2010 Vintage Reports – Bordeaux

by Charles Lea

Bordeaux – reports are creeping in which strike fear into the heart of many merchants – and their customers. 2010 is another great vintage. Even worse, it’s a small vintage, so that allocations will be down. Can prices go yet higher, or will this bubble burst?

Cool wet conditions during the flowering in June resulted in coulure and millerandage – lack of fruit set and small, pipless grapes, so limiting the potential harvest. The yields were further limited by the extremely dry weather in July and August. Although dry, there were never any extremes of temperature – a summer much more like 2005 than 2009, with cool nights. One report puts it “the extreme lack of water is reason behind the remarkably small berry size, which is linked to the even greater phenolic concentration that in 2009 along with astonishing preservation of acidity and aromatic richness” (Sovivins).

There are the usual  caveats – some alcohol levels have gone very high – Chantal Amart of Château Montaiguillon reported in the week before the harvest that she had Merlots at 15% and Cabernets at 13.5%, and was hoping for rain to swell the grapes a little. As usual some will be unable to resist trying to extract everything that can be extracted, and as usual some monsters will be made.

So there you have it – start saving up now – or, if you want to drink what you buy rather than sell it, concentrate on filling your cellar with 2009 Burgundy.

Following the recent ‘clarification‘ by HMRC about the tax status of wine (investment cellars to be valued at resale value not cost), one has to wonder whether the special status of wine as an investment as opposed to a drink is not being whittled away – although in reality nothing has been changed by this announcement.