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Bordeaux 2000:
The most hyped vintage in living memory?
It's frustrating for wine geeks. The only way of buying Bordeaux wines at half-way decent prices is to buy them en primeur. And of all the en primeur releases, this is the one where the punters don't get a chance to try the wines first. Instead, we have to rely on the steady deluge of reports from journalists and wine merchants. Because of the publication delay in most wine print publications, they are too late: wait for them and the allocations will already be sold. Bizarrely, this year many Bordeaux properties were waiting for influential American critic Robert Parker to release his scores before announcing their opening prices, such is his influence on the market. Well, he has, and so now there is a daily flow of wine offers on the market. If you are going to buy, now is the time to act. I haven't joined the circus to taste the wines, so I've asked two independent merchants, James Hanford MW and Peter Ballantyne, to give me their impressions. Two caveats: these wines are tasted very early in their development, well before they are bottled, and both merchants have wines they would quite like to sell. But I think that they're experienced, reputable people who realise that to sell to a sophisticated and demanding public they have nothing to gain by not being honest. To their credit, both are wonderfully frank in their accounts where this is appropriate.

Read the vintage reports and tasting notes from: