2010 Chateau Bolaire Bordeaux Superieur

2010 Chateau Bolaire Bordeaux Superieur

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A past Wine Access story about 2010 Chateau Bolaire Bordeaux Superieur

...stunning ruby-red in color. The high percentage of Petit Verdot, a staple at Bolaire, lends an expressive nose of black pepper, blueberry, and roasted plum.

2010 Bordeaux That Won’t Break the Bank


By now, the greatness of Bordeaux’s 2010 vintage has been well documented. Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer, James Suckling, Jancis Robinson, and Wine Spectator all came out with guns blazing, ranking 2010 as one of the greatest vintages since 1961. Parker dropped a DOZEN 100-point scores. Spectator rolled out a 99-point vintage rating.

But for most of us — Chinese millionaires and billionaires excluded — Parker’s 100-point bottles remain just slightly out of reach. The 100-pointer from Cheval Blanc in 2010 goes for $1,800. Château Latour’s 100-pointer commands $2,000 on the market. And for the paltry sum of $4,000/bottle, you can stock your cellars with the 100-point Château Petrus from Bordeaux’s legendary 2010 vintage! Even now, as the 2015s trickle into the market, the 2010s are still maintaining their sky-high valuations.

Fortunately for many college funds, quality was monumental across the board in 2010. In the Médoc, a stone’s throw from Château Cantemerle, the 50-year-old vines at Château Bolaire turned out a bargain-hunter’s dream that caused even Robert Parker to do a double take. The guy the Bordelaise call “The King” hailed the 2010 Bolaire as “surprisingly dark-fruited, with more minerality than Bordeaux Supérieur tends to possess.” Wine Spectator added fuel to the fire, calling the 2010 “plush” and “integrated.” But we suspect most of you will have a reaction more in line with that from longtime Wine Spectator bureau chief James Suckling. He could barely get to the 2010 Bolaire’s “full body,” “rich palate,” and “racy and refined” character, tripping over words like “Wow” and “amazing” in his 92-point review.

On the banks of the Gironde, near the town of Macau, Bolaire sits on 17 acres of clay soils, almost 40% of which are planted to Petit Verdot. The estate, established in 1860, is now in the careful hands of the Mulliez family, proprietors of Château Belle-Vue and Gironville. Vincent Mulliez, a native of Bordeaux, purchased the estate in 2004 but passed away suddenly and far too young in 2010, before he could witness the château’s finest vintage to date.

The 2010 Château Bolaire Bordeaux Supérieur offers a rare assemblage of 40% Petit Verdot, 35% Merlot, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a stunning ruby-red in color. The high percentage of Petit Verdot, a staple at Bolaire, lends an expressive nose of black pepper, blueberry, and roasted plum. Rich and ripe on the palate, loaded with blackberry and blackcurrant, buttressed by smooth, silky tannins. Notes of chocolate and caramel linger on the long finish.

Parker called this an “outstanding sleeper” from an all-time great vintage, “consistently one of the top wines at this price point.” No need to crack open the piggy bank; just $24.99 today on WineAccess. Bargain-hunters, look no further.

Expert Ratings and Reviews

92 Points James Suckling
88 Points Vinous Media
88 Points Wine Advocate

Customer Ratings

Based on 48 ratings

An OK red wine. First I've tried of imported wine.

Undrinkable. I poured out the remaining bottles.

Bordeaux 2010

2010 Bordeaux — A Classic Vintage of Outstanding Quality

The 2010 vintage is sure to go down in history as one of the greats. Next to 2009, it will surely inspire debate for decades about which of the dynamic duo is best. They are certainly different in style, with the plush, dense, super ripeness of the 2009s contrasting with the classically structured, more acidic and focused 2010s. That said, which vintage is “better” is best looked at on the regional level, and in many cases, by individual Chateau.

What can be said safely is that both vintages produced superb, long aging, vins de garde, although the 2010s, with their firmly structured, “classic” tannins, may need a little more patience than the more opulently styled 2009s. Both vintages, aside from the record prices, are worthy of a place in any cellar.

The growing season in 2010 started slow after a cold winter. Bud-break was slightly later than in 2009, and uneven flowering and disease issues reduced the crop size right off the bat, setting the stage for a smaller, more concentrated vintage. April was warm, which allowed the vines to catch up some in the growing cycle, but cold weather returned in May (the coolest in a decade). Low temperatures persisted in early June, causing concern, but temperatures rose steadily and the second half of June and all of August were warm. Hot days and cool nights were the perfect recipe for wines with great concentration and balancing freshness. The lack of precipitation in 2010 — it was one of the driest years since 1949 — was another contributing factor, allowing for ripe, concentrated grapes, with thick skins, good phenolic ripeness, and fresh acidity.

Overall, the resulting wines are deep, firm, and structured, showing ample alcohols and extraction, with the acids and tannins to match. They will need time, but those with the patience to wait will be well rewarded with wines that some are calling “modern classics.”

It’s still early to declare a winner between 2010 and 2009, but to date, St. Estephe, Pauillac and St. Julien may get the nod in 2009, and Graves in 2010 by a nose. The Right Bank is a draw, with Saint Emilion perhaps a bit better in 2010 owing to its high acidity and freshness. Pomerol was a tad better in 2009.

Dry whites from 2010 are very good — more vibrant than the 2009s. Sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac are also very good to excellent, with more acidity and nerve than the explosively rich 2009s.

Overall, we’re looking at a strong buy for the reds, dry whites, and sweet wines. For those who can afford them, these are wines for the ages, and the best will need decades to reach their potentials.

Key Dates

Cold weather, season gets off to a slow start

Warm and dry, bud-break from beginning to mid-month, slightly later than 2009

Dry but cool, less sunshine than 2009, despite a warm spell in the middle of the month Flowering begins in late May, slightly later than 2009

Cool month, unsettled weather. Occasional storms and considerable rain affect pollination. Flowering is prolonged and uneven. Merlot suffer coulure and millerandange, and crop loss as a result. Mid-flowering is on June 9th, later than the average

Hot, dry, sunny days, cool nights. Some water stress begins to occur in the dry conditions

Mid-veraison occurs around the 6th for Merlot and the 11th for Cabernet. Both were three to four days later than 2005 and 2009, but earlier than 2004 or 2008. Cooler than in 2009 or 2005, but with average sunshine. This played a role in the focused, firmer structures that the 2010s would later display

Temperature dropped but weather stayed sunny, very cool evening temperatures, again setting the stage for the higher acidity and firm structures in the 2010s

Hot and dry early on. On the 6th and 7th, low pressure and just enough rain to allow ripening and freshen the vines. Beautiful weather returned mid-month, with sunny days and cool nights. Cool, dry, fall-like temperatures settled in at the end of the month, allowing more hang-time while maintaining acidity and freshness

Merlot harvest begins

Cabernet harvested mainly in the first half of the month

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