A red Burgundy vintage guide back to 1961.

2015

Keep

The 2015 vintage is an extraordinary one throughout the Côte d’Or. The red wines are truly great: rich, powerful and statuesque but almost always underpinned by juicy acidity. The distinctive characters of the region’s diverse terroirs, which can be occluded by over-ripeness in warm years, are articulately expressed. Nor, despite its richness and amplitude, is this a facile vintage. These are wines for the long haul, with serious reserves of ripe tannins hidden behind their generous fruit: they will deserve patience – and if they shut down in bottle, they will demand it


Some vignerons draw comparisons with the excellent 2005s, though yields were lower in 2015 and the wines are more concentrated. Others look to 1990 for an analogy. Perhaps the last word should go to Volnay’s Michel Lafarge, one of the Côte d’Or’s most thoughtful and experienced observers, who draws parallels with 1929s which he tasted as a young man in his family’s cellars. No other vintage in the past 60 years, he reflects, is really comparable.

In the Côte de Nuits, Bruno Clair describes 2015 as ‘an aristocratic vintage with finesse’. But it was not a copious harvest. Jacques Devauges at Clos de Tart explains: ‘The nights were hot in late June and July, and this led to berries dropping off the bunches, and consequently to lower yields.’ Moreover, the hot summer kept berries small, and thus with less juice than usual. Yet yields varied. Sebastien Cathiard had close to 40hl/ha, while Liger-Belair, also in Vosne-Romanée, and Henri Gouges in Nuits-St-Georges had an average of 25hl/ha. Crucially, the grapes remained healthy until harvest, and no sorting was required.

 


2014

Keep

‘Far from easy’

As in so many recent years, the Burgundy 2014 vintage produced many excellent wines. Yet it was far from an easy growing season.

Growing season

Conditions got off to a good start: spring was warm and dry, leading to a fairly early budbreak and an uneventful flowering in early June throughout Burgundy.

But later that month the problems began. On 28 June a hailstorm, as in 2012 and 2013, tore through the Côte de Beaune, causing huge damage in villages such as Volnay, Pommard, Meursault and Beaune.

The renowned vineyards of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet largely escaped, although some problems during flowering here did lower the crop. The Côte de Nuits was much less affected, but still there were growers who experienced considerable damage.

Not all vineyards within each commune were affected by hail, but nevertheless many producers reported losses that averaged about half their usual crop; at Domaine Jacques Prieur, which owns vineyards across the Côte d’Or, the average yield was 14hl/ha.

The silver lining was that the reduced crop reached maturation with ease despite the difficult
summer.

However, feeble yields in damaged sites forced some growers to blend premier cru sites into a single blend rather than releasing them separately, since there was too little wine to justify single-vineyard bottlings.

Weather Conditions

The summer was frankly poor, with wet, chilly conditions interspersed with a few hot days in July and worsening conditions during the first half of August. There was surprisingly little disease, but maturation proceeded slowly.

Pierre Damoy, of the eponymous domaine in Gevrey-Chambertin, confessed: ‘Given that
this was supposed to be an early vintage, the awful weather in August slowed everything
down and caused us great anxiety.’

From mid-August the weather improved, with mostly dry, sunny conditions continuing well into September, giving the grapes a steady maturation and a harvest beginning generally from mid-September.

A north wind helped to keep the bunches healthy. Chardonnay was largely problem free, but there was some rot in the Pinot Noir that had to be dealt with in the vineyard or on sorting tables.

The sunny conditions meant there was no pressure to pick very quickly.

Fruit flies: Drosophila Suzukii

However, from late August there were localised infestations of the drosophila suzukii fruit fly that can penetrate damaged grapes, especially those with soft skins such as Pinot Noir.

According to Grégory Patriat of Jean-Claude Boisset, some growers panicked and picked too early, resulting in hard tannins in their Pinots.

The damage done by these spotted-wing, vinegar flies provokes sour rot, which needs to be eliminated by careful sorting in the vineyard and winery, and this was done by all top-flight domaines.

‘Classic’ Burgundy 2014 red wines

The reds, especially in the Côte de Nuits, are less voluptuous and rich than 2009 or 2012, but also riper than 2008, which had a similar growing season.

As with the whites, there are many forward wines for drinking over the next eight to 10 years, as well as superb wines from the top vineyards that should age well.

Thierry Brouin at LVMH-owned Clos des Lambrays in Morey-St-Denis believes 2014 is a great vintage that may be overlooked after all the praise already being heaped on the Burgundy 2015 crop.

Jacques Devauges at the neighbouring Clos de Tart was less concerned: ‘We’ve had a succession of small harvests coupled with high worldwide demand, so I’m not worried about the 2014s, which are full of charm and flesh.’

In the hail-affected areas, growers were presented with challenges. First, the yields could be risibly low. Secondly, levels of extraction could be worryingly high.

There is huge stylistic variation among the red Côte de Beaune wines. Many are limpid and pure, as they should be; others are dark and dense.


2013

Keep

A difficult but prolonged growing season did eventually deliver wines with light tannins and light acidity, graceful, fresh wines rather than concentrated or very complex ones. They share a certain fragility with the 2008s, but the 2013 do seem to have a bit more intensity. With very few exceptions, these are not wines for the long term.


*Vintage report updated January 2017


Weather Conditions

Just as Burgundy growers were picking themselves up after the battering they received from Mother Nature in 2012, the nightmare started all over again. Sunlight scarcely made an appearance in January, and cold wet conditions continued right into the spring months. May had double the usual rainfall. The vegetative season was severely delayed, and even some warmer weather in June didn’t make a great difference. Flowering was late and difficult, with a much reduced crop. July was better, but on July 23 1300 hectares in the Côte de Beaune were wrecked by hail, and some celebrated sites such as Clos de Mouches in Beaune had no crop at all. Consequently, poor flowering and hail between them eliminated half the crop. The flowering also reduced yields in the Côte de Nuits, but here there was no hail to make matters even worse. Late July was also rainy and August hot but humid, so mildew and oidium were rampant. Once September got under way, temperatures cooled, putting the brakes on maturation. Harvesting was delayed until October.

Red grapes were about to be picked when a heavy storm arrived on October 5. Some rushed to pick before rot spread; others delayed, either because the tannins were still unripe, or because there was little risk of dilution as the skins were thick. In the event the precise date of the harvest didn’t seem to make a huge difference to quality, Sorting, once again, was essential, and most wines were lightly chaptalised as sugar levels, even in the ripe wines, were modest.

Best Appellations

As in 2012, the Côte de Beaune fared worse than the Côte de Nuits, which was spared the hail, and although there are some refined wines from the former, selection is essential. Volnay produced good wines, but there are disappointments in Corton. Chambolle-Musigny delivered wines of great charm, and there are many successful domaines in the northern part of the Côte de Nuits especially. Unlike 2012, these are mostly not wines for the cellar. The best have charm and finesse, and even purity of fruit, but not the structure required for long ageing.


2012 

Keep

An account of the 2012 growing season would suggest the vintage was catastrophic. But as so often happens in Burgundy, a fine September saved the day and ripened the grapes. Quantities are tiny, with domaines reporting yields of between 18 and 30 hl/ha, while quality is maddeningly inconsistent. There are tough, unappealing wines, and some magnificent wines.This makes it a difficult year to navigate as even within a single domaine there can be varying quality. The best wines have good tannic structure and will age well.

Weather Conditions

Spring was chilly and damp, and there was some frost, but nothing too dramatic. Continuing rain led to a difficult flowering, which in some places took a month to complete. There was extensive hail on June 6, but as the flowering was only just getting under way, damage was not that severe. But the miserable weather not only led to a reduced crop after flowering, but to constant outbreaks of mildew, and although growers could treat against them, the rain often washed away those treatments, lessening their effectiveness. This was not an ideal year for organic or biodynamic domaines.

There was a more serious outbreak of hail in the Côte de Beaune at the end of June, and continuing damp weather provoked more mildew. A heat spike in late July should have been welcome, but most growers had stripped leaves (or hail had done it for them) to improve ventilation so as to combat disease, and exposed bunches suffered from sunburn, reducing yields further. On August 1 there was hail, yet again in the Côte de Beaune, and an outbreak of oidium. Temperatures rose in August, with occasional storms, but fine weather set in on Augut 24. Ripening was surprisingly speedy because the crop level was so low, especially in the Côte de Beaune, where Savigny and Volnay domaines reported losses of up to 75 percent. The harvest began in late September, and sorting was required to remove damaged or dehydrated bunches.

The small berries meant the Pinots were very concentrated, but overall quality depended very much on the quality of the tannins extracted. This was quite difficult to assess when the wines were very young. Some seemed too extracted; others had been prudently vinified with a very light touch and seemed a bit washed out.

