I traveled to Bordeaux in April of 2010 in anticipation of another superb year for the region - rumors abounded, there were rumblings in the press, and all of the factors of weather and growing conditions seemed aligned and pointed in the right direction. After a week of extensive tasting I can report back that indeed it is another great vintage, creating wines with incredible power and concentration, but in a very different style than the excellent 2009's with which it will invariably be compared for decades to come.
Both vintages have no shortage of concentration, depth, tannin and ripeness, yet they are structured very differently. The 2009's are more opulent, perhaps with a touch more alcohol, with chewy, riper and slightly softer feeling tannins. The 2010s are substantially more tightly wound, with higher acidity, firmer tannins and a more compact, linear framework wrapped around their intense core of solid fruit. Both are superb candidates for the cellar, with most of the opinion that perhaps the 2009s with their riper plusher character will shine a little earlier than the more classically structured 2010's. Vintage comparisons abound, with Bordeaux expert Bill Blatch noting the similarities with other softer/firmer historical pairings such as 95-96, 85-86, 29-28 and even 1900-1899, but these are approximations at best. While I can't say I have much experience with the older pairings, I can say that I think 2010 and 2009 are better than either of the more recent examples. Of recent great vintages I would liken the 2010 closest to 2005, but with more tannin and acidity - and yes, even better perhaps. Only time will tell.
As good as the vintage is, as with all vintages there is variation in quality and some wines clearly stood out from the rest. As is the norm with nearly every wine we stock, we at 56 Degree Wine prefer to taste for ourselves, make our selections, and offer a specialized culling of what we think is the best on offer rather than the shot gun "whatever-got-90-points-or-higher" approach. During the week I spent in Bordeaux back in April tasting the promising but tough young wines, I made my selections on the wines we plan to offer. The only missing piece of the puzzle is price, and as of today mainly the smaller Chateaux (with a few exceptions) have released prices. Regardless, both at the very top of the price range, and perhaps more importantly in the value category, we are committed to putting our money where our mouth is and selecting and offering only those wines we feel are the best examples of this superb vintage.
The following is a list of wines we have purchased to date. We will be sending offers as we receive pricing and confirmation from now through about the middle of July so keep an eye out as wines are often offered only in limited quantities, and prices can frequently, but don't always, escalate from day to day. Please feel free to contact me personally either at the shop, by phone (908.310.6127 cell) or by email at email@example.com if there is a specific wine you are interested in or to discuss strategy for putting a selection of wines from this excellent vintage in your cellar.
For the our complete offer of Bordeaux 2010 futures click here.
Down to Earth Wine is about what I love in the wine biz: small growers making honest wines that are the expression of the vineyards, grapes and people where they are made. It is about learning about why wines taste the way they do and delving beyond the numerical scores that have become a shorthand for knowledge. It's looking at wine from the ground up.
To me, the most amazing thing about wine is its ability capture and express the conditions of the time and place where they were grown. I find that in my 30 years involved with wine that the best wines are often the result of a philosophy of winemaking that believes that these natural influences should be the main story, creating wines with transparency, elegance, balance and finesse that allows the nature in the wine to shine though.
To help navigate the posts, they are categorized by type, and now include Vignettes: thoughts and musings on regions, travels, dinners and experiences; Cellar Defenders: favorite value wines; Vins de garde: Wine for the cellar; and Vins Vert, great organic, Biodynamic and naturally made wines.
Taste, travel, experiment, enjoy!