Last week Jessica Bryans and a few of the private client sales team went to Burgundy to take a first look at the 2014 vintage, and were also treated to a very early glimpse of 2015.
Our arrival was met with rain, ominous dark clouds and a lightning storm. Not the most auspicious of welcomes, but despite the skies, Burgundian producers were smiling. Why? Because for most of the people we spoke to, the 2015 harvest had just been completed with perfect cooperation from the weather.
Our contact at Maison Louis Jadot couldn’t have been more thrilled, proclaiming: “We finished harvesting at twelve o’clock on Saturday and the rain started at twelve thirty!” Thus was the finale of a stable growing season that enjoyed relatively benign weather conditions from start to finish. A level year without extremes, 2015 was a welcome contrast to the challenging 2012/13 seasons that were plagued with hail.
So, with certain lightness in the air and a positive outlook for 2015 Burgundy, we proceeded to the real purpose of our trip – to preview the soon-to-be-released 2014 vintage.
After a mild winter and a warm spring, fruit development advanced quickly. Conditions remained dry and fruit was notably healthy until a hailstorm at the end of June which resulted in some loss, mainly from Beaune to Meursault.
The autumn was warm with favourable weather conditions which brought grapes to ripeness. Fruit health was good in the end and most loss was due to hail. Yields were reduced as they have been for the past few vintages; however, production is higher than in 2013.
Producers are happy with the 2014 vintage overall and we are seeing examples of very good reds and even better whites.
We found the reds were showing delicious crunchy red fruit, optimal ripeness and fresh acidity. This may be a year to buy if you stylistically lean towards elegant and aromatic reds.
The whites seem to be the star of the show in this vintage. Intense concentration of fruit, nice weight and aromatics seem to be hallmarks of the vintage. Across the board we saw great balance from the wines of the Côte de Beaune.
So far, our finds have been very good. But our Burgundy coverage won’t stop here. To truly shape an opinion of the 2014 wines and offer our guidance on what to buy, we will travel back to Burgundy En Primeur in November. Stay tuned for our offers and recommendations coming in early 2016.