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THE 2010 BURGUNDY VINTAGE by Clive Coates

Compared with 2009, these figures represent a deficit of 25 percent in red and 16 percent in white.

It was a cold, drawn-out winter, some two degrees cooler than the average, though rainfall and sunshine were normal. There was one severe attack of frost on December 22nd, just before Christmas, which caused widespread damage on the upside of the main road from Beaune to Dijon. In many places the road is on higher ground, and the land dips before climbing up towards the premiers crus, thus causing a frost pocket. It is here, just as in 1985, that the damage has been done. Some vines have been killed outright; others managed a late push of vegetation which was either unproductive or far to late to be useful. This, and further depredations later in the season, have led to a crop some 25 percent less than the average (which is some 250,000 hectolitres, excluding generics, for the Côte d'Or).

 

Apart from a brief interlude in April the cold climatic pattern persisted right through until June 22nd. The vines flowered late and irregularly. Coulure and millerandage were widespread. There were isolated attacks of mildew. Conditions were the opposite of promising. The harvest would be late and maturity would be uneven unless there were to be a dramatic improvement in the weather.

Happily Burgundy then enjoyed a fine, even hot, period of several weeks until July 21st. The downside was that there were, inevitably, the usual storms, and in places, hail damage. On July 10th parts of northern Beaujolais and the southern Mâconnais were affected: Moulin à Vent, Saint-Amour, Leynes, Chaintré, Pouilly-Vinzelles, and the village of Fuissé. There was hail in some of the left bank vineyards in Chablis, especially in Vaillons. But the Côte d'Or and the Chalonnais seem to have been spared.

The weather in August was uneven; nice and warm, but with no lack of rain. We had oidium, here and there, and black rot elsewhere, in vineyards not properly looked after, especially in southern Burgundy and parts of Meursault. Together with the hail this has resulted in uneven quality in the Mâconnais, while further north the vintage is much more consistent.

 

Once into September the weather changed again. The wind changed to the north. It began to be much cooler during the night. Most days were dry and warm (though not hot – 25° maximum) but above all very sunny. It is sun, rather than heat, which ripens the fruit. Photosynthesis was able to continue right to the end, as the vegetation remained green. Acidities did not plunge; while the grapes continued to pile on sugar. Except where there had been prior hail or cryptogamic damage the fruit remained very healthy.

Apart from a few gloomy days around Tuesday September 7th, and a brief tempest in the evening of the 12th, which occasioned hail damage in Santenay and the southern end of Chassagne-Montrachet, the fine weather continued until Friday September 24th, by which time everyone was into their harvest. Picking began across Burgundy at more or less the same time: the 16th in the Beaujolais, the 18th in the Mâconnais, the 20th in the Côte Chalonnaise, the Côte d'Or and Chablis, though some waited until the 23rd. Following a pause on the 24th the good conditions continued with but brief stoppages for what turned out to be showers rather than more prolonged periods of rain. Most growers had finished by the week-end of October 1st.

 

All reports underline the same conclusion about the 2010 harvest. It has turned out a great deal better than one could possibly have imagined at the end of June. If only it had been drier in August! Not that August was wetter than the average, indeed in southern Burgundy precipitation was the same as in 2009.

The Beaujolais are not as abundantly seductive as in 2009, but they are perhaps more classic. The fruit is fresh and delicious. The crop is small and quality is less even than in it was in the previous vintage. The wines are in their prime now.

Quality in part of the Mâconnais has been compromised by the July 10th hail. It is here that the 2010 vintage is at its most heterogenous. But nevertheless, where the fruit has been correctly sorted, we have a combination of good fruit, correct levels of alcohol, nice supporting acidity and no lack of character. The best are delicious now.

Growers in the Côte Chalonnaise are very happy, especially with their red wines. 'That makes three highly successful vintages in a row.' said one, adding that the crop was saved by the anti-rot treatments he had had to apply. Again the whites are fully ready and drinking very well.

 

As elsewhere a small crop in Chablis, as much through a lack of juice in the grapes as to the size of the crop. Good alcoholic dregees – indeed more in the premiers crus than in the grands crus – healthy fruit and nice austere acIdities.

Which brings us to the Côte d'Or. Once again not a lot of juice, owing to widespread millerandage, but more concentration as a result. The red wines showed very good fruit and the grapes were in a very good state of health. Alcohol and acidity levels are more than satisfactory, as are the initial colours. So if the red wines were not as glorious at the outset as in 2009, they were certainly very good, above the current average. And as they developed they seemed to get better and better. The character is more classic than in 2009 and the wines will probably last longer. This was not a vintage to go heavy on the extraction, particularly in communes such as Volnay and Chambolle. That aside, these red wines are consistent; in the Côte de Beaune said to be at their best in Pommard; while the quality in the Côte de Nuits was noted as 'très joli'. Indeed the more you travel north, as is so often the case, the better the wine. The Côte de Nuits benefited not only from a slightly later harvest, but from lower precipitation in August. It is here that the 2010 vintage is at its finest. It is a vintage which shows the  petits fruits rouges flavours of a medium weight, ripe, but not that concentrated a vintage. The wines are more marked by their terroir than in 2009, according to Aubert de Villaine.

 

It was more difficult in the early days to pronounce on the whites than on the reds. One wine-maker spoke about 'explosive' aromas, on the side of the exotic, and colours which were less deep than he feared. There are good acidities, but the vintage will be less classic than the 2008s in his opinion. I'm not sure that I agree. Now that the wines are in bottle one can see in the very best wines a striking success: the grip of the 2008s and the richness of the 2009s. That said, it must be pointed out that the storm of September 12th 'turned' much of the Chardonnay fruit. If one did not pick immediatedly, one's wine was comprimised. The result is a heterogenity between the village and minor premiers crus on the one hand and the wines from the better-sited vineyards, not to mention the grands crus, on the other. This is clearly apparent in the wines of Chassagne-Montrachet: wines of only average quality, and many showing too much botrytis, in Morgeots and the vineyards on the north side of the village, such as Chenevottes, Macharelles and Vergers, but fine wines from the slope which runs from Caillerets down to Embazées. Of the three main villages, Puligny and Meursault are better than Chassagne. Proportionately the higher one goes up the hierarchy, the better the wine. At the very top levels there are many white wines which, as they should, promise to be still improving after the age of five, rather than, as seems to be more and more the norm, depressingly, by that time beginning to lighten up. Overall – and there are a few wines which already hint at premature oxidation - this is clearly a better white wine vintage than 2009. And firmer than 2008.

 

Prices rose, but not by much. Growers were already aware of the deficit in quantity when they announced their 2009 prices, so a gentle shading upwards (I speak in Euros), was the order of the day, except that the elastic between the village wines and the less fashionable premiers crus on the one hand, and the grands crus and top village premiers crus on the other, continues to widen. You will pay increasingly higher prices for Richebourg, Puligny-Montrachet, Les Folatières and Vosne-Romanée, Les Beaumonts, while Savigny-Lès-Beaune, premier cru and Paul Jacqueson's Rully, La Pucelles remain a bargain.

 

The Wines of the Vintage

White Wines

20.0

  • Le Montrachet, Domaine Marc Colin

  • Le Montrachet, Domaine des Comtes Lafon

19.0

  • Chevalier-Montrachet, Domaine Philippe Colin

  • Chevalier-Montrachet, Les Demoiselles, Domaine Louis Jadot

18.5

  • Meursault, Perrières, Domaine Jacques Prieur

  • Chassagne-Montrachet, Les Caillerets, Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard

  • Puligny-Montrachet, Les Caillerets, Domaine Michel Bouzereau

  • Puligny-Montrachet, Les Caillerets, Domaine de Montille

  • Puligny-Montrachet, Les Perrières, Domaine Henri Boillot

  • Puligny-Montrachet, Les Referts, Domaine Arnaud Ente

  • Corton-Charlemagne, Domaine Bonneau du Martray

  • Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Domaine Vincent Girardin

  • Chevalier-Montrachet, La Cabotte, Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils

  • Le Montrachet, Domaine Jacques Prieur

 

Red Wines

20.0

  • La Romanée-Conti, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti

  • Le Musigny, Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier 

19.5

  • Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos Saint-Jacques, Domaine Louis Jadot

  • La Grande Rue, Domaine Lamarche

  • La Romanée, Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair

  • Richebourg, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti

  • La Tache, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti

  • Chambertin, Clos de Bèze, Domaine Armand Rousseau

  • Chambertin, Domaine du Clos Frantin (Albert Bichot)

19.0

  • Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos Saint-Jacques, Domaine Armand Rousseau

  • Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Domaine Follin-Arbelet

  • Richebourg, Domaine A.F. Gros

  • Richebourg, Domaine Thibaut Liger-Belair 

  • Clos de Vougeot, Domaine Anne Gros

  • Le Musigny, Domaine de la Vougeraie

  • Clos de la Roche, Domaine Louis Jadot

  • Clos de la Roche, Domaine Ponsot

  • Griotte-Chambertin, Domaine Joseph Drouhin

  • Chambertin, Clos de Bèze, Domaine Drouhin-Laroze

  • Chambertin, Maison Camille Giroud

  • Chambertin, Domaine Chantal Rémy

  • Chambertin, Domaine Armand Rousseau

18.5

  • Nuits-Saint-Georges, Les Vaucrains, Domaine Robert Chevillon

  • Vosne-Romanée, Les Suchots, Domaine Lamarche

  • Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses, Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier

  • Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses, Domaine Michèle et Patrick Rion 

  • Chambolle-Musigny, Les Charmes, Domaine de la Pousse d'Or

  • Chambolle-Musigny, Les Fuées, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod

  • Gevrey-Chambertin, Lavaux Saint-Jacques, Domaine Louis Jadot

  • Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos Saint Jacques, Domaine Fourrier

  • Grands-Echézeaux, Domaine Clos du Frantin (Albert Bichot)

  • Grands-Echézeaux, Domaine Lamarche

  • Grands-Echézeaux, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti

  • Richebourg, Gros Frère et Soeur

  • Clos de Vougeot, Domaine Sylvain Loichet

  • Bonnes-Mares, Domaine Georges Roumier

  • Bonnes-Mares, Domaine de la Vougeraie

  • Clos de Tart, Domaine Mommessin 

  •  

 

Burgundy Vintage Report by Rousseau: The 2010 vintage began the 19th and 20th of the previous December, when the temperatures during the night dropped to -20C°, killing a number of vines in the most fragile parcels.The vintage was also marked by heavy rains. Except for a pause between June 21 and July 11, the summer months were regularly interrupted by storms.

As a result the vines’ growth, which had started very late, moved along incrementally. Starting quickly with higher-than-normal temperatures in late April, then halted by a cold early May, growth was regularly disturbed up until flowering, causing coulure andmillerandage, insurance for high-quality grapes.

Mildew appeared at the end of June and though it progressed throughout the summer, it did not affect the fruit and very little vegetation. The situation was roughly identical for oidium, which developed only slowly in May and it was not until June 21 that the effect was noticeable. Nonetheless, thanks to careful treatment, in the end the result was completely satisfactory.Harvest began September 22 under sunny skies and sorting was very heavy. More rain on the 24 forced us to interrupt picking, followed by a return to clear weather, though with cooler temperatures.

This was a classic vintage for the Domaine, and for Burgundy, marked by small, healthy bunches. While the yields after sorting were quite low, the fruit quality, acidities and ripeness were very much in synch.Depending on the wines, the macerations and fermentations lasted 15-18 days, and were barrelled by gravity after being pressed and clarified. Though malo-lactic fermentations progressed slowly, when they were finished and the wines had been racked, the level of quality was clear. There is great purity of fruit, with plenty of freshness and finesse and though the tannins are very fine, the wines are still well-structured. The yields, between 30 and 35 percent lower than 2009 are the only black spots on an otherwise classic vintage, very Pinot Noir, giving pleasure in the short-term but with great potential for aging. In short, a winemaker’s vintage that will excite those that love fine wines.

White Burgundy Report by Zachys: Burgundy's Greatest White Vintage In A Decade!

The 2010 vintage for White Burgundy is one of the finest we have ever seen. But then you knew that already since we have been shouting it for over a year now.

This past Friday our praise for the 2010 white Burgundy vintage has been supported by the massive reviews that Antonio Galloni and the Wine Advocate have posted. Posted only on erobertparker.com, the Wine Advocate's coverage on the 2010 white Burgundy vintage is extremely comprehensive and holds tremendous praise for the vintage as a whole and plenty of great wines.

So much so that this could easily be the greatest white Burgundy vintage In a decades!

"The 2010 white Burgundies are some of the most riveting young wines I have ever tasted. In the finest examples readers will find superb richness, vibrant acidity and great transparency to site. These are marvelously complete wines that bring together the depth of fruit typically found in ripe years with the classicism, minerality and tension that are the signatures of cooler vintages. That all adds up to viscerally thrilling wines that at their best capture the essence of everything great Burgundy can be..." Antonio Galloni, the Wine Advocate 8/12.

In digesting all the info thus far and still crunching more there are some producers/estates that have just totally nailed it with the 2010 vintage. Those that excelled are some of the biggest names in Burgundy today. One winemaker that excelled in the 2010 White Burgundy vintage was Louis Jadot's legendary Jacques Lardiere, who incidentally is retiring making 2010 his last vintage. And what a vintage to end on! Jadot has turned out some of the finest White Burgundies of 2010 topped off with a near perfect Le Montrachet that Antonio Galloni has given 98 points too!

Other standout producers include two of the fastest rising stars of the region: Pierre Yves Colin of Colin-Moreyand Mounir Saouma of Lucien le Moine. A great surprise, extremely well deserved, are the reviews and praise for the Bernard Moreau wines that are now made by his son Alex. We have been following Alex's progress and had a tremendous tasting with him this past February and are happy to see that Antonio is also seeing the greatness in his wines. Of course, some of the perennial top producers are at the top again in 2010 as well like Domaine Leflaive, Joseph Drouhin, Domaine Leroy/d'Auvenay, Comtes Lafon, Guy Roulot and Coche-Dury.

Out of all the top reviews, here are the top 20 white 2010 Burgundies that we have to offer. Every wine in this offer has received an outstanding to extraordinary review from the Wine Advocate ranging from 94 to 98
points.

