Have you ever seen the LCBO advertising Bordeaux futures and wondered what it meant? Essentially, it means buying a wine while it’s still in the barrel, taking the risk that once it’s bottled it will be as good as you think. Also known as “en primeur” in France, the wine is purchased 12 to 18 months prior to the official release of a vintage – so you’re essentially betting that you’ll get a good wine, likely for a bit less than once it’s bottled.
But there’s not as much risk as you might think. Vineyards know whether they’ve had a good year, which is usually an indicator of the quality they expect from their wines. So LCBO representatives will participate in futures tastings, and purchase the wines “on spec.” They pass the risk on to the public by selling the wines as “futures.”
Today, we drank bottle #2 of a 3-bottle lot we bought of a Bordeaux future from Chateau Dalem. It’s a 2009 Fronsac which we received in 2014 – but we put the order in for the wine in 2013 before it was bottled. It’s 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, from a winery founded in 1610, near St. Emilion and Pomerol, both wonderful wine producing regions. Suggested drinking window is 2015 to 2025 – this type of lifespan is another reason why many will invest in Bordeaux wines.
Was it worth it? We paid $32 for a wine that’s likely worth more than that today. For one thing, it’s not available at LCBO, so it’s a rare find. But more importantly, we’ve babied this wine in the cellar, waiting until it was deemed drinkable, keeping our fingers crossed that it would prove to be a good investment. It was a wonderful wine, and went really well with the filet mignon for dinner. Definitely worth it!
Bordeaux futures usually come out in the fall at the LCBO. By purchasing as 3-bottle lots, we keep our investment reasonable, while still having the chance to experience some exceptional wines.