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Column: Tips for buying BC Liquor's Bordeaux 2020 release

The 2020 Bordeaux vintage will be available for purchase on Sept. 23, 2023
BC Liquor stores are gearing up for the Bordeaux 2020 vintage release on Sept. 23, 2023.

This column is for those of you who are just getting into wine and wondering why there is so much hype about Bordeaux wines and BC Liquor's yearly releases.

This week, on Sept. 23, BC Liquor will be releasing its 2020 Bordeaux wines for in-store purchase. In-store inventory of the wines will be available for viewing starting Sept. 22.

Bordeaux wines have always been held in high esteem by wine drinkers and wine collectors. Part of the allure is the history of excellence. They are associated with success and high society because famous people and royalty drank Bordeaux wines for hundreds of years.

Another part of their popularity is the mystique surrounding the wines. On the Left Bank of Bordeaux, there is a classification system that ranks the top 62 wines in 1855 into five levels or growths. In the St. Emilion region on the Right Bank, there is a classification system that is updated approximately every 10 years. The best wines are given the ranking of Premier Grand Cru Classe A, which gives them the right to include the title on their labels. 

Although these rankings are based on certain rules, for most consumers, it is very mysterious and seems so complex and sophisticated.

Bordeaux wines are also popular because many tend to age longer than other types of wines. Since you have a longer window of time to drink Bordeaux wines, this is reflected in their price.

Lastly, Bordeaux wines are consistently the most traded wines at wine auctions. In general, top-end Bordeaux have a consistent history of getting more expensive as time passes. 

As a result, these wines are attractive to investors and also to consumers, who know that even if they don’t drink their wine, it will not go bad as quickly and, if stored correctly, the value of these wines tends to increase over time.

With this in mind, here are a few tips before you start buying Bordeaux wines on Sept. 23, 2023:

Bordeaux is for long-term drinkers – anyone who expects that they will be able to buy a Bordeaux wine on Sept 23 and drink it that night will be disappointed.  Most Bordeaux wines offered for sale that day will need a minimum of five years of aging before they are ready for consumption. Some may take more than 10 years to be ready to drink. 

If you are not prepared to wait, then Bordeaux wines (at least those being sold on Saturday) may not be right for you.

Buy what you can afford – each year, I see a lot of buyer’s remorse after each Bordeaux release. You can get caught up in the lineups and the variety of wines offered, and feel a fear of losing out when everyone seems to be snatching up wines. The Bordeaux release is very exciting, which can cause some people to overspend.

I recommend setting a budget and sticking to it. There is almost no wine that is a “once in a lifetime” wine so don’t think you will not have another opportunity to purchase Bordeaux wines later on.

Don’t forget the white wines and Sauternes – if the price of Bordeaux red wines does not meet your budget, then look at some of the white wines and dessert wines (Sauternes wines) offered. Generally, these are going to be less expensive and will be ready to drink right away.

What should you buy on release day? Stay tuned for my list of recommendations which will be released on the morning of Sept. 23. Until next time, happy drinking!

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