2010, following 2009 and like 2005, saw a hot and dry summer and autumn. These circumstances made it possible for us to wait patiently until the grapes reached their optimal maturity. The harvested spread from October 4th to 28th.
The climatic conditions of 2010 : once again a sunny, dry year !
January and February were cold and without precipitation. March followed a similar pattern with an average temperature 1.4°C below the 30-year average for this month. April was very dry and sunny. May was irregular. Mid-bloom for the Merlot occurred between June 5th–7th.
June started out cool, then on the 20th turned warm. Drought conditions continued into July which received only 5 mm of rain compared to its average of 50 mm. Overall, August was cool with nights relatively cold, averaging between 10° to 15°C. Conditions continued to be dry. On August 19th temperatures began rising with peaks often above 30°C and even reaching 35°C on the 21st. August experienced an extreme water deficit, receiving barely 30% of it's normal rainfall. Mid-véraison occurred around the 10th of August, approximately 4 days later than 2005 and 2009, and 4 days earlier than 2004 and 2008.
Good weather prevailed throughout September which received less then one quarter of the average rainfall for the month. There was just one period of cloudy weather, from the 5th to the 10th, but with practically no rain. A predominantly north wind blew, increasing the concentration in the grapes. From then on, the good weather stayed, bringing with it cool nights, another favorable condition for optimal grape maturity.
With approximately 50 mm of precipitation from July to September, one third of the average for this period, 2010 was the driest year of the decade (2005 received 90 mm). 2010 was cooler than 2009 and 2005, and also had fewer days of exceptional heat (over 30°C) and had more nights registering less than 15°C. It also saw more sun than average.
All these conditions were particularly favorable for the expression of the fruit and to bringing freshness to the wines produced.
The harvest began on October 4th during warm days accompanied by a south wind. We paused in the harvest on the 6th then began again from the 7th to the 9th. On the 10th, after some much needed rain given that 2010 was an especially dry year, an east wind arrived which then turned into a north wind starting on the 11th. We completed the harvest of the Merlots on October 13th. The Cabernets were brought in between October 18th – 28th.
Consequences on the quality of the grapes
Flowering was slower than in 2009, this meant important selection work was needed on the Merlot during the summer. The spring and summer drought produced grapes which were particularly small, a positive factor for their maturation. As in 2009, it was possible to predict the harvest for the end of September or beginning of October and of a quality that would depend on the climatical conditions of the final two months. Low nighttime temperatures, persistent dryness, and the sunny days of August, September and October once again produced ideal harvest conditions allowing each parcel of vineyard to reach perfect maturity. On the best soils, those allowing the penetration of deep root systems to reach sufficient ground water, grapes were exceptionally ripe. The Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, gained the most from the long period of maturation this year.
Benefiting a maximum from the climatical conditions, we harvested outstanding, ripe and healthy grapes of historic richness.
Overall, the wines retain exceptional freshness and burst with fruit. They are rich, aromatic, dark, and highly concentrated with lovely tannins, clean and pure.
The Merlots are rich, intense and luxuriant. The Cabernets, being the last in Margaux to be harvested, benefited from their long period of maturation and are without question truly extraordinary. The resulting wines have remarkable structure and balance with a degree of alcohol on a par with 2009 and with slightly higher acidity. They have an intensity, a freshness and an elegance at a level equal to, if not surpassing, that of the 2009 vintage.