2019 continues a great run of vintages in Burgundy. Since 2015, Burgundy has had five excellent vintages in a row, something that would have been unimaginable just 20 years ago. And 2020 is looking promising too. The combination of climate change and more meticulous viticulture has so far been a winning one for the region.
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2019 started as it meant to go on. A dry spring saw no repeat of the threat of mildew that had required constant vigilance in 2018. Frost, however, did affect many of the lower-lying vineyards of the Côte de Beaune and this, coupled with a rare week of poor weather at the beginning of June when the chardonnay in particular was flowering, resulted in a reduced crop in all the famous white wine villages of the Cote de Beaune (Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne). Thereafter, the summer was consistently warm and dry, right up to the harvest whch, for most, took place in sunny conditions during the second and third weeks of September.
The dry weather had concentrated the fruit, resulting in little juice but generating musts high in both sugar and acidity. The flavours are also some of the most intense that I’ve seen in recent years with concentrated, tight-knit whites and dense but harmonious reds.
Wine-makers recognised the need to pick promptly and quickly as the grapes were ripening fast and there was a danger that late harvested fruit would give wine excessively high in alcohol and lacking acidity as well as losing the prized freshness of aromas that is the hallmark of fine Burgundy. Those that successfully avoided this have made wines that are rich and intense whilst retaining harmony and vitality. The successful whites have wonderful depth and a closer-knit structure than the delicious but looser-textured 2018s. Whilst some 2019 whites are on the soft side and will require early drinking, the best will age magnificently. There are great examples from Chablis in the north to Macon in the south as no region was especially favoured.
The reds are more uniform in quality with, as in 2018, magnificent wines being produced not only in the most prestigious appellations of the Cote d’Or but also in the humbler villages of the Côte d’Or (Marsannay, Fixin, Pernand-Vergelesses, Savigny, Santenay) and in the Chalonnais where there are some great value wines in Mercurey and Givry.
The small crop and excellent quality would normally have resulted in significant price increases but the uncertain economic outlook has tempered producers’ enthusiasm to raise prices and, despite the decline in the value of the pound against the euro over the past twelve months, this offer sees modest or no increases on the vast majority of wines.
At such levels, I have no hesitation in recommending them to you.