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2001 vintage guide for Red Burgundy

2001 red Burgundy

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.

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

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

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.

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