Best Appellations

The repeated hailstorms afflicted most damage on the Côte de Beaune, with villages such as Volnay, Pommard, Savigny, Beaune, and Aloxe-Corton badly affected. That does not mean that the wines from this area are necessarily poor or tainted, as the best domaines would have sorted rigorously. But the risk of encountering disappointing wines is inevitably greater than it would be in the Côte de Nuits, which largely escaped the hailstorms. Nonetheless there were losses in the Côte de Nuits too because of sunburn damage and the tricky flowering; some growers in  Gevrey-Chambertin had lost half their crop by the end of June. What remained, though, was often of excellent quality, and in Marsannay growers reported no rot and no sorting. The reds from throughout the Côte d’Or are tannic and structured, so the best of them are well worth cellaring. And there were some excellent wines in the Côte Chalonnaise. The difficulty is in selecting the best wines. The inconsistency is such that they really needed to be tasted and assessed on an individual basis. This is probably a vintage in which to trust the top names, negociants as well as domaines, and steer clear of the unknowns.


2011

Keep

As so often in recent years, 2011 proved to be a tricky and challenging vintage for growers, yet the wines mostly turned out well. The reds are aromatic and fresh, with considerable purity of fruit. What they lack is some depth, weight, and complexity. The best wines have balance rather than power, and should be enjoyed in the medium term. Some Village wines are already approachable.

Weather Conditions

Spring was warm, and flowering was early, at the end of May, promising an early harvest. Then the climate started playing its usual tricks. The early summer was cool, but then in late June temperatures soared, and the heat spike caused sunburn on exposed bunches. July was cool, actually cooler than April, and hail on July 12 smashed into the southern Côte de Beaune and the Côte Chalonnaise. In late July the weather improved and it stayed warm into August, but storms and more very hot weather later in the month both slowed the maturation and caused some dilution within the grapes. Mildew followed. Growers wrestled with the crucial decision on when to harvest. On the Côte de Beaune some were picking in late August, and in the Côte de Nuits the harvest was under way in early September. Much depended on the health of the grapes and on the strength of the skins and thus their resistance to disease. This could vary from site to site, domaine to domaine. Sorting was essential.

It became clear that the grapes were indeed ripe, but at relatively low sugar levels after the uneven summer. Many domaines chaptalised lightly. Yields were down by 20 to 30 percent, which aided ripening, but not as low as in 2010. It was already clear that the red wines would be light on tannin, and that extraction during vinification needed to be careful. There was a tendency to retain more stems so as to give the wines more structure and grip. When the fermentations were completed and producers assessed the results, they were often led to compare the wines to the 2007s, but the consensus was that they were a bit bigger and richer than 2007. Acidity levels were average.

Best Appellations

At the top level there are some exceptional wines with ample structure and persistence, and the remainder of the wines from top terroirs have charm and finesse, alongside moderate weight of fruit. Very good wines were made in both Côtes , but the Côte de Nuits has the edge, as the wines generally have more fullness and depth. Hail in the Côte Chalonnaise led to many disappointing and unripe wines from that zone. Some critics were tempted to overrate the vintage, however, declaring it to be superior to 2009, but it’s doubtful that many would still hold that view. The wines are enjoyable and accessible, reflecting their terroirs well and also expressing the house style of the various domaines and negociants.


2010 

Keep

This was a vintage that flirted with disaster. The growing season had been uncertain, to put it mildly, and had it not been for a warm September and reduced yields, the grapes might never have ripened. But they did, and the vintage is marked by a limpidity and purity of flavour that make this a classic Burgundy vintage.


*Vintage guide updated in 2017


Weather Conditions

Severe frost in December 2009 killed off some vines, and poor conditions during the flowering in June reduced the crop further, and promised a season of uneven ripening. The early summer was damp and not that sunny, and August was worse, with cool, wet weather. Mildew and rot made a predictable and unwelcome appearance, and had to be dealt with by vigilant growers.

Although it warmed up in September, hail affected some vineyards in the southern Côte de Beaune. There were storms too, but the small berries and thick skins of the Pinot grapes allowed them to emerge unscathed. It stayed warm, and the harvest was underway by the last week in September and continued into early October. It was a tricky harvest because of the uneven ripening, and sorting was essential; it was also necessary to elimiate disease-tainted bunches.

So why was this a potentially great vintage? It’s because the cool summer had preserved acidity in the grapes, and the small crop had allowed the fruit to ripen slowly despite the lack of sunshine. Had yields been much higher, it is unlikely that much of the crop would have ripened fully. Even so, after harvest not all growers were convinced that quality was exceptional. It was only after very slow malolactic fermentations were completed,that this became apparent. The wines don’t have the opulence of the 2009s, but they do have intensity, limpidity, and structure, and the best will be very long-lived. The only disappointments may be at estates that lacked the resources to be vigilant in the vineyard and to skim off all tainted bunches. In those cases, the wines were rather skinny and fragile.

Best Appellations

The Côte de Nuits is exceptional in 2010, although good estates in the Côte de Beaune also made exceptional wines, with succulence balanced by structure. Volnay and Pommard produced lovely wines. There are some question marks over Santenay, which was hit by hail in September, so sorting was essential here. The same is true of the Côte Chalonnaise, which suffered in particular from uneven ripening. Throughout Burgundy the best estates coped; others may have been less scrupulous. It was not an easy vintage to vinify, so skill in the cellar as well as location has determined quality. The berries were small and the caps dense, so that excessive punching down could lead to over-extraction. Nor was this a vintage for lengthy macerations. On the other hand the overripeness and high alcohol that marked some 2009s was not an issue in 2010, and most wines are balanced, fresh, and transparent. These are racehorses; the 2009s teddy bears.


2009

Keep

Beautifully ripe and fleshy wines, and the only reason for not awarding so hedonistic a vintage the full 5 stars is that the acidity in many wines is rather low, and thus there are question marks over its long-term ageing potential. But there are few grounds for anxiety. The wines won’t require very long cellaring, but in the medium term they will be delicious and rewarding.


*Vintage guide updated January 2017


Weather Conditions

It was hot during the spring, but flowering was early, from late May onwards. Stormy spells in mid-July threatened oidium and mildew, and some treatments were required. Fortunately warm weather soon returned, and indeed there was a heatwave from 10 August. This allowed the fruit to ripen perfectly, especially since early September continued warm. A little rain, especially in the Côte de Beaune, was timely and welcome. The reds in the Côte de Beaune were picked by mid-September, and possibly picked a bit too early, but Côte de Nuits growers waited until later in the month, and some domaines may have picked too late, resulting in wines with low acidity and high alcohol. Arnaud Mortet in Gevrey-Chambertin noted that it was important to pick at just the right moment to ensure the fruit was optimally ripe.

Initial comparisons were made with the 2005 and even 1990 vintages, but that was probably a bit optimistic. The 2009s tend not to have the tannic structure of the 2005 vintage, and perhaps a better comparison, as suggested by Aubert de Villaine of DRC, is with 1959, another hot year with low acidity.

Best Appellations

Conditions were fairly uniform in 2009, so there were no stark variations in quality between villages or sectors. Village wines can be drunk now, with few exceptions, but premiers and grands crus will probably benefit from more bottle age. But these are wines to be enjoyed for their luxurious ripe fruit, and except for the most structured wines from the Côte de Nuits they should be broached fairly soon.


2008 

Keep

Low-yielding and inconsistent quality, but the best wines (often the 1ers crus) have great purity of fruit, focus and fresh acidity: drink early or hold for well over a decade.


*Vintage guide updated January 2017


Weather Conditions

Sparse March/April sunshine and rainfall double the norm stalled progress in the vineyard, though pace picked up during a fine early May. More rain and a cool June saw protracted flowering, with coulure (failure to fertilise) a constant problem. Mildew thrived in the dreary inconsistency, requiring continual spraying.
July was sunnier, but deteriorated on the 26 when a hailstorm hit Volnay, Pommard, Savigny-les-Beaune and Marsannay (localised damage but up to 70% of the crop lost in places). More hail, on 7 August, significantly reduced yields in Mâconnais and Beaujolais.
Cool, dull weather returned mid-August and ripening was slow and erratic, grey rot creating further problems. A bright, sunny dawn on 14 September, with drying north-easterly winds, began concentrating grapes and clearing infection: sunshine persisted, and picking got fully underway under ideal conditions in the later part of September.

Best Appellations

Despite mildew, rot, and inconsistent ripening, 2008’s cool weather and late drying sunshine created a good balance of bright acidity and ripeness. Hallmarks are dark red colour, great purity of fruit, and a serious rather than showy character. The wines don’t have great depth but the best have purity and focus.
More northerly vineyards were less challenged and Chambolle-Musigny 1ers crus from the Côte de Nuits’ are perhaps the vintage highlights: fragrant, textured, vivacious and fairly substantial, lively raspberry fruit shot through with fine minerality. There’s more minerality, plus dark bramble fruit and ultra-smooth tannins, from Nuits-Saint-Georges, with good quality from village level upwards. Gevry-Chambertin is elegantly structured, spicy and bursting with red-black fruitiness, while the four grands crus of Morey-St-Denis show exotic spiciness and luscious density.
From the Côte de Beaune, Pommard shows some consistency – the best smooth, spicy, vivacious and quite boldly tannic, while the ripe, spicy and concentrated 1ers crus of hail-hit Volnay can also be impressive.

