Vintage 2010 is a much-lauded vintage for red Bordeaux. Coming right after the outstanding vintage 2009, vintage 2010 was not at all dwarfed nor underrated. The two back-to-back, consecutive vintages shine together as two of the best years Bordeaux has seen for decades. Out of hundreds of wines, as of today, 12 of them attained, retained (or gained, between en primeur review till now) their 100 point status. Some of them might be well within expectations whilst a handful few made an appearance as top scorer only for this spectacular vintage. Let’s take a look at the list and review full wine reviews for these creme de la creme 2010 Bordeaux clarets.
Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse 2010 surprised the world with a stunning duo of 2009 and 2010 output, which sent its prices triple the level of what it normally asks for. This is the dark horse candidate for 2010 Bordeaux 100-point contenders. Whilst the rest won by consistent performance, Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse clearly shows how great weather can transcend a wine to another level.
“The 2010 is a more structured, masculine and steely version of the utterly compelling 2009. Tasting like black raspberry confiture with subtle notes of graphite and crushed chalk along with enormous floral notes, the wine displays a slightly smoky character but a voluptuous attack, mid-palate and finish. Its is full-bodied and massively endowed, with every component perfectly etched in this extraordinary wine, which should be drinkable after 7-8 years of bottle age and last for a half-century or more. This is brilliant stuff. Composed of 73% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon from yields of 21 hectoliters per hectare, the alcohol is the highest ever registered at Beausejour-Duffau, coming in at 15%, but remarkably, the pH is modest and the acids relatively elevated, giving the wine an astonishing freshness and precision that is hard to believe in view of its power, density and length. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2055+.
Anyone who has read this publication or visited St.-Emilion knows that this is a magical terroir capable of great things. It was only fully exploited in the past in the 1990 vintage, but has reached more consistently great heights over the last three or four years. Kudos to the duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt for what they have achieved over the last few years at Beausejour-Duffau.” WA100
Latour 2010, together with Latour 2009, present two consecutive vintages of sheer mass and power from this unique, river-side well draining gravelly plot of Pauillac. What seems to differentiate the two vintages lies in that 0.2 difference in pH – 2010 featuring a pH 3.6 whilst 2009 is two points higher. This pH difference, together with the slightly lower alcohol and higher total acidity in combination delivers a wine that is going to preserve for an even longer timeframe than 2009. This is a keeper for those who want to pass wines on to next generation.
“One of the perfect wines of the vintage, Frederic Engerer challenged me when I tasted the 2010 Latour at the estate, asking, “If you rate the 2009 one hundred, then how can this not be higher?” Well, the scoring system stops at 100, (and has for 34 years,) and will continue for as long as I continue to write about wine. Nevertheless, this blend of 90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.5% Merlot, and .5% Petit Verdot hit 14.4% natural alcohol and represents a tiny 36% of their entire production. The pH is about 3.6, which is normal compared to the 3.8 pH of the 2009, that wine being slightly lower in alcohol, hence the combination that makes it more flamboyant and accessible. The 2010 is a liquid skyscraper in the mouth, building layers upon layers of extravagant, if not over-the-top richness with its hints of subtle charcoal, truffle, blackberry, cassis, espresso and notes of toast and graphite. Full-bodied, with wonderfully sweet tannin, it is a mind-boggling, prodigious achievement that should hit its prime in about 15 years, and last for 50 to 100.
