Bourgogne News

The notion of Vintage + characteristics of the last vintages

10/02/2017

The notion of vintage:

 

For some winegrowing regions with little annual variation in climate, or where wines have traditionally been blended, the notion of vintage has little importance. However, this is not the case for Bourgogne wines.

The vintage is part of a Bourgogne wine’s identity, in the same way as is the precise location where the grapes were grown.

The quality and, therefore, the potential of a Bourgogne wine closely depends on the health of the harvest and ripeness of the grapes. The weather during the vines’ growth cycle plays a very important role. Budburst, flowering, fruit set, véraison and ripening are tricky stages in the production of grapes and their success is directly linked to the weather accompanying each stage.

The Bourgogne winegrowing region has a northerly location and as such, experiences very contrasting weather that can undergo oceanic, continental, or Mediterranean influences. The way these influences play out determines rainfall, sunshine, and temperature, and is the main factor governing variations in quality observed from one year to the next.

The Bourgogne region’s winemakers, who, for the most part, only have one varietal to play with, must use the weather to its best advantage and their expertise is essential.

Professional know-how coupled with rigorous work in the vines allows the Bourgogne region’s winemakers to offer quality wines whatever the year.

The vintage, with its unique nuances and characteristics, enriches and widens out the extraordinary palette of expressions the terroir brings to each wine.

 

The main characteristics of recent vintages:

2015: Thanks to a very hot summer and favorable weather conditions, the harvest was one of great quality although low in terms of yield. 2015 is an excellent vintage that will go down in history. It offers rich, ample wines, with a very fine constitution, offering excellent keeping potential.

2014: This year was marked by a wet summer and a few hailstorms that slowed ripening. Fortunately, September was windy and dry, thus saving the harvest. The wines are nicely balanced, delectable and indulgent, with lovely fruity notes and real elegance. This very pleasant vintage is drinking now, but has a surprising capacity for long ageing.

2013: The spring was cold and wet and was the principle reason why yields were low for this vintage. A hot summer was marked by some devastating hailstorms and ripening was late. The grapes were harvested in late September and early October, producing rounded, fruity wines with remarkable vivacity. This is a very interesting vintage and can be enjoyed in its youth.

2012: An exceptionally cold spring was marked by frost which had an impact on parts of some appellations, and shatter and millerandage meant low yields. After an unstable start to the summer, the grapes ripened in good conditions and the resulting wines are rich and complex, with wonderful keeping potential.

2011: Spring came early and flowering followed suit. However, the summer saw periods of hot and stormy weather alternating with much cooler times. The grapes required extremely careful sorting but resulted in aromatic, fleshy, and wonderfully balanced wines. This is a fabulouss vintage calling out to be discovered.

2010: After a hot start to spring, cool weather in June led to shatter and millerandage. Although sunshine was lacking in August, September and October were lovely and low yields were compensated by superb quality. The wines are ample with excellent body and impressive structure with magnificent keeping potential.