Best Producers

LE MUSIGNY: Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier; CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY: Ghislaine Barthod, Robert Groffier, Maison Roche de Bellene (Nicolas Potel); NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES: Robert Chevillon, Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg; SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNES: Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret BEAUNE: Chanson Pere & Fils; MAZIS-CHAMBERTIN: Armand Rousseau; GEVRY-CHAMBERTIN: Denis Mortet, Domaine de la Vougeraie, Louis Jadot, Jean-Marie Fourrier; Maison Champy; CHAMBERTIN: Denis Mortet, Domaine Pierre Damoy, Arnoux-Lachaux; CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN: Maison Champy, Camille-Giroud, Domaine J Confuron-Cotetidot; POMMARD: Domaine de Courcel, Domaine Hubert Montille; VOUGEOT: Domaine de la Vougeraie; CLOS DE VOUGEOT: Henri Boillot; Bouchard Père & Fils; ECHEZEAUX: Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg, Domaine Jean Grivot; VOSNE-ROMANEE: Domaine Jean Grivot; VOLNAY: Bouchard Père & Fils, Maison Roche de Bellene (Nicolas Potel).


2007 

Drink soon

Fragrant wines with light tannins and fresh, accessible fruit, though styles vary hugely as a result of the erratic, labour-intensive vintage.


*Vintage guide updated January 2017


Weather Conditions

While the warmest April in 50 years got the vintage off to a good and early start, from May to August it was cool and dreary. There were rainy spells and virtually no sunshine, and mildew and grey rot were constant threats (though less so than in Bordeaux in the same year). Growers had to apply effort, vigilance and extra treatment in the vineyards, while the grapes struggled to develop maturity.
Salvation arrived with a warm late August and a fresh, sunny September. Skins ripened and sugar levels soared, while drying north winds put the brakes on rot. The forecast late harvest became an early one, though there was huge variation in picking dates. In Beaujolais, picking began early and was over by the beginning of September.
Hard-graft continued in the cellar, the elimination of unripe and unhealthy grapes reducing yields by around 20%.

Best Appellations

Despite wide variations in style (reflecting terroir and grower decisions regarding picking dates, stringency of sorting, and mildew control) the result is wines with charm rather than structure. They are fragrant, with light tannins and fresh, accessible fruit. The long, cool growing season has preserved Pinot Noir’s floral character well and let the freshness of the fruit come through.
Grand cru-studded Côte de Nuits has the edge: light, elegant Gevrey-Chambertins and appealingly perfumed Morey-St-Denis stand out, while Nuits-St-George 2007s are translucent, pure, with juicy red fruit. From the Côte de Beaune Chassagne-Montrachet and Santanay are sweet, juicy with smooth tannins, while Pommard is supple and minerally. Volnays are sensual and floaty; Beaunes ripe and well-structured. Ageing potential is limited but expect enjoyable drinking for up to 10 years for the best wines.

Best Producers

Pierre Damoy (Chambertin-Clos de Bèze), Arnand Rousseau, Louis Jadot (Gevrey-Chambertin), Comte Liger-Belair (La Romanée), Henri Gouges (Nuits-St-Georges), Comte Georges de Vogüé (Chambolle-Musigny), Nicolas Rossignol-Jeanniard (Volnay), Pierre Damoy (Chambertin), Domaine Josepth Voillot (Pommard).


2006 

Keep

Wines have good fruit purity and freshness, but lack the ripeness of better years. Serious wines may be worth keeping for a bit but also may be relatively precocious.


*Vintage guide updated January 2017


Weather Conditions

A cold, wet winter and spring – resulting in a late but even flowering and lots of foliage – was followed by record heat in July (beating even 2003).

By August, the vines were ahead of the average schedule by about three weeks but cool, wet weather slowed maturation down considerably and led to boytritis, particularly in the Côte de Beaune.

September was clear, warm and dry; a bit of rain in the midst of harvest was not as significant in affecting the quality of the grapes as the humidity in August.

Best Appellations

A patchy vintage; wine from the Côte de Nuits will be more consistent, and the best producers may have made some excellent wines. The Côte de Beaune will prove more troublesome, even with careful selection.


2005 

Keep

Sumptuous and generous styles of wine that will make fantastic drinking in the coming years. Ripe yet sitll fresh.


*Vintage guide updated January 2017


Weather Conditions

The region as a whole had good weather throughout the summer with mostly dry, sunny days and cool nights. Rain fell across the region on 19 August, bringing the water table up when drought was threatening the vines.
‘The rain came at just the right moment,’ said BIVB president Michel Baldassini.
Odile Meurgues, head of the technical department at the BIVB, said, ‘The grapes were exceptionally healthy. The vines have escaped any and all infections. A characteristic of this year’s Pinot Noir is the thickness of its skins – a pointer to colour and structure in the wines. [By early September] the were already high in sugar and sugar/acidity balance was excellent for fruit at that stage in maturation.

Best Appellations

Uniformly good.


2004 

Keep

Fairly structured, crisp wines that will be slow to mature

Weather Conditions

The weather this year has provided Burgundy’s vignerons with some nail-biting moments. Things started well, with a winter and early spring remarkable only by their relative lack of frosts. May was warm followed by a cold snap so the Pinot flowering was late and drawn out. Summer arrived, and, with it came the rains. July and August were uncommonly damp, cloudy and cold, bringing the threat of mould and oidium. As a result, those vignerons who cut back the leaf canopy and green harvested rigorously ended up with the healthiest grapes.
Hailstorms struck the Côte de Beaune hard in August, culminating in a hard fall on 23 August, which wiped out swathes of Volnay, Pommard, Beaune and Savigny. While some vineyards were barely touched, others suffered up to 90 per cent damage. A total washout was prevented when the sun finally came out at the end of August and a brisk north wind helped dry out the vineyards. Hot afternoons and cool nights helped develop good ripeness, colour and acidity in the grapes. Harvest began pretty much on schedule, towards the latter half of September.

Best Appellations

Côte de Nuits.


2003

Keep

Superb, expressive wine from the best producers and best appellations certainly worthy of cellaring

Weather Conditions

Like the rest of France, Burgundy’s vineyards were on the receiving end of some exceptional weather conditions in 2003. A fairly humid winter gave way to an early spring, prompting early growth of the vines. ‘Then,’ said Olivier Lamy of Domaine Hubert. “There was a frost, so everything lower down the slopes froze a bit.’
The resumption of mild weather led to an early flowering, which took place three weeks ahead of schedule – then Chassagne and Puligny were hit by a hailstorm. Thankfully, damage was fairly limited and all progressed as normal – until the heat hit. Exceptionally high temperatures were already being registered in June and little rain fell, conditions that prevailed throughout a long, hot summer.
‘There was so much extreme heat that some of the grapes on the southwest-facing vines dried out, and areas like Chassagne did badly,’ said Lamy. ‘Thankfully, east-facing vines escaped damage and cooler climates such as Saint Aubin did well.’
Unsurprisingly, under the circumstances, harvest started early – so early, in fact, records were set. On the southern fringes of the region, picking began on 13 August, some 10 days earlier than the previous record, which was set in 1893.
The prolonged heat and drought led to drastically reduced yields right across the region. ‘The quantity of grapes harvested is around half that of previous years,’ said Jean-Claude Mitanchey, cellar master at the Château de Mersault. ‘The volume of must is quite scant and varies from vine to vine.’
The damage caused by the extreme conditions varied according not only to the position of the vines but their age. ‘There was a big difference between the old and the young vines,’ Lamy said. ‘The older the vines, the better they did because their roots are deeper, enabling the plant to access water below ground.’
Overall, yields were down between a third and a half, compared to a normal year.

Best Appellations

Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits St. Georges, Vosne-Romanée.


2002

Keep

Fine tannins, ripe fruit and excellent balance

Weather Conditions

A cool May retarded the flowering, but that took place in good conditions. July and August were dry and warm, but not too hot, and thankfully there were no violent storms. By the beginning of September, thanks to the drought, development had become somewhat blocked, but this seemed to be less of a problem with the Pinots than in the Chardonnays. Then there was rain. This did no harm except in Ladoix where it was somewhat excessive, reducing the concentration of the Cortons and such Corton-Charlemagnes as come from this side of the hill. This was followed by fine weather: clear skies with a cool north wind. The harvest began in the Côte d’Or on September 15 and was all over by the 1st of October, after which the weather deteriorated, affecting the quality of the later-picked Hautes Côtes. The crop was 5.5 percent less than the five-year average.

