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Burgundy 2009 en primeur – top wines – Côte d’Or

The wines have not been difficult to taste (writes Stephen Brook). Acidity is moderate in the white wines, and the red wines, while quite tannic, are rarely hard or extracted. David Roberts of Goedhuis & Co hit the nail on the head when he told me: 'This is a year when climate often overrides terroir … in 2009 the sheer ripeness of the grapes dominated.' My view is that this is not a great vintage for white Burgundy, but many wines will give great pleasure. They are certainly ripe, but then many are too ripe, and lack acidity. They are lush and juicy and packed with fruit, and many consumers will not mind that they lack the mineral edge that singles out great Burgundy as a supreme expression of Chardonnay. I like my Burgundies to taste like Burgundy, and the raciness and zest that made the 2007 and 2008 whites so irresistible are in short supply in 2009. The reds, though, are an almost total success. Guillaume d'Angerville of Volnay reflected that the only potential pitfall in 2009 was picking too late, but even habitual late-pickers, such as Chantal Remy, made balanced wines. Tannin management seems more of a problem. The lushness of many of these wines disguises their high tannin content, and there are signs of over-extraction at some estates. Yet the great majority of wines are rich and full-bodied and well structured. As with the whites, their sheer ripeness makes the distinctiveness of each cru not very apparent at this stage, but that will emerge in time. There are inevitable differences in style, with some growers opting for purity of fruit and finesse, others letting rip with power, opulence, and tannins. Both styles can be highly successful. The whites need to be selected with care, but the reds can be bought with confidence. Buy with assurance, if the prices are not too daunting, and drink in the medium term, and, for the top wines, over the long haul.


Written by Decanter

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