As always with Burgundy supplies are limited and thus our stock may only be bottles. You will need to act fast to secure the best of the best today from Burgundy's greatest white vintage in a decade.

2010 by Domaine Moillard:2010 was a vintage full of story twists and surprises! The weather conditions were particularly tricky: a very cold winter with heavy frosts, spring that took a long time coming, swings from hot to wet and back during flowering and thunder storms at the end of summer…
The grape harvest started in the third week of September. Yields were lower because of a combination of yield control through pruning, failure of the fruit to set and mixed-sized berries in the bunches caused by the weather and sorting carried out in the vines and cellar.
The white wines boast great acidity levels, making this a cellaring vintage with really pure fruit. For the red wines, low yields gave fantastic concentration of fruit and silky tannins. There were no let-ups during 2010, meaning that even stricter attention was required all the way through from the vines to the vatroom…

 

 

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Vintage Reports by Château Latour and Lafite:  After a mild and rainy autumn 2009, rainfall in November was exceptionally high (216 mm). Then the pattern was reversed as the first months of the year 2010 were particularly cold and dry. These rather moderate temperatures showing a difference below 2.1 °C compared to the normal temperatures of the season, caused a delay in the budding. However this was quickly reduced with nearly summery temperatures in April thus allowing for a good vegetative development.

The flowering was disturbed by the rainfall and especially by the cool days of the first fortnight of June given a strong flower abortion and mixed berry size. Only during the 3rd week of June the temperatures went back to normal. The summer was characterised by a little rainfall with an average deficit of 60% between July and September. The temperatures were very close to normal with a hot month of July (1.5°C higher than normal).

At the end of June, a few plots of the Enclos began a water stress which increased in July. We noticed a halt in the vine growth at the end of July. At the end of August, strong levels of stress took place on few sandy and gravely terroirs which helped the anthocyan synthesis and phenolic compound.

 

Our clay terroir helped the vine to keep the water and obtain a more regular maturity process.

Mid-September, grapes were in a perfect sanitary state with an aromatic and phenolic structure that was dense and deep. Between September 6 to 8, the 18 mm of rainfall helped the grape skins to ripen. The Merlot harvests started on September 20th with our young vines. Our best plots of merlots were picked on the 22nd and 23rd, and showed, the day before their picking, some potential alcoholic degrees of 14.4 % vol on average with an acidity of 4.5 g/l on H2 SO4, giving plenty of freshness on the tasting.

We started picking again with the Cabernet-Sauvignon on October 4th, after a period of heavy rainfall (21.5 mm). The lovely weather came back on Tuesday and stayed until the end of the harvest; the sanitary state was impeccable. The analytic parameters showed excellent balance with high potential of sugar and also good level of acidity.

 

 

Vintage Report by Charles Chevalier / Château Lafite: 

The years go by and none of them are quite the same.... Although 2010 has a "family resemblance" to 2009. There was a complex start to the vine-growing season, with fairly high rainfall, that was difficult to manage up until mid-June. July, August and September were then very dry (with an average of 20 mm of rain) with excellent daytime temperatures and cool nights, which is ideal for a slow but complete ripening of the grapes. Nevertheless, this dry period had a negative impact on the berry size, and having recorded some flower abortion and uneven grape size, we were expecting a low yield.

 

The harvests at Château Lafite took place from 24 September to 13 October. As a result of the different soil types, we harvest each plot separately in order to ensure that the grapes are picked when they are fully ripe. On 4 October, a few showers refreshed the vineyards and welcomed Lafite and Duhart's 350 pickers: a rainy start, which was followed by 10 days of beautiful sunshine.

In Sauternes, the selective picking began in mid-September, in a heterogeneous manner, with a slow development of botrytis. In mid-October, the growth of the fungus was checked by very cool temperatures, necessitating delicate, highly selective harvests. Then everything accelerated in the last week of October and a fine spirit of mutual support developed as some of the team from Lafite and Duhart came, secateurs in hand, to learn and the special picking techniques of Sauternes.

 

Climatic conditions

 2010 was a dry but relatively cool year, with no summer heatwave. A generally cold winter gave way to a dry and cool spring that ended with some rainfall in mid-June. Temperatures started rising on 21 June and the summer weather continued throughout a particularly sunny July. The fine conditions of late July were followed by a cloudier, slightly cooler and very dry August. Summer weather returned on 21 August with high temperatures (reaching 38° C on the 25th and 26th) and cool nights, getting the ripening process off to a good start. A welcome spell of rain between 6 and 8 September helped the grapes to mature. Acidity levels fell and phenolic maturation was slow but the crop remained in excellent condition. The fine weather returned, still accompanied by cool nights, encouraging the quality and synthesis of anthocyans and flavour until the harvest. After showers on 26 September, picking started on 28 September in very good conditions and ended on 13 October. Naturally concentrated, the grapes were small and their juice, rich and highly coloured, displayed good acidity. These factors – dry conditions without drought, an exceptional amount of sunshine, cool nights and rainfall that arrived at just the right time – give the 2010 vintage a remarkable identity. A splendid sequel to 2009, it is sure to become an outstanding year in the long history of fine Bordeaux wine.

