The Best Wines You Can’t Have... Yet

Drink reviews with honest verdicts

Every April, Bordeaux throws a blowout party for the wine trade and media called "primeurs," a big barrel tasting of their new wines from the previous vintage barely seven months after the grapes were picked. But you can’t buy them then because no one knows yet how much they will cost, plus they won’t be bottled for another year or two.

I traveled to Bordeaux last week to taste some of the first growths, aka primeur crus, including châteaux Rothschilds (Lafite and Mouton), Margaux, and Haut-Brion (generally costing hundreds of dollars per bottles), as well as the petite bordeaux that most of us can afford. The red wines are tannic, murky, and powerful — you can easily spot a fellow primeurs taster because our teeth are stained purple and we look like vampires trying to avoid the garlic.

In the next few weeks, the top growths will decide how many hundreds of dollars their wines will cost, while the lesser growths struggle in the $15 to $100 range. And while the 2011 vintage turned out to be quite good in spite of bad weather, it is not up to the levels of 2009 and 2010 — so there probably will be a price drop.

If you have a very good memory, or if you want to bookmark this posting, here are some of the top 2011 wines from the 130-plus tasted in case you want to buy them when you find out their prices and when your wine merchants have them to offer to you.