Burgundy 2011 – First Impressions of the Vintage

Burgundy 2011 Vintage

The 2011 vintage was small, smaller than 2010, but delicious due to strict selection of grapes.

Robert-Denogent is the cream of Pouilly-Fuisse and the top wine, Cuvée Claude Denogent, is an example of how great this undervalued appellation can be. It is all very well having a lush wine but it has to be focused and pulled together. The Cuvée Claude Denogent had opulent tastes of honey and pineapple but with an excellent structure of acidity and minerality from its 90 year old vines planted on limestone soils.

After driving through the thrashing rain, the sun came out as we drove up to Volnay to visit the Bouley family. The autumn colours of the vineyards speak very much of the flavours in their wines: red forest fruits, ceps and violets. We again heard volumes are down 70 per cent in 2012 than in a normal vintage (Pommard, in particular, has suffered).

Didier Chevillon at Domaine Dupont-Tisserandot in Gevrey Chambertin told us his volumes are down, but the situation is not quite as critical in the Cote de Nuits as it is further south. The 2011 wines we tasted seemed all the more precious and we poured every last drop of the 1er Cru Petit Chapelle back into the barrel rather than wasting it. This vineyard is a tiny plot just to the north-east of Charmes-Chambertin that produces powerful, structured wines. Didier racks them straight into the barrel and in the process avoids the need for sulphur.

There was one big question from the day. This is the third year now where the volumes are low and the quality is high. How much longer can this go on before the money runs out for some producers and the prices begin go through the roof?

Juel Mahoney
7th November 2012

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