Region 'White Burgundy' - Year 2008

Rating Drinkability Style
starstarstarstarstar keep Difficult, low-yielding vintage of varied quality. Intriguing combination of richness and fresh acidity due to late sunshine and cold breezes.

Weather Conditions

A cool, wet spring and early summer brought uneven budburst and patchy flowering. Fruit set was erratic and mildew a constant problem. Spraying and deselecting poor and damaged fruit were major occupations in the vineyards.

Early July, settled and sunny, had growers optimistic. But all too soon 2008 turned downhill, as big hailstorms hit the region: on 26 July, whole swathes were wiped out, especially in Meursault, while on 7 August Pouilly-Fuisse in the Mâconnais took a bashing. Chablis was the least affected region.

The weather finally broke on 14 September, not before rain-soaked August had rot infecting the vineyards. Drying, northerly winds rapidly concentrated the berries, and sugars rose swiftly in the cool sunshine. Picking times were critical to retain sufficient acidity, especially in Mâconnais which saw the most sunshine.

Best Appellations

The vintage's unusual combination of high sugars and high acidity has worked well for Puligny-Montrachet, the premiers crus, in particular, which range from piercingly fresh and minerally to richer styles that are lusciously opulent. Chassagnes, too, are impressive - slightly less energetic but rich with firm acidity.

Chablis is another star of the vintage: bracing and refreshing and wonderfully minerally. The best are pure, precise and vibrant, with good ageing ability. 2008 Mâconnais outshine the 2007s – riper, richer, broader – while top Côte-Chalonnais have fruit, charm, length and acidity.

Yet quality varies greatly, measured by painstaking sorting of the fruit and well-judged harvesting. Picked at the right time the wines have well-defined citrus fruit and tension; late picked can be clumsy and overripe; too early, scrawny and acidic.

Best Producers

MEURSAULT: Joseph Drouhin, Remi Jobard, Pierre Morey, Domaine Roulot, Bouchard Père & Fils, Antonin Guyon, Michelot; PULIGNY-MONTRACHET: Etienne Sauzet, Bruno Colin, Henri Boillot, Maison Roche de Bellene (Nicolas Potel); CHEVALIER-MONTRACHET: Michel Colin, Louis Jadot, Bouchard Père & Fils; BATARD-MONTRACHET: Domaine Faiveley, Joseph Drouhin; CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET: Jean-Noël Gagnard, Henri Germain, Paul Pillot & Fils, Bruno Colin; MONTRACHET: Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Jean Chartron; MACON-MILLY-LAMARTINE: Heritiers du Comtes Lafon & Dominique Lafon; CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE: Domaine Dublère, Jean Chartron, Bouchard Père & Fils; POUILLY-FUISSE: Olivier Merlin, Daniel Barraud; SAINT-AUBIN: Olivier Leflaive; GIVRY: Guy Chaumont; PERNAND-VERGELESSES: Louis Jadot; CHABLIS: Château de Ligny, Louis Michel, Domaine Drouhin Vaudon, Domaine Louis Moreau, Domaine Christian Moreau, William Fèvre, Domaine Moreau-Naudet, Lamblin & Fils, La Chablisienne, Domaine Seguinot-Bordet, Daniel Dampt & Fils, Patrick Piuze.