ALINE BALY - 2010 vintage -- your thoughts.

Ms. Baly,

What are your thoughts re: the 2010 vintage in Barsac and Sauternes? Specifically, what are your thoughts about Coutet’s wines in this vintage? Thanks in advance for being here with us during your stay — I hope you find your time here with us enjoyable.

  • Brian

Hi Brian,

Lovely to be here, thank you!

So my personal note on 2010: It was a LONG harvest – somewhat a shock to our system after the very concise and fruitful 2009. What I will remember most is seeing the gold berries hanging on the vignes displaying record ripeness at the beginning of September but waiting for our friend “Noble Rot” to appear. You could see the ripeness when driving by – no hints of green – all warm yellow (like gold!). Now for your taste buds: it’s a wonderful vintage and a true Coutet: freshness and depth both very present.

Here is a complete overview of the situation:

The 2010 harvest at Château Coutet began September 13th and concluded on November 3rd. A total of six tries were necessary to collect the estate’s 38.5 hectares (95 aces) of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. This required 24 days of harvest, involving stringent berry-by-berry selection and sorting, with a team of 75 pickers.

In the Vineyard
Very favorable climatic conditions were enjoyed throughout the year with a dry and a cool summer to optimize the maturity of grapes. The fall that followed proved ideal for the development of the Botrytis cinerea. Throughout the harvest, slight precipitation was recorded on weekends, followed by sunshine on weekdays. The latter was accompanied by a northern wind that allowed grape bunches to dry quickly. These excellent conditions were particularly suited and adapted for successive passes through the property’s parcels, required to pick the botrytised berries at the optimal point for the desired concentration of both sugars and aromas – key prerequisites for a vintage full of complexity.

In the Cellar
With the year’s harvest, the average potential alcohol obtained was of 24%; the fermentations were conducted splendidly. As a consequence of the resulting small and numerous lots (about thirty), we will have a breath of possibilities for our future blends. Today, the tasting of the different batches leaves us on a note of optimism. We’ve begun working on the blending which will be presented to the press and the trade in April during “En Primeur.”

I am looking forward to En Primeur to see what the rest of the world will experience when trying our 2010! It is a crazy week of tastings where the entire world arrives in Bordeaux – but it’s one of the most exciting weeks for us.




Thank you for your detailed response! 2010 sounds like it might be a fantastic vintage for Coutet; based on what you’ve heard, do you think other producers in the region are similarly optimistic about their golden wines in the 2010 vintage?

And, please excuse my ignorance on this point, what does Coutet do with the Muscadelle? That’s a grape variety I’m not familiar with.

I think everyone is excited about their 2010 – due to the ripeness that was seen by everyone. Stay tuned to hear what the trade thinks when they taste at En Primeur, which take place during the first week of April.

As for the cepages…Here is a brief overview:

Semillon: originated in Sauternes in the 4th Century; most resistant to mildew, oidium and spring frosts due to its thicker skin, musky characteristics, aromas of apricot, orange and smokiness. This provides the structure of the wine (like CB for red BDX blends). We have 75% of our 38.5 ha (95 acres) planted with this varietal.

Sauvignon Blanc: ideal complementary varietal, ripens before the semillon, low yields, tender sweet, musky pulp, high level of acidity, citrus aromas. This represents 25% of our vineyard.

Muscadelle: unfortunately this varietal is has poor resistance to oidium and grey rot – so this is a riskier “crop” – however it contributes great complexity to the wine with lots of fruity and spicy characteristic. This is a very aromatic cepage! We have 2% of the vineyard planted with Muscadelle.