Best Appellations

BEAUJOLAIS A splendid Beaujolais vintage: the wines are fullish, crammed with fruit and have very good balance. The crus are only just beginning to come round. They can safely be held for three or four years. CÔTE CHALONNAISE The main danger here in 2002 was over-cropping. The best producers green-harvested after de-budding and confined their yields to 45 hl/ha or so. These have made delicious, intensely-flavoured expressions of the Pinot Noir, medium to medium-full bodied, with good acidities. Keep these until 2007. CÔTE DE BEAUNE Consistent across the board, with the single exception of Ladoix (but even here the Prince de Mérode has made some lovely Cortons), the 2002s will give a lot of pleasure. The fruit is pure, refreshing, elegant and delicious; tannins are ripe; the wines have medium to medium-full body. Drink the vintage wines from 2007/2008, the premiers crus from 2009/2010, Cortons from 2012. CÔTE DE NUITS As above: delicious and consistent. As usual the wines are bigger and more black-fruity than the Côte de Beaunes. The top wines are also more concentrated. Start consuming your village wines and premiers crus from 2010; grands crus should be kept to 2015.

Best Producers

BEAUJOLAIS: Dom. Aucoeur, Morgon; Château de Bellevue, Morgon (Jadot); Patrick Bouland, Morgon; André Collange, Fleurie; Thierry Descombes, Juliénas; Dom. Desperrier, Moulin à Vent; Bernard Douzel, Morgon; Jean Foillard, Morgon; Dom. Franchet, Côte de Brouilly; Château des Jacques, Moulin à Vent (Jadot); Château de Juliénas/MM Condemine; Hubert Lapierre, Chenas and Moulin à Vent; Dom. de la Madone, Fleurie; Jean-Pierre Margerand, Château de Moulin à Vent; Juliénas; Michel Tête, Juliénas; Joseph Pellerin, Fleurie; Domaine du Petit Puits/Gilles Méziat, Chiroubles; Olivier Rabier, Fleurie; Chateau de Raousset, Chiroubles; Château Thivin, Brouilly; Plus the estate selections of Georges Duboeuf, Paul Beaudet, Loron and Mommessin.

CÔTE CHALONNAISE
René Bourgeon; Luc Brintet; Faiveley; Jacquesson; Joblot; Michel Juillot; Bruno Lorenzon; François Lumpp; Rodet, François Racquillet; Clos Salomon.

CÔTE DE BEAUNE
Marquis d’Angerville; Comte Armand; Roger Belland; Billard-Gonnet; Simon Bize; Jean Boillot; Château de Chorey; Coste-Caumartin; Jean-Marc Giboulot; Lucien Jacob; Michel Lafarge; Lucien Muzard; René Lequin-Colin; Jean-Marc Pavelot; Aleth Le Royer-Girardin; Plus the selections of Bouchard Père & Fils; Chanson, Vincent Girardin; Jadot and Nicolas Potel.

CÔTE DE NUITS
Arlaud Père & Fils; Denis Bachelet; Ghislaine Barthod; Sylvain Cathiard; Jean Chauvenet; Robert Chevillon; Claude Dugat; Bernard Dugat-Py; René Engel; Faiveley; Fourrier; Gouges; Jean Grivot; Robert Groffier, Anne Gros; Michel Gros; Gros Frère & Soeur; Alain Hudelot-Noëllat; Clos des Lambrays; Liger-Belair; Hubert Lignier; Méo-Camuzet; Alain Michelot; Dr. Georges Mugneret; J.F. Mugnier; Dom. Roumier; Armand Rousseau, Clos de Tart and De Vogüé. Plus the selections of Joseph Drouhin, Louis Jadot and Nicolas Potel.


2001 

Drink soon

Intensely fruity wine with clear of terroir distinction

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. The vineyards of Volnay and part of Monthélie and Pommard were particularly badly affected. And even the fruit that remained never really recovered, producing wines which lacked concentration and definition. 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, Thursday 20th in the Côte de Nuits. In fact much of the Côte de Nuits was not cleared until after the 28th in much warmer, sunnier weather. Many growers doubled the quantity of their pickers to clear the vineyards completely before the weather deteriorated, as it did a week later, to the detriment of the proprietors in the Hautes Côtes. The red wine crop was marginally less than the five year average.

Best Appellations

BEAUJOLAIS The Beaujolais harvest began in the first week of September, having taken full advantage of the warm August. The crop was large, the fruit healthy and the wines are of medium weight, ripe and balanced. Quality is very good, and proportionately better as one climbs up the hierarchy into the wines of the 10 crus. They are delicious now and should be drunk before the end of 2006.

CÔTE CHALONNAISE The hail damage which almost wiped out Bouzeron had severe effects in Rully and parts of Mercurey. The resultant wines are fruity but a little fragile, best enjoyed young. Drink now-2008.

CÔTE DE BEAUNE Quality gets proportionately better the further one ventures north. Savignys are better than Santenays, Beaunes and Pommards more satisfactory than Volnays. The wines are of medium to medium-full weight, have at least decent fruit and acidity, and, where not too hail affected, have sophisticated tannins. But overall quality is uneven; the Côte de Nuits is both more successful and more consistent. Drink village wines from 2005/2006, premiers crus from 2007/2008, Cortons from 2010.

CÔTE DE NUITS The Côte de Nuits benefited not only from finer weather during the harvest but from less humid conditions earlier in September. Here we have an altogether happier and more regular picture. There are some lovely 2001 Nuits-Saint-Georges, less burly and with more sophisticated tannins than usual. These are better, proportionately speaking, than the Vosnes and Chambolles, some of the lesser of which are a little too soft-centred. The vintage is at its best in Gevrey-Chambertin. Start drinking village wines from 2007/2008, premiers crus from 2010, grands crus from 2012.

Best Producers

BEAUJOLAIS: Dom. Aucoeur, Morgon; Château de Bellevue, Morgon (Jadot); Patrick Bouland, Morgon; André Collange, Fleurie; Thierry Descombes, Juliénas; Dom. Desperrier, Moulin à Vent; Bernard Douzel, Morgon; Jean Foillard, Morgon; Dom. Franchet, Côte de Brouilly; Château des Jacques, Moulin à Vent (Jadot); Château de Juliénas/MM Condemine; Hubert Lapierre, Chenas and Moulin à Vent; Dom. de la Madone, Fleurie; Jean-Pierre Margerand, Château de Moulin à Vent; Juliénas; Michel Tête, Juliénas; Joseph Pellerin, Fleurie; Domaine du Petit Puits/Gilles Méziat, Chiroubles; Olivier Rabier, Fleurie; Chateau de Raousset, Chiroubles; Château Thivin, Brouilly; Plus the estate selections of Georges Duboeuf, Paul Beaudet, Loron and Mommessin.

CÔTE CHALONNAISE
René Bourgeon; Luc Brintet; Faiveley; Jacquesson; Joblot; Michel Juillot; Bruno Lorenzon; François Lumpp; Rodet, François Racquillet; Clos Salomon.

CÔTE DE BEAUNE
Comte Armand; Château de Chorey; Lucien Jacob; Jean-Marc Pavelot; Plus the selections of Bouchard Père & Fils; Chanson, Vincent Girardin; Jadot and Nicolas Potel.

CÔTE DE NUITS
Arlaud Père & Fils; Denis Bachelet; Sylvain Cathiard; Robert Chevillon; Bernard Dugat-Py; Faiveley; Fourrier; Gouges; Jean Grivot; Robert Groffier, Hubert Lignier; Alain Michelot; Dr. Georges Mugneret; Armand Rousseau and De Vogüé. Plus the selections of Joseph Drouhin, Louis Jadot and Nicolas Potel.

What the winemakers and producers say

Richard Berkley-Matthews, buyer, John Armit Wines

As usual, it’s difficult to generalise in Burgundy: it has good growers and bad rather than good vintages and bad. There’s no doubt that 2001 wasn’t an easy vintage: many of our growers told us it was made in the cellars rather than in the vineyard. I think that, when it comes to reds, the Côte de Nuits probably outperformed the Côte de Beaune, which is more austere – at least at this stage. Pommard and Volnay, in particular, were badly affected by hail. The 99s and the 2000s were so charming when they were young – this vintage has more tannins, so that it comes as a bit of a shock, but I think they’ll soften in time.

Christian Honorez, buying director, H&H Bancroft

In terms of overall quality, I’d say that 2001 is not a memorable, blockbuster vintage, but there are some very well-made, well-balanced wines out there. I think the Côte de Beaune reds are quite a lot better than 2000 – the wines have structure and substance, although one could almost drink them now. Further north, Vosne did particularly well while Gevry is a bit more hit and miss. All in all, 2001 is nothing to be ashamed of – and people don’t have to commit themselves to long-term cellaring as the wines are for consumption fairly soon. To sum up, the prices are stable, with hardly any rises on the previous year, and I think the quality is an improvement.

