First taste: Bordeaux 2010


Despite the French strikers’ best intentions to keep me out, I made it to Bordeaux eventually to visit some great châteaux and have the first taste of new juice with a handful of our international customers last week.

Highlights of the week included watching the harvest come in, tasting the juice and hearing what the châteaux owners are predicting for Bordeaux 2010.

It was only the second year I have ever been asked to taste the new juice and we tasted 2010 from Palmer, Ducru, Cos, du Tertre and Giscours. Our customers, who are not used to tasting wine at this early stage, were blown away by the quality and richness and the enthusiasm of the châteaux owners was infectious and certainly rubbed off on them.

The Bordelais are obviously delighted with the vintage and very chuffed they are onto another winner. For me, stylistically it’s too early to say but it could be closer to 2005 than 2009 – cooler than the exuberant style of 2009. However, some châteaux owners were holding off picking and with the temperature up at 27 degrees last week some might have a problem with the alcohol levels in the wine being high.

Price of the 2010s was mentioned. Historically after an incredibly good vintage the Bordelais never get it right, as we saw with 2006 which was way too high and didn’t sell as well. It is early days as the wine is still fermenting in tank but one property owner told me they have had 600 Chinese visitors through the doors in recent weeks, so they know they will have a buyer whatever the price!

As well as the new vintage, we tasted lots of wines from 2008 and I was astonished how the wines have come on since my original tasting – they are much better than I remember! There was more weight and richness and, in particular, the Mouton-Rothschild stable (Clerc-Milon, Le Petit Mouton et al). With the rise in demand of Carruades de Lafite I can sense these wines will go the same way – so buy them while they are still cheap.

My next visit to Bordeaux will be in February when we will get a much better idea of the 2010 vintage. Meanwhile, Bruno Borie from Ducru popped into our Hampshire cellars this week for a staff tasting. Watch the video for his thoughts on the new vintage.