En Primeur Burgundy 2016
Good news, burgundy lovers! Ex-cellar prices for vintage 2016, the vintage to be shown at countless UK merchants’ tastings in London next week, are more or less the same as last year. More good news: 2016 is a seriously delicious vintage. Bad news, burgundy lovers: there is a serious shortage of wine. (Jancis Robinson MW)
2016 was perhaps one of the lowest yields Burgundy has seen. However, the extraordinary quality of what was harvested, means that this will be a vintage to invest in.
2016 will long be remembered for the infamously cold night of April 26th. In the UK we saw the horror stories unfold through social media accounts, stories that combined to tell of a vintage-ruining drop in temperature. That night defines the vintage to a degree, yet the headline story of quality could easily be lost, and that would be the true tragedy, for 2016 has produced an incredible number of outstanding wines.
The frost affected all parts of the Côte d’Or, however it had a scatter-gun effect, with neighbouring plots frequently alternating in impact. The real damage was caused, not by the frost itself on the night of the 26th, but on the following morning when the sun’s rays were magnified through the frozen buds and burned them. Frosted vines not only lost buds but shut down in shock, delaying the growing cycle by some three weeks. Persistent rain then followed until June, resulting in a mildew outbreak and further crop losses.
Despite this set back the flowering was a success. The vines that weren’t frosted produced good-sized crops and from the end of July a wonderful summer ran all the way through to the end of harvest in early October. Being late this allowed the growers of delayed, frost effected vines time to wait for those vines to ripen.
From a viticultural and winemaking point of view this vintage required a watchful eye in vineyard and cellar. Those who observed good practice have produced reds that are wonderfully ‘Burgundian’ in style: they are aromatic, fresh and transparent, fruity yet savoury, elegant yet not lacking in substance. Their finesse and fruitiness will make them approachable before the 2015s but they also offer an intensity and balance that will enable them to age wonderfully. The whites are charming, open, fragrant and fresh, not for the long-haul perhaps, but they will offer great pleasure in their youth.
We are tasting all the wines this week and will release notes as soon as we have made our decisions on the wines we believe you should be looking at this year.