I hope that my record over this site's 11-year history shows that I am not inclined to hyperbole. In fact, if anything, I probably err on the side of caution when writing about new wines and current vintages.
But, having already started my tastings of the 2010 vintage in Burgundy and the Rhône, I must urge those of you who like wines from these two great French wine regions to try to put a bit of money aside (ha!) to invest in the 2010s from them. After the unusually ripe, relatively low acid wines made in 2009, the 2010s typically show considerably more precision and freshness, and more supple tannins in the case of the southern Rhône.
Whereas 2009 is looking like a vintage that superimposes its own imprint very firmly on any geographical characteristics, 2010 seems to be a vintage in which local differences and terroirs are able to express themselves much more clearly.
I shall be spending this week in the Rhône Valley but have already had a pretty good foretaste of what is in store and am currently enthused about both north and south, and about whites as well as reds. And in the Côte d'Or, whites so far seem every bit as successful as reds.
The next week I shall be continuing my tastings of 2010 burgundies, which got off to a great start either side of the Trois Glorieuses weekend as described, for example, in Breaking my Hospices duck and the 79th Paulée de Meursault.
It has to be said, however, that my visits in Burgundy tend to be concentrated on those producers whose wines are too grand to be shown at the flurry of tastings organised each January by UK merchants making en primeur offers of the latest burgundy vintage. This means that I tend to taste some of the very best wines of all - yes, it's tough. Last Monday morning, for instance, I went from Roulot to Colin-Morey to Domaine Leflaive. Pas mal, you might say, and you would be right.
It could be that I will be a bit less enthusiastic about 2010 burgundies once I have waded through a much wider range of producers, including some of the less lauded, but in the meantime, I reiterate my advice to do your best to allocate some funds to invest in 2010s from eastern France.
It is probably worth noting that 2011 was a much more challenging vintage in both Burgundy and the Rhône - and as far as burgundy is concerned, it is probably worth securing some wine before the Chinese turn en masse, as gruesomely predicted, from Bordeaux to Burgundy.
Later in the week I'll be publishing a few little titbits from my recent stay in Burgundy. And I will also be publishing a series of short videos filmed there. The picture above left, reproduced below, was taken last Tuesday just north of Santenay showing the most common vineyard activity of the moment: pruning the vines and burning the cuttings.