The 2013 vintage was another challenging year for Burgundy, due to the rather unusual cold and wet conditions. Winter didn’t want to let spring have its turn which resulted in late flowering, and when the sun finally arrived in mid-July it was quickly interrupted by a hailstorm destroying areas in the north of the Côte de Beaune.
While August was sunny and warm, the grapes had a lot of catching up to do but, thanks to an Indian summer in September, the vintage was saved. Nevertheless, work in the vineyards was more intense than usual and greater care was needed at the sorting tables. Despite the cool summer, the small crop ripened well and benefited from a long growing period – an extra 10 to 15 days.
While demand for both red and white has never been so high, the Burgundy 2013 volumes are down between 30% and 60%. In fact, in the past four years, producers have lost the equivalent of two harvests. But I’m confident that this shortage of wine stocks and corresponding price increases will have a positive impact on the lesser-known communes. Now is the time for Burgundy lovers to branch out from the classic communes and broaden their minds with a few not-so-famous ones.
When buying Burgundy, the producer is often more important than the commune itself, and the generic appellations of famous names can offer excellent value for money. Domaine Duroché’s Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru may sell at £75 a bottle in bond, but you can buy the the village-level Gevrey-Chambertin for less than £32 a bottle with tax and duty added. And Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils’ basic Chablis can be snapped up for £8.29 in bond – that’s less than £12.50!