2010: A Year To Remember To Forget

There are very few blanket rules that apply in wine.  Not all wine from the Midwest sucks, not all Pinot Grigio is for grandmothers, and not every celebrity winemaker is a wanker.  But when a contender rule comes - especially a controversial notion - it's tough to resist drawing a line in the sand.  So, here it is:

2010 was a bad year.  Everywhere. 

Late cold rains in California had growers wincing and harvesting later than ever - in their galoshes.  As last year's vintage comes to market, the poor, undercapitalized bastards who are barley hanging on to their mortgages will be making an effort to recoup profits as the "tens" come online.  Bad timing.

Who the hell knows what happened in France, but reports from Bordeaux are so inconsistent that the pro-Bordelais associations are paying writers to help generate buzz - about a vintage that clearly needs writers' help.  Vintage of the century?  Puh-leez.

Australia/New Zealand?  My guess is that as the 2010s hit the shelves, those poor blokes will still be trying to find the right price points for wines that reflect their recession battle scars and other identity crisis-related problems.  Do not expect quality or bargains.

That leaves Spain and Italy.  Spain, with its varied terrain and weather, will probably come up with some winners, as it always does, though bravado in pricing could go overboard.  But Italy will continue navigating fraud-infested waters as they simultaneously attempt to educate a disinterested market on their dizzying array of new DOCs - all this as the 2010s come to market.  There is such a thing as TMI when it comes to wine.

If the few dozen international whites and roses I've tasted through in recent weeks are any preliminary indication, the contrast between the enjoyability of 2009 and 2010 wines is stark.

So, buying advice to you: stock up on enough 2007-2009 wines to get you through the 2010 glut.  Prices will likely rise as the wine market tries to recover, but 2010 will be a vintage to forget.