In a remarkably short period of time the vignerons of Burgundy have learnt how to counter the meteorological extremes brought about by our changing climate. And there have been extremes of one sort or another in more-or-less every recent growing season, from the devastating frosts of 2016 to savage and destructive hailstorms and the heat/drought combinations of 2018 and 2019 (and, indeed, the vintage just gone, 2020).
Assessing the wines of 2019 has been no easy task…or has it been a cinch? After all, the wines came to me, unable as I was to visit the region. Samples arrived in a variety of containers, from diminutive 20ml doll-like bottles, up to proper half-bottles (which seemed a bit of an extravagance for such a “short” harvest). So, no travel; yet one has to attend barrel samples much more closely. They have, after all, been wrested from their comfortable cellar environment before their time and have been carefully prepared in order for them to reach their destinations in a fit state for tasting.
Why a “short” harvest? Well, after a very mild start to the growing season, the flowering period was marked by cold and wet weather, which reduced the potential quantity of fruit. Further, the hot, sunny and dry conditions that ensued led to sunburn – grillage – of exposed bunches that had to be culled before the wine was made. Despite this, prices are generally on a par with those of the much more generous 2018 vintage.
There is no disguising the ripeness of the 2019 red wines. They have fruit in spades: joyful and pure. They are sumptuous of texture, their structures cached within wonderfully Rubenesque flesh.
But as mentioned elsewhere, burgundy commands high prices not simply for being the product of ripe fruit. There has to be something in addition: a sense of identity, like the characterisation of the protagonists in the novel. I am happy to say that 2019 has this writ large. These are extraordinary wines of assertive personality. They are also very, very delicious and very easy to like.
We have secured allocations of 2019 burgundy from the following producers:
> Lavantureux Frères
> Georges Lignier
> Jérôme Chézeaux
> Jean Chauvenet
> Rollin Père et Fils
> Michel Lafarge
> Jean Pascal
> Château de Chamilly
Click on the producer name to go directly to their wines.
Please order via the website or email Caspar to place your order.