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August 08, 2014

Bordeaux 2010; A Modern Classic

GP081

Following the high interest and demand garnered from our Bordeaux 2009 offer two weeks ago, we are delighted to follow this up with an offer of carefully selected stunning wines from the 2010 vintage. Taken together, 2009 and 2010 are widely regarded as the best back-to-back vintages in the history of Bordeaux wine production and once again we have a wide selection of the vintage’s best wines. Highlights include the 100 point scoring Haut Brion and Pontet Canet and Pomerol’s leading light, Petrus 2010 which scored 100 points; with only 3,000 cases produced per year, one of the rarest and most sought after.

Wine Vintage Format Price  Qty Points
Haut Brion 2010 12x75cl £5,400 1 100
Mouton Rothschild 2010 12x75cl £4,940 2 98+
Montrose 2010 12x75cl £1,275 5 99
Pichon Baron 2010 12x75cl £1,195 5 97+
Leovillle Barton 2010 6x75cl £372 1 96+
D’Issan 2010 12x75cl £450 3 95
Duhart Milon Rothschild 2010 6x75cl £275 8 96
Pontet Canet 2010 6x75cl £695 2 100
Croix de Beaucaillou 2010 6x150cl £300 2 90
Petrus 2010 3x150cl £12,600 1 100
Petrus 2010 6x75cl £12,600 1 100
Lafleur 2010 6x75cl £3,900 1 96+
La Fleur Petrus 2010 6x75cl £780 1 97
Trotanoy 2010 6x75cl £985 4 98
Clinet 2010 12x75cl £950 2 96+

The 2009 and 2010 vintages are spoken of in the same breath by many, not since 1928 and 1929 have there been two consecutive vintages that will both, in their own right, go down in history as outstanding: two in two years is remarkable. While it is easy to get carried away with enthusiasm, it is noteworthy that there are many differences between the two. The 2010 vintage is classically Bordeaux; the top wines are brooding at this stage with record setting levels of tannin and alcohol up to 15.5%. This is offset with high fresh acidity and startling concentration of fruit. Patience will be required, many of the wines will not be approachable for 15 years but the wait will be worth it. In contrast, the 2009s demonstrate outstanding integration at an early age, many can be enjoyed now but will also age well and continue to improve. The choice between the two is difficult although, it seems the winemakers prefer the higher tannins, alcohol and acidity of the 2010 vintage, Jean-René Matignon, Technical Director of Pichon Baron commented “one hundred percent of us winemakers prefer 2010. And even though I like the personality of 2009, the 2010 has more vigour, is more aromatic”.  
Overall, Robert Parker seems to slightly prefer the 2009 vintage, awarding it 18 100 point scores in comparison to ten for 2010, however, he also says that 2010 along with 2005 and 2009s are “the three greatest Bordeaux vintages in my career’”  Parker also believes the wines will enjoy “astonishing longevity’” and is greatly encouraged by the tannins that are “softer and sweeter” from bottle than they were the year before from barrel.

The 2010 vintage in Bordeaux was marked by an inauspicious start with a very cold winter and an eventual bud break in mid-April, just a few days later than the 2009 vintage the year before. This was followed by millerandage and colure which affected the Merlot grapes causing chateaux to aggressively remove the diseased fruit.  However, the vintage was saved by extraordinarily dry and sunny weather from the second week of June, leading to the driest growing season since 1949. The water stress caused by the weather led to perfectly ripe grapes with a large skin to pulp ratio. The resulting juice was ultra-concentrated. Like the 2009 vintage, the grapes benefitted from large changes in diurnal temperatures, the cool nights allowing for the retention of the high acidity. The gentle rains in September, again like 2009, rather than hinder the harvest, helped increase the phenolic ripeness to produce wines that in many cases are considered the best ever by their winemakers.

The 2010 en primeur campaign was marked by an increase in prices from the already very expensive 2009 campaign. While the market was receptive to the 2009 vintage, the slowdown in buying from Asia and concern at macroeconomic events led to a slower campaign. Since this time, we have seen a very well publicised pull-back in prices of Bordeaux wines, Haut Brion released at over £7,500 per case and Lafite Rothschild at over £12,000! This was a step too far for the market and sentiment diminished. The top wines of the vintage have now found levels that are much more palatable. If you sensibly avoided the inflated release prices demanded by the Bordelais and avarice among the wine trade, you would have saved yourself on average 30% on today’s prices.

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