2008 red Burgundy
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
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.
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.
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)