There is no denying the outrage and recriminations over the decision by the Pinault family and their administrator, Frederic Engerer, to pull Latour off the futures market next year. However, you can still buy these 2010s, although the first two wines are not likely to be released until they have more maturity, which makes sense from my perspective. Perhaps Latour may have offended a few loyal customers who were buying wines as futures, but they are trying to curtail all the interim speculation that occurs with great vintages of their wines (although only God knows what a great vintage of future Latour will bring at seven or eight years after the harvest). As a set of wines, the 2010s may be the Pinaults’ and Engerer’s greatest achievements to date. Of course, I suspect the other first-growth families won’t want to hear that, nor will most of the negociants in Bordeaux, but it’s just the way things are. Frederic Engerer, by no means the most modest of administrators at the first growths, thinks it would be virtually impossible to produce a wine better than this, and he may well be correct. If they gave out Academy Awards for great performances in wine, the Pinaults and Engerer would certainly fetch a few in 2010. P.S. Just so you don’t worry, Engerer offered up the 2009 next to the 2010 to see if I thought it was still a 100-point wine, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, it still is.” WA100
Montrose 2010’s most recent scoring as a 99-point wine should not be taken as a material discount of the wine’s supreme quality and ageing potential. Rather it can be seen that the wine has consistently performed during the embryonic en primeur stage as much as it is now that it is at early adolescence. Neal Martin rated Montrose 2010 a solid 99 point both times when he tasted it. Robert Parker marvelled at Montrose 2010’s ageing potential – this, like Latour 2010, is going to reward those who manage to be extremely patient. The chateau appears to have taken into account of varying and changing palates of the world – it is a solace to learn that the chateau officially sees that Montrose 2010 has a 80-year drinking window commencing this year till year 2100.) Last but not least, this is perhaps one of the best value 100-point Bordeaux 2010!
“2010 Montrose was the youngest vintage by some 115 years, but it is undeniably one of the best. It is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot picked from 27 September until 15 October. Deep, almost opaque in color, it has a tightly wound, arresting nose of blackberry, bilberry, crushed violets and graphite all with quite brilliant delineation. The palate is medium rather than full-bodied, laden with plenty of fruit, grippy like many 2010s with a structured, masculine and tannic finish that wards you away for another 10-15 years. However, it is still possible to admire the purity and delineation of this long-term Montrose, a wine that comes with a compulsory cellaring. Patience will be handsomely rewarded. How long can you wait?” WA99 (April 2017)
“This is considered to be among the greatest vintages ever made in Montrose, right up with the 1929, 1945, 1947, 1959, 1961, 1989, 1990 and 2009. Harvest was October 15 to 17. The wine has really come on since I last tasted it, and it needs at least another 10 years of cellaring. The blend was 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine is opaque black/blue, with an incredible nose of blueberry and blackberry liqueur, with hints of incense, licorice, and acacia flowers. Tannins are incredibly sweet and very present. The wine is full-bodied, even massive, with great purity, depth and a finish that goes on close to a minute. This is a 50- to 75-year-old wine that will repay handsomely those with good aging genes. (Note: The Chateau Montrose website gives an aging potential of 2020-2100.)” WA100 (August 2014)
Cheval Blanc 2010 was rated 100 point by Robert Parker in 2013 and re-rated 100 points again in 2017. Cheval Blanc showed the difference of the two spectacular vintages of 2009 and 2010. 2009’s overall hotter summer delivers flamboyant wines with liqueurish fruit whilst 2010’s alternating hot, dry days and cool nights during the entire ripening period gives wines of great intensity and richness that take a longer time to open up and untwine. 2009 presents lushness, 2010 delivers structure. Cheval Blanc illustrates just that.
“The 2010 is one of the most impressive two-year-old Cheval Blancs I have tasted in 34 years in this profession. The final blend of 54% Cabernet Franc and 46% Merlot has the tell-tale berry/floral nose with subtle hints of menthol, blueberry, raspberry and flowers in addition to some forest floor and a delicate touch of lead pencil shavings. The wine exhibits more structure and density than it did from barrel, and it was already remarkable then. The foresty/floral notes seem to linger and linger in this surprisingly full-bodied, powerful Cheval Blanc, yet it possesses a very healthy pH that should ensure enormous longevity. Dense purple in color, and a bigger, richer wine than usual, this is one Cheval Blanc that will probably need a decade of cellaring. I like the description from the estate’s administrator, Pierre Lurton, who said it tasted like “liquid cashmere,” a perfect expression, despite the wine’s structure and intensity. This is another 50-year wine from this amazingly structured, rich vintage.” WA100
Haut Brion 2010 marked a Cabernet year for this winery: Cabernet-Merlot ratio hits 57%:23% in 2010, compared against 40%:46% in 2009. This translates into a more aristocratic, reserved and serious aromatic profile for Haut Brion 2010. The true iron fist in a velvet glove expression.
