Record breakers


Today has been an excellent day in Bordeaux, not only because the weather has been better than anyone can remember during en primeur week, but also because of the quality of wines we have been tasting. The likes of Ch. Pichon-Lalande, Batailley, Lynch Bages, Ch. Branaire-Ducru (below) and Gruaud Larose are producing some classically elegant wines that are pure, true expressions of their heritage.

As we’ve already seen, alcohol and tannin levels are very high – in many cases the highest ever – but as usual the best producers manage to integrate this well within the structure of the wine (high proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon on the Left Bank this year have helped). These record-breaking levels are often expressed throughout all areas of the wine, with exceptional intensity and fruit helping to balance the best examples.

It is hard to generalise, but it is certainly true that the Left Bank seems to have had less difficulty retaining freshness alongside the high alcohol levels (although do not let that put you off the Right, as the likes of Le Pin, Vieux Château Certan, Cheval Blanc and Ausone are arguably better than their 2009 counterparts.)

As a result 2010 looks set to be a vintage for long-term storage but one that will need to be selected on the merits of the individual properties rather than the commune. The best wines will surely improve over time, allowing their magical fruit to emerge and integrate with firm but fine tannins.

See our list of favourite wines so far.