Comparing Burgundy vintages 2008, 2009 and 2010

It’s always very interesting and rewarding to compare vintages in Burgundy, as it really reveal the true character of both the wines and the vintages – if it’s done correctly.

The recipe for succes is quite simple – find a producer who makes fine tranparent wines, that reflects both the terroir and the characteristics of the vintage. Take two or more wines from this producer, and compare the vintages of these wines.

The Danish importer of Domaine Dublere, Vinrosen, made a very interesting tasting of Dublere wines from the vintages 2008, 2009 and 2010 following this recipe. Blair Pethel from Domaine Dublere attended the tasting – commenting and discussing the wines.

Domaine Dublere is ideal for this purpose as Blair Pethel makes great wines, and they are all very true to the terroir and the vintage. The wines are pure, transparent and quite accessible – and Dublere makes both beautiful reds and perhaps even better whites.

The wines at the tasting

At the Domaine Dublere tasting we tasted four wines from the vintages 2008, 2009 2010 – two reds and two whites.

  1. Volnay Taillepeids 2008
  2. Volnay Taillepeids 2009
  3. Volnay Taillepeids 2010
  4. Morey Les Blanchards 2008
  5. Morey Les Blanchards 2009
  6. Morey Les Blanchards 2010
  7. Chassagne Les Chaumees 2008
  8. Chassagne Les Chaumees 2009
  9. Chassagne Les Chaumees 2010
  10. Chablis Les Preuses 2008
  11. Chablis Les Preuses 2009
  12. Chablis Les Preuses 2010

Comparing the red Burgundies from 2008, 2009 and 2010

The three vintages are very different, and this is very visible when looking at the color of the wines. The 2008s are very transparent and light in color, while the 2009s are much darker and denser in the color. The 2010 are also darker than the 2008s, but not as intensely colored as the 2009s.

The 2008s are compared to the other vintages very crisp with a very good acidity and a juicy red fruit. They wines are held together by the acidity and the minerality – rather than tannins. They are more about freshness and energy – rather than body and weight.

The 2009s are just the opposite with plenty of rich sweet fruit. The tannins are very ripe, and even though Blair used 50% whole cluster in 2009 – they are stilll slightly on the dense side. The Volnay 2009 is showing more “heat” than the Morey, but both are quite elegant and cool for the vintage and appelation.

The 2010 vintage show more intensity and power than the two other vintages. The fruit has the coolness of the 08s and almost the density of the 09s. The tannins are finely grained adding weight and power to the wines. The most impressive quality of the 2010s is however the transparancy – given how intense and powerful the wines are.

Bottom line – this tasting confirm greatness of the 2010 vintage, and show some of the problems in the 2009s. The 09s are, while very good, lacking some nerve and energy and they really don’t compare well with the 2010s and the 2008s.

The 2008s are in general lesser wines than the 2009s – but I must say that I prefer the style of the 08s in this case. The acidity driven 2008s are in my view very interesting with food, as the reds in that sense are structured more like a white wine – and this really gives new possibilities when matching with food.

Comparing white Burgundies from 2008, 2009 and 2010

The whites show a quite similar pattern, with the 2008s being significantly better than the reds from the vintage.

The white 2008s are very extrovert and dramatic wines with a nervy acidity – they are very complex with a almost anarkistic element of vibrant minerality. They are however also harmonious in their own slightly wild manner, and have real concentration and weight. I really adore the drama and complexity in the 2008 whites.

The 2009s are very much different – they are dense with a quite heavy fruit. The white 09s from Dublere have excellent acidity and freshness for the vintage, but served with the 2008s and 2010s the lack of freshness and mineralic complexity really is painfully clear. The 09s are very good if you like dense and full-bodied chardonney – if you like crisp and vibrant terroir wines – pick another vintage.

The 2010s whites are huge with plenty of fruit, acidity and mineralic expression. They will be great – but they need time to integrate all the components. The intensity of the 2010s will however blow away most other vintages, and the transparent display of terroir is almost mindblowing.

Bottom line – while the 2008 whites are great and expressive they will lose out to the fantastic 2010 whites. I will however allways have a soft spot for the drama in the 2008s. The 09s are not for my palate – to rich and lacking both terroir and freshness – go for 07, 08, 10 or 11.

Thanks to Blair Pethel and Vinrosen

For me this tasting confirmed my impresion of the three vintages – but it also added new dimensions to the understanding of the vintages. Blair really gave some very good insights on the different conditions in the three vintages.

A lovely tasting – thanks to Blair Pethel and Sören at Vinrosen.

Tasting notes from the Dublere tasting