Update on Burgundy 2011 & 2012 & some more...

Post date: Nov 1, 2012 12:15:03 PM

September and October were two very busy months for AWE: the launch of Rossese di Dolceacqua, the Burgundy Seminar with Jean-Pierre Renard and our Annual Burgundy Trip. Those connected with me on Facebook would have seen our photos from these events. Those of you who are interested to join us for our next Burgundy Trip please write to me. We are looking at either May/June, October or December 2013.

Having just returned from a week in Burgundy, many of you must be keen to get the scoop on Burgundy 2011 and 2012. Of course it is too early to call these vintages definitively... but here are my impressions for your reference.

2011... so?

I am not going to give you the salesman spew that "2011 is another great vintage despite the challenges and you will regret dearly if you don't mortgage your house to buy a ton of them!".

From the barrel and bottle samples tasted last week, 2011 have exceeded my expectations by a large margin. Reports of excessive ladybirds at harvest led me to expect the "green edge" that many 2004 exhibit. The challenging growing season suggests light wines with perhaps some dilution. I was proven wrong on both fronts. The 2011s we tasted looked nothing like the 2004. The reds reminded me of a smaller scale 2010 or a more velvety/fruity version of 2008. The wines have pure fruit, mineral accents, ripe tannins and inviting texture in the mouth.

Where the 2010s have more of everything good without being over-the-top, the 2011s have everything good without lacking anything. I am not mortgaging my house but I am definitely buying a fair bit of 2011 for my own cellar.

2012... OMG!

2012 will be remembered by Burgundians for a long, long time. It is the one year that everything bad that could happen actually did happen. Frost at flowering, millerandage, coloure, hail, odium, mildew, rot etc. After the hard growing season, near harvest time, packs of wild boar, 30-40 at a time, came out of the woods in the cover of night and stripped hectares of vineyards bare! OMG! :|

Though we did not taste any of the 2012 (they've just completed alcoholic fermentation), winemakers I spoke to were quietly confident about their 2012. The few herculean grapes that survived the onslaught and got made into wines were "special". We shall see next year what will come of 2012 but one thing is clear - quantities will be very low (50% down in several places) and winemakers will be looking to sell what little they have at higher prices to cover their costs... interesting times ahead.

Perhaps reason to snap up what's left of 2010 (imho a truly great vintage) and get in on the 2011.

Coming Soon: More Great Value Labels at all Levels

In following months we will introduce several Burgundy domaines we've added to our portfolio, including great value wines from lesser known communes such as Fixin (next to Gevrey-Chambertin), Marsannay, Santenay and Givry. We have tasted all these wines with the winemakers and have selected only those that made the cut. Watch out for these coming your way.

Celebrate the Holiday Season without Breaking the Bank

If you have not placed your orders for the Domaine Laurent Cognard Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Noir (100% Pinot Noir) you should seriously consider doing so. We re-tasted this Crémant in Burgundy and I am happy to reconfirm our initial assessment. It is a superb, great value wine! It is also one of few "Domaine Crémant" with fruit from the domaine's own vineyards, not purchased grapes like many commercial Crémants out there.