Mother Nature Meets WoMan: 2010 Red Burgundy in Your Glass(es)

Learn about this delicious Burgundy vintage from Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine


As I said in my post on 2010 Burgundian whites, this vintage is delicious. I discussed there how weather affects white and red wines differently. So far, it’s hard to say which color I favor, though I’m leaning towards the whites. However, the wines are still so young that in six months, that might change and it could be a photo finish. Just like when the 2008s were at this stage, both colors are running neck and neck (I now say the 2008 whites win).

Since I’m staying between the Côte de Nuits and Macônnais, the wines are all Pinot Noir, except for the Gamay stirred into one cuvée. Though it is a very fine vintage, it wasn't easy - as the title suggests. After explaining some of the weather events that make this vintage taste the way it does in reds, I’ll mention some of the wines where I think WoMen (women and men) successfully challenged Mother Nature’s bravado.

In general, 2010 red wine quality is a few steps behind 2009 but is ahead of 2008 by a smidgen. From what I’ve tasted so far, the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune are equally successful. The Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais - aside from some hail damage in the latter - are celebrating their third good year in a row.

What happened during the growing season that affected the look, smell and taste of the wines? First, the hail that occasionally attacks during the growing season spared most of the Côte d’Or (for once!). This, along with the small berry size due to the growing season’s chilly start, gave the Pinot Noir good color. Second, once Mother Nature got down to the business of finalizing fruit ripeness in September, she turned on the sunshine but kept the night time temperatures fairly cool. This means the wines have ample fruit and body along with refreshing acidity.

From north to south, here are some of my value picks in 2010 Burgundy Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir image via Shutterstock
Régis Bouvier 2010 Bourgogne Pinot Noir En Montre Cul
This Bourgogne Rouge merits its lieu-dit. First, the vines sit on a hillside, not on a plain. Second, they are 50-years-old. The wine shows height-of-summer blueberry fruit, supple tannins and grapey youthfulness. Shell out the few extra bucks for this rather than the “straight” Bourgogne. Drink through 2015.

Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair 2010 Fixin Clos Marion Monopole
I’ve never tasted Fixin like this. It’s so delectably juicy that it makes me blush. Accented by licorice, the plum-filled mid-palate is kept in-bounds by perky acidic tension and powdery tannins. Drink through 2016.

Domaine Hudelot-Noellat 2010 Chambolle-Musigny
Rich crimson in color, this wine almost vibrates with underbrush, freshly-dug truffles and moss-covered logs. The fruit ranges from tart cherry to ripe plum and wild blueberry. The near-tart acidity is finely balanced by the gracious tannins. A leaner example of the vintage to drink through 2020.

Domaine Stéphane Magnien 2010 Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains Cuvée Tradition
A Gamay and Pinot Noir blend. The Gamay donates the wine’s supreme juiciness and purple inflections. The Pinot Noir lightens the body and adds mineral finesse to the nose. Pure fruits of pluot, loganberry and blueberry work into the mix. Drink now to 2014.

Domaine Daniel Rion 2010 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Lavières
This is an exciting bottling. It displays loads of exuberance with lavender high tones and rich, blackberry juiciness. The package is balanced by lightly tugging tannins. The finish lingers longer than I’d expect for a village wine. Will develop well through 2020.

Domaine d’Ardhuy 2010 Côte de Nuits Villages Clos des Langres Monopole
This wine’s fruit generosity does not betray its minerality. Dark berries are strewn amidst the underbrush aromas and the musky note renders the wine a bit rustic. The firm tannins do, too. Could use time in bottle but will drink well through 2017.

Domaine Follin-Arbelet 2010 Aloxe-Corton
Overall, it’s rather simple with a short finish, yet this wine delivers great delight. A textbook Côte de Beaune rouge, it offers a bounty of fragrances: red currant, ripe strawberry, exotic mushroom, dusty earth and iron. The slightly crunchy tannins and brisk acidity should help the wine carry well through 2017.

Comtesse Bernard de Chérisey 2010 Blagny La Genelotte Premier Cru
This compelling bottling hails from the hill above Puligny-Montrachet. The aromas are replete with fresh-snapped branches, dried mushroom and black raspberry. Slightly roguish tannin and mouthwatering acidity frame the medium body. The pretty, engaging finish suggests this wine will age well through 2020.

Domaine Chevrot 2010 Maranges Sur le Chêne
The over-arching elegance in this wine is the first thing I noticed – from first sniff through the fair length. Laden with red and blue berries, there’s a lovely spiciness attributable to some whole cluster fermentation. A bit rough-and-tumble now, should drink well beginning in 2013-2014.

Domaine Chofflet-Valdenaire 2010 Givry Rouge

This gruffly tannic and foursquare Pinot Noir exudes smoke, truffles and minerals along with ripe black plum, blackberry and licorice. This is a wine for food, and it could use time in bottle. Begin approaching in 2014.

Mentioned in this article


  • A good choice, but I´d like to mention two more:
    Lucien Jacob in Echevronne
    Domaine Dubois in Premaux-Prissey

    Oct 19, 2012 at 3:03 AM

  • Snooth User: Ken Arkell
    113629 15

    Thank you for putting in an estimate of when to drink and how long a wine might be drinkable. I have come to the point where if a reviewer does not provide these estimates, I immediately wonder whether the reviewer is not competent to review, or too lazy to do the job.

    Oct 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM

  • Ken Arkell put in a nutshell what some can not.

    Oct 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM

  • A few years ago I tasted two wines: same year, same clone, same vinification, same vineyard but with a significant difference. Why! 4 feet between the rows of vine: then you know that you will love but never fully understand Burgundy and the complexity of it´s térroir!

    Oct 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

  • 2 weks ago I joined a vertical tasting of wines from Haut Côte de Beaune: 2010 and backwards - an excellent way to learn how to recognize vintages // same clones, same vineyard, same vinification -- only difference was the vintage.

    Oct 21, 2012 at 4:33 PM

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