secondary market since then and Parker’s advice has, for the greatest part, proved sound.

Taken all together, the 20 wines have seen gains of 40% since their release, outperforming the collective first growths from 2009 which are down 20% on average.

Seventeen of Parker’s 2009 selection have risen in value since release, anywhere from 5% to over 170%, while three have declined between 8-11%.

Those three were Léoville Las Cases (-8%), Cos d’Estournel (-10%) and Trotanoy (-11%).

The two very best-performers have been Pessac-Léognan estate Smith Haut-Lafitte and Saint-Emilion grand cru Clos Fourtet which have risen 171% and 156% respectively between November 2011 and September 2020. Both were given 100-point scores by Parker during his in-bottle review of the 2009s in 2012.

Other wines that have risen over 50% in the last nine years are: Pape-Clement (53%), Brane-Cantenac (61%), Le Gay (73%), Haut-Bailly (73%) and Rauzan-Ségla (89%).

Back in 2016, as the critic increasingly stood back from an active role at The Wine Advocate, the drinks business asked if Parker’s ‘100-pointers’ would continue to prove popular buys in the secondary market.

Liv-ex said on its blog that: “Unquestionably, the power of Parker vis-a-vis Bordeaux’s pricing remains, with many of his special wines continuing to capture investment attention.”

Perhaps it has simply become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy but whether his scores and opinion still have any palpable impact or not, much like his view on the 1982 vintage, Parker’s ‘Magical 20’ selection has proved to have aged extremely well so far.

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