Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Bordeaux 2010

Bordeaux 2010 looks pretty promising. When I was in the region last week harvest was about to start. Some of the sugar levels for Merlot are very high,  one plot at Haut Brion is reported to have already shown a potential alcohol of 16 by the end of August. The Cabernet is generally less ripe, though it looks very healthy. The main problems are millerandage in some places (small and large berries on the same bunch), but also whole bunches at different stages of ripeness. More particularly, after a  summer of very low rainfall (no more than 15mm in August in many places)  berries are small, with rather thick skins. Care will be needed to avoid over-extraction. Tannin levels may be high and  acids look like being fairly low (especially malic acid). Another worry is that the dry weather has caused premature leaf drop, especially in Pomerol. Some growers there may be forced to pick a little earlier than they may have ideally wished. Other crops received just enough light rain at the start of September to ensure that the leaves stayed green and healthy.

If the if the weather holds, generally speaking, we might be able to look forward to a smallish crop of concentrated, powerful red wines. Sémillon also looks good, but as yet shows little sign of botyrtis. Give it time.

It looks like a trickier vintage to manage than 2009, but some growers are not afraid to talk about it in the same breath – including Mélanie Tesseron of Ponet Canet.

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