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  • Country ranking ?

    1 290
  • Producer ranking ?

    2
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035

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The Story

This Grand Cru ranks among the 100 best red wines of the world. / The vineyard Clos des Lambrays is one of the greatest surface area in Grand Cru from all the Côte de Nuits.. The Clos des Lambrays is full-bodied, rough and supple, "a hand of iron in a glove of velvet". With flavors of black fruits (blackberries and blueberries), powerful, elegant with round and noble tannins.

Clos des Lambrays is made with Burgundy’s great black variety Pinot Noir. The average age of the vines is an impressive 40 years, and the vines are planted at the optimum density of 10,000-12,000 plants per hectare.

Tracing their history back to 1365, Domaine des Lambrays holds nearly all of the famous Clos des Lambrays vineyard. Ownership of the domaine has changed hands many times since the French Revolution. Although the vineyard was given Premier Cru classification in 1936, the wines have long been hailed as legendary by critics, and the vineyard was promoted to Grand Cru in 1981. Winery notes: "The Clos des Lambrays is full-bodied, rough and supple, 'a hand of iron in a glove of velvet.' With flavors of black fruits (blackberries and blueberries), it is powerful and elegant with round and noble tannins."

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Vintage 2010

THE 2010 BURGUNDY VINTAGE 

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.

by Clive Coates

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Clos des Lambrays 2010 – I love the 2010 vintage and for me, this showed why. Powerful certainly, but it had a level of finesse and elegance that the others could not quite match. Meaty notes, nuts and a roasted earth character before a gorgeous sweet core emerged. Great length. A superb Burgundy, which both needs and deserves time. A cracker. 97.

  • 97p

Bright pale-medium red. Higher-pitched but more reticent on the nose than the 2012, showing a distinctly floral aspect as well as a redder fruit quality; more delicate and pristine. Wonderfully sexy and complex if somewhat youthfully tight in the mouth, conveying an ineffable silkiness of texture rather than the sheer plushness of the '12. Less dark in its fruit character as well, offering flavors of red raspberry, cherry, brown spices and underbrush. Wonderfully tactile and delineated; this really glistens on the palate and on the very long, refined aftertaste. Here the tannins are suaver than those of the 2012. More about finesse than power, but this wine will nonetheless need time to express itself more fully. An essence of terroir and a wine of great verve. (13.4% alcohol; 3.55 pH; 3.7 g/l acidity)

  • 94p

Much richer and more intense on the nose than the Morey-St-Denis. Pure bright fruit and just a hint of spice. Firm but smooth and complete. Lovely combination of elegance and effortless concentration.

  • 93p

Bright ruby. Bright red fruity nose, floral, delicate, detailed and nuanced. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fresh, fruity, intense, layered, nuanced and detailed, superb length. Seems to be adding something invisible from the outset every time I retaste it. 96

  • 96p

Medium to medium-full colour. Rich, oaky nose. Plenty of depth and class. Fullish body. Rich and oaky and also tannic on the palate. Lovely fruit but a bit tight at present. The finish is very promising. Fine plus; perhaps better still.

Starting to become more harmonious - More elegance and precision on the nose with a more rounded finish. Enjoyable now but could be running by 2020. 97 points
  • 97p
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Information

Origin

Dijon, Burgundy

Other wines from this producer

Les Folatières Puligny-Montrachet

Morey-St-Denis

Highlights

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