“As for the 2010 Haut-Brion, it does not have the power of Latour’s 2010 or the intense lead pencil shavings and chocolaty component of Lafite-Rothschild, but it is extraordinary, perfect wine. It has a slightly lower pH than the 2009 (3.7 versus the 2009’s 3.8), and even higher alcohol than the 2009 (14.6%). The wine is ethereal. From its dense purple color to its incredibly subtle but striking aromatics that build incrementally, offering up a spectacular smorgasbord of aromas ranging from charcoal and camphor to black currant and blueberry liqueur and spring flowers, this wine’s finesse, elegant yet noble power and authority come through in a compelling fashion. It is full-bodied, but that’s only apparent in the aftertaste, as the wine seems to float across the palate with remarkable sweetness, harmony, and the integration of all its component parts – alcohol, tannin, acidity, wood, etc. This prodigious Haut-Brion is hard to compare to another vintage, at least right now, but it should have 50 to 75 years of aging potential. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2065+.
Kudos to the team at Haut-Brion and to the proprietors, the Dillon family, who are now represented admirably and meticulously by Prince Robert of Luxembourg. He has made some changes, and all of them seem to have resulted in dramatic improvements to what was already an astonishing group of wines.” WA100
La Violette 2010 only makes an average 150 cases a year, making this wine one of the hardest to find 100-pointer Bordeaux 2010 claret! Price of the wine reflects just how well sought-after and rare it is. Located between Le Pin and Trotanoy, this miniscule 2-hectare estate is planted entirely to Merlot and is known for delivering uniquely floral, elegant and refined version of Pomerol.
“Sadly, there’s not a whole lot of production to this microscopic estate in Pomerol, but the name says it all. The awesome aromatics include not only raspberries, black cherries, and blackberry, but also the floral perfume of an haute couture house. Its terrific aromatics are followed by a wine with quintessential elegance married to almost unbridled density of fruit, all presented in a flawless and seamless concoction of full-bodied power, elegance and purity. This is a riveting wine and certainly one of the great classics to ever be produced by this tiny estate. Kudos to proprietress Catherine Pere-Verge. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2035.” WA100
Le Dome 2010 is a great example illustrating why reading Robert Parker and Neal Martin reviews simultaneously can offer greater insights than just relying on one of them. What is clearly obvious in both reviews is that Le Dome is a wine better suited for those who prefer modern, flashy, “hedonistic” and “provocative” wines. At its embryonic stage Le Dome appeared to be unrelentlessly backward, as observed by Neal Martin; whilst given a few years’ time, when tasted by Robert Parker, the luxurious, confectionery fruit side of Le Dome began to show its charm.
“Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. The Le Dome 2010 has a hedonistic bouquet with sensual black cherry, blueberry and creme de cassis scents that soar from the glass. The palate is intensely tannic and robust: unashamedly modern in style and yet I like the acidity that binds it together. Monstrously backward, this is a vin de garde that will need at least a decade to mellow because the oak is still quite conspicuous.” WA93 (Neal Martin)
“A full-bodied wine, but ethereal in its elegance and finesse, the wine has a strikingly provocative bouquet of camphor, blueberry jam, violets, new saddle leather, white chocolate and spice. Extremely full-bodied, but again, not showing any weighty fatigue or any type of aggressiveness, this wine has extraordinary purity and richness as well as a blockbuster finish of close to a minute, yet is so flawless, seamless and compelling, it’s hard to believe the wine is this concentrated and rich. It will be interesting to see how it evolves, but it certainly can be drunk in 3-4 years and, I’m sure, cellared for as long as 25-35 years from now. There are 1,000 cases of this wine, which has one of the highest percentages of Cabernet Franc of any wine in Bordeaux (80%). The balance is Merlot. The 2009 from Le Dome flirted with perfection, but this wine swallows the entire scoring system, and rightfully so.” WA100 (Robert Parker)
Le Pin 2010 or Petrus 2010 can be the fine wine collector’s dilemma for vintage 2010! Both crafted exceptionally profound wines – with Le Pin embracing richness whilst Petrus exercising slightly more restrain. This duo can perhaps be tasted side by side this year for outright extravagant yet nonetheless educational purposes. They will however both benefit at least another 2 to 3 decades of ageing before they begin to show their prime.
