It’s never too late to report on a vintage. In most times its best to report after the wines have been bottled, rather than earlier, when the wines are in the barrel. Pronouncements about the 2007 and 2008 vintages of Burgundy during spring or summer had to be modified since the weather and climate changed and shaped the quality and quantity of the fruit during the growing season and harvest. Here is a selection of tasting notes on the most memorable wines that I tasted in November 2009 when I attended the Beaune wine auction and in March 2010 at the Grands Jours Exhibition.
They demonstrate that 2007 is a lovely vintage. Reds are approachable and if tannins are not hefty, the wines are sophisticated and textured and make for delicious drinking. Whites are pure, exquisitely balanced and are starting to drink very well indeed.
As for the 2008 vintage, it has been said to be one the best vintages for Chablis of the last 25 years – wines have all the qualities of intensity, minerality, balance, and liveliness. For Burgundy as a whole, excellent reds and whites mark the 2008 vintage.
The 2007 Vintage
It began with a mild winter. Next, some unusual warmth in March and what followed was more heat in April. The result of a little too much warmth and sunshine accelerated all things natural. Buds burst out and flowering got under way. Growers were sure they were heading for a hot year, maybe a heatwave like in 2003. Everything pointed towards an early harvest in mid-August, and it was likely that New Worldly fruit driven wines would be made. Then unexpectedly, came some cooler months, with rain. Ironically, growers started worrying again, this time about ripening. But in the end, came some warmer days in August and September. Growers breathed a sigh of relief, reciting the oft bandied phrase, “Dieu est un Bourguignon” (God is indeed a Burgundian). Growers that sorted their grapes ended up with a good normal sized harvest of Pinot Noirs with good aromas and Chardonnays with a nice acid backbone. Some of the best reds are multidimensional. Whites have been admired for their precise presentation with good tension.
Dujac, Morey St. Denis, 1er Cru – Truffles, prunes and red fruit, elegantly presented. Fine and silky tannins, a light and approachable wine that will continue to improve.
Comte Armand, Pommard, 1er Cru, “Clos des Epeneaux” – Red fruit, hint of raspberries and spice, sticky tannins and lovely finish.
Camille Giroud, Vosne-Romanée, 1er Cru – Lots of tannins and good acid structure, still quite closed but with some spicy notes revealed. A keeper.
Frédéric Magnien, Charmes-Chambertin, Grand Cru – Perfumed nose, full broad in the mouth with soft silky tannin.
Jacques Prieur Meursault, 1er Cru “Les Perrieres”– Stone fruits, minerals, honey, butter, soft yet with supporting acids. Rich and fruity yet floral also. Long.
Pierre Morey, Meursault – Vanilla, white fruits and incredibly balanced. Elegant, soft, round and hint of honey.
Sebastien Magnien, Meursault, 1er Cru, “Les Meix Chavaux” – White fruits, generous, round, fresh and sprightly acidity, silky finish.
Bret Brothers, La Soufrandière, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Climat les Quarts – Smooth rich yet elegant wine with tasty acids and a very long tail.
Vincent Dureuil-Janthial, Rully Blanc, ‘Maizieres’ – Lovely crisp presentation with minerals and citrus.
The 2008 Vintage
Spring came off with a good start. It was warm and by mid May, vines were producing leaves. But a summer with lots of rain meant a cold and wet season. Vignerons even experienced hail in their vineyards. The result – rot mildew and oidium and ultimately reduced crop. Everyone was lamenting the state of the vintage. Then came the miracle. Autumn brought with it the sun and bright skies. Not only that, windy days were just the thing to dry out the vines and vineyards, bringing a halt to the rot. And with good weather all the way through, the vintage was saved. If vignerons ended up with fewer and smaller grapes, the resulting juice turned out to be quite concentrated. At the end, wines, from the basic Bourgogne right up to the Grand Cru turned out to be quite elegant, with good acids (thanks to the cool temperatures throughout the year) and considerable elegance. Reds were pure whilst whites were delicious.
Ponsot Clos St. Denis ‘Tres veilles vignes’, Grand Cru (in barrel) – Red and black fruit, herbs pepper spice. Developing every few minutes. Beginning with yellow fruit then white fruit then flower petals, then mixed spice. Balanced, silky soft yet every present tannins. Very long.
Dujac, Bonne Mares, Grand Cru – Subtle aromas of florals with rich red fruit, silky tannins, broad and elegant presentation.
Sorine et Fils, Maranges 1er Cru “Clos Roussot” – Red fruits, light yet present acids, and soft as fleece. Delicious.
Georges Chicotot, Nuits St.-Georges 1er Cru “Les Vaucrains” – Red fruits, white pepper, hint of jam and minerals.
Didier-Montchovet, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune – Silky soft, full on flavour balanced with a sweet note.
Genot-Boulanger, Pommard 1er Cru, “Clos Blanc” – Red fruits, hint of strawberry, spicy and with tasty acids.
Domaine Romanee Conti, Romanee Conti, Grand Cru (in barrel) – Sweet fruit and spice, yet understated. Big structure with lacy tannins, yet elegant. Long, sensual and unforgettable.
Stephane Brocard, Corton-Renardes, Grand Cru – Intense with lots of layers, spicy and silky with good structure.
Bouchard Aine & Fils, Charmes Chambertin, Grand Cru – Smoky with woody overtones but balanced by fruit; broad in the mouth.
Albert Bichot, Echezeaux, Grand Cru – Perfumed and quite feminine with good structure and a long finish.
Henri de Villamont, Chablis Vaudesir Grand Cru – Lots of fruit and balance, complex and complete.
Joseph Drouhin, Chablis Bougros, Grand Cru – Lots of different aromas mingling together – herbs, flowers, nuts and marmalade, lively.
Louis Latour, Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – Minerals, almonds, good structure and ample in the mouth
Rous Pere & Fils Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – Pears, ripe fruit, tasty acids and round.
Seguin Manuel Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – Mineral oil, balanced, luscious in the mouth and long.
Domaine des Perdrix, Nuits-Saint Georges, Blanc, 1er Cru, “Les Terres Blanches”– Brimming with pear, grapefruit and green apples made for a memorable and unexpected white wine from a mostly red wine appellation.
Denis Bouchacourt, Macon-Solutré – White fruits and florals, beautiful mid palate, complete in every sense with a lovely long finish.
Domaine de la Saraziniere, Bourgogne Aligoté – Floral, round lively with a touch of tangy acid and a finish of peach and pear. Very tasty.
Ninot Rully 1er Cru Gresigny – Scintillating acidity yet elegant with citrus white and yellow fruits, a hint of minerals and nuts with a long finish.
Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay – Nose of white flowers, flavours of white fruits, round and sweet, soft effervescent acids, beautifully presented.
The Cellars of DRC