Chinese New Year 2021: the best Bordeaux ‘Ox’ wines

The year of the Ox has already influenced secondary market trade in Asia.

In 2021, China’s most important holiday, Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, falls on Friday, February 12th. According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2021 is the year of the Ox; previous zodiac years of the Ox include 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973 and 1961.

The significance of the year of the Ox has already been felt on buying demand from Asia. The last year of the Ox, the 2009, has been the second most traded vintage in 2021.

As seen in the chart below, trade for the 2009s has been split between Burgundy, Champagne, Australia, in small part Italy (Piedmont), with Bordeaux (71.1%), the region with the strongest affinity amongst Asian buyers, taking the majority of the pie.

The critical acclaim of the Bordeaux 2009 vintage, one of Robert Parker’s all-time favourites, has long held a deep allure for Asian buyers. It comes as no surprise then that so far in 2021 the 2009 vintage has lead Bordeaux trade by value (13%) in Asia.

2009 vintage: Regional trade by value in Asia in 2021

The Bordeaux 2009 vintage was released during the China-led bull market which saw an almost insatiable demand for the wine of Bordeaux develop. In the year up to the release, the Bordeaux 500 was rising at an average rate of 1.8% a month.

Bordeaux’s most influential critic at the time, Robert Parker, was effusive in his praise for the 2009 vintage. After his initial tasting from barrel, Parker claimed that “for some Médocs and Graves, 2009 may turn out to be the finest vintage I have tasted in 32 years of covering Bordeaux”. Upon physical release, two years later, Parker affirmed that “2009 is the greatest vintage I have tasted in Bordeaux since 1982, of which it is a modern-day version, but greatly improved”.

Other critics agreed. Below we have compiled a list of the top ten Bordeaux 2009 wines, boasting 100 points from various critics, that have risen the most in value since their release in 2010.

Some, like Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse 2009, which Parker called “a modern-day legend” and “unquestionably the greatest Beausejour-Duffau since the 1990”, have posted returns as great as 187%.

Clos Fourtet (RP 100, LPB 95), for Parker “one of the greatest young Bordeaux I have ever tasted” (in 2011), has seen its value rise by over 180%, despite only scoring 95 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW eight years later. The wines that top the list act as a testimonial to Parker’s power on the Bordeaux market to this day, giving those who chose to buy them upon release more than one reason to celebrate this New Year.

Whether you are drinking an Ox vintage during the upcoming festivities or not, we’d like to wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year. Now, where did I put that 1961 Latour?