Of Jedis and dentures – An ode to the 2010 vintage

Just like George Orwell wrote about 1984, I shall be writing about 2010. I will admit to liking a bit of dark dystopia so it may come as a surprise to those who know me that this post will be more of a utopian, technicoloured ode to a vintage that has so far, undeniably, been the highlight of the 21st century. This is not a bold statement, this is the truth.

I love 2010, both from a wine and a personal perspective. It was the year I met my soon to be hubby. It was also the year I went to the Burning Man festival in the USA, by far the best time I’ve ever had, running around in neon. I remember driving down Highway 1 en route to Santa Barbara wine country early September and wondering who teleported me to Scotland. It was foggy and cold. Californian winemakers were shaking their heads, predicting a terrible vintage. Terrible perhaps to the American palate, accustomed as it is to ripe, rich, extracted wines. What 2010 gave them is elegance, poise, bright fruit and wonderful natural acidity – a ‘European’ vintage. Having tried 2010 Monte Bello recently, it’s the dog’s bollocks. I am very happy to have an argument about it!

2010 was awesome almost everywhere , we are seeing more of this sort of uniformity with global warming. I’m talking very generally here but 2010 is characterised by vibrant, racy and salivating acidity. It cuts across your tongue like a lighsaber. It’s the Yoda of vintages. It has depth, concentration and surprising agility. I’ll tell you though, it wears no capes! In Germany, it is talked of as a freak vintage. Not in a Jar-Jar Binks kinda way, more in a ‘I am your father!’ sort of sense. When you taste 2010 German Rieslings, something happens to you. It’s a magical moment. It’s hard to put it into simple words, it’s like poetry. It goes something like this:


Close your eyes and take a breath

Fill your nostrils with the scent of autumn, summer and spring

And a sense of wonder fills your head

The flower beds, the fruit garden – it’s just your thing!


And take a sip, ever so slowly

A sword of steel dances on your tongue

But the lights, the colours, oh so lovely

This ain’t no ordinary gunk.


The journey is an odyssey, full of adventures

Where ancient gods are defied by queens and kings

The acid so high, you may end up with dentures

The finish so long, like Lord of the Rings.


Much like German Riesling, Burgundy and Northern Rhone inspire similar poetic moments. I was drinking a 2010 St Joseph from Vernay just last night and waxing lyrical about its beguiling perfume, structured tannins and lifted red fruit. Eye-wettingly beautiful, like looking at a picture of Thor. Ahem. Don’t get me started on Burgundy, we may be here for a while. If I cared much for Bordeaux, I’d be pinching myself, too. In the end, 2010 is a historic vintage. Anybody in their right mind should be filling their cellar with it. There were some reduced yields (a mercifully small crop of NZ Savvy, god did like me that year) and given the quality, these wines won’t be around forever. Buy, buy, buy but don’t drink just yet. Put away for a while. Though some of the ‘lesser’ Northern Rhones are oh so scrumptious now, especially St Joseph.

Right, blogging is a thirsty business. Sadly I am having a much needed dry day so shall postpone enjoyment of yet another 2010 for another day. But don’t let me stop you!

Lenka (The Evil Monkey)





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