Burgundy 2010 Vintage Report

The wines of the Côte de Beaune for once match the wines of Côte de Nuit, with lovely Premier Cru wines around Beaune showing extremely well. Negociants around Beaune, such as Chanson, and Louis Jadot have made excellent wines.

The 2010 growing season in Burgundy followed what is becoming an increasingly familiar pattern. In essence, there were climatic problems throughout the summer (cold, wet weather in June led to poor flowering and resulted in millerandage and coulure, more rain in August caused widespread rot) until September - like the proverbial last minute cavalry charge - again rode to the rescue. Increasingly, in this undoubted age of climate change, growers are telling us that this weather pattern often produces the best wines. It is becoming beneficial to have a cooler June, July and August (even if they are sometimes, also, wetter) and a fine, warm, but not hot, September to finish photosynthetic and physiological maturity. In that way, the grapes reach full ripeness (generally 12.5 - 13.5% natural alcohols in 2010 at our domains), yet retain freshness, purity and acidity. The problem will arise when, inevitably, the cavalry decides to have a lie-in one year!

Crops were down on 2009 by anything between 25-40% - due to the poor flowering (some producers reported entire bunches having berries of between 4-6mm in size!) and savage elimination of unripe and rotten grapes.

This was no easy ride for the growers, but the resulting wines are some of the finest we have ever tasted, at this stage, in Burgundy. Terms like “classique” and “tres Bourguignon” have been frequently expressed. Comparisons with previous vintages are difficult, but growers offered a combination of the best of 2008 and 2009, others 1993 (although, viticulture and vinification in the region are leaps and bounds ahead these days). The wines are generally of delightful quality, both red and white defy generalisation and categorisation. Words like “sweetness”, “ripeness” “purity”, “energy”, “drive” and “precision” have littered tasting notes.

We are fortunate to work with some exceptional producers in Burgundy and, to a man, their talents are fully on display in 2010.


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