2012 white Burgundy
Hailstorms slashed quantities on the Côte de Beaune, and Chardonnay was badly affected. Yet after a turbulent summer, the grapes were picked in healthy condition, although quantities were, in some places, risible. But there is no stylistic signature to the vintage, and there are skinny whites and fat ones, making generalisations all but impossible.
*Vintage guide updated 2017
Frost afflicted Chassagne especially, but little damage was done. There was also hail in St Aubin, Beaune, and Chassagne on June 6, but as flowering had only just begun, leaves rather than bunches were damaged. There was hail again in late June, affecting the same villages as earlier in the month, but also Meursault. July was wet and cool, and there was a good deal of mildew, then it heated up towards the end of the month – just in time for another bout of hail on August 1 with, once again, the white villages of the Côte de Beaune taking the brunt of the storms. Thereafter the weather improved and ripening progressed. Chardonnay was picked from mid-September onwards, and the crop was mostly healthy and did not require too much sorting. The crucial decision was when to pick. There were lean, early picked wines, and rather heavy late-picked wines, but the best wines combined good weight of fruit with enough acidity to give finesse.
Although hail damage was extensive throughout the Côte de Beaune, it does tend to be localised, so some sectors, such as the southern part of Puligny, suffered more than the rest of the village. That meant that quality could vary considerably within a single appellation, and harvesting dates also played a major part in establishing the quality of the wine. There were some poor wines too, either tainted or too low in acidity, but such wines were often rejected by the more serious importers.
Chablis suffered losses from April frost, but the end of the growing season was fine, and the fruit, which was refreshed and dried by steady breezes, matured nicely. Some wines had the freshness and concentration of the 2010s, but others were plumper. But the best Chablis are truly excellent and worh cellaring. The Côte Chalonnaise did well, although Montagny was affected by hail. The crop in the Mâconnais was reduced by poor flowering, but thereafter the growing season was not too bad, and the grapes were healthy at harvest and yielded good wines with normal acidity levels.