Pascal Marchand, winemaker, Domaine de la Vougeraie

This wasn’t an easy vintage, particularly in the Côte de Nuits, and finding the right balance was tricky. In the end, though, we’re happy with the wines we’ve made – and so, I’m glad to say, are the critics and buyers. It’s a classic, structured vintage, with weight, relatively high tannins and a lot of definition and concentration. The vintages between 1998 to 2000 gave us ripe wines that give a lot of pleasure in their youth – in contrast, this vintage will need to be cellared for at least four or five years to give of its best.

Olivier Lamy, winegrower/maker, Domaine Hubert Lamy

We’re in the southern Côte de Beaune here and had a changeable year in the appellation – it took a bit more work than usual to achieve the right balance in the wines. The best of the whites are rich but also have a pleasing freshness – they’ll need time to evolve because they’re a bit higher in acidity than usual. The reds have a nice colour and structure. Initially the tannins were a bit hard, but they’re starting to soften, although I’d say that this is a vintage that will need around three to five years to evolve fully.


2000

Drink soon

Low acidity suggests a vintage for relatively early consumption. Quality will depend on strict selection

Weather Conditions

After a mild winter and frost-free spring, May and June were dry and warm, giving an early flowering. But a cold stormy July led to mildew and other problems, which were largely cured by a hot August. Early September was cool again, but by 13 September fine weather had returned. Storms interrupted the harvest in the Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise. There was considerable rot among the Pinot Noir, and strict selection was essential. Harvesting began on 6 September in the Mâconnais, on 11 September for the Côte de Beaune, and on 13 September for the Côte de Nuits, except for Grands Crus, which were picked from 15 September onwards.

Best Appellations

By and large the Côte de Nuits fared best, with some wines potentially the equal of 1999. Low acidity levels suggest this will be a vintage for relatively early consumption. The crop level was high, so green-harvesting was widespread among quality-conscious producers. At the Clos des Lambrays in Morey-St Denis, about 15 percent of the crop was rejected. Hail damage in Savigny will have reduced the crop from that village, and in the Côte de Beaune as a whole rot incidence varied from 10 to 40 percent. Ultimately, quality will also depend on the strictness of the selection in the vineyard and winery.

Best Producers

While there are some very good results in the Côte de Beaune from e.g. the Marquis d’Angerville and Michel Lafarge (both Volnay) and in Savigny-Lès-Beaune (e.g. Jean-Marc Pavelot) we recommend that you concentrate on the Côte de Nuits.

NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES: Robert Chevillon; J.J. Confuron; Henri Gouges.

VOSNE-ROMANÉE: Sylvain Cathiard; René Engel; Jean Grivot; Anne Gros; Gros Frère & Soeur; Méo-Camuzet; Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY: Ghislaine Barthod; Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier; Georges Roumier; Comte Georges de Vogüé.

MOREY-SAINT-DENIS: Hubert Lignier; Lignier-Michelot; Perrot-Minot; Ponsot; Clos de Tart.

GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN: Denis Bachelet; Bruno Clair (Marsannay); Claude Dugat; Dugat-Py; Fourrier; Humbert Frères; Denis Mortet; Armand Rousseau.

MERCHANTS: Bouchard Père & Fils; Drouhin; Faiveley; Vincent Girardin; Jadot; Dominique Laurent; Nicolas Potel.

‘A difficult year for winemakers’

Burgundy expert Clive Coates said “For those who had not controlled the size of their crop, and who felt the full force of the September rain, the 2000 vintage was a disaster. The crop would not have been fully ripe. The outset of rot would have been swift. Even where the harvest had been restrained, and sugar degrees were satisfactory, the fruit was phenolically unripe. Colours were difficult to extract. Flavours were lacking.”

“It was as crucial to sort out the ripe from the rotten and unripe (triage) as to bleed off excess juice (saignée) to obtain a more satisfactory solid-to-liquid ratio. It was a difficult year for winemakers. In the Côte d’Or the vintage gets progressively better as one travels from south to north. Volnays and Pommards are better than Santenays, Savignys proportionately better still. In the Côte de Nuits there is yet more success, with Gevrey-Chambertin the best village of all.”

“The best wines are fresh and fruity, soft centred and will evolve in the medium term. As one climbs the hierarchy from village to grand cru the wines get proportionately better.”

“‘I call it a vintage without problems,’ says Christian Gouges of Domaine Henri Gouges (meaning no problem for the consumer to enjoy). It is a vin de plaisir. Yet the wines are true to their terroir.’ François Millet, the usually restrained winemaker at the Comte Georges de Vogüé domaine, is more enthusiastic. ‘We have a confit of fruit,’ he says. ‘The wines are sensual, yet with no lack of structure and tannin.'”

“What is obvious is that the vintage has improved. ‘At first,’ says Aubert de Villaine of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, ‘I regarded 2000 as a 1992-plus, possibly a little fragile. But they aren’t thin at all, as we feared.’ I think the wines in the Côte de Nuits are more interesting than the 1997s. As Christophe Roumier of the Georges Roumier Domaine points out, the 2000s have less alcohol than the 1997s but are fresher. The wines have aged less rapidly in barrel and may last better in bottle.”


1999

Keep

Some unripe fruit and a number of dilute wines, but overall quality promises to be excellent

Weather Conditions

Flowering took place in cool weather in June. The summer was warm and humid, and once again mildew and oidium caused problems. Moreover it was clear that the crop would be huge, and growers had to green-harvested to keep yields under control. Hot conditions from mid-August to mid-September speeded the ripening, and the harvest took place during the second half of September. Some rain fell at this time, but caused very little damage to the ripe
bunches. The grapes were very healthy, acidities sound if not exceptional.

Best Appellations

There will be some dilute wines, and some tart wines from growers who could not get their huge crop to ripen fully, but the overall quality promises to be excellent. As well as the Cote de Beaune, the Cote Chalonnaise delivered fine reds this year.

Best Producers

SANTENAY: Roger Belland; Muzard.

VOLNAY: Marquis d’Angerville; Yvon Clerget; Michel Lafarge; Hubert de Montille; J & A Parent (Monthélie); Roblet-Monnot.

POMMARD: Comte Armand; Billard-Gonnet; Jean-Marc Boillot; Le Royer-Girardin.

SAVIGNY-LÈS-BEAUNE etc.: Simon Bize; Chandon de Briailles; Château de Chorey; Lucien Jacob; Jean-Marc Pavelot; Tollot-Beaut.

NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES: Jean Chauvenet; Robert Chevillon; J.J. Confuron; Henri Gouges; Domaine des Perdrix; Michel & Patrice Rion; Thomas-Moillard.

VOSNE-ROMANÉE: Robert Arnoux; Sylvain Cathiard; Forey Père & Fils; Michel Gros; Dr. Georges Mugneret/Mugneret-Gibourg; Gérard Mugneret.

MOREY-SAINT-DENIS: Dujac; Jean Raphet.

GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN: Alain Burguet; Géantet-Pansiot.


1998

Keep

Variable quality but the finest of the wines have good colour and structure

Weather Conditions

Flowering was protracted, and the summer was warm and dry if not especially sunny, with high temperatures in August. September was marred by rain, but there were ten days of fine weather between 16 and 26 September.

Best Appellations

Unfortunately not all grapes were ripe by 16 September, and some estates waited. Outbreaks of mildew and oidium caused further problems, so strict selection was essential. Early assessments of quality were negative, but now the wines are in bottle it is becoming clear that, although patchy, 1998 can be excellent, with deep colour and ample structure. The Côte de Beaune will be more consistent; the greatest wines are likely to come from the Côte de Nuits.

Best Producers

Comte Armand; Marquis d’Angerville; Robert Arnoux; Denis Bachelet; Ghislaine Barthod; Chandon de Briailles; Bruno Clair; Claude Dugat; Dugat-Py; Engel; Forey Père & Fils; Henri Gouges; Jean Grivot; Anne Gros; Michel Lafarge;
Comtes Lafon; Domaine des Lambrays; Leroy; Méo-Camuzet; Gérard Mugneret; Dr. Georges Mugneret/Mugneret-Gibourg; Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier; Perrot-Minot; Domaine de la Romanée-Conti; Georges Roumier; De Vogüé.
Plus the following merchants for both colours: Bouchard Père & Fils; Drouhin; Vincent Girardin; Jadot; plus Faiveley; Dominique Laurent and Nicolas Potel for red wines and Morey-Blanc for white wines.


1997

Keep

Not quite as good as preceding years, but most wines are good for the medium term

Weather Conditions

Flowering was early if somewhat uneven. June and July were unsettled, and August was hot and stormy. Rain in early September provoked a little rot, but nothing that couldn’t be coped with. Harvesting began on the Côte de Beaune on 11 September, but the best estates waited for 5 to 10 days to ensure greater ripeness. Yields and ripeness levels were variable. The reds were healthy and ripe, but soft in structure, with low acidity.

