Burgundy 2011 preview, Burgundy 2010 re-view

I have just returned from a trip to Burgundy for an early look at the 2011 vintage. I recall being in Burgundy at roughly the same time last year when many vignerons were predicting the earliest ever harvest (mid August) and worrying about their summer holidays being spoilt!

As it transpired, things were delayed as Burgundy ‘enjoyed’ the same mix of high-summer weather which we did. Thankfully, things improved towards the end of August and early September, allowing the more quality conscious domaines to make some excellent wines. This will be an early-drinking vintage, both reds and whites are fragrant, plump and attractive and already difficult to spit! At this early stage the reds remind me of a fresher and finer version of 2007 and the whites along the lines of 2008. We will return with the rest of the English wine trade in the Autumn to taste a wider range of wines.

Whilst there, we went to see the likes of Rousseau and Cathiard (Sylvain’s son Sebastien now firmly in charge), but also a couple of new estates with great vineyards and a new generation at the helm, determined to make the most of them – these are exciting times in Burgundy.

There are two additional things that I will take away from the trip:

One is that 2012 is looking complicated at best. Flowering was extended and inconsistent and they are in desperate need of sun, the wet weather so far this ‘summer’ has hugely increased the risk of the dreaded mildew, which was – it seemed – our main topic of conversation and will be in the minds of the growers when they start to think about pricing their 2011s. The age-old problem in Burgundy is that there simply isn’t enough of the good wines, 2010 yields were very low, 2011 is slightly better, but still well below the average (for reds), and  it hasn’t been a good start to 2012 – there is still time, but the weather patterns need to change.
The second thought is, quite simply, the quality of the 2010 vintage. At both Grivot and Clos des Lambrays we were lucky enough to taste 2009/10/11 and what struck me was just how good 2010 is. Thierry Brouin from Lambrays suggested  rack of lamb with the 09, rib of beef with the 10 and roast chicken with the 11, which seemed to sum it up well! 2010 will go down as a great vintage; the wines have everything one could wish for and are in perfect harmony. We still have some stock left, which will be offered at original prices shortly…

Nick Dagley, Buyer

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