2010 Bordeaux Overview

by Charles Lea


Well, we are off! The first runners in what promises to be the marathon of the 2010 Bordeaux Primeur campaign have been released, so that we are under way, even if, with Vinexpo this year, there’s the threat that the Firsts and maybe some others will delay releasing their wines until mid-June or later.

When we tasted the 2009 vintage last year, we (the wine trade in general, the critics, the producers themselves) all thought that we had tasted the finest vintage we were every likely to taste en primeur. It is therefore difficult in the extreme to come back this year and say the same thing. But also impossible to say anything else.

I am not sure that 2010 is better than 2009 – it has its weaknesses, and they are different weaknesses to 2009. But it also has its strengths, and they too are slightly different to 2009.

This feels like just the beginning of a long-running comparison between a pair of great vintages. Each will gather its supporters.

Apart from Pomerol, where it seems to me that the 2010s are in general (note this is not the same as in particular) more successful in 2010, it is a moot point as to which is the better vintage – only time will tell. Other generalisations are difficult. I happen to like the purity of ripe Cabernet in the northern Médoc above all else, but this does not mean that there are not spectacular wines elesewhere.

The market (with the pound looking even weaker than at the same time last year, against the gravity-defying Euro) is going to be tough on us Brits who bought so much of the 2009s, but I still recommend buying these 2010s. I personally bought a few 1989s, and failed to follow on with 1990s, which in retrospect was a mistake, and I think not buying 2010s might be a bigger one.

Th price-releases have already begun, with well-rated Lanessan and Petit Bocq, we also have one of my pet favourites, Stéphane Dief’s Clos Manou. This tiny cru will be known to some of our customers via its second wine Petit Manou, but the first selection is treated like a Cru Classé in vineyard and chai, and tastes like one too. At a mere £177 per case in bond, this comes highly recommended.