Burgundy 2013


A difficult but prolonged growing season did eventually deliver wines with light tannins and light acidity, graceful, fresh wines rather than concentrated or very complex ones. They share a certain fragility with the 2008s, but the 2013 do seem to have a bit more intensity. With very few exceptions, these are not wines for the long term.

*Vintage report updated January 2017

Weather Conditions

Just as Burgundy growers were picking themselves up after the battering they received from Mother Nature in 2012, the nightmare started all over again. Sunlight scarcely made an appearance in January, and cold wet conditions continued right into the spring months. May had double the usual rainfall. The vegetative season was severely delayed, and even some warmer weather in June didn’t make a great difference. Flowering was late and difficult, with a much reduced crop. July was better, but on July 23 1300 hectares in the Côte de Beaune were wrecked by hail, and some celebrated sites such as Clos de Mouches in Beaune had no crop at all. Consequently, poor flowering and hail between them eliminated half the crop. The flowering also reduced yields in the Côte de Nuits, but here there was no hail to make matters even worse. Late July was also rainy and August hot but humid, so mildew and oidium were rampant. Once September got under way, temperatures cooled, putting the brakes on maturation. Harvesting was delayed until October.

Red grapes were about to be picked when a heavy storm arrived on October 5. Some rushed to pick before rot spread; others delayed, either because the tannins were still unripe, or because there was little risk of dilution as the skins were thick. In the event the precise date of the harvest didn’t seem to make a huge difference to quality, Sorting, once again, was essential, and most wines were lightly chaptalised as sugar levels, even in the ripe wines, were modest.

Best Appellations

As in 2012, the Côte de Beaune fared worse than the Côte de Nuits, which was spared the hail, and although there are some refined wines from the former, selection is essential. Volnay produced good wines, but there are disappointments in Corton. Chambolle-Musigny delivered wines of great charm, and there are many successful domaines in the northern part of the Côte de Nuits especially. Unlike 2012, these are mostly not wines for the cellar. The best have charm and finesse, and even purity of fruit, but not the structure required for long ageing.