TNs: DRC 2010

At a DRC tasting event last month, I tasted the 2010 lineup. It began with a harvest report from Aubert. This is always my favorite part. He talks in good detail about what went on in the vineyards, the weather, how it all compares to previous growing seasons, and places the finished wines in context. The following is a summary of his overview.

For 2010, Vosne experienced an uneventful season until flowering. Then, it started to blow from the west, which typically forebodes clouds and rain – as compared with a north wind that brings dry weather and sun. When flowering began in early June, as predicted the west wind brought with it rain and cool temps. As a result, there was shatter and dropped berries and partial crop failure with mixed-size berries developing thick skins. Flowering stretched, resulting in uneven evolution towards maturity from vine to vine, and even grape cluster to grape cluster.

This type of flowering limits quantity, but the thick skins can protect the grapes if weather continues to be bad…as it was for most of 2010. Thus, the uneven and not very fertile flowering season, and the resulting thick skins, was the first significant event of the vintage.

In June and July, there were hot and very hot periods, but nothing scorching. There was humidity which favored mildew and botrytis. These conditions required constant monitoring and great attention to the vines.

August was very cold and humid as there were record levels of precip. This was the second significant event of the vintage. The unevenness that began with flowering thus advanced and grape development slowed throughout August.

The beginning of harvest was predicted to be Sept 20. But it was hard to be optimistic. The weather remained uncertain, with south and west winds blowing and bringing both heat spikes and rainstorms. On Sept 12 a violent hail storm hit Santenay and also pounded Montrachet with rain, from which a rapid development of botrytis began. But Vosne was spare the hail and rain during September.

The third significant event of the season was the sunny (though continually humid) weather that persisted throughout September. Clearly, the quality that came from 2010 was due to the thick and resistant skins of the grapes developed at the flowering stage…those skins resisted (as best they could) the generally poor conditions throughout the cycle. Nevertheless, botrytis contributed to radical selection and lower yields.

Tasting notes, in the order in which the wines were served.

As a threshold matter, it seemed to me that all these wines possessed the DRC house style (even, for the first time, the Corton). The wines had tremendous energy and lift (a constant theme) and really really fine tannins.

2010 DRC Corton
Harvest began and ended on Sept 22. Light ruby. Nose of raspberry. Already open. More delicate and pure on the palate than the 2009, which seemed brooding and darker. I preferred the 09 version, with its more masculine tones. But it still very well balanced. A good drink, which can be enjoyed while young. 92 points.

2010 DRC Echezeaux
Harvest began on Oct 1 and finished on Oct 5. Medium ruby. Nose was initially muted, but with some warming became rich and full. Great aromas of red fruit and spice…particularly sandalwood. On the front end, a wall of fruit but somewhat still hidden behind the structure. On the back-end, very long. A great version of this wine. As good, if not better, than the 08. As the wine warmed slightly, I was more and more impressed with this wine. It clearly bested the Corton and the GE as well. I think this wine will surprise folks in time. 94 points.
2010 DRC Grands-Echezeaux
Harvest began on Sept 29 and ended on Sept 30. Just a notch darker than the Ech. More open nose than the Ech too. On the nose, fruit profiles lean toward the black side, with added smoke. Today this comes across as more open and slightly more elegant than the Ech, but I don’t think it has the structure, length or pure stuffing of the Ech. 93 points.

2010 DRC Romanee-Saint-Vivant
Harvest began on Sept 28 and ended on Sept 29. This wine was completely different than the previous three. Light ruby. Huge floral nose – complex with notes of lavender and coffee. Very feminine profile. On the palate, a huge lift. Wonderful acidity. Fine tannins, tremendous balance. Very sweet and long finish featuring great great energy. What distinguishes this wine is its great floral character and lift. Clearly, one of the finest RSVs ever at DRC. Aubert noted that the Mary Monge vines are no longer part of this cuvee…those vines produced inferior berries in his view and they have been ripped out in large part…what is left is now sold off. 96 points.

2010 DRC Richebourg
Harvest began on Sept 23 and finished on Sept 25. Medium, deep red. Much more austere on the nose than the RSV. A dark brooding wine, with black fruit nose. With a bit of warmth, the power of the wine becomes known. Very rich. Perhaps more structure than the RSV, but not as delicious a drink. Over time, the Rich might win the race, but that could be 25 years out, until then, I prefer the sweetness and energy of the RSV. 95 points.

2010 DRC La Tache
Harvest began on Sept 26 and finished on Sept 27. Full red, dark ruby, probably the darkest of the bunch. Just on a completely different level than the previous wines. Classic La Tache nose with Asian spice (star anise), purple flowers and white pepper. On the front-end, wonderful red and black fruit, with a pungency that might come from a bing cherry. Tannins are super fine. The wine fills the mouth in a way the previous wines did not. A great and building finish that combines elegance, purity and transparency. This is more than simply a charming wine. 98 points.

2010 DRC Romanee-Conti
Harvest began and finished on Sept 25. Medium red ruby. Slightly reserved nose than the LT. Still great complexity, a slight green note that, again, I expect will resolve into a spicy note with time. On the palate, though? Game over. Wow. Huge length, sweet sweet fruit and impeccable balance. Out of words. 99 points.

2010 DRC Montrachet
Harvest began and finished on Sept 23. Greenish-yellow. A complex nose of roasted fruit, pineapple and honey and a note of wood. In the mouth great minerality that adds a layer of freshness to a continued note of honey. Long, sweet but powerful finish. Not the usual profile of this wine that I so enjoyed in 2005 and 2008 (two of the best vintages for DRC Monty in my view in the last decade), but still absolutely great. 97 points.

thanks for the notes.
sounds really good.
E-GE surprising me
i think also Montrachet 2005 and 2008 was really fabulous.

Thanks Roman,

The Ech competing seriously with the Grands didn’t surprise as much as it did in 2008, which seems to me to be the very first vintage it outperformed GE. I think it was on par with GE in 09 and rivaled it here in 2010. Something must be going on in that vineyard to be lifting it recently, perhaps vine age or more rigorous selection. I don’t know.

Lucky you! :slight_smile: I’m also surprised by the showing of the Echezeaux, but maybe only time will tell. It has always been something of an underachiever, even from other producers, although a 1980 Henri Jayer version did impress me years ago with its subtlety, style, and finesse. I haven’t tried any Rouget version yet. And the most recent DRC version I’ve had was the 2000.

Thanks for the notes.

DRC Ech. often shows very well on release (relative to the other DRC wines).

Great stuff Barry. DRC’s 08 Ech is some wine so if that 10 is better then it must be brilliant.

Wow is the word that comes to mind. Thank you for sharing.

Good for you! Looks terrific!

While I walked the vineyards, a retired producer I met told me 2 things that surprised me:

  • He thought that the better Echezeaux were often better than Grands Echezeaux
  • He thought that Bouchard did as good a job as Comte Liger Belair with the wines

I have no opinion on these as I have not had the luck to compare. (only tasted a Gd Echezeaux 91 from DRC and a few Grivot Echezeaux (more recent) and can only say they all were great)