First Impressions of 2010

2 April 2011
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee


Today was a packed day, filled with visits to chateaux that do not show their wines with the Union des Grands Crus next week. Their logic in making us wine writers rush frantically from one appointment to another is that the samples are fragile and are best tasted at the chateaux. Fair enough, but it means we have to drive back and forth and sample about 30-40 wines in one day which is quite inefficient.


My first impression of the 2010 vintage after tasting 35 wines, four of which are first growths, is that it is an excellent year. The 2010s are generally bigger, heftier and chunkier than the 2009s which in comparison seem like ballerinas. Tannins and acidity in 2010s are generally higher and there is a wonderful freshness to the fruit. The few whites I sampled so far are juicy, lively and very intense – it looks like 2010 will most likely be a great year for whites.


Another key difference in the 2009 versus the 2010 is in the texture and mouth feel. The 2010 is denser and richer on the palate with the best wines exhibiting wonderful velvety tannins that coat your mouth. In a few chateaux, I compared the 2009 with the 2010 and the 2009 has spicier, more seductive flavours and is a more generous style. Among the top properties, the 2010s are wines to enjoy after at least ten years of aging.


Is 2010 better than 2009 in Bordeaux? It is too early to conclude right now — wait for my April 7th notes. So far among the top chateaux, some did better in 2009 while others did better in 2010. So far, there is no clear quality difference – both seem to be excellent but there is a huge stylistic difference.


Some great value 2010 Bordeaux:


1. 2010 Château les Ormes-de-Pez, St. Estephe, France This is a very expressive and seductive wine, with incredible density and power and lots of depth. This vintage is a great success for Ormes-de-Pez. Its nose has vibrant blackberries and blueberries, with a hint of cedar with rich mocha notes in the middle palate. A rich, full bodied generous style. Global average retail price for the 2009 vintage is EUR25. (Data obtained from (90-92)


2. 2010 Château Haut-Beausejour, St. Estephe, France This wine has an attractive nose of ripe blackberries, plums, and cedar. The mid-palate is fresh and vibrant with lively fruit balance and generous, ripe tannins. This wine clearly has the density to age for at least a decade. Global average retail price for the 2009 vintage is EUR18. (Data obtained from


3. 2010 Château Pibran, Pauillac, France This 17 hectare property next to Pontet Canet has produced a very attractive wine with great warmth and body. Made with equal measures of Cabernet and Merlot, it offers vibrant blackberries, cherries, plums, and cedar nose. A wine with great structure (firm tannins and freshness) that has been thoughtfully crafted. Global average retail price for the 2009 vintage is EUR31. (Data obtained from


4. 2010 Château Lalande-Borie, St. Julien, France This is a juicy, spice-filled full bodied red with a hint of cedar that reveals some of its new oak (35%) upbringing. It is a generous style with exuberant aromas of ripe blackberries, plums and blackberries. Enjoy in its youth but the intensity and tannin profile suggests it will age and keep for decades. Severe selection in 2010 resulted in 14,000 cases compared to the average of 16,000 cases per year. Global average retail price for the 2009 vintage is EUR18. (Data obtained from (90-92)


5. 2010 Château Fourcas-Borie, Listrac, France The first vintage of Fourcas-Borie was in 2009, and it features 15% Petit Verdot, which in 2010 was very ripe. This contributes to the depth and complexity of the wine resulting in a lifted nose followed by fruity mid-palate flavours of fresh blueberries, vibrant blackberries and plums. The firm, dense, ripe tannins add wonderful structure and depth. Good complexity for a Listrac. Enjoy with at least 5 years of bottle age. Global average retail price for the 2008 vintage is EUR18. (Data obtained from (88-90)