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‘Insane’ Bordeaux prices turn top collector away

One of America's most prominent and outspoken collectors of rare and fine wines refuses to buy 2005 Bordeaux First Growth futures because 'the prices are insane.'

Instead, the collector, Charles Klatskin, chairman of Lee & Klatskin Associates, a New Jersey industrial and commercial estate company, is buying less-expensive Bordeaux futures.

‘I have been buying First Growth futures for the last 16 years, and have been reasonably selective as to which years I buy,’ he said. ‘This year I am not buying any because the prices are insane.’

‘I am a serious collector, to the tune of 25,000-plus bottles, primarily magnums,’ said Klatskin, a familiar bidder and seller at Zachys and NYWines/Sotheby’s wine auctions and a regular participant in major wine events.

Serena Sutcliffe, head of Sotheby’s international wine department, described the collector as ‘a committed Bordeaux man, a very astute buyer.’

Klatskin said chateaux should benefit from good vintages, but the 2005 opening prices are senseless. ‘The prime example of outrageousness is Yquem’s US$8,000.’

He added, ‘Instead of First Growths, I am buying wines like Palmer, Léoville-Las-Cases, Monbousquet, Haut-Bailly and Lynch-Bages. I’m going to drink old wines rather than pay 2005 First Growths prices.’

The collector believes 2005s will come down in price over time ‘because we’ve had three very good years in six: 2000, 2003, 2005.’

‘It’s a matter of supply and demand. There will be a lot of very good wines on the market at the same time.’ he said.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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