On the surface, 2009 appears to have been a great year for the wine consumer, but there are always two sides to everything:

2009 was a great year for buyers seeking allocated items, which were suddenly very available, at great prices, but those suddenly strapped for cash were left standing on the sidelines frustrated.

2009 was a great year for wineries all across Europe as they harvested great quality fruit, but many of those same wineries are sitting on large reserves of previous vintages.

2009 was a great year for retail stores who took advantage of the large number of closeouts, but in the process they became dependent on only selling great deals.

2009 will be remembered by future generations as a great year for wine, but most wine professionals will consider it the most difficult of their careers.

In summary: It was not fun working on the distribution side of the wine industry this past year. High end items, no matter good or rare, became impossible to sell and retail buyers were mostly interested in wines that had been greatly reduced in price. That is a difficult climate in which to earn a living. The average cost of my everyday drinking dropped dramatically this past year, but, ironically, I probably tasted more great wines than ever before. Daniel Johnnes’s La Paulee hit New York City in March and the quality of the wines consumed was staggering. DRC, Jayer, Raveneau, Leflaive, etc., were poured at the Gala dinner in abundance, but the real highlights were the wines of Coche-Dury that were shown during the Grand Tasting. In a room packed with hall of fame caliber wine makers, the wines of Coche-Dury stood out. There were other great wines on display that afternoon, but the Coche wines were magical. Each cuvee was incredibly rich, yet perfectly balanced and elegant. In a twist befitting 2009, Monsieur Coche could not attend the tasting due to death of his father and father-in-law. Hopefully, he will be able to attend in 2011. While living through 2009 was a challenge most of the time, perhaps the year will provide better memories down the road. The 2009 vintage appears to have been outstanding in Burgundy and hopefully the wines will wash away any bitter memories of the year. Enough said about 2009, it is time to start praying to Bacchus for a great 2010. Happy New Year!

 
 


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