Robert Parker’s Scores for the 2010 Vintage

Having had time to assess Robert Parker’s scores on the 2010 vintage a few things are becoming clear. Firstly Parker has hailed the 2010 as a great vintage, secondly prices will remain high and thirdly due to the polarizing of price between the top chateaux and the lesser known estates there will be some bargains.

I would add a note of caution and reaffirm my opinions made in my blog The Essence of the 2010 Vintage. This vintage has high alcohol levels, high tannins and high acidity and the wine makers had to ensure that they had the right balance of all these elements in order to produce a very good wine.

Those that did so have had some great results – this is a vintage that sorts out the men from the boys as far as wine making is concerned.

As to whether the 2010 vintage is a better vintage than the 2009 vintage I will say No. I would classify it as a unique vintage offering difficult problems to the wine makers and as with the 2009 those who made the correct decisions made better wines.

With great vintages you have homogeneous results but this is not the case with 2010. Parker has confirmed my belief:

“I do not think it would be fair or prudent to say that 2010 exceeds in overall quality what was produced in 2009, 2005 or perhaps even 2000. However, it is unquestionably another great vintage.”

Parker has given 12 wines his highest scores and these are listed below.

Ausone 98-100
Haut Brion 98 – 100
La Mission Haut Brion 98 – 100
Lafite Rothschild 98 – 100
Latour 98 – 100
Petrus 98 – 100
Mouton Rothschild 97 – 100
Pichon Baron 97 – 99+
Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) 96 – 100
L’Eglise Clinet 96 – 100
Pontet Canet 96 – 100
Montrose 96 – 99+

For the 2010 vintage, like previous years, but probably even more so for 2010, I think you will have to rely very heavily on your wine merchant to be very truthful with you if you are going to buy to drink. As for those who invest in wine I believe that this market will be label lead.

Whether 2010 will be an investment year or not will be very dependent on the prices at which the wines are released. Once the release prices our announced it may well be worth considering the 2008 and 2009 vintages as wines for investment.

For those of you who are looking to drink the 2010s and who are hunting for bargains it is well worth while considering the wines made by the Grand Cru Classé Chateaux from their other estates.

These wines are more affordable than the Grand Vins and their Second Wines. Several caught my attention at En Primeur this year and I have listed under My Top Wines from the Grand Crus Other Labels.

Second Wines from the Cru Classé Chateaux can also represent good value – Will Lyon’s writing in his Blog for the Wall Street Journal rightly says that Pomerol’s L’Eglise Clinet is a case in point:

“While the top wine may receive 100 points from Mr. Parker, thus hugely inflating its price, the canny buyer will snap up the second wine La Petite Eglise which was superb in 2010.

Here’s a quick price comparison from the 2009 vintage: La Petite Eglise: $430 for a case of 12; L’Eglise-Clinet $5,800 for a case of 12.” I have listed my choice of Second Wines under My Top Second Wines from the Grand Cru of the 2010 Vintage.

There will be bargains for real Bordeaux lovers from the lesser known but experienced wine making chateaux. I have gathered together the wines that I think will represent good value for money and that showed very well at En Primeur under My Top Cru Bourgeois and Affordable Bordeaux of the 2010 Vintage.

Wines from lesser known but up and coming chateaux are well worth hunting out as you benefit from great wines at a fraction of the price – Chateau La Fleur Morange (92 – 94) is a great example.

Those of you who are interested in purchasing the wines of the 2010 vintage will need to assess what the critics and merchants are saying – if you would like to read my penny’s worth you can find it on my Blogs here. Parker’s scores are here and I quote from his opening lines in his report:

“It is almost painful to tell the story of another great vintage in Bordeaux. The fact that 2010 follows the superb 2009 vintage is remarkable as well.

And of course, there is the potential for serious wine consumers who love Bordeaux to once again be bludgeoned with sky rocketing prices that are likely to exceed those that were asked for 2009.

Yet the world continues to change, and it is an inescapable truth that 2010 has produced another year of compelling Bordeaux that will go down as a prodigious vintage alongside 2009.

Take your pick – this news is either tragic or mythical, but I have tasted enough wines from 2005, 2009 and 2010 to realize that these may be the three greatest Bordeaux vintages I have tasted in my career. “

It is important to remember that the 2010s are still in barrel and are still developing – in 2 years time will we see their scores downgraded when Parker re tastes them in bottle? No one can tell.

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