A Sneak Preview of the 2010 Red Burgundy Wines

The vintage of yin and yang

Tasting notes on the 2010 red Burgundy wines from France.

I expected the 2010 red burgundies to be quite good based on some brief comments from a few producers on our visit last year. But I was not prepared for what I found.

Very simply, the 2010 vintage is another great vintage for the best producers. However, it will likely prove to be more variable than the 2009 vintage and the wines are completely different. In fact, I cannot recall two such vintages back-to-back at such a high level, yet so different, in my 30 or so years of tasting burgundies from barrel. And, I would also add that I don’t know of any vintage quite like the 2010.


At this point, based on the vintages I have tasted since the beginning, I think the 2009s can be compared to 1990. Going further back, perhaps 2009 is like 1959 (although I certainly did not taste the 1959s from barrel!). The 2010s, on the other hand, are completely different. Some have said that perhaps it is a combination of 2000 and 2001. Others have said that it is somewhat like 2001 or 2008. These 2010 comparisons may very well prove to be somewhat valid. But for me, the 2010s, at this stage in their evolution, defy comparison. What I can say is, at the best producers, the wines have a purity and freshness in the fruit that is truly remarkable. The wines are bright and vibrant and brimming with fruit that has a zesty crispness. They have great charm and flavor with silky tannins. It can also be said that the 2010 vintage includes the combination of a warm vintage with ripe grapes and a cool vintage with freshness. It is this combination, along with low yields, which produced wines of remarkable purity, freshness, balance, flavor, and vibrant acidity. And it is for this reason that I call 2010 the vintage of yin and yang. And, always for me, it is this combination that gives me great pleasure.