Purple pager Chris Piper of Christopher Piper Wines in Devon sends the following report on the 2010 vintage in Beaujolais. He also sent me a bottle of his Ch de Grandmont Beaujolais-Villages 2010, my first Beaujolais Nouveau and encouraging herald of this vintage. Our major survey of Beaujolais 2009 and this follow up may help to suggest which of these exceptional wines are worth cellaring.
Following on from the undoubtedly great 2009 vintage in Beaujolais, it was always going to be a difficult act to follow. In fact, even before the 2010 harvest begun, I felt a certain amount of negativity when talking with grower-friends.
However, as the harvest developed, it became increasingly clear that we were looking at a very exciting vintage. Certainly not as 'grand' and 'near-perfect' as the 2009 and very different but, all the same, rather special. The flowering in the Beaujolais region was delayed by the cool temperatures in the second half of May and started at the beginning of June.
This meant a later harvest than has been the norm in recent years. Beaujolais started picking on 13 Sep and the last grapes were gathered in on 6 Oct. This later harvest meant that the slower ripening (but very healthy) grapes developed exceptional aromatics and there are concentrated red-fruit noses (raspberry, cassis and redcurrant) on the young wines. Dark colour pigments in the skins have ensured deep, rich colours while the overall style of the 2010 Beaujolais wines is a fascinating crunchy-fruit freshness combined with excellent depth. They do not have the tannic structure of the 2009s and, in my opinion, some 2010s will probably be best drunk before some of the 2009s.
If the magnificent 2009 vintage started the re-birth of the Beaujolais region, the 2010s are certainly going to continue the development of growing interest among new wine drinkers and faithful, older followers who had recently lost faith in what Beaujolais is capable of producing.
For further information on the vintage as it unfolded, please look see our website.