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The Wine Spectator on Bordeaux 2010

2010 Bordeaux 2010: Overall Impressions Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 8 April 2011

It's now quite clear that Bordeaux has a compelling duo of vintages in the pipeline. Compared to the round, fleshy, flattering '09s, the '10s provide a stark contrast, with super-racy acidity, powerful yet fresh tannins and ripe, muscular fruit. Overall, I rate the vintage at 95–98 points for both the Left and Right Banks, and 91–94 points for the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.

Overall, the vintage favors the Cabernet Sauvignon wines of the Left Bank…In particular, the reds of Pessac and Graves are among the best in years…In addition to the first-growths, Cos-d'Estournel and Pontet-Canet also produced very compelling wines.

The vintage is nearly equally impressive on the Right Bank, the lone blip being the Merlot, which can sometimes show slightly punchy alcohols, particularly in Pomerol. St.-Emilion though was very strong, as the penchant to overextract seems to have slowly faded away at most estates.
Bordeaux En Primeur 2010
The wines from both Pomerol and St.-Emilion that rely on Cabernet Franc as a major portion of the blend are very, very impressive. Vieux-Château-Certan might be the most compelling wine from the Right Bank in 2010. Many of the big names are among the other stars, such as Trotanoy, l'Evangile, Conseillante, Le Pin and Pétrus in Pomerol and Cheval-Blanc, Ausone, Pavie, La Mondotte, Canon-La-Gaffeliere, Pavie, Pavie-Macquin and Valandraud in St.-Emilion
2010 Vintage Outlook: Bordeaux
Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 18 November 2010

Bordeaux appears to have another superb vintage on its hands following the 2010 harvest.
“I’d never thought I would see 2009 again in my professional career,” says Paul Pontallier, technical director at Château Margaux, comparing the vintage to the classic-quality previous vintage.

With warm, dry weather persisting throughout the region for much of the growing season, producers reported that their vats were full of young wines with intense color, strong tannins and higher-than-usual alcohol levels. While many producers were effusive in their praise, they were also careful to note that it is still early to make a final judgment. “Of course, I would like to taste the young wines after malo, but nevertheless I can say these are very good wines with strong structure due to the drought, [but] not as much aromatic expression as ’09,” says Christian Moueix of Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, which includes numerous high-profile Right Bank properties in Pomerol and St.-Emilion, including Pétrus, Trotanoy, La Fleur Pétrus and Hosanna.

Many producers reported widespread coulure, or shatter, on the Merlot vines, which further reduced the small crop. Coulure occurs during fruit set, when some of the new small berries fall off. Yields were down 20 to 30 percent across the region, with Merlot-dependent Right Bank properties particularly affected.

Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc performed very well and look to be the star varieties of the vintage. “It’s going to be a strong Cab year on the Left Bank,” said David Launay of Château Gruaud-Larose in St.-Julien.

The abundant tannins look to be the vintage’s defining characteristic, and managing those tannins during vinification will be key.

The region’s sweet wines also look promising. "The ’10s are rich, deep and very concentrated." says Olivier Castéja of Château Doisy-Védrines.

Bordeaux 2010: The First Look & 2010 Bordeaux Barrel Tasting
Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 18 November 2010

2009 will be a tough act to follow, a tremendous vintage that by all accounts has produced scads of classic-quality red wines. But 2010 looks like it will give 2009 a run for its money thanks to a long, dry, warm growing season,  marred only by some significant coulure (shatter) on old-vine Merlot vineyards that reduced the variety’s crop size.

That may mean that the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Left Bank will emerge as the top wines of the vintage. Early impressions of the young wines, which are still aging in barrels in the château cellars, indicate that the 2010 red Bordeaux are very ripe and sport some punch—with abundant tannins and slightly higher-than-usual alcohol levels. Despite that, the wines are also fresh and racy, as there looks to be plenty of acidity for balance.

With a smaller-than-usual crop and high quality, 2010 certainly won’t be a bargain-priced vintage. Since economic troubles are still simmering in the United States and elsewhere, châteaus hoped China would pick up the slack.

Bordeaux 2010 En Primeur - Reports & Recommendations