Tuesday, September 06, 2011

2010 - The Vintage of the Century !

Okay, now that I have your attention...

From the little that I have tasted so far, I think 2010 is going to be a fantastic vintage for many of the wines that I love to drink. I'm talking about Beaujolais, Muscadet, Chinon and the other Loire Valley sites. Fantastic in the sense that the wines will be both incredibly delicious and also very much true to themselves, highly expressive of place.

Think about these wines in 2009, for a minute. The wines are very ripe, full in body, and I've often thought that they do not express terroir as well as they do in the less ripe vintages. I'm not saying they are bad wines, or that I don't like them, or anything like that. I'm just saying that the average 2009 version of a wine that I typically love turns out not to be a style of wine that I love.

2010, however, seems to be a different story. I remember in the early spring at the Bowler portfolio tasting I spoke with Mathieu Baudry while tasting through his '09s. I told him that I was surprised at how ripe they were. He agreed, and said that while they are good wines, he is extremely excited about his 2010s. He said that they will show a perfect balance of fruit and soil characteristics, great acidity and balance, and a blend of power and grace. That sounds exciting, no?

Dan Melia of Mosel Wine Merchant told me that 2010 was a crazy vintage for Mosel Riesling with the highest acidity levels in years. He said that many producers had to de-acidify, and that some of the wines, even from big name producers, might be difficult. The producers who were able to handle the various challenges made truly great wines, he said, and he is very excited about a lot of the 2010s in his portfolio, including wines by Peter Lauer, Weiser-Küntsler, and others. Yes, he imports the wines and is expected to say that he likes them. But if you know Mosel Wine Merchant or Dan Melia, you wouldn't be thinking about that conflict because for them there is no such conflict, he says what he thinks about the wines.

Peter Liem in ChampagneGuide.net talks of 2010 as a very difficult vintage with prominent rot and other dreary weather problems. He says that he doubts there will be many vintage Champagnes made. But he also expresses a clear optimism for the vintage, saying that conscientious growers were able to harvest ripe fruit, and if they employed "strict, even ruthless triage" they were able to make quality wines.

Those are just stories about wines though. I've tasted just a wee bit and I must say that I have been blown away so far by the 2010 versions of some of my favorite wines. Here are two:

2010 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Clos des Briords, $16, Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. I always love drinking Clos des Briords, but this is my favorite since 2007 or 2004 and I think I prefer it to them. The wine is simply great - it shows a wonderful blend of minerality, fruit, and acidity, everything in balance, and it is vibrantly expressive and intensely focused. Yes, it's a bit harsh now in its youth, but for me, it promises to be completely delicious and is absolutely and unmistakably Clos des Briords. If you like Muscadet, this is a wine to go long on.

2010 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette, $20, Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. I hadn't even tasted the wine and I knew it was great, just the nose is enough. It is dark and meaty and herbal and cooling and completely harmonious. The palate offers great joy in its meaty and mineral-infused fruit, its slender frame, and its nuanced and detailed expression. It is grainy and tannic and still uncoiling, but this is exactly what excites me about Clos de la Roilette, and to me it is as good as young Beaujolais gets. I haven't tasted the Tardive yet and I'm excited...

I have no idea what 2010 will bring in the finished wines of Champagne, in Burgundy, in the Jura, or in the other places I love. But I have high hopes.


King Krak, I Drink the Wine said...

What, Italy no longer exists? No love for Friuli?

Douglas said...

I bought half a dozen bottles of the Clos des Briords 2010 at $13 apiece and have already consumed half of them. I have been told to put a few bottles away, but, but ... why? This is such an interesting wine and so delicious now, I really must denounce this sort of wine puritanism! In all of my wine tasting experience I can't think of a better value white wine than this. Cheers.

Close des Briords Vielles Vignes 2010

Weston said...

Hmm Interesting! I've been buying up 09 Beaujolais like crazy, most of them need time, Guess Ill be buying 10s too [and really the prices are great too]

I have a 09 Baudry, will have to taste [didnt like the 08s myself] and see how they are

Come on 10s!