2010 Burgundy (excerpt from November 15, 2011 offer)


I’ve received a large number of questions and inquiries today regarding 2010 Burgundy and its overall quality. From what I can tell, there seems to be a good dose of misinformation out in the world regarding the vintage. For me, 2010 can not be quantified quickly for white or red. While I’ve been a proponent of the year since last winter, I also wanted to wait until the wines were well on their way to formation before making a proclamation on the vintage.

My impression over the last ten months is that it is NOT a homogenous vintage. It is not like 2005 where you can literally throw darts to find something of quality. The problem was an ill-timed dose of rain in mid-late September that struck in the middle of the harvest for many Chardonnay producers. While this seems to have had less consequence on the reds (to a point), it is not possible to blindly purchase 2010s for either color.

In the best (and majority of cases), the vintage appears to be a stunning marvel of wine (much like 2010 in the Rhone). It combines the pin-point site expression of 2007/2008 with the burly depth of 1993 and just enough 2002-like glycerols to make the terroir enthusiast walk around punch-drunk. A few wines have a leaning toward 2009 but that is not the majority at all. In the negative, I’ve found too may wines from all over the region with a blurred line of demarcation and extraction that is almost too light (even for this high acid/no-fruit scribe). I call this the cadre of “what happened?” wines and they seem to have been picked right around the last week of Sept (both red and white). It’s as though a hiccup occurred in the midst of a potentially legendary vintage and that poses a big problem for consumers gazing at a wine list or standing in front of a wine shop counter, not as much for those willing to do significant research before purchase and/or are buying to cellar.

The properties and vineyards that timed everything correctly have, for the most part, produced lick-your-chops mineral crushing wines that will be frightfully expensive as well as exceedingly rare (yields were very low in 2010). The style of 2010, especially for reds, combines so many elements I look for personally that certain wines (at this young stage) are tough to find fault with. There are vintages with exemplary expression of place that you wish had just a touch more oomph and then there are opposite years where the oomph is a tad too pronounced and the expression and acidity and place are lacking. In 2010 you have everything.

On the other hand, this is not a vintage for those weaned on Russian River Pinot Noir or 15.5% cough syrup masquerading as Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. This is a window-pane year for serious Burgundy collectors willing to wait 10-20 years to allow the magic to unfold – a risk/reward formula many of you are not yet ready (or willing) to justify.

Finally, if you see dollar signs and are thinking of 2010 as a speculator's vintage, don’t bother. I will speak for the thousands of wine drinkers and soil-chasers around the world with a polite request to leave the wine for those of us actually going to drink it. 2010 has far too much potential from a one-off magical perspective that it would be a shame to have what is already a small year sitting around in a prefabricated cooling warehouse somewhere waiting to be sold to the next highest bidder. Rather, the best wine of 2010 is willing (and wanting) to wait for the next appreciative gullet chasing an experience of a lifetime.

- Jon Rimmerman