Best Appellations

Some growers, especially in the Côte de Nuits, were very happy with the vintage; others produced attractive charming wines for medium-term drinking. Generalisations about the 1997s are especially dangerous.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville; Comte Armand; Robert Arnoux; Ghislaine Barthod; Jean-Marc Boillot; Chandon de Briailles; Jean Chauvenet; Bruno Clavelier; Yvon Clerget; Forey Père & Fils; Henri Gouges; Jean Grivot; Michel Lafarge; Comtes Lafon; Hubert Lignier; Méo-Camuzet; Gérard Mugneret; Dr. Georges Mugneret/Mugneret-Gibourg; Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier; Emmanuel Rouget; Georges Roumier; Christian Sérafin; De Vogüé.

Plus the following merchants for both colours: Bouchard Père & Fils; Drouhin; Vincent Girardin; Jadot; plus Faiveley for red wines and Morey-Blanc for white wines.


1996

Keep

Pure, elegant wines with the ability to age

Weather Conditions

Very warm weather in June led to a swift flowering. The summer was unsettled and August was relatively cool, but late August and all September was sunny and dry, with cool nights that conserved acidity in the grapes. The outcome was a large crop of extremely healthy grapes, with high sugars, excellent acidity, and deep colours.

Best Appellations

The reds tend to be more elegant than the 1995s, but the latter may prove to be the more long-lived vintage. There was more consistency in the Côte de Nuits than the Côte de Beaune.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville; Comte Armand; Robert Arnoux; Denis Bachelet; Ghislaine Barthod; Château de Chorey; Bruno Clair; Yvon Clerget; J.J. Confuron; Claude Dugat; Bernard Dugat-Py; René Engel; Forey Père & Fils; Henri Gouges; Jean
Grivot; Anne Gros; Michel Gros; Alain Hudelot-Noëllat; Michel Lafarge; Comtes Lafon; Leroy; Hubert Lignier; Hubert de Montille; Denis Mortet; Gérard Mugneret; Dr. Georges Mugneret/Mugneret-Gibourg; Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier; Jean-Marc Pavelot; Pousse d’Or; Ramonet; Emmanuel Rouget; Georges Roumier; Christian Sérafin; Jean Tardy; De Vogüé.

Plus the following merchants for both colours: Bouchard Père & Fils; Drouhin; Vincent Girardin; Jadot; plus Faiveley for red wines and Morey-Blanc for white wines.


1995

Keep

Good quality and quantity. Good structure and firm tannis, especially in Cote de Nuits

Weather Conditions

After an unsettled spring, flowering was late and difficult. There was some scattered hail damage. But the summer was dry and hot, with a little welcome rain in mid-September. Growers on the Côte de Beaune picked after the rain in late September. Rain returned while the harvest was underway on 30 September on the Côte de Nuits, but the healthy grapes resisted the humidity well, and there was little rot.

Best Appellations

The wines are well balanced and rich, with sufficient acidity to ensure a long life. The Côte de Nuits may be marginally better than the Côtes de Beaune, but there will always be exceptions.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville; Comte Armand; Robert Arnoux; Denis Bachelet; Ghislaine Barthod; Alain Burguet; Château de Chorey; Bruno Clair; Yvon Clerget; JJ Confuron; Claude Dugat; Bernard Dugat-Py; René Engel; Forey Père & Fils;
Henri Gouges; Jean Grivot; Anne Gros; Michel Gros; Michel Lafarge; Comtes Lafon; Leroy; Hubert Lignier; Hubert de Montille; Gérard Mugneret; Dr. Georges Mugneret/Mugneret-Gibourg; Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier; Jean-Marc Pavelot; Pousse d’Or; Ramonet; Emmanuel Rouget; Georges Roumier; Armand Rousseau; Christian Sérafin; Jean Tardy; De Vogüé.
Plus the following merchants for both colours: Bouchard Père & Fils; Drouhin; Vincent Girardin; Jadot; plus Faiveley for red wines and Morey-Blanc for white wines.


1994

Keep

Uneven quality; wines tend to lack charm and structure, and some show dilution

Weather Conditions

The summer was hot and dry, but the weather deteriorated in late August, and there was more rain from September 10. Harvesting began on the Côte de Beaune on 16 September and on 21 September on the Côte de Nuits. Some growers waited a week for the rain to end, and some on the Côte de Beaune picked just before the rain, but for many estates the rain had a
major impact on quality, especially where rot set in.

Best Appellations

The wines tend to lack charm as well as structure, some show dilution, and acidities are low. In
general, the best wines came from early harvesters in the Côte de Beaune and
from later harvesters in the Côte de Nuits.

Best Producers

No producers recommended.


1993

Keep

Produced ripe, flavoursome wines generally, and superb cru Beaujolais

Weather Conditions

After a rapid even flowering in June, a fine spring was marred only by hail in May. July was wet, prompting a good deal of mildew. August was warm, so sugar levels rose steadily, while acidities remained satisfactory. There was heavy rain from 21 to 24 September and early October, but there was no rot.

Best Appellations

Most growers on the Côte de Beaune picked from 15 September; those on the Côte de Nuits a week later. Thanks to the grapes’ thick skins, there was no dilution, and the reds have turned out very successfully: rich and well balanced.

Best Producers

Quality was even throughout the region.


1992

Drink soon

A large vintage of relatively light if not unpleasant wines; majority have little tannic backbone or extract

Weather Conditions

After a warm May, June was very wet, and flowering was protracted. But the summer was fine, except for rain in late August, and fine weather resumed in September. The harvest began on 12 September on the Côte de Beaune, on 18 September on Côte de Nuits. Storms interrupted picking on 22 September. Yields were too high, but the grapes were healthy even if acidity levels were low. Overall the wines are supple, have charm without great vigour, and little tannic backbone or extract. They need to be drunk within their first ten years.

Best Appellations

The Côte de Beaune was marginally better than the Côte de Nuits.

Best Producers

No producers recommended.


1991

Keep

Sugar levels were high and many good, if slightly austere, wines were made

Weather Conditions

April frost was a major problem, but other factors such as hail in June and August and a late flowering also helped to reduce yields severely. Chambolle-Musigny, Morey St Denis, and Gevrey-Chambertin were badly affected by hail. The summer was hot and dry but interrupted by storms. In mid-September there was some rain and cooler temperatures.

Best Appellations

Growers picked rapidly from .25 September, but bunches showed uneven ripening. Nonetheless sugar levels were quite high and many good, if slightly austere, wines were
made.

Best Producers

No producers to recommend.


1990

Keep

An excellent year with deeply coloured, full-bodied and fruity wines

Weather Conditions

The spring was dry, but cool weather in June led to uneven, drawn-out flowering. Nonetheless the grapes caught up in terms of maturation during the hot summer that followed, and some rain in September prevented any drought stress.

Best Appellations

Sugar levels were high, and so was acidity, leading to a harvest of rich healthy grapes, beginning on 17 September on the Côte de Beaune, on 24 September on the Côte de Nuits. Yields were high, yet quality was excellent. No region excelled; all did well.

Best Producers

Among the hundreds of delicious wines, the 1990 Musigny from De Vogué stood out for many tasters as quite exceptional.


1989

Drink soon

A hot year, producing fruity, elegant wines especially from the Cote de Beaune

Weather Conditions

A mild winter and spring resulted in early, profuse vegetation. Flowering was early but prolonged. Summer was hot and dry, with long hours of sunshine. Luckily, enough rain fell towards the end of August to prevent the grapes from shrivelling. September saw an early harvest of a ripe, rich crop.

Best Appellations

In general, 1989 is a vintage that has favoured the fuller appellations, eg, Pommard rather than Volnay or Beaune, Nuits-Saint-Georges and Vosne-Romanée rather than Chambolle-Musigny. The generalisation is truer at village than at premier and grand cru level, however. Savigny-lès-Beaune and Pernand-Vergelesses produced good wines, but the Cortons are variable. Further north, the village of Gevrey-Chambertin is also patchy.

Best Producers

Comte Armand, Drouhin, Dujac, René Engel, Faiveley, Alain Hudelot-Noëllat, Louis Jadot, Henri Jayer, Dr. Georges Mugneret, J.F. Mugnier, Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau, De Vogüé.


1988

Drink soon

Classic, long-lived wines with good depth of fruit

Weather Conditions

Early spring was warm and mainly dry, resulting in early budding. However, heavy rainfall and cool temperatures during May and June caused damage to the flowering. Conditions were mixed for much of summer, heavy rainfall alternating with dry periods, but early September saw the weather change and become sunny and warm, and the small crop ripened well. The late harvest took place in hot weather.

Best Appellations

The vintage was much more abundant in Chardonnay than in Pinot Noir, and hence better for red than for white. These reds, if rather austere, and having taken longer than expected to round off, are in general proportionately better in the Côte de Nuits rather than the Côte de Beaune.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville, Robert Ampeau, Denis Bachelet, Drouhin, Faiveley, Robert Groffier, Jadot, Henri Jayer, Michel Lafarge, Pousse d’Or, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Joseph Roty, Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau, Thomas-Moillard.


