Mission Control: the cream of 2010 Bordeaux

This is a long overdue part two of the Southwold tasting of the 2010 Bordeaux vintage.  There is a part three though you are not advised to hold your breath waiting for it.

Let me spit it out: 2010 is an over-rated vintage.  It is the Lewis Hamilton of young Bordeaux vintages: all the potential, all the bling, all the gear yet, somehow, just missing the mark.  It’s something to do with a lack of consistency.  A lot of the wines are aggressive, and more than just a few are overworked.

But – and this is a big but – the wines at the top of the tree are elysian in their quality.  I may well be dining with the gods (or otherwise) by the time they are mature but these wines are breathtakingly good.  A few young wines have prompted me to consider my place in the universe – 2005 Margaux and 2009 Latour spring to mind – but never have I seen, or rather tasted, a full house of such brilliance.  I was accused last week of having taken a “hyperbole pill”.  If such medication existed there would not be enough of it to match these bottles.  You get the point.

Here goes.  These were all tasted blind and with the clock ticking.  They brought a rare smile to my face.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

Cheval Blanc

Cool minerality to this on the nose.  Depth.  Pure.  And scorchingly sweet and lovely in the mouth.  Pure cassis fruit.  Shell-like.  Quite lovely and complete.  18.5


A little tighter on the nose.  But there is something behind it.  And in the mouth this is very tightly packed.  There is more to come here and this is very classy indeed.  Long.  18.5

La Mission Haut Brion

A bit of austerity here on the nose.  A bit of pencil.  A bit of breeding.  And plenty here in the mouth and a savoury edge to it.  Very classy graphite texture.  Long.  Very, very, classy and very, very long.  Love the salty finish.  19

Haut Brion

This is very reticent on the nose.  Not much here.  Really hiding?  There is some real class here and some breeding but this is very austere today.  Proper length.  18


Back to something very plummy and very, very, showy.  Lots of chocca barrel here but certainly something underneath the flashiness.  And in the mouth this follows through.  At the beginning the fruit seems to be lacking but it catches up at the end.  19


Back to some cool and minty austerity.  A bit of bounce here.  And precise minty fruit in the mouth.  Perfect lift.  A touch of licquorice on top of some chocolate fruit.  This is rather special.  19


And back to the mocha barrel again…  And lots of it and it’s exceptionally well done if you like it that way.  This has bags of richesse and a Pomerol chunk.  Weighty.  Petrus?  Lots of chocolate, lots underneath.  Very good.  19


This is a little hard to grasp after the preceding wine.  Hard to penetrate.  And this seems a little simple, if very vinous, in the mouth.  A touch austere.  Not sure, though this is clearly very serious.  18


A bit of barrel on this, though not quite as obvious as (Mouton).  And there is something here.  A tad austere and a little worked.  There is some class here though this and the (Lafite) are a little austere for me today. 18


Staying on the austere side.. and then something in the mouth.  This is clearly hiding its class and its colours today but it has a freshness that is compromised (the appreciation of which) by the tartiness of the others.  19

Le Pin

This is a little closed on the nose.  Not quite sure I get it.  There is a great deal of structure here and there is some depth coming through.  Length: this goes on and on and on and on.  This is very good.  Classy austerity.  18.5


Scoring while you taste, and taste at some speed, and have to call your scores out at the end of the flight, isn’t easy.  And I prefer scoring – if I have to – out of 100.  In hindsight La Mission gets the full ton, with Margaux, Lafleur, Latour and Mouton running it close.  Everything is between 97 and 100.


There may well be a bit of nostalgia going on, but I still think 2005 is finest of the 2005, 2009 & 2010 triumvirate.


I am a lucky boy.  Luckier still if I last long enough to drink any of these even close to  (their) maturity.