At the end of Summer 2010, Ed Milliband was elected leader of the Labour Party. A few weeks later, the harvest in Bordeaux was coming in. A harvest that many proclaimed to be the greatest ever, and one that was certainly the most expensive ever. The connection? It dawned on me today, on the way back from Lidl (a shop that I’ll wager will do well in the coming months), that the seed of our current turbulent times was sown in 2010 by Ed. Have a think about it.
Moving on: our current turbulent times – and our weak pound in particular – has taken the focus off the 2015 Bordeaux vintage, and put it firmly back on to the 2010, 2009 and 2005 vintages.
With this in mind I am making good on the promise that I have made a few times in the past month or so, and I’ve dug out my notes on the 2010s. The top wines from the 2010 Bordeaux vintage are simply breathtaking, and I wrote them up here: Mission Control.
Lower down the chain is where it gets a bit more tricky in a vintage that still, in my opinion, sits at third place on the podium (after 2005 and 2009; the former at the top). Herewith a dozen picks of what is, I think, a great vintage in parts, if not a great vintage across the board. These were all tasted blind in January 2014. Scores are out of 20.
This is very, very ripe – indeed almost overly so on the nose. And in the mouth this follows. It may seem over-done to some, and I sort of feel that I’m not supposed to like it, but it is ravishing, and rather good. Full on; turbo spinning. 17.5
There is clearly something serious going on here. There is depth to this, which follows in the mouth. And richesse too. Very clean, very pure, and this goes on and on. Very good. 17.5
Vieux Ch. Certan
This is even more interesting. This is lively – there is energy to it. Broad and not just a little flashy. Very long. Excellent. 17.5
This is serious. There is a flamboyance to the nose though this is backed up by a serious depth and structure. Weight. Very, very inviting. Powerful in the mouth. Cassis. Cigar box. Solid and polished weight. Length. Yes. (FWIW I thought it was Lascases). 17.5
This is very intense and there is more than a touch of mintiness to the nose. Focus. Rich, intense and full. Glossy and complete. This is very, very good though is so full that I’m not entirely sure how it will develop. 18
A cool mintiness to the nose. And there is focus here: poised. This is complete and very Pauillac. Long and really lovely. Goes on – persists – and keeps its character to the end. Very good.
Another minty one – pure and Pauillac polo mint… And a bit of a beast to boot. There is depth and a smooth and polished – think marble – muscle to this. Depth. Mouthfeel. Serious wine. Lovely cassis character. Weight. Length. All here. 18
Forts de Latour
This is a little dumb today but there is clearly some substance underneath. Lots and lots here. Graphite. And goes on and on and on and on. Closed for business today but this is very, very good. 18.5+
This is right back up there (after Pontet-Canet, funnily enough; more below). All graphite and edge. Less bolshy. And elegantly silky. Impressive, proper wine. Fine steel embroidery. Excellent. 17.5
Dumb but some substance hiding. Weight. Stains the glass and this is rich and plush in the mouth. Lots of gloss. Very long. Creamy. Layered. Rather good… 17.5
There is some substance here but I am struggling to nail it down. In the mouth this is the real deal. Weight. Breadth. Complete. And this is very, very long. Comes back to you. Very good. 18
There is still some barrel to this – some gloss; some mocha. And a complete substance underneath the gloss. This is very nicely laid back – an attractive wine. There is pleasure here. Not as hard as some of its neighbours. Very good. 17.5
Honourable mentions go to: Clos Fourtet, Figeac, Troplong-Mondot, Clos l’Eglise, Eglise-Clinet, Gazin, Langoa-Barton, Léoville-Poyferré, Beychevelle, d’Armailhac, Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Duhart-Milon and Lafon-Rochet. Oh, and Pontet-Canet, which I scored 18.5 on the day, but didn’t think would make old bones (indeed I wondered if it would make it past six o’clock).