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James Suckling – “Believe the hype”

“I found the 2010s extremely easy to taste..I even found them more attractive to taste than the 2009s last year at this time.”

Such was the conclusion of former Wine Spectator Editor James Suckling after what can only be described as a two-week tasting marathon in Bordeaux. The critic tasted his way through around 600 barrel samples from the 2010 vintage and then added to the flow of (controversial) early tasting notes. Having previously awarded new vintages barrel-score spreads, Suckling assigned four off-the-bat perfect scores to Lafite, Margaux, Vieux Chateau Certan and Haut Brion Blanc. He says of Lafite, “Believe the hype. Lafite is perfect in 2010…It is amazing. It’s like gazing into the blue sky in wonder after tasting this young wine.”

Other top scorers include Cheval Blanc (99-100), Ducru-Beaucaillou (99-100), Lafleur (99-100), Mouton (99-100) and Latour (98-99). The only remaining First Growth, Haut Brion, received 97-98 points.

Suckling’s notes are a medley of exuberant superlatives and suggest that a number of chateaux produced their “best ever” wines in 2010. Like his former colleague, James Molesworth, the critic claims that the First Growths’ second wines have achieved new levels of quality this year. Carruades de Lafite, which received 89-92 points in 2009, was awarded 95-96 points, whilst Petit Mouton moves up from 90-93 (2009) to 94-95 points.

So far, all signs point to another “great” vintage. With the en primeur week starting in earnest on Monday, will the rest of the critics be as generous as the Jameses? The table below shows Suckling's top 2010s alongside the scores of their 09 counterparts.

JS on 2010
Scores from