2010 Bordeaux Wine Vintage Report and Buying Guide

2010 Bordeaux Wine Vintage Summary with harvest information, vintage characteristics, buying tips and links. If you are seeking more in-depth information on anything and everything related to the Bordeaux wine region please see the: All About Bordeaux Wine Guide

To see tasting notes, reviews and ratings for the top 250 Bordeaux wines from  the 2010 Bordeaux vintage: 2010 Bordeaux Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings, Buying Guide

Like many great vintages, the 2010 Bordeaux wine vintage got off to a slow start after the cold winter conditions. With a lack of evenness in the flowering, coupled with Merlot that was having problems, many chateaux started off the season nervous over the potential for the vintage. After a difficult, cold winter, bud break took place just a few days later than it started in 2009, about mid-April. The Merlot crop was hit by millerandage and colure, two diseases leading to the need to eliminate damaged Merlot berries at many estates. This condition reduced yields as well, which helped to add concentration to the 2010 Bordeaux wines.

A cool, damp early June did not help the vintage. But things turned around with a beautiful, summer with warm and hot days for the rest of June, July and August. What really helped the 2010 Bordeaux vintage was not just the perfect summer weather, but the amount of sunshine the grapes received. This was coupled with cool nights which is perfect for the grapes and their much needed levels of acidities. Things were definitely turned around by this point. The lack of water and vine stress made for a good growing season for red and white wines. The changes in temperature, allowed the wines to develop levels of acidity which give the wines their vibrancy and freshness. The September rain also aided in the development of maturity in the vines at just the right time. This allowed the grapes to achieve better, phenolic ripeness.

2010 Bordeaux wine is a product of drought conditions. 2010 is the driest year on record since 1949. But drought alone is not enough to shape a great vintage. The combination of warm days and cool nights helped produce wines with high alcohol, ripe, but strong tannins and low pH levels, giving the wines ample acidity to keep them fresh and vibrant.

2010 Bordeaux wine is a modern version of classically styled vintage. 2010 Bordeaux wine are big, tannic, and structured, requiring time to age, soften and develop. Analysis of the grapes show 2010 Bordeaux wine to be rich in raw materials, extract, tannins and alcohol. The Cabernet Sauvignon based wines range from 13.5% to over 14.5%. In Pomerol and St. Emilion, some of the best wines are over 15.5%. Should that matter? If the wines tasted hot, flabby or out of balance, yes. But with so much acidity giving the wines lift, that is not case. The biggest problems encountered with 2010 Bordeaux wine is that some wines are over extracted. Wine makers that used a gentle hand produced stunning wines that are at the level of the best wines from 2000, 2005 and 2009! Some are even better.

Where is 2010 Bordeaux wine at its best?  How does it stack up against 2009 Bordeaux wine?  Those are not simple questions. In the Right Bank, across the board, 2010 is a better vintage in St. Emilion. The wines are fresher and offer more purity. In Pomerol, 2009 is a better vintage. Moving to the Left Bank, in St. Estephe, 2009 is a much better vintage.  Pauillac is difficult to handicap, but I’d say, 2010 Bordeaux from Pauillac are better for most producers than 2009.  St. Julien and Margaux are on a wine by wine basis.  I’d give the nod to 2009 for Pessac Leognan.  Numerous chateaux produced quality 2010 Bordeaux wine. The only problems with the wines are, the vintage requires patience.  They will need time to age.  The other issue is the price. 2010 Bordeaux wine set a record for the most expensive vintage in history.

For more 2010 Bordeaux wine information, follow this link for a series of interviews with Bordeaux wine makers on the 2010 vintage:  2010 Bordeaux Harvest Reports and Winemaker Interviews
To read about other Bordeaux vintages from 1945 to today: Bordeaux Year to Year Detailed Vintage Reports & Guide 1945 to Today

For a look at the best 2010 Bordeaux wine wine values from the vintage: 2010 Best Bordeaux wine for the money today