Ahh, the joys of a new issue of Burghound! For those of us in the Pinot and Burgundy business, Christmas comes four times a year – with the release of each quarterly issue of Allen Meadows’ Burghound – the Ultimate Burgundy Reference. Now in its 12th year, Burghound has become the last word in all things Burgundy, and we devour Allen’s reviews, ratings, and commentary with relish.
Issue #45 hit today, covering the 2010 vintage, specifically the Côte de Nuits reds. To cut to the chase, I’ll let Allen lay it out for you in all its glory –
“2010 – An Exciting and Ultra-Classic Vintage of Refinement, Balance and Superb Transparency. 2010 may be the most surprising vintage in the last 20 years and that is no small statement when one considers just how many harvests there were in this decade alone where victory has been narrowly snatched from the jaws of potentially truly awful vintages. In a scene that was to play out again and again during my fall visit, I would be in the middle of tasting the wines of a given domaine and my glance of amazement would cross that of the grower’s. In response, the grower would succinctly utter “C’est dingue eh?” which is a colloquial French way of saying that it’s crazy or it’s amazing. It was the commonplace way of acknowledging that the wines were not only remarkable but no one could really explain how or why they obtained such quality. Yes, there are plenty of theories, some of which I will share with you later on in the analysis. But in point of fact, why 2010 is so good isn’t immediately obvious.
There simply isn’t much not to like about the 2010 vintage except for one key factor: there just isn’t very much of it. This is due primarily to two reasons. The first is a very severe frost that killed a huge number of vines in December of 2009. The second is the poor flowering that I have already mentioned. Total yields were off between 30 and 40% and the frost alone is estimated to have reduced production by more than half a million bottle. Thus notwithstanding the recent favorable movement of many currencies vis-à-vis the euro, there will be little incentive on the part of the growers to reduce prices.
In sum, the 2010 vintage produced a very large number of superb wines, indeed every bit as many as did 2009. And the quality of even the average 2010 is very high and it would be fair to say that there are relatively few poor 2010s, at least this is true among the growers that I visit. It is of course true that I visit Burgundy’s best but nonetheless, generally what is true for the elite is true for the average grower in vintages that are consistent such as 2005, 2009 and 2010. Moreover, 2010 is an exciting vintage because the wines are so vibrant and refreshing. But make no mistake, as appealing as they are now, there are going to be some masterpieces resident in the cellars of those who have the patience to allow the greatest 2010s to achieve full maturity. I for one can’t wait.”
In terms of the character of the wines, Allen’s take was the same as mine – these are wines of crystalline purity, freshness, energy, surprising depth, and they show their respective terroirs with great clarity. This is everything I love most about Burgundy. Where the 2009s are sexy, showy, and more obvious, the 2010s are more refined and precise. Two great vintages, but very different styles indeed.
Our producers on the Côte did exceptionally well in this review, I’m happy to report. Frédéric Mugnier knocked it out of the park once again, with a 95-98 for his amazing Musigny, 93-95 for the Amoureuses, 92-94 for the Bonnes Mares, 91-93 for the Fuées, and a 90-92 for the Clos de la Maréchale. (Final scores on the Mugnier ‘09s were also stellar, including a 98 for the Musigny. All of the ‘09s are sold-out EXCEPT for the gorgeous 91-point ’09 Clos de la Maréchale – so get it while you can. The 2010s will be offered pre-arrival this fall…
J-J Confuron had another big success with the 2010s – from the Romanée-St. Vivant to the Côte de Nuits Villages, big scores and excellent notes – which echo mine from my tasting there in November.
The newest addition to the Scott Paul portfolio is Domaine Marc Roy in Gevrey-Chambertin, where Alexandrine Roy has fashioned yet another set of gorgeous wines. All of this domaine’s holdings are at the village level – they have no 1er or Grand Cru, yet the wines score in the 90s! Meadows rarely gives marks in the 90s to village-level wines – these are truly outstanding, very limited, and coming to a tasting room in Carlton very very soon…
Romain & Jean Taupenot
I’m very happy to see our friend Romain Taupenot score so well with his entire range of 2010s from Domaine Taupenot-Merme – virtually everything in the 90s across the board. These will be exciting wines to turn you on to later this year.
In all, we are blessed with two consecutive excellent vintages in Burgundy, and I look forward to helping all these bottles find good homes in your cellar soon!