Ditton Wine Traders’ fine wine blog
by James Swann
The quality of Bordeaux 2010, across the region, is very high. A raft of lesser known Cru Bourgeois and Petit Chateaux have produced beautiful wines, at accessible prices. Wines that have something to say about the place in which they are grown. As money chases the big guns, such chateaux have been widely hailed as offering some of the best value to be found in the fine wine market.
‘Nearly 100 wines are reviewed below, few of them likely to be fought over en primeur. You may wonder therefore why I am even bothering to publish such detailed notes. The reason is that from the point of view of us consumers, many of these wines are likely to represent some of Bordeaux's finest value in the 2010 vintage. And from the point of view of the producers, many of them have made such progress and taken such expensive steps to improve quality, that I think these wines deserve as much publicity as they can get. The 2010 vintage with its just-ripe fruit, high alcohol, fresh acidity and high tannic charge seems particularly eloquent throughout the Médoc.’ Jancis Robinson MW
A classic vintage?
In our tastings and reviews a number of chateaux stood out for their elegant cassis perfume, freshness and attractive cedar wood tannins, exceptionally ripe in historical terms yes, but nonetheless reminiscent of the best vintages of classic claret.
Bordeaux expert Stephen Spurrier compares vintages:
‘As with great vintages, which 2010 undoubtedly is, comparisons are made with previous years and at this level of quality, there are few contenders. Only 2005, and to a lesser extent 2000, were mentioned from the past decade. 1998 was referred to as a benchmark on the Right Bank, 1996 and 1995 mentioned in passing on the Left, 1990 certainly, 1986 for the Médocs, 1970 (the first vintage when many of the classed growths made a profit, following the washouts of 1963, 1965 and 1968 and the under-ripe 1967 and 1969) and, for those with longer memories, 1949, 1945 and 1929.’
‘So, not just in my opinion’, he continues, ‘2010 is looking like THE greatest Bordeaux vintage, so far, and, contrary to expectations, not tiring to taste.’
So what should we be drinking?
Let's focus on that for a change, drinking. Honest, delicious Bordeaux without breaking the bank. Take your pick because 2010 has produced lots of wines that fit into that category. The Médoc is certainly the most consistent overall. However, prepared to hand-pick, the experience of quality-conscious Right Bank growers’ shines through in many a chateaux with the best ones having succeeded in the delicate interplay of picking times and extraction. Such chateaux are likely to provide the most enjoyable – and affordable – drinking in the short and medium term.
Here is a sample of our favourites, watch this space for prices. The Chateaux that have already released have done so at reasonable prices, similar to 2009 whilst 2010 in our opinion provides better value at this level, Don't forget to request your allocation in advance, to avoid disappointment.
|Belle – Vue||87-89||17|
|Cambon La Pelouse||89-92||16|
|Caronne Ste Gemme||16.5|
|La Tour de By||16.5|
|Tour St Bonnet||87-88||16|
|Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgois|
|Les Ormes de Pez||87-90||17|
|Medoc Cru Bourgois|
|Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux|
Apart from requesting your allocation in advance, one of the best ways to stay abreast of releases is to follow us on Twitter. It's the quickest way to see what's being released and at what price. Not just by following us, do check out other "Twitterati" as well.
By James Swann