1987

Drink soon

Small quantities of light, quite fast-maturing wine

Weather Conditions

Early spring was warm and mainly dry, resulting in early budding. However, heavy rainfall and cool temperatures during May and June caused damage to the flowering. Conditions were mixed for much of summer, heavy rainfall alternating with dry periods, but early September saw the weather change and become sunny and warm, and the small crop ripened well. The late harvest took place in hot weather.

Best Appellations

The Côte de Beaunes are rather better than they were in 1986. It is difficult to generalise about the superiority or otherwise of the Côte de Nuits 1987s over 1986: it depends on the wine. Many wines, in both sectors, now show rather dead-leaf, dried-up flavours. Few wines have much vigour left, and these are in the Côte de Nuits.

Best Producers

Robert Ampeau, Marquis d’Angerville, Grivot, Jean Gros, Jadot, Michel Lafarge, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.


1986

Drink now

A large vintage of indifferent quality with poor concentration

Weather Conditions

A cold winter segued into a cool, wet spring. The weather did not really improve until early June, which saw a late flowering take place under near-ideal conditions. There was little change in the pattern until the outbreak of thunderstorms towards the end of August. The rainy weather continued on into September, resulting in a high incidence of grey rot. Late in the month, temperatures picked up, and much of the harvest took place under exemplary conditions.

Best Appellations

The Côte de Nuits is very much better than the Côte de Beaune, but quality is variable. The wines are now old, however. Only a few of the very top grands crus are worth bothering about.

Best Producers

Drouhin, Faiveley, Jean Gros, Jadot, J.F. Mugnier, Roumier, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.


1985

Drink soon

Another small vintage but the finest wines were deeply coloured, rich and fruity

Weather Conditions

After a few years of difficult conditions, leading to poor vintages, 1985 saw the return of good weather – at least in wine-growing terms. Despite a cold and sometimes frosty winter and spring, which resulted in a late flowering, temperatures picked up somewhat in June and July. August and September, however, on the whole were blessed with extremely sunny conditions and little – almost no – rain fell. The exception was a hailstorm in mid-August that destroyed a substantial proportion of the crop in Aloxe-Corton. The extremely dry conditions during the ripening period ensured that the crop was not affected by rot.

Best Appellations

A strange year. Many of the red wines were delicious at five years and fading by 10, while most of the rest of the successful examples were not yet ready. The former are now past it. The latter still offer much. Consistent from Marsannay to Santenay, except for some over-oaked wines from Henri Jayer, Joseph Roty and others.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville, Robert Ampeau, Denis Bachelet, Gaston Barthod-Noellat, Drouhin, Dujac, Faiveley, Jean Gros, Jadot, Michel Lafarge, Dr Georges Mugneret, J.F. Mugnier, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau, Roland Trapet.


1984

Drink now

A cold, wet vintage

Weather Conditions

Spring was cool and damp and the flowering was delayed as a result. The weather improved by the start of summer, and July was warm and sunny. August, however, saw a number of thunderstorms, and conditions deteriorated further in September, which was extremely wet. The late harvest produced a poor crop of acidic grapes.

Best Appellations

A poor vintage. Thin acid wines: now dead. Ignore.

Best Producers

Not applicable.


1983

Drink soon

The best of the wines are rich and concentrated but some vineyards suffered from rot

Weather Conditions

Spring saw appaling weather conditions: temperatures were low and rain fell heavily. There were heavy, if localised, hailstorms in May: Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny were particularly affected, losing a third of the crop. However a hot, dry June saw a good flowering and the sunny conditions continued throughout July and much of August. Heavy rainfall and little sunshine at the end of that month and through to mid-September adversely affected the ripening process and brought on rot; and the harvest took place in changeable weather.

Best Appellations

Rot in Gevrey-Chambertin, hail in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny, so certainly more consistent in the Côte de Beaune. Yet the great wines are in the Côte de Nuits. In all the wines the structure is to the fore, and in many cases there is nothing within the scaffolding, or what there is is now dried out. But the best are better than the 1985s, though there are far fewer of them.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville, Denis Bachelet, Gaston Barthod-Noellat, Drouhin, Grivot, Jean Gros, Alain Hudelot-Noellat, Jadot, Lafarge, Hubert de Montille, Pousse d’Or, Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau.


1982

Drink now

A prolific vintage with few wines worthy of serious ageing

Weather Conditions

Ideal conditions in spring saw an early and abundant flowering. Summer was dry and warm through until August, which saw some rainfall. Ripening took place in September in perfect weather: plenty of sunshine and high temperatures, and these conditions continued throughout the harvest period, which ended in the first week of October.

Best Appellations

Despite the huge crop, the best growers produced very acceptable wine: of no great strength or concentration, but not lacking balance or elegance. These can be found all the way down the Côte. Eighteen years on, however, all but the very best are now getting a bit tired.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville, Robert Ampeau, Gaston Barthod-Noellat, Alain Burguet, Drouhin, Dujac, Grivot, Jean Gros, Alain Hudelot-Noellat, Jadot, Michel Lafarge, Hubert de Montille, Pousse d’Or, Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau.


1981

Drink now

Rain at harvest time produced thin, dilute wines

Weather Conditions

A warmish spring promoted flourishing growth and budding, but severe frosts late in the seasons threatened the crop. Luckily most of the grand and premier cru vineyards escaped with relatively little harm done to their vines. June saw good conditions for the flowering, but July brought with it showers and there were even hailstorms halfway through August, an otherwise fine month. Sunshine followed until mid-September, then the rains fell again, albeit intermittently, right through the harvest period.

Best Appellations

A short, disappointing and in some cases in the Côte de Nuits, hail-damaged, vintage. Well past it. Ignore.

Best Producers

Not applicable.


1980

Drink soon

Another large vintage of very variable quality; better in Cote de Nuits than Cote de Beaune

Weather Conditions

A cold, damp spring retarded the growth of the vines in the early part of the year, and flowering was patchy and prolonged. June was cold and rainy, as was most of July, but temperatures rose to an above-average level in August and September, and the sun finally shone for more than a few fitful hours at a time. Patchy rain fell at the beginning of the harvest period.

Best Appellations

Much better in the Côte de Nuits than in the Côte de Beaune, the reverse of 1979. Some surprisingly good and vigorous bottles can still be found, especially in Vosne-Romanée.

Best Producers

Dujac, Faiveley, Jean Gros, Alain Hudelot-Noellat, Henri Jayer, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau.


1979

Drink now

A large crop of fast-maturing and fruity wines

Weather Conditions

A cold, damp winter, followed by a cool spring, which lasted well into May, resulted in a delayed but succesful flowering. Although summer, on the whole, was temperate, hailstorms in the middle of July wreaked havoc with the crop in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny. The rest of Burgundy escaped unscathed, and the end of September saw a successful harvest.

Best Appellations

Better in the Côte de Beaune than in the Côte de Nuits, but even here not particularly exciting and now nearing their end. Volnays, Beaunes and Cortons better than Pommards.

Best Producers

Robert Ampeau, Gaston Barthod-Noellat, Drouhin, Dujac, Faiveley, Jadot, Lafarge, Pousse d’Or.


1978

Drink soon

Small crop of classic wines with good structure and fine fruit

Weather Conditions

Despite a particularly cold, wet spring and first part of summer, a change in weather during the first week of August encouraged the crop to ripen well, almost a month behind schedule. Sunny conditions prevailed until the late harvest in mid-October. The Chardonnay did particularly well under these conditions, as it did not become over-ripe.

Best Appellations

Consistent up and down the Côte d’Or, though a bit lean in the colder villages hidden further upslope, such as Pernand-Vergelesses, Auxey-Duresses and Saint-Aubin. The best are still very vigorous.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville, Robert Arnoux, Clair-Dau, Drouhin, Jean Gros, Jadot, Henri Jayer, Lafarge, Latour, Leroy, De Montille, Ponsot, Pousse d’Or, Romanée-Conti.


1977

Drink now

A generally poor vintage for red wines

Weather Conditions

The climate reversed the conditions prevailing during the previous year. Rain fell fairly constantly, almost daily throughout July. While the first fortnight of August saw a return to fine weather, there were a couple of violent thunderstorms at the end of the month. A sunny September helped ripen the crop further, and harvest began late, during the first week of October.

Best Appellations

A poor vintage. Well past its best. Ignore.

Best Producers

Not applicable.


1976

Drink soon

Prolonged hot weather produced tannic, highly concentrated wines

Weather Conditions

After a string of poor vintages, this year saw a return to better weather conditions, leading to the production of some good wines. A frost-free winter and a mild spring was followed by dry, hot conditions during summer. The grapes were ripe to harvest by the middle of a warm September. Even though rain began to fall towards the end of the month, by that time the bulk of the crop had been picked. The drought-like conditions of summer resulted in good ripening in the Pinots, but the quality of the Chardonnay suffered in comparison.