 

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Australia / Barossa : The long southern Australian drought of the early and mid 2000s broke and the Barossa experienced its best rainfall in five years during winter and spring of 2009, providing good soil moisture for the growing season. Late spring was fairly mild with some moderately warm days resulting in an early budburst. However, an unseasonal nine-day heatwave – peaking at 41.5°C in early November – coincided with flowering causing low fruit set in Chardonnay and Grenache. Warm and mild weather for the remainder of the growing season accelerated ripening for an early vintage. The onset of cool nights in mid-March slowed the final harvest for some later varieties and vineyards. Shiraz was traditionally resilient and produced sound yields of excellent fruit and Cabernet Sauvignon and low yielding Grenache showed excellent colour and flavour development. 2010 will also be remembered for the purest varietal expression of Semillon for some years. In Eden Valley, Riesling, whilst low yielding, had excellent canopy growth, ripened quickly with good flavour and had minimal sunburn. But the standout was Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, where flavours were intense and even, with ideal fruit to canopy balance.

 

The 2010 Vintage at Bordeaux by Château Smith Haut Lafitte / Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness

The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness.

Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell. 

Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.

Whites

We started picking the grapes for our white wines when we began the first passes in the white Sauvignon on 2 September 2010. We benefited from the beautiful weather in September by taking our time to harvest the fruit, waiting for the grapes to be perfectly ripe, harvesting in the cool mornings only, cooling the fruit down in cold rooms before pressing it slowly and delicately in an inert atmosphere. In other words we did everything we possibly could to give it our best shot at making a very great white wine. As the picking progressed, the fruit ripened slowly, sugar content grew moderately and most of all, acidity remained at a very good level making for excellent balance in the juice right through the harvesting period. 

After blending, a great Smith Haut Lafitte white emerged with a pale yellow robe featuring slight green tints. The initial bouquet is above all a whole basket of yellow fruit: peach, apricot and fresh mango fill the nose. After swirling, greater complexity and depth develops with other fruity hints of crystallised pineapple and peach, followed by floral notes of acacia and finally more mineral, empyreumatic undertones. The wine is clean on the palate with an immediate impression of smoothness. Its magnificent balance delights you with its creaminess, its strength and concentration, and tightly defined flavours. It is very long on the palate and expresses the full aromatic potential of its bouquet as well as a range of fresh citrus and white flower aromas supported by the acidity, finishing with hints of flint and brioche.

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Vintage Report

After three very dry years in Douro, the winter of 2009-2010 saw an extraordinary change, with heavy rains of 100 mm or more recorded at Pinhão for each of six months in a row. The viticultural year progressed well until July and August when we had not one drop of rain. Temperatures in excess of 35ºC throughout most of August slowed the maturation cycle, as the vines cannot photosynthesise and mature the grapes properly in conditions of continued extreme heat. As a result the harvest began 5 days later than usual, but was conducted under mostly perfect conditions with a few welcome light showers in early September and only one overnight rainfall in early October.

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MARKET REPORT 2010  -  A PERFECT 10? 

Tastingbook looks back on an extraordinary year for the fine wine market.

Mother Nature was unkind in 2010 – an earthquake in Haiti, floods in Pakistan and an unpronounceable volcano in Iceland. There was huge financial trauma; many are still recovering. But commodities and collectibles – especially wine – have carried on regardless. The art market – or at least Damien Hirst’s reputation – wobbled before the summer but you would never have noticed as record prices were set for works by Warhol and Modigliani. As with the fine wine market, there was intense demand at the very high end.

Thanks to a thriving market in Hong Kong, clearance rates at wine auctions were outstanding and record prices were achieved. Annual totals were the best ever, exceeding previous highs seen in 2007. The three leading wine merchants in the UK – Berry Bros. & Rudd, Bordeaux Index and Farr Vintners – each reported sales of over £100 million in 2010.

 

The auction houses in 2010

Auction sales of fine wine in 2010 totaled $408.1 million. New York-based Acker Merrall & Condit achieved $98.5 million in worldwide sales, the highest total ever achieved by a single auction house in one year. Nearly two-thirds of that figure came from Hong Kong.

Sotheby’s more than doubled its 2009 total to achieve $88.27 million. Sales in Hong Kong increased by 268% year on year. Christie’s was in third place with $71.5 million, about the same as its 2007 peak.

