As Bordeaux châteaus prepare for their first official unveiling of the 2010 vintage, France’s most famous wine region knows it has a tough act to follow. The 2009 vintage is a tremendous one that, by all accounts, has produced scads of classic quality reds—and commanded record prices for the young wines.
However, 2010 looks like it will give ’09 a run for its money, thanks to a long, dry, warm growing season marred only by some significant coulure (shatter) on old-vine Merlot vineyards, reducing the crop. The Cabernet-dominated wines of the Left Bank may emerge as the top wines of the vintage. Early impressions of the young wines, which are still aging in barrels in the château cellars, indicate that the ’10 red Bordeaux are very ripe and sport some punch—with abundant tannins and slightly higher-than-usual alcohol levels. The wines are also fresh and racy, as there looks to be plenty of acidity for balance. ( Read more about the 2010 harvest.)
How can buyers know which wines are worth their prices? Many members of the wine trade will visit Bordeaux this spring and taste the young wines for themselves. But most consumers don’t have that option. That is why Wine Spectator is sending our team to the region. We try to be the consumers’ advocate, giving independent evaluations to help you make good decisions.