Burgundy has been on a bit of roll as of late, both in the bottle and with consumers, or perhaps I should say collectors. While the Bordeaux bubble of 2011 seemed to have an unusually fine focus on Chateau Lafite and its related properties, the new appeal of Burgundy seems to be much more broad, and for good reason. Consider the fact that Chateau Lafite, Duhart Milon, and Carruades de Lafite together produce some 45,000 to 75,000 cases of wine a year, let’s call it 650,000 bottles for argument’s sake. Now put that up against the entire production of Grand Cru Burgundy in a typical year, which is roughly 1.5 million bottles. Shift the attention from the former to the latter and you are going to have some very profound effects on both the price and availability of Grand Cru Burgundy!
Of course not all Grand Cru Burgundy is all that good, so the effects on the true top quality wines are even more intense, with ripples being felt right down through the Premier Cru, Village and even Bourgogne levels for the most sought-out producers. That does not bode well for the average Burgundy consumer, and all of this is underpinned by smaller than average harvests in both 2010 and 2011. You can see where this is going--nowhere but up.
Wine Bottle Image via ShutterstockThis is not a surprise and has been in the works for several years, at least since the 2005 vintage. So what’s a wine lover to do? In my opinion, buy as much 2010 Burgundy as you can comfortably afford. They don’t have to be very expensive wines, as the following notes show wines for long time favorites, such as Pavelot and Chandon des Briailles, can compete with the big boys at under $40 a bottle. However, these wines are not secrets either, and I expect we’ll be seeing them at $60 a bottle in the very near future.
2010 is an exceptional vintage, following in the footsteps of the highly touted yet decidedly less elegant, if more opulent 2009s. At their best, these wines combine fabulous ripeness of fruit with ripe structural components and wonderful transparency. They seem, at this early stage to be about fruit as much as they are about terroir, making for exciting drinking.
I’ve only been fortunate enough to taste through a handful of wines so far, and at the prices being asked and the relative scarcity of many of the wines, due as much to the short crop as to ever increasing global demand for these wines, I don’t expect to taste that many more unless I pull them from my cellar. From my tastings, the notes for the most recent one can be found here, it would seem that the vintage should rank among the very best equal to but quite different from my last best vintage: 2005. There is less power here, less ripeness, more elegance and better balance with wonderfully fresh, crunchy red fruits. It’s a vintage that for me epitomizes what I expect from Burgundy, and may be the last vintage I can afford to buy!
8 Top 2010 Burgundies From a Recent Blind Tasting