In 2009, Zachys had the highest gross of any wine auctioneer. Although it totalled a sizeable $56.51 million in 2010, this represented “only” 11% growth year on year. Its Hong Kong revenue increased by just 3%. By comparison, Acker Merrall was up by 94%, Sotheby’s by 111% and Christie’s by 69%. Fine wine auctioneering is an intensely competitive business.

         Overall, New York sales were up by 34%, the UK and Europe by 58% and Hong Kong by a dizzying 157%. New York’s relatively modest figure suggests that wine that previously would have been sold there is now going to Hong Kong.

 

The Red Hammer

As in 2009, the fine wine market in 2010 was dominated by the Asian market and by the Lafite brand.

Chinese wine collectors will spend as much as it takes to get what they want. In October, three bottles of Lafite 1869 were each sold by Sotheby’s for HK$1,500,000 (€149,258), making this the most expensive 75cl bottle of wine ever sold. They were of course sold to “Asian Private” clients.

The still unbottled Lafite 2009 made HK$300,000 (€29,852) at the October sale, an astonishing price that will probably encourage the Bordelais (or at least Lafite) to price their 2010s even more ambitiously.

A bottle claimed as the only known existing Impériale of Cheval Blanc 1947 was sold by Christie’s in Geneva on 16 November for CHF298,500 (€239,051). Pro rata, however, it did not match the Lafite 1869. A six-litre Impériale of that would be worth CHF1,450,390 (€1,161,530).

 

Through the Looking Glass

Prediction is always difficult. In January 2004, Bill Gates told the World Economic Forum, “Two years from now, spam will be solved.”

         But, as far as fine wine is concerned, some things are near-certainties. The 2010s will be awesomely expensive. Unless the economy slips badly, then the fine wine market will continue to prosper. Bargains will be hard to come by.

Doubtless there will be a stampede for Lafite 2008 when it is released, with its etched Chinese symbol on the bottle. Lafite is apparently the only Bordeaux estate to have translated its entire website into Chinese. Its neighbour Mouton has shrewdly chosen the Chinese artist Xu Lei for its bespoke 2008 label.

The short-selling of Lafite 2009 on the London based fine wine exchange Liv-ex in June caused “outrage” as if the short-sell was akin to displaying a Tom of Finland drawing in a shop window. But the “traditional” fine wine trade had better get used to this sort of thing. How and where fine wine is traded has changed forever. We live in an age of borderless capital in which it is easy to buy and sell wine in London, New York, or Hong Kong, wherever you are.

 

Anniversary wines

With anniversary wines, those celebrating a 20th anniversary or birthday in 1991 are unlucky – it was a dreadful Bordeaux vintage. Tokaji was good, though, as was Port. California had an excellent year.

         For 21st anniversaries, 1990 offers a lot of choice. It was a great year in Bordeaux for both red and sweet wines. Red Burgundy was outstanding and some good whites were also made. The Rhône and Champagne also had fine years, as did Barolo and Barbaresco.

         The wine of choice for 25th celebrations would be Mouton Rothschild 1986 – expect demand and prices for this to increase. Very good white Burgundy was made and it was a good year for Penfolds Grange.

Although overshadowed by 1982, 1981 clarets (and Champagnes) can be surprisingly pleasant. 1971 is another unfashionable Bordeaux year but worth a look, especially Cheval Blanc. DRC did well, and fine wines were made in the Rhône (especially Hermitage La Chapelle), Champagne and the Mosel. This is arguably the best ever vintage of Grange.

People celebrating their 50th are deeply fortunate. 1961 was a truly great Bordeaux vintage, with Latour and Palmer especially distinguished. Hermitage La Chapelle of this year is the most expensive vintage available of this wine. Barolo and Barbaresco were also good, though this is long before Angelo Gaja’s barrel-influenced alchemy.

Wines from 1951 and 1941 are mostly terrible, though some ’41 Madeiras are thought to be good. Grange was first made in 1951, though never released commercially.

Port was terrific in 1931, especially Noval Nacional. The first vintage of Dom Pérignon was made in 1921, an auspicious year for Champagne in which Pol Roger produced a renowned wine. Romanée-Conti and d’Yquem were fabulous.

There were riots in Champagne in 1911, though the wines were still very good. Finally, the “Comet” vintage of 1811 was great throughout Europe’s classic wine regions. Bottles still occasionally appear at auctions and can be drunk with pleasure by centenarians!

