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2011 vintage guide for white Burgundy

2011 white Burgundy

Drink soon

It is difficult to generalise about the white wines in 2011, as so much depended on when the grapes were picked. Some were probably picked too early so as to retain acidity, but can show some hardness, even greenness. Others may have waited too long, resulting in rather heavy wines. But overall, the best domaines got it right, delivering wines with freshness and precision, creamier than the 2010s but retaining some tension and minerality.

*Vintage guide updated January 2017

Weather Conditions

An early flowering led to expectations that this would be an early harvest, and this proved to be the case. However, there was many a hazard between flowering and harvest, and the growing season was something of a roller-coaster, with heat spikes, hailstorms, and spells of disease all punctuating the summer. For whites the harvest began on August 20, and even top domaines such as Leflaive had brought in all the grapes by the end of that month. Some preferred to wait in the hope of gaining more ripeness, and then compensated for any lack of acidity by blocking malolactic fermentation. There is a softness to many of the wines that will appeal to many, but lovers of classic white Burgundy may find wines in their preferred style rather thin on the ground.

Best Appellations

Chablis had a good vintage, after an uneven summer, as fine weather returned in late August and continued into September, so there was no pressure on domaines to pick too early. These are generous wines, aromatic, balanced, and quite mineral, and the best of them should age well. The Côte Chalonnaise was hurt by the July hailstorm, so quality is uneven. But further south in the Mâconnais, a hot spell in late August accelerated ripening, so the wines tend to be supple and soft, designed for early drinking. In the Côte de Beaune Meursault was probably the best of the villages, with wines showing the right balance between succulence and tension. But there is stylistic variation, largely as a consequence of the harvesting dates. So there are some wines of extremes (too lean or too weighty) with a majority achieving a happy medium.

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