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.
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.