Final thoughts (on first impressions) on Bordeaux 2010

April 8th 2011

Final thoughts (on first impressions).

2010 is a great vintage in Bordeaux.

2010 is a vintage that will age for many years. It has the structure, the tannins (super fine they may be in the best wines) and the acidity to make very old bones. In that way it works well alongside the more opulent 2009s which will also age well, but will be drinkable much sooner than the 2010s. Very few Châteaux expressed a preference for either vintage except one owner who said (tongue firmly in cheek) that he preferred 2010 as that was the vintage that he had to sell!

2010s will not be cheap. Take the 2009 price as the low estimate. The price spread will be somewhere in between 2009 price and that PLUS 20%. There may be some exceptions to this (on the low estimate) but not many. Anyone who wildly overpriced their 2009 and sold very little may have to re-think. Figeac, for example, which was 4 times the price of the 2008 may have to come down.

2010 is generally a smaller crop than 2009.

There were more people from the Far East in Bordeaux this week and although up until now they preferred to buy wines that were physically available there is increasing interest in buying En Primeur. Mind you, they (the Bordeaux negociants) said that last year and it didn’t really happen in the way they had predicted.

The Greenback is back. It is widely rumoured that the recovering American economy will mean that the USA is back in the market having been relatively quiet for the last few years.

Don’t hold your breath for the campaign to start in earnest. There is absolutely no rush for the owners to release their wines, and there seemed to be little urgency in Bordeaux. We also have VINEXPO in Bordeaux from June 19th-23rd. Seeing as most of the First Growths came out in (late) June last year there is every chance that this will drag on until mid July. (I hope I am wrong here but I have not booked my Summer Holiday yet.)

We have a team heading back to Bordeaux in two weeks and it’s just as well. Tasting this week was very difficult and we expect the wines to change a lot over the next few weeks/months. The problem is that such are the huge levels of tannin, acidity etc., the wines felt much younger than in previous years. It was as if we were tasting them a month too early in some cases, and some samples looked pretty underdone. So you can expect many wines that have thus far not yet caught the selector’s eye to make a late show.

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Wine of the vintage:

Tom Stopford Sackville- Vieux Chateau Certan, Lafite, Haut Brion
David Roberts- Margaux, Petrus, Lafite
Jamie Strutt- Latour, Le Pin, Margaux
Robin Kick- Lafite
Mark Robertson- Haut Brion Blanc, Le Pin, Lafite
Matthew Jukes- Margaux, Latour, Pétrus
Amelia Jukes- Margaux, Lafite, Le Pin

Wine of the vintage without the First Growths, Le Pin, Cheval, Petrus etc.:

Tom Stopford Sackville- Pontet Canet, Leoville Las Cases, Leoville Barton
David Roberts- Cos d’Estournel, VCC, Ducru
Jamie Strutt- Montrose, Leoville Barton, Rauzan Segla
Robin Kick- Pichon Lalande
Mark Robertson- Grand Puy Lacoste, VCC, Palmer
Matthew Jukes- Leoville-Barton, Pontet-Canet, Léoville-Las Cases
Amelia Jukes- Pontet-Canet, Léoville-Las Cases, Brane-Cantenac

Wine which will (hopefully) be outstanding value:

Tom Stopford Sackville- Haut Batailley, Cantemerle, Haut Bages Liberal
David Roberts- Fonbel, Batailley, Angludet
Jamie Strutt- Batailley, Phelan Segur, Haut Batailley
Robin Kick- Petit Village
Mark Robertson- les Ormes de Pez, Poujeaux, Gruaud Larose
Matthew Jukes- La Tour du Pin, La Serre, La Chapelle de la Mission
Amelia Jukes- Haut-Marbuzet, Prieuré-Lichine, Batailley