Posted by: jmbwineblog | April 29, 2011

2010 Bordeaux En Primeur; My Final Thoughts.


Discussing wines at Chateau Margaux
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Of course, these are simply MY opinions of these wines, and it should be read no further than that. There is no guarantee that you agree with my palate, or for that matter trust my thoughts, but they are there for you to read if you so wish. They may not seem coherent, but then wine is a range of fluid emotions ever changing, and I like to let my thoughts flow. It does not always make for easy reading. One may criticise me for not spending more time in the region and tasting a wider spectrum of wines, and I agree that there are plenty of other wines that I would have like to sample and to give my opinion on… Due to time constraints and the fact that I dislike fighting for samples at large tastings, I do not go during UGC week, but most Chateau show a whole range of wines that their owners produce and thus it is possible to get an idea of how different producers and appellations have performed. I still believe that more time spent would have been even more beneficial. I do hope that this report will be of use and that it will aid in any En Primeur purchases that you will make, if not, I hope that it makes interesting reading and I will now attempt to some up my thoughts on this new vintage.

After a hard 4 days tasting, it is back to Gap, France to contemplate my thoughts
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Firstly, I do believe that it is a very very good vintage, that deserves a serious amount of attention. Whether it is a great vintage remains to be seen, and one will have to wait until the wines are mature to make an educated guess/judgement of whether this is the case, and I would say the same rational should be made for 2005, 2009 and any other so called great vintage. I will say that the quality is there, and the quality is high. How they will age only time will tell.

Because of the high acids and tannins, I don’t think that alcohol should be treated as quite such a large enemy as people are making out. There are plenty of wines from the New World that age beautifully with much higher alcohol levels than are being seen in 2010 Bordeaux. The issue is when the alcohols are TOO high for the acid levels then the wines are not balanced, but you only need to look at 2003 Bordeaux and the high quality of Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon to show that alcohol per se is not the enemy, but imbalance in the wine due to HIGH alcohol that is!

Contemplating the wines at Cos d’Estournel
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There was a danger due to the high phenolic ripeness of the grapes and alcohols that these could have Ben big bruising wines where one worried about whether the wine would outlive the tannins. This however was averted by most producers from top to bottom, by using cold maceration, longer maceration times and less pumping over and piquage. This meant that tannins were much softer than expected, and there were no harsh tannins that linger rather than integrate from those who did well. It is only those who failed to do this in the winery that have made wines that are not so enjoyable, and on the whole most producers have done the correct thing. In fact they should probably do this in most years, as shown by the quality of 2007 Smith Haut Lafitte and 2008 Poujeaux.

In terms of style, it is a structured powerful vintage, but it is also hugely terroir driven and producers made classically elegant wines that match the house style. It is not a homogenous vintage where everything tastes similar. There are real differences between the wines and I would urge people to buy from the producers they have historically favoured rather than going for the wines that simply get high scores. Why? Mainly because I don’t think there are any real shockers from top to bottom from those producers who understand their vines and are quality conscious. The shockers seem to be the wines that no one has actually heard of in the first place.

You can tell from A. Thienporte’s smile that he knows he made a great wine.
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Price will always be an issue with any En Primeur Campaign, but on the whole, I do believe that to my mind and my palate, that If prices are identical to 2009 (which on the whole I have a gut feeling they will be), I would rather have the 2010 in my cellar than the 2009. Not because I think they will take longer to blossom which to some extent I do, or because I feel that 2009 is an inferior vintage to 2010. I would do this simply because I prefer the style of 2010 to 2009, much in the same way that I prefer the style of 1989 to 1990 and 1985 to 1982. It is simply a matter of taste. This does not mean that I prefer those vintages to the other across the board, but simply that taking a whole there are more wines that I prefer from one vintage to the other, but there are exceptions. Some of which I have pointed out already in my notes.

I would urge people to buy 2010, but whether you buy En Primeur or wait until the wines are in bottle is at the end of the day your prerogative, but there are benefits of buying En Primeur. Firstly, the price may go up, and secondly you can guarantee access to wines that are scarce and will almost certainly sell out. There are some fantastic wines that will be offered and it will be interesting to see the prices at which they are released. If they are high back vintages are the answer. If not, buy 2010 because you won’t be disappointed with the quality.

“guys… Guys… Drat, I knew I should have taken a right at Chateau Latour. How am I supposed to get to the Alps now?”
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My Top 5 Money no Object Wines this trip…
1. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
2. Vieux Chateau Certan
3. Chateau Ausone
4. Chateau Latour
5. Chateau La Conseillante

My Top 5 Great but may be overpriced…
1. Chateau Haut-Bailly
2. Chateau Palmer
3. Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases
4. Chateau Moulin-St-Georges
5. Chateau Lynch-Bages

My Top 5 Counting the Pennies
1. Chateau Clerc-Milon
2. Echo de Lynch Bages
3. Chateau Fourcas-Borie
4. Goulée par Cos d’Estournel
5. Chateau Les Cruzelles

My Top 10 that I want in my cellar!
1. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
2. Vieux Chateau Certan
3. Chateau Haut-Bailly
4. Chateau Ausone
5. Chateau La Conseillante
6. Chateau Moulin-St-Georges
7. Chateau Pontet-Canet
8. Chateau Lynch-Bages
9. Chateau Latour
10. Chateau Clerc-Milon

My Top 10 that I will be able to afford and want!
1. Chateau Clerc-Milon
2. Chateau Les Cruzelles
3. Chateau Simard
4. Chateau Moulin-St-Georges
5. Chateau Pibran
6. Chateau Langoa-Barton
7. Petit Lion
8. Goulée par Cos d’Estournel
9. Chateau Fourcas-Borie
10. Chateau Potensac

But remember that the whites and sweet wines are superb as well. Chateau Climens, Chateau d’Yquem, Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux, Blanc de Lynch Bages & Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc being my pick of the wines that don’t have tannins!!

And for those who would like to see every single photo that we took on our trip in Bordeaux this year, all 1300+ shots, the link is as follows.

if you require a wish list or would like an information about purchasing these wines or any others available En Primeur, please do not hesitate to contact

Until next time,
Happy Drinking

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