The promise of a new Burgundy En Primeur vintage is always a hugely exciting prospect – the real Christmas of the vinous calendar - and founders Tom & Nathan are heading out this weekend on their whistle stop tour of the Cote d’Or. Lucky them!
We will be sharing more information about Burgundy 2021 En Primeur in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, we’ve been in touch with some of our favourite domaines and key commentators to get an early preview of the vintage, and suffice it to say, the wines are looking very promising.
Like Bordeaux, this was one of the most challenging growing seasons vignerons have ever had to contend with. There were frosts in April (always especially damaging for early-budding Chardonnay), hailstorms in June, rain in July & August with mildew pressure, though patient growers enjoyed a sunny harvest in late September and through into October.
What does this all mean for the wines? In short, there isn’t much of it at all. For House Delaunay volumes are reportedly down by 75% on whites and by 50% on reds. Some fared better, whilst others lost even more crop, and in the context of another short vintage in 2020, there is simply not enough Burgundy to keep up with insatiable demand.
As we know from 2016 however, low yields is not an indicator of poor quality. During our Hospices 2021 campaign we enjoyed an early preview of the vintage, and after a trio of especially solar years, early signs suggested 2021 would represent a return to a more classic, elegant Burgundy vintage, a cooler summer resulting in vibrant wines with fresh aromas, bright red fruits, purity, precision and terroirs transparency. Hospices winemaker Ludivine Griveau quipped “We have gone from ‘gel’ (frost) to ‘gelée royale’ (royal jelly)”, and was delighted with early samples.
Fast-forward a year and the wines have continued to evolve on this promising trajectory, so much so that we’re expecting 2021 to be a real Burgundy lover’s vintage. The cooler growing season means this is “a quite fresh vintage … like 2017” (which has matured beautifully) according to Delaunay, whom we spoke to recently, and their “first tasting … shows great complexity on the white wines, and red wines with freshness and suppleness”.
Writing for Decanter, Charles Curtis is similarly ebullient about the vintage, having “found many delicious wines with more classic Burgundian levels of colour, tannin and acid that nonetheless show charming fruit and do not lack intensity”. In the north, “Top red Burgundy from the Côte de Nuits should be delicious. The best growers made perfumed, elegant wines with no hint of green on the nose and silky tannins”. Meanwhile “in the better premier and grand crus of the Côte de Beaune, the best wines are lively and fresh, with firm acidity, bright, lemony fruit and noticeable minerality. Wines of substance and depth will reward ageing for at least a decade”.
Looking ahead to the campaign, we will be as selective as always in the domaines we represent, offering you only those wines that truly capture the character of the vintage. Quality is likely to be excellent at the top, though in the context of low yields and demand for Burgundy continuing to skyrocket, we strongly encourage you to act quickly on allocations. We’ll be sharing more news on the vintage shortly, so do register interest for Burgundy 2021 En Primeur to be first in line!