Best Appellations

A hot vintage. Many of the vines were stressed by the drought and the tannins never fully ripened. This resulted in over-balanced wines with a structure that dominated the fruit, especially in the Côte de Nuits. The Côte de Beaunes are better. At the top levels there is still much enjoyment to be had.

Best Producers

Marquis d’Angerville, Robert Ampeau, Grivot, Jean Gros, Jadot, Henri Jayer, Lafarge, Hubert de Montille.


1975

Drink now

Another very disappointing year

Weather Conditions

A very poor vintage indeed, despite ideal weather in late spring, continuing on through early summer. While the end of July was hot, variable conditions followed. Hail fell at the beginning of August and storms followed, lasting well into early September. Despite a return to cooler, drier weather, much of the crop suffered from rot.

Best Appellations

A bad vintage: the red wines largely produced from rotten grapes. Long over the hill. Ignore.

Best Producers

Not applicable.


1974

Drink now

An unexceptional vintage with few wines of note

Weather Conditions

A mild spring was punctuated by frosts. July and August saw some warm weather, but rain fell during much of a cold September – there was even some snow. The harvest took place in wet conditions from late September onwards.

Best Appellations

A large, rained-on vintage with a few decent wines, which are now too old. Ignore.

Best Producers

Not applicable.


1973

Drink now

The wines produced tended to be a little light

Weather Conditions

The flowering took place in fine spring weather, but there was no rain at all until the middle of July, when heavy rain began to fall. These conditions continued until the late harvest.

Best Appellations

A large vintage. Riper than 1974, but similarly rather loose-knit. It was a good stop-gap vintage at the time, but the wines are now past their best.

Best Producers

Not applicable.


1972

Drink now

Large and late vintage, with well defined fruit and notable acidity

Weather Conditions

Unusual conditions led to one of the longest-ever growing seasons. Winter was severe, with rain and snow still falling in February. Although conditions had improved by the end of March, April saw the return of cold, wet weather. Temperatures did not rise much in summer, but nor did it rain much. There was little sunshine until September, when a belated ripening got underway. It continued fine until the late harvest, which began well into October.

Best Appellations

This was a small vintage, and a late harvest. At first it was decried, for it had been a poor vintage in Bordeaux and the wines were rather lean and ungenerous. After 10 years, however, they began to round off and some quite stylish wines, clearly better in the Côte de Nuits than the Côte de Beaune, could be had at bargain prices. There is little that is still agreeable 29 years on, but there may still be a few surprises.

Best Producers

Robert Ampeau, Grivot, Robert Groffier, Lafarge, Leroy, Hubert de Montille, R. Remoissenet Père & Fils, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Armand Rousseau, De Vogué.


1970

Drink now

A record crop of average quality, early-maturing wines with not enough concentration to last

Weather Conditions

April and May were cool and wet, but the vines were not damaged. The weather improved towards the end of May, and the trend continued through June and into July. August saw a week or so of cool weather, but temperatures picked up again in September, carrying on into October.

Best Appellations

Volnay and Chambolle Musigny

Best Producers

This vintage was very big in size, which probably affected the overall quality and future life of the wine. Most of the wines were soft, fruity and attractive but had to be drunk sooner than normally would be expected due to their lack of tannin. Most of the wines from this year are now past their prime. The Drouhin Laroze from Chambolle was deeply scented and solid and lasted very well. From Volnay Clos De La Pousse D’or and Domaine De La Pousse D’or are both distinguished wines for the year. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache was a very good wine but not the best from that region.


1969

Drink now

A very fine year producing wines with good fruit intensity

Weather Conditions

A cold, rainy spring followed a mild winter. This resulted in a delay in a (protracted) flowering and a reduced crop. A warm July and August helped the grapes to ripen thoroughly, but early-mid September was cold and wet. The weather turned fine in time for an early October harvest.
The whites did better than the reds this year.

Best Appellations

Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Musigny

Best Producers

This year was small in size, but absolutely superb. Most wines have verve and breeding, with excellent fruit balanced by good acidity and good backbone. A few of the best are worth trying now but are few and far between.
The Bonnes-Mares from Bouchard Pere et Fils is a classic example. Others include Corton Bressandes from Joseph Drouhin which is rich and full in length and Clos St Denis which is stylish, fruity and elegant.


1968

Drink now

A poor vintage following a very rainy summer

Weather Conditions

Bad weather led to a poor vintage. June was very hot, but July and August saw little sun and high levels of rainfall. Improved conditions in September saw the harvest start on the 30th, but the results lacked quality.

Best Appellations

None worth recommending.

Best Producers

None worth recommending.


1967

  Drink now – wines were notably lighter than in 1966

Weather Conditions

Spring was unexceptional for the red Burgundy . A heavy frost early in May helped to restrict growth, leading to a small crop of well-developed fruit. July and August were very warm, but September saw 10 days of rain. By the time the harvest started, however, on the 2nd of October, the fine weather had returned. On the whole, the Chardonnay fared well under the conditions, producing better wines than the Pinot.

Best Appellations

Volnay

Best Producers

This was a very mixed vintage all over the region. The best have elegance and finesse and are certainly very well made. Unfortunately the rest had over-chaptalised and the wines suffered as a result, going past their prime a lot faster than they would have done normally. The wines made by Robert Ampeau from Volnay-Santenots are the best of this year and region.


1966

Drink soon

Excellent vintage of elegant and well-balanced wines with clean, pure flavours

Weather Conditions

An uneven year for the red Burgundy . Some hail fell in an otherwise unexceptional spring, which was followed by a warm, mellow June, which resulted in the development of an abundant crop. However, poor weather in July and August affected the ripening of the grapes. A fine September saw the harvest begin in sunny conditions towards the end of the month.

Best Appellations

Romanee-Conti

Best Producers

This vintage was very generous from all points of view. All wines had lovely fruit: the best lasted very well. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee St-Vivant was generally considered superb, along with most wines from the Romanee region.


1965

Drink now

Very indifferent quality thanks to a persistently wet summer

Weather Conditions

A disastrous vintage, badly affected by rot. Levels of sunshine were well below average throughout summer and, by September, the ground was waterlogged due to heavy falls of rain. On the 8th of September, the area was struck by an extremely violent storm, washing soil and vines down the slopes. Harvest started four weeks later than usual, but by then there was not much left to pick.

Best Appellations

None worth recommending

Best Producers

The second of the three bad years, this vintage is best forgotten.


1964

Drink now

Good old-fashioned wines with notable concentration

Weather Conditions

Rated by some as the best vintage of the decade, the weather this year had a profound impact on the quality of the grapes. Deep snow in winter, and a coolish spring. A good flowering in a warm June laid the grounds for theripening of the crop during an almost perfect summer, with hot conditions in late June and July and a smattering of rain during August. Further rain, albeit not very heavy, fell in September, allowing the tannins to develop. By the time the rains began in earnest, in early October, the crop had already been succesfully harvested.

Best Appellations

Vosne Romanee and Savigny Les Beaune.

Best Producers

This year was better than 1963 with some very good examples of what can be done in an average year. Unfortuately most if not all of the wines are now over their prime. The best example of this year is Bruno Clair’s Savigny Les Beaune, La Dominode.


1963

Drink now

Disappointing vintage across the whole of the region

Weather Conditions

The weather did not warm up until June, after a severe winter and protracted, coolish spring. July saw intermittent rain, and August was, frankly, wet. The crop did not really have a chance to begin ripening until the middle of September. Harvest began late, in October, and did not end until the beginning of November.

Best Appellations

None worth recommending

Best Producers

This vintage was a very poor one, with most of the producers not producing anything at all, and the best of the rest now well past their prime.


1962

Drink now

Good vintage. Fine, light reds were matched by excellent whites

Weather Conditions

Cold spells that lasted well into early spring made for a slow start to the growing season. A moderate July followed a warm June, but temperatures rose somewhat in August. By the time the rains fell in September, they were welcome. The grapes took their time to ripen fully, so harvest began late, in the second week of October.

Best Appellations

Vosnee Romanee and Beaune

Best Producers

This was another good year for burgundy. The wines have elegance and finesse, some lacked weight and backbone and the best lasted better than the rest. Chanson Pere et Fils Vougeot Clos De La Perriere from Vosnee is an outstanding example but has been better in previous years, also Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache.


1961

Drink now

A notable year with wines showing decent concentration

Weather Conditions

A mild and damp winter was followed by a warm spring. Due to variable weather in June, flowering was prolonged over the course of three weeks (rather than the more usual one). Temperatures were relatively low during July, with particularly cool nights, but picked up somewhat in August. A fine September led to a comfortable harvest. The ripeness and concentration of the grapes was uneven.

Best Appellations

Aloxe Corton and Beaune

Best Producers

This was a great and outstanding year for the region with most producers doing well. The wines had great structure and lasted well, but unfortunately the vintage was a small one. Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton Charlemagne and L’Enfant Jesus are the two best examples of this fine year.