My Article: My First Few Sips of 2010 Bordeaux

March 15th, 2011

(BORDEAUX) Some people might find it hard to believe that I get excited about tasting Bordeaux futures, or en primeur, after close to three decades of barrel tasting in France’s premier wine region. But I love the experience, particularly in excellent quality years.

No one in his or her sound mind could say that 2010 is not an excellent vintage for Bordeaux. I saw the harvest with my own eyes and the grapes were beautiful as they came into the various wineries through the region. I tasted the fabulous quality of the grapes before they became wine. Check out the video on the 2010 harvest at Pomerol’s Chateau La Conseillante.

The question is whether 2010 is great, like 2009. The latter for me is the greatest modern vintage ever. The more I taste the 2009s in barrel, the more excited I get. These wines are so exquisite, structured and opulent. I tasted 100 or so of the 2009s from barrel last autumn and winter following a massive tasting for The Wine Spectator last spring. The young reds are so wonderful.

So I have to ask like everyone else: Can the 2010 be as great as the sublime 2009? Many of the wine producers in Bordeaux believe so. Of course, this is to be expected since they want to sell their wines. But I don’t think that many of them exaggerate when discussing the quality of their wines. And it’s certainly possible that they made another superb vintage.

Besides, what’s wrong if we had another case of great twin vintages such as 1989 and 1990? We will always debate which vintage is better. I still say that 1989 is clearly superior on the whole, although 1990 has many superb wines. Check out my friend Pierre’s entertaining blog on twin vintages in Bordeaux.

Anyway, I tasted about three dozen 2010s from the Medoc today, including every major appellation from St. Estephe to Margaux, and I loved the wines. They have wonderfully pungent noses of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon with generous palates of juicy fruit, and round, polished tannins. I didn’t find them hard to taste, but the tannins and richness builds up on your palate.

I still have a long way to go with my tastings, so I can’t make serious generalizations yet. I can’t wait for tomorrow.


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March 17, 2011

Thanks for keeping us abreast, James!


March 25, 2011

Nice blog, James. Looking forward to everything 2010 Bordeaux on your site the next couple weeks.

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