by Gareth Groves
Yup, it is that time of year again already. All next week Bibendum Times will be treading the raked gravel of the Medoc to taste the new vintage. Look out for the usual news, views, tasting notes and rants both here and on Twitter.
To get the ball rolling, here’s a quick imaginary Q&A about Bordeaux 2010 so far:
What’s the 2010 vintage like?
Whilst we will know a lot more this time next week, the early signs are this is another very good vintage. A few of the Bibendum team had a sneak preview of some wines back in February and liked what they tasted. James Suckling (ex-Wine Spectator) has been out in Bordeaux for weeks and has already blogged that “No one in his or her sound mind could say that 2010 is not an excellent vintage for Bordeaux.”
Bordeaux negociant Bill Blatch has also just published his excellent annual in-depth vintage report. He reports that 2010 “is clearly going to be a tremendous vintage for (dry) whites” and that it is the “prettiest vintage of all time, with lovely, floral, uniformly pure and totally fresh-styled” sweet wines.
With regards the reds, “Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc are quite clearly a major success”… “nicely aromatic but, above all, if not over-tannic, have a firm, tensile, strong structure of great breed”.
Comparing them to their illustrious predecessors, Blatch notes while “they have all the power of the 2009s, they have nothing of the opulence and thickness of the 2009s.”
Sounds good to me: fresh, tannic, structured wines with ripe fruit and the ability to last. Anyone serious about Bordeaux, really should read Blatch’s report in full. You can request a copy by filling in the form on his Bordeaux Gold blog.
It’s all well and good you swanning about Margaux next week but when can we taste the bloody wines?
Glad you asked. 4th May is the answer, at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.
Once again, Bibendum will be playing host to the UK’s biggest consumer Bordeaux Tasting with over 90 big name chateaux attending. It is by far the best way to get a grip on the vintage.
You can read all the tweet, blogs, tasting notes, vintage reports and newspaper articles you like but there is no substitute for actually tasting the wines and forming your opinion on the vintage. Don’t miss it.
Any controversy yet?
It really is the calm before the storm at the moment but I suspect that before long we’ll have another Pavie 2003 or Cos d’Estournel 2009 to debate. In the meantime, most online discussions are revolving around the role of the critic.
Jancis Robinson has mooted that she might delay publishing her notes and scores until the wines are published, in order that her work is not used to justify higher prices by the Chateaux. As Jancis puts it “I do increasingly feel like a pawn in a game designed to part you (the consumer) with as much money as possible.”
Thomas Matthews of the Wine Spectator, Guy Woodward of Decanter and Robert Parker have all had their say on the issue too. You can read their views on Jancis’s website (no subscription required).
Are the press being used “unpaid PR people” by the Bordeaux machine (as one of Jancis’s readers put it) or are their voices a welcome impartial counterweight to the subjective hype generated by the producers and merchants? Let us know what you think.
Stop Press: James Suckling has already released his scores for the vintage and has awarded 5 chateaux a perfect 100 points straight off the bat, before the wines have finished their elevage and been bottled. Another three are rated at a slightly more circumspect 99-100. The sign of an amazing vintage or a scoop-loving journalist with a website to sell? Maybe its both.