2001 white Burgundy

drink now

Relatively crisp wine with good mineral definition

Weather Conditions

Generally speaking 2001 was a wet, cool and cloudy year in Burgundy. The flowering was late and drawn out, leading eventually to uneven ripeness at the time of the harvest. July was miserably cold and wet, only drying up at the end of the month. There was then a hailstorm on August 2nd. This affected parts of Auxey, Monthélie and Meursault, but had an even more devastating effect in Bouzeron in the Côte Chalonnaise. The rest of August was fine, thickening the skins of the grapes. But September was grey and cool, with intermittent rain during the harvest. This began in the Côte de Beaune on September 17th, six days later in Chablis. Despite the weather conditions, the yield was higher than the five year average, though a lot less than in 2000.

Best Appellations

MACONNAIS (Inc. Pouilly-Fuissé) Good crisp, clean, flowery wines for the medium term. Delicious now. Only the best Pouilly-Fuissés will last beyond the end of 2005.

CÔTE CHALONNAISE Medium weight, fruity wines with good acidity. At their peak, but the best will last until 2006.

CÔTE D’OR Heterogenous, especially in Saint-Aubin, and to a lesser extent in Chassagne and Puligny. Best in Meursault and Corton-Charlemagne. The wines vary from the merely fruity but fragile (drink soon), to those which are both concentrated and have good vigour and acidity. These will be at their best between 2005 and 2010.

CHABLIS While 2000 was a potentially fine year which has produced a lot of disappointments, 2001 is unexpectedly good in the best cellars. Basic Chablis is ready now. The first growths and grands crus will be at peak between 2005 and 2010.

Best Producers

MACONNAIS: Bret Bros; Cordier; Corsin; Ferret; Guffens-Heynen; Lafon; Olivier Merlin; Saumaize; Saumaize-Michelin; Rijckart; Soufrandise; Valette.

CÔTE CHALONNAISE: Aladame; Vincent Dureuil-Janthial; Domaine de La Folie; Grangemoulin; Jacquesson; Michel Juillot; François Lummp.

CÔTE D’OR: Bonneau du Martray; Carillon; Coche-Dury; Marc Colin; Colin-Déléger; Jean-Noël Gagnard; Javillier; Lafon; Hubert Lamy; Latour-Giraud; Leflaive; Chateau de la Maltroye; Ramonet; Roulot; Sauzet. Plus négociants Bouchard Père & Fils, Drouhin, Girardin and Jadot.

CHABLIS: Alain Besson; Billaud-Simon; R & V Dauvissat; Droin; Drouhin; William Fèvre; Dom. des Malandes; Raveneau; Louis Michel; Christian Moreau; Gérard Tremblay.

What the winemakers and merchants say

Robert Wheatcroft, sales director, Morris & Verdin

The 2001 Burgundy vintage produced delicious wines that will drink fairly early on. The reds aren’t blockbusters, but they have a beautiful balance and fantastic, bright fruit. The Côtes Chalonnaises, in particular, are just stunning – their acidity seems to be far livelier than was the case in 2000. The whites had less sugar in 2001 than they did in 2000, but the phenolic ripeness was more complete in many cases. There’s a tightness to them at the moment that should develop into juiciness, but they also have a minerality to them that I like.

Charles Lea, director, Lea & Sandeman

My overall impression is that the good domaines have made another classic vintage but some white growers, particularly those who sell to negociants, have shown a tendency to over-production, resulting in fragile wine that may not age terribly well. Chablis seems relatively weak all over but, when it comes to reds, it’s pretty clear that the northern Côte de Nuits is consistently pretty good. There’s already a danger that 2002 will be overhyped and 2001 will be overlooked, but in my opinion the northern Côte de Nuits may end up being better balanced in 2001 than they will be in 2002.

Iain Muggoch, fine wine buyer, Bibendum

This is a very good vintage, but it falls short of being a classic. It’s incredibly grower-selective – you have to know your stuff in 2001. There are some stunningly clean wines in the Côte de Nuits, with beautiful, pure Pinot flavours, but the reds in the Côte de Beaune had a few troubles, particularly in Volnay. From Pommard up, it’s outstanding – much more structured than 2000, far less ‘Hollywood’. The whites are fresh and clean, for medium- to short-term drinking. In fact, you could say that will the 2000 whites need ageing, you can drink the 2001s in the interim and it’s the reverse for reds.

Philippe Prost, maitre de chai, Bouchard Pere et Fils

In terms of the Côte de Beaune whites, this is a vintage with a streak of broad acidity, but this is an area where the whites need that to express themselves. Those who don’t like acidity in their whites won’t be happy with the vintage; but this is Burgundy and thank goodness we have a nice acidity in the wines to help them age. The northern Côte d’Or reds are very fruity, structured and balanced, but moving south it’s clear that, in some cases, the wines are rather dilute. The well-made wines have a pleasant acidity and soft tannins and are very accessible.

David Delaye, winemaker, La Chablisienne

2001 was a really difficult vintage for Chablis and many growers ended up with grapes that were rotten or too unripe after a very rainy September. These were hardly optimum conditions, so vinification was tricky for everyone. In our case we had a pleasant surprise when we came to taste the end product – they’ve got good fruit and are very crunchy. In general, these are not wines to cellar but are for more immediate drinking pleasure, although the top terroirs produced wines with greater depth. Those crus that usually need a bit of time to evolve are very forward this year, and 2002 has far greater potential.