“Made from 100% Merlot (one percent for each rating point I’ve assigned), this wine is explosively rich and compelling. Dense plum/purple, it boasts the remarkable delineation and freshness that are hallmarks of this vintage. From a much smaller production than normal because of Merlot’s poor flowering, the very hot, dry growing and harvest conditions, this is a super-endowed, very rich Le Pin with its exotic new oak largely buried behind its extravagant concentration, power and richness. I don’t know what its natural alcohol level is, but I suspect it is pushing 15% in 2010. Rich, tannic, but exceptionally well-endowed, this is a sublime example of Merlot at its very finest. Forget it for 5-7 years (which is somewhat unusual for Le Pin) and drink it over the following three decades. Drink 2018-2048.” WA100
Let’s read Petrus 2010 reviews and you’d see some parallels between Le Pin and Petrus profiles from this particular vintage.
“The harvest at Petrus took place between September 27 and October 12, and the 2010 finished at 14.1% natural alcohol, which is slightly lower than the 2009’s 14.5%. The 2010 reminds me somewhat of the pre-1975 vintages of Petrus, a monster-in-the-making, with loads of mulberry, coffee, licorice and black cherry notes with an overlay of enormous amounts of glycerin and depth. Stunningly rich, full-bodied and more tannic and classic than the 2009, this is an awesome Petrus, but probably needs to be forgotten for 8-10 years. It should last at least another 50 or more.
Proprietor Jean Moueix, who I believe is in his late twenties, has taken over for his father, Jean-Francois, who has largely retired, and the younger Moueix has really pushed quality even higher at this renowned estate. Anyone visiting Pomerol would have undoubtedly noticed the renovations at Petrus, as it was once one of the most modest and humble buildings in the appellation. Moreover, I suspect that multi-millionaire/billionaire collectors will have about 50 years to debate over which vintage of Petrus turns out better, the 2009 or 2010. In a perfect world, most people would love to have a few bottles of each, or at least the opportunity to taste them once in a while, as they have become more of a myth than something real, but these wines do, in fact, exist!” WA100
Pape Clement 2010 was not greeted with 100-point enthusiasm when released as en primeur and that went across the board among other wine critics, except perhaps for James Suckling whom rated the wine 96-97 points during en primeur. The wine came around in a few years’ time and earned its 100 points in 2013.
“I certainly underrated the 2010 Pape Clement from barrel, rating it only 93-95+. (Thank God I put a “plus” there!) Having tasted it four times in Bordeaux, and rating it perfect three times and 99 the fourth time, this final blend of 51% Merlot, 47.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1.5% Petit Verdot is perfection in a bottle. Tipping the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol, there are 8,000 cases of it. Its sublime elegance, the power, the medium to full-bodied texture, the silky tannins, the subtle notes of smoke, lead pencil shavings, black currants, charcoal, camphor, blueberry and cassis fruit are all remarkable. It is a rich, full-throttle wine, but the elegance and the great terroir of Pape Clement come through in abundance. It is slightly more developed and evolved than the 2005 was at a similar point in its evolution, but it certainly needs another 5-7 years to develop further nuances, which it surely will. This wine will last 30-40+ years.
