2013 White Burgundy
Few domaines in 2013 had optimally ripe Chardonnay grapes, so styles vary from lean wines that were early-picked to richer wines at the broader end of the spectrum for white Burgundy, and often with the exoticism given by botrytised fruit. The early harvesters ended up with racy wines with some elegance, and actual greenness was rare. And there are some outstanding wines from the great vineyards, wines that will replay cellaring.
*Vintage guide updated January 2017
The miserable flowering period and the savage hailstorms in July severely reduced the crop of Chardonnay. The vines continued their slow maturation during the summer months and then into September, while their farmers struggled to cope with disease. By late September the grapes were fairy ripe. The dilemma was whether to pick grapes that were only marginally ripe, or whether to wait and risk some botrytised fruit in the barrels. Some picked early and chaptalised, since the winemakers preferred purity of fruit to the greater lushness of wines from botrytised grapes. It was very much a personal choice. Many top estates, such as Leflaive, picked from late September and completed the harvest about a week later. There was rot, but the sorting table could take care of that.
There are unquestionably some very good whites in the Côte de Beaune, leaner than in an outstanding vintage but mostly fresh and even mineral. Later-picked wines that are rather fat and may not age particularly well but will still find favour with winelovers who enjoy a fuller style of Burgundy. The Mâconnais had no hail but yields were still reduced, and quality was sound and reasonably consistent. Chablis also had problems at flowering and lost a third of its normal crop. As in the Côte de Beaune the picking date was important. Domaines such as Droin and Fevre picked before the October 5 downpours and probably made better wines than those who waited; the best wines have fine concentration and acidity, the disappointments taste rather flat.