2010 Bordeaux En Primeur Report
After the resounding success and soaring prices of 2009, many in Bordeaux hoped for a ‘simply good’ vintage for 2010. Why would this be? Well, a solid (but not exceptional) vintage would provide much needed breathing room after a period of such intense activity and demand. Of course, nature is a law unto itself and it seems that the 2010 vintage will at the very least compare very favourably even to its lauded predecessor; at best, it will build upon its successes and set a new benchmark altogether. The unusual situation is analogous to the 1989/1990 vintages in that we are now faced with one fantastic vintage after another. As Guy Meslin at Chateau Laroze puts it, “The pips already have a lovely nutty taste, and I can honestly stay the quality seems greater than last year. Might we be having two great vintages side by side, as with 1989 and 1990?”
But are they stylistically similar? Almost certainly not. Drought has defined 2010 far more significantly than in 2009, which ordinarily would be considered a dry year. This led some commentators to prematurely announce a necessary decline in quality. As Thomas Duroux observes: “We were a little concerned about the drought but the rains came on time at the start of September to make sure the phenolic maturity completed.” The water stress has resulted in thick skins (rich in polyphenols) and a smaller yield. We can also expect a lively acidity, thanks to cooler nights than last year. For comparisons we should cast back five years to 2005, or perhaps all the way to 1990, rather than looking at 2009.
The eminent oenologist David Pernay succinctly sums up the situation: “After 2009, it would have been commercially better for 2010 to have been simply a good vintage. Nature has decided otherwise, however, and an objective analysis suggests that 2010 will be among the great vintages of Bordeaux.”
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For more information, see the following: Bordeaux En Primeur 2010 Report
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