 

 

CHÂTEAU LAFITE 1982 AVERAGE AUCTION PRICES 2010-2000

(12x75cl including premiums)

(Source: Liv-ex.com)

 

December 2010 $60,151 / €46,576

January 2010      $37,638 / €29,144

January 2009      $22,744 / €17,611

January 2008      $31,188 / €24,150

January 2007      $14,241 / €11,027

January 2006      $15,431 / €11,948.6

January 2005      $7,396 / €5,727

January 2004      $6,789 / €5,257

January 2003      $6,038 / €4,675

January 2002      $5,269 / €4,080

January 2001      $4,764 / €3,689

January 2000      $3,895 / €3,016

 

AUCTION TOTALS 2010-2007

(All totals include premiums)

(Source: WineSpectator.com)

* “Estimated” figure

 

                                             2009                   2008                   2007

Acker Merrall & Condit         $44,212,698       $59,783,368       $59,860,000

Christie’s                               $50,444,401*      $50,665,602       $71,647,944

Hart Davis Hart                     $24,008,542       $32,273,540       $26,920,140

Sotheby’s                              $41,755,284       $44,625,346       $49,287,329

Zachys                                  $50,733,970       $29,840,000       $52,445,415

 

                                             2010

Acker Merrall & Condit         $98,495,056

Christie’s                               $71,500,000*

Hart Davis Hart                     $39,160,000

Sotheby’s                              $88,270,602

Zachys                                  $56,510,000

 

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NAPA VALLEY Vintage Report 2010

In the cellar, winemakers delighted, undeterred by challenges of Mother Nature

In some years winegrowers must feel like baseball players in the batting cage swinging at whatever Mother Nature throws their way, and for vintage 2010 in California's renowned Napa Valley this was the case. Rainfall returned after three dry years, pushed bud break, flowering and fruit-set back by at least two weeks at the front end of the growing season, and due to the cloud cover, there was no frost damage in 2010. The summer brought cooler than normal temperatures, where constant vigilance and rigorous canopy management averted mildew or pest problems.

The ten-day to two-week lag continued into a later than average veraison. Winegrowers were faced with a two-day heat spike into triple digits for the first time in the season, coinciding with the first day of harvest on August 24. With canopies thinned to adjust for the cooler season, grapes at various sites experienced some sunburn. The damage was variable site-to-site with many vineyards reporting no sunburned clusters at all.

 

The relatively cool growing season coupled with the unexpected heat spikes in late summer resulted in a late and shortened harvest with lower yields. Vintners were excited about what they were tasting from the vineyards--concentrated flavors that will materialize into elegant, structured wines, almost European in style.

Cooler than average temperatures retuned again in early September, but gave way to a welcome, warm and consistent Indian Summer that was just the ticket, bringing good flavor and color development across the board. 

In the midst of the 2010 growing season, and led by the hard work of Napa County Agriculture Commissioner Dave Whitmer, the potentially crop devastating pest known as the European Grapevine Moth or Lobesia looks to be successfully eradicated in Napa County. Industry winegrowers led by the Napa Valley Vintners, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and the Napa County Farm Bureau along with residential grapes growers, community leaders and environmental groups joined forces in a highly organized and well-orchestrated effort that employed organic compounds, fruit disposal and mating disruption. This effort hit it out of the park and speaks volumes about the collaborative efforts, innovation and leadership of the Napa Valley wine industry.

