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Parker’s “Magical 20” in 2020

Nine years ago, Robert Parker unveiled the twenty Bordeaux wines he would be tasting at Winefuture in Hong Kong. Dubbed “The Magical 20”, these wines, as described by Parker were from “estates that produce wines of first growth quality, although not technically first growths”. For him, these were consequently “under-valued and very smart acquisitions”.

How right was Parker in his predictions? Those who invested in his 2009 “Magical 20” will today find themselves up over 40% on average from the day of his tasting in November 2011 (a detailed report on Bordeaux 2009, containing Parker’s scores for the “Magical 20” and more, was published on The Wine Advocate in February 2012). By comparison, buyers of the 2009 First Growths, which were released at the height of the China-led bull market, will find themselves down close to 20%.

Of the twenty wines tasted by Parker, seventeen have risen in value (from as little as 5% to over 170%), with only Leoville Las Cases, Cos d’Estournel and Trotanoy dipping.

The biggest riser is Smith Haut Lafitte – a 100-point wine Parker described as “massive, extraordinarily rich, unctuously textured”. Another one of his favourites, Clos Fourtet, has leapt by an impressive 156%, doubtless influenced by Parker’s upgrade to a perfect in-bottle score. Last year, however, the wine was ”only” awarded 95 points by Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW.

Unquestionably, the power of Parker vis-a-vis Bordeaux’s pricing remains, with many of his special wines continuing to capture investment attention.