Kudos to proprietor Bernard Magrez, who has built an empire based on high quality more than any other characteristics.” WA100
Pavie 2010 was reviewed 5 times over the past decade by the eponymous Robert Parker and Neal Martin. At youth the wine appeared to be slightly less impressive (its en primeur rating hit 96/98 range) and it took five years for the wine to show its potential and earned its 100-point rating from the hands of Robert Parker himself.
“What fun, excitement and joy it will be to compare the four perfect wines Perse has made in 2005, 2009, 2010 and, of course, the 2000, in 25 or so years. This wine is truly profound Bordeaux. Everything is in place – remarkable concentration and a beautiful nose of cedar and ripe blackcurrant and blackberry with some kirsch and spice box in the background. Lavishly rich, with slightly more structure and delineation than the more Rabelaisian 2009, this wine does show some serious tannins in the finish, and comes across as incredibly youthful. Of course, it’s five years old, but it tastes more like a just-bottled barrel sample than a 2010. In any event, this wine is set for a long, long life and should be forgotten for at least another decade. Consume it over the following 75 or more years.
Pavie is widely acclaimed as one of Bordeaux’s greatest terroirs, of largely limestone and clay soils. Brilliantly situated with a sunny, southern exposure and exceptional drainage, Pavie potentially rivals nearby Ausone, the oldest and possibly the most famous estate in Bordeaux. Pavie’s other nearby neighbors include, Pavie-Macquin and Troplong-Mondot to the north, Larcis-Ducasse to the southeast and La Gaffelière and Saint-Georges Côte Pavie to the west. Until 1978, previous owners rarely produced great wine, but of course that all changed with the acquisition of the 92-acre, single vineyard by Chantal and Gérard Perse. In short, they dramatically raised the quality. Currently, the vineyard is planted with 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, but the actual blend for each vintage tends to possess slightly higher amounts of Merlot. A perfectionist, owner Gérard Perse is flexible with the percentage of new oak, as well as how long the wine is aged in cask. Great vintages can get 100% new oak and spend up to 32 months in barrel. Lesser years are bottled after 18 months and see at least 30% less new oak. There is no fining or filtration. The resulting wine has been considered one of the superstars of Bordeaux since 1978.” WA100
Pontet Canet 2010 is often compared against Pontet Canet 2009. Both being 100-point wines, this duo consistently reflects Pontet Canet’s alluring floral, forward yet precise dark fruit profile. We were astounded by Pontet Canet 2009’s readiness-to-drink few years back in 2016/7. Vintage 2010 is overall known for needing a little more time than 2009 to come around – at 10 years old, we think it’s time to pop a bottle of Pontet Canet 2010 and evaluate.
“An absolutely amazing wine, from grapes harvested between the end of September and October 17, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has close to 15% natural alcohol. It comes from one of the few biodynamic vineyards in Bordeaux, but you are likely to see many more, given the success that Tesseron seems to be having at all levels, both in his vineyards and in his fermentation/winemaking. An astounding, compelling wine with the classic Pauillac nose more often associated with its cross-street neighbor, Mouton-Rothschild, creme de cassis, there are also some violets and other assorted floral notes. The wine has off-the-charts massiveness and intensity but never comes across as heavy, overbearing or astringent. The freshness, laser-like precision, and full-bodied, massive richness and extract are simply remarkable to behold and experience. It is very easy, to become jaded tasting such great wines from a great vintage, but it is really a privilege to taste something as amazing as this. Unfortunately, it needs a good decade of cellaring, and that’s assuming it doesn’t close down over the next few years. This is a 50- to 75-year wine from one of the half-dozen or so most compulsive and obsessive proprietors in all of Bordeaux. Is there anything that proprietor Alfred Tesseron is not doing right? Talk about an estate that is on top of its game! Pontet-Canet’s 2010 is a more structured, tannic and restrained version of their most recent perfect wine, the 2009. Kudos to Pontet-Canet.” WA100
All above full wine reviews and scores are all extracted with authorization from RobertParker.com.