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The best wines of the 2010 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Le Montrachet 100.0 Domaine Marc Colin Burgundy, France
2 Montrachet 100.0 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
3 Musigny 100.0 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Burgundy, France
4 Le Pin 98.4 Le Pin Bordeaux, France
5 Pétrus 98.1 Château Pétrus Pomerol, France
6 Château Haut-Brion Blanc 97.8 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
7 La Mission Haut Brion 97.8 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
8 Cheval Blanc 97.6 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
9 Lafleur 97.6 Château Lafleur Bordeaux, France
10 Château Latour 97.5 Château Latour Bordeaux, France
11 Château Haut-Brion 97.4 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
12 Screaming Eagle 97.4 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley, United States
13 Château Margaux 97.4 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
14 Hill of Grace 97.4 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
15 d'Yquem 97.3 Château d'Yquem Bordeaux, France
16 Lafite-Rothschild 97.2 Château Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
17 Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 97.0 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
18 Dana Lotus Vineyard 97.0 Dana Estates Napa Valley, United States
19 The Armagh 97.0 Jim Barry Wines Clare Valley, Australia
20 L'Eglise-Clinet 97.0 Château L'Eglise-Clinet Bordeaux, France
21 Marcobrunn Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 97.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
22 Bâtard-Montrachet 97.0 Blain-Gagnard Burgundy, France
23 La Romanée 97.0 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Burgundy, France
24 Château Mouton-Rothschild 96.9 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
25 La Turque 96.9 E.Guigal Rhône, France
26 Château Ausone 96.8 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
27 Montrose 96.8 Château Montrose Bordeaux, France
28 Château L´Evangile 96.6 Château L´Evangile Pomerol, France
29 Ermitage le Pavillon 96.5 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
30 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 96.5 E.Guigal Rhône, France
31 Quella 96.5 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
32 Basket Press Shiraz 96.5 Rockford South Australia, Australia
33 St. Eden 96.5 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
34 Château Climens 96.5 Château Climens Bordeaux, France
35 IX Estate 96.5 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
36 Château Palmer 96.3 Château Palmer Bordeaux, France
37 Tertre Roteboeuf 96.3 Château Tertre Roteboeuf Bordeaux, France
38 Proprietary Blend Napa Valley 96.0 Brand Napa Valley, United States
39 Château Nairac 96.0 Château Nairac Bordeaux, France
40 Giaconda Chardonnay 96.0 Giaconda Vineyard ., Australia
41 Barolo Preve 96.0 Poderi Gianni Gagliardo Piedmont, Italy
42 Châteauneuf du Pape V.V. 96.0 Domaine de la Janasse Rhone Valley, France
43 Felsenberg Riesling 96.0 Weingut Hermann Dönnhoff Nahe, Germany
44 Conde de Superunda 96.0 Miguel Torres Central Valley, Chile
45 Hermitage Les Bessards 96.0 Delas Frères Rhône, France
46 Dalsheimer Hubacker 96.0 Weingut Keller Rheinhessen, Germany
47 Barolo Cerequio 96.0 Michele Chiarlo Piedmont, Italy
48 Uhlen Blaufüsser Lay Riesling 96.0 Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein Mosel, Germany
49 Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Beerenauslese 96.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
50 Chevalier-Montrachet 96.0 Château de Puligny-Montrachet Burgundy, France
51 Château de Beaucastel Blanc 96.0 Château de Beaucastel Rhône, France
52 ‘Hill of Roses’ Shiraz 96.0 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
53 Château Cos d'Estournel 96.0 Château Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux, France
54 Maya 96.0 Dalla Valle Napa Valley, United States
55 Colgin Cariad 96.0 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
56 Musigny Vieilles Vignes 96.0 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Burgundy, France
57 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 96.0 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Bordeaux, France
58 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo 96.0 Domaine du Pegau Rhône, France
59 Château Angelus 96.0 Château Angelus Bordeaux, France
60 Vieux Chateau Certan 95.9 Vieux Château Certan Bordeaux, France
61 Côte-Rôtie La Landonne 95.9 E.Guigal Rhône, France
62 Château de Valandraud 95.7 Château Valandraud St.Emilion, France
63 Château Troplong-Mondot 95.7 Château Troplong-Mondot Bordeaux, France
64 Ornellaia 95.7 Ornellaia Tuscany, Italy
65 Chambertin 95.7 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
66 Ermitage Ex-Voto 95.5 E.Guigal Rhône, France
67 RunRig 95.5 Torbreck Barossa Valley, Australia
68 Riesling G-Max 95.5 Weingut Keller Rheinhessen, Germany
69 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 95.5 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou Bordeaux, France
70 Barolo Cannubi Boschis 95.5 Luciano Sandrone Piedmont, Italy
71 L'Extravagant de Doisy Daëne 95.5 Château Doisy-Daëne Bordeaux, France
72 Châteauneuf-du-Pape 95.5 Château Rayas Rhône, France
73 Le Montrachet 95.5 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
74 Pluribus 95.5 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
75 Harlan Estate 95.4 Harlan Estate Napa Valley, United States
76 Château Smith Haut Lafitte 95.4 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Bordeaux, France
77 IX Estate Syrah 95.4 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
78 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 95.4 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux, France
79 Château Léoville Poyferré 95.3 Château Léoville Poyferré Bordeaux, France
80 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 95.3 Shafer Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
81 Astralis 95.3 Claredon Hills South-Australia, Australia
82 Clos des Lambrays 95.3 Domaine des Lambrays Burgundy, France
83 Melbury 95.3 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
84 Grange Hermitage 95.2 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
85 La Tâche 95.1 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
86 Barolo "Brunate" 95.0 Macarini Winery Piedmont, Italy
87 Chevalier-Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
88 Echézeaux Grand Cru 95.0 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Burgundy, France
89 Pinot Noir "CASTEEL" 95.0 Bethel Heights Vineyard Oregon, United States
90 Corton- Charlemagne Grand Cru 95.0 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Burgundy, France
91 Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Levy & McClellan Napa Valley, United States
92 Riesling ‘Vinothekfullung’ Smaragd 95.0 Emmerich Knoll Wachau, Austria
93 Dawson & James Chardonnay 95.0 Dawson & James South Australia, Australia
94 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret 95.0 Domaine de Montille Burgundy, France
95 Pavie 95.0 Château Pavie Bordeaux, France
96 Château Pape Clément 95.0 Château Pape Clément Bordeaux, France
97 Ojai Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard 95.0 Ojai Vineyards California, United States
98 Château Rieussec 95.0 Château Rieussec Sauternes, France
99 Il Caberlot 95.0 Podere Il Carnasciale Chianti, Italy
100 Domaine de Baron’arques 95.0 Domaine de Baron´argues Languedoc, France

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BWW-Best Wine of the World -competition 2017

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