The year 2010 was a terrific vintage for both white and red Burgundy. Unfortunately, when nature gives with one hand, it usually takes with the other. The trade-off here is that the yields are very small indeed (30%-60% down). This means allocations are like gold dust, so your relationships with your favourite merchants will surely be tested as collectors jostle to secure stock.
After a large crop in 2009, the vines had to survive a hard winter the conditions were the worst since 1985/1986, with temperatures falling to a record low of 21C in mid-December. Low-lying village' vineyards in the Cte de Nuits were the worst hit; many vines died. Flowering came in a cold, damp June, but it was an uneven, drawn-out process. This led to a failed fruit-set (where the grape berries form), with small, thick-skinned berries, which are an indicator of quality, but not, sadly, volume.
Late June and July were sunny, but August was cold and wet. In early September, the sun shone, but then disaster struck in the southern Cte de Beaune: an electrical storm hit Santenay and parts of Chassagne-Montrachet. Some growers panicked and picked; others wisely waited for a week or more to let the grapes dry out and concentrate their sugars. The patient were rewarded with intense sugars combined with acidity and wondrous, vineyard-specific minerality. This is responsible for my favourite style of Burgundy elegant, firm, yet aromatic and lithe.
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This vintage produced some spectacular whites that resemble the sprightliest of the 2008s with more verve, and incredible reds, which some might say have more finesse than the 2009s. Either way, 2008, 2009 and 2010 is the finest threesome of Burgundy vintages in my 25-years in the wine trade. Roy Richards of Richards Walford, an eminent Burgundian importer, noted that "the reds have a concentration, freshness and sense of place which differentiates them from the bigger, more muscular 2009s the whites are on a par with the top 2008s, but with higher acidity, and they are less austere than the fine 2007s". These notes explain the flavours perfectly.
I love the wines from across the price and Domaine spectrum. Buy as widely as possible, from Village to Premier Cru level, to get the best value and experience you can. Nearly all of the top wines speak exactly of their vineyard origins, so you will not just be drinking benchmark French pinots and chardonnays in a few years' time, when they are ready: instead you will find wine from precise postcodes, hand-made by some of the most gifted people on the planet. That is an irresistibly compelling proposition.
The best 2010 Burgundy merchants
A&B Vintners, 01892-724977, Abvintners.co.uk
Berry Bros & Rudd, 0800-280 2440, BBR.com
Corney & Barrow, 020-7265 2400, Corneyandbarrow.com
Haynes Hanson & Clark, 020-7584 7927, Hhandc.co.uk
Howard Ripley, 020-8748 2608, Howardripley.com
Justerini & Brooks, 020-7484 6400, Justerinis.com
Lea & Sandeman, 020-7244 0522, Leaandsandeman.co.uk
Tanners, 01743-234500, Tanners-wines.co.uk
My ten best value 2010 whites
|Chablis, 1er Cru Les Lys, Daniel Dampt||£118||17.5|
|Bourgogne Blanc, Cuve Oligocne, Patrick Javillier||£160||17.5|
|Saint-Aubin, La Prince, Hubert Lamy||£168||17.5|
|Maranges Blanc, 1er Cru La Fussire, Bachelet-Monnot||£190||17.5|
|Chassagne-Montrachet, Marc-Antonin Blain||£215||17.5|
|Pernand-Vergelesses, 1er Cru Sous Frtille, Remi Rollin||£265||17.5|
|Chablis, Grand Cru Clos, Christian Moreau||£269||18|
|Meursault, Les Tillets, Patrick Javillier||£300||18|
|Puligny-Montrachet, Etienne Sauzet||£325||18|
|Meursault, Dominique Lafon||£396||18|
My ten best value 2010 reds
|Bourgogne Rouge, La Croix Blanche, Ccile Tremblay||£150||17.5|
|Savigny-ls-Beaune, 1er Cru Les Lavires, Seguin-Manuel||£169||17.5|
|Marsannay, Les Longeroies, Bruno Clair||£190||17.5|
|Volnay, du Comte Armand||£240||18|
|Nuits-St.-Georges, Vieilles Vignes, Robert Chevillon||£290||17.5|
|Morey-St.-Denis, Domaine des Lambrays||£345||18|
|Pommard, 1er Cru Combe Dessus, Marquis d'Angerville||£475||18|
|Gevrey-Chambertin, En Champs, Denis Mortet||£570||18|
|Clos de Vougeot, Grand Cru, de la Vougeraie||£720||18|
Prices quoted are by the case in-bond, exclusive of VAT and duty. Score is my score out of 20
Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.
Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.
He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website, www.matthewjukes.com.
Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’. He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner.
Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy. His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.
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