en
Chinese Bordeaux Guide

Chinese Bordeaux Guide
   Top Stories       History of Bordeaux     The Soil   Climate   Black Grapes   Meaning of Chateau    中文版  

Bookmark Us Post to Facebook Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Delicious



Top Stories

Top Stories

BORDEAUX 2010 VINTAGE





"On average, production is down around 25%. The berries were smaller for all the varieties, and we have less Merlot in Mouton, the grand vin, but more in Petit-Mouton, because of the stress from the drought on the vines. Generally speaking, Cabernet Sauvignon was very exceptional in this vintage," Philippe DHALLUIN, General Manager in overall charge of winemaking at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and all of the group's other properties.


"Drought is the main character of the vintage. The Merlot grape, for example, was about 1.1 gm in weight against what would normally be 1.4 gm per berry. This means that being smaller in size, there is more skin (and thicker skin at that) in relation to juice. The end result is that the grapes possessed rich tannins and high alcohol. 2010 is a very good vintage for sure. Will it become a good or excellent vintage remains to be seen," Christian MOUEIX of influential Pomerol wine merchant Etablissements J P Mouiex.


Lafite-Rothschild, like the other First Growths, only offer samples to be tasted at the chateau. Tastings are strictly by appointment. Lafite-Rothschild is perhaps the most difficult of the First Growths to be tasted when young. It is never an in-your-face wine. On the contrary, Lafite is finesse and complexity even when young. Welcoming guests to the 2010 tasting, Charles CHEVALLIER, General Manager in charge of winemaking at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild.

Story And Photos By Ch'ng Poh Tiong

The 2010 vintage in Bordeaux had something of a 'Boy Cry Wolf' feel about it.

By this, I mean chateau proprietors were slightly embarrassed to pronounce on the quality of the vintage.

Usually, people avoid talking about something when it is unfavourable or embarrassing to do so; when there is something to hide rather than to shout about. Their reticence was, therefore, ironical because the 2010 vintage is very good indeed.

Why then, was there this reluctance on the part of the chateaux to comment on a vintage that turned out so rather successfully?

The reason laid in the recent past, exactly a year before, when the 2009 vintage was hailed effusively as one of the greatest vintages of Bordeaux. That pronouncement was a view shared by many journalists, commentators, and proprietors alike.

Most were not shy to proclaim that 2009 even surpassed in quality the fabulous 2005 vintage (I remain of the view that 2005 produced the greater wines).

Chateau owners were, therefore, afraid to be seen as crying wolf. Again.

In truth, they need only be so concerned if what was going to be said is false. This is not the case with the 2010 vintage. Put another way, if you cry "Wolf" and there is, in fact, a wolf out there, you should be commended, not criticised or chastised, for sounding the ringing truth.

There is such a 'wolf' as far as the 2010 vintage is concerned. This goody, good animal of a vintage may even turn out to be a great 'wolf'.

As Christian MOUEIX of influential Pomerol wine merchant Etablissements J P Mouiex, so accurately observed, "2010 is a very good vintage for sure. Will it become a good or excellent vintage remains to be seen,"

MOUEIX also pointed out that in the three months of the summer of 2010, only a third of the normal rainfall fell.

"Drought is the main character of the vintage. The Merlot grape, for example, was about 1.1 gm in weight against what would normally be 1.4 gm per berry. This means that being smaller in size, there is more skin (and thicker skin at that) in relation to juice. The end result is that the grapes possessed rich tannins and high alcohol," explained MOUEIX.

The skills, and sensitivity, of the winemaker are paramount to ensure they do not, in view of all that richness, over-extract because, otherwise, they will end up with wines that have too much alcohol and jaw-breaking tannins.

One question that popped up frequently, tasting the 2010 wines, was whether the tannins, in some of them, while rich, were really not so commensurately ripe. It is one thing to have concentration, and another to have both maturation and concentration.

The 2010 vintage is one of the driest in recorded Bordeaux viticultural history since 1949. That dry spell was dragged out quite long but mitigated by cool, even cold, nights.

Philippe DHALLUIN, speaking for Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and the Left Bank observed that, "On average, production is down around 25%. The berries were smaller for all the varieties, and we have less Merlot in Mouton, the grand vin, but more in Petit-Mouton, because of the stress from the drought on the vines. Generally speaking, Cabernet Sauvignon was very exceptional in this vintage."

So, too, Cabernet Franc.

The immediate palate impression of the 2010 vintage is the greater freshness and grip of firmer tannins over the wines of the previous 2009 vintage.

At Chateau Leoville Las Cases, for example, the IPT or Indice Polyphenols Totaux, the measurement to calculate total tannins, their record reads like this in the last 10 vintages: 2010 - 74
2009 - 70
2008 - 70
2007 - 66
2006 - 75
2005 - 70
2004 - 67
2003 - 74
2002 - 73
2001 - 75

The above figures are, of course, isolated from the other properties and characteristics in a wine, including considerations such as fruit (its intensity or otherwise), acidity and complexity. Still, IPT readings give an indication how much richer, in tannins and structure, the 2010 vintage is.

One final word.

It is crucial, in the 2010 vintage, whether dry white, red, or Sauternes and Barsac (not forgetting lesser known appellations such as Cadillac, Cerons and Loupiac), to choose and select carefully. Some wines are too high in alcohol and disjointed. Given that alcohols are high generally, the best wines are those where the proprietor, winemaker and consultant worked in harmony, and with sensitivity, to produce balanced wines that will age, evolve and improve with time. Wines to wolf about.



Futures 2010




All Rights Reserved · The Wine Review · 2013
en