Last week, fine wine merchants and traders attended a series of Burgundy 2010 tastings in London. Initial reactions to the vintage have been exceptionally positive, with Allen Meadows (aka Burghound) noting that the wines could in fact be superior to their 2009 counterparts. This is particularly surprising given the challenging weather conditions that growers faced in 2010.
Meadows suggests that the wines are notable for their refinement, balance and great sense of energy:
"It’s one thing to have racy acidity and punch but it’s another to ally these attributes with real substance. And this is what the 2010s do with such brilliance."
The table below shows his top picks of the vintage.
Whilst many growers overcame the elements and produced "genuinely excellent" wines, yields were down between 30 and 40 per cent on 2009. As a result, stock is in limited supply and buyers may need deeper pockets this year.
Many of our trading members have reported modest price rises of five to ten per cent across all quality levels. Of course, where vineyards (and hence production) were severely affected by the adverse weather, increases can be as high as 40 per cent. Despite this, merchants maintain that the market has absorbed the price hikes "with little if any resistance". All of the fine wine traders that we spoke to said that demand for the Premier Cru and Grand Cru reds was outstripping supply. According to one merchant, "Price is definitely not the problem. Because yields were so low, not enough stock is available." Buyers who have not been able to secure allocations will have to hunt for stock on the secondary market, where prices are likely to rise quickly.
Interestingly, anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been a strong rise in demand from Asia this year. "In Hong Kong five years ago there was no recognition [of Burgundy]," said one leading trader. "Now it's something that people are incredibly excited about. Buyers are bored with Bordeaux."
Interest from Asian clients (who are reportedly a mix of speculators and collectors) appears to be concentrated in the high-end wines, including those of Roumier. As noted last week on the blog, Asian buyers are increasingly favouring Burgundy's top labels. This was clear at the Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong on Saturday, where Bordeaux suffered but Romanee Conti sold at a premium.