The most famous vineyards and producers in Burgundy, such as those in the Côte d'Or, never have a problem selling every bottle they can produce, but the rest of Burgundy - which has a selection from Chablis to Beaujolais - has to compete with a ever-growing selection of wines on the global market. To find out more about the 2021 vintage and how things are in general in the Burgundy region, I spoke with Frédèric Drouhin, president of the Bourgogne Wine Board (lobe, below).
Can you give me a general overview of the 2021 vintage?
The harvest started mainly in Burgundy between September 18 and 20, after a difficult year marked by bad weather. Crémant de Bourgogne (sparkling wines) started earlier. The first grapes were picked on September 8, but most producers started on the 10th. The Pinot Noir was ready earlier than the Chardonnay, which is unusual. Chardonnay was late after the April frost. It took several weeks for the vines to resume their growth cycle.
Sorting was sometimes necessary and since almost all sectors and traders are very well equipped, this was not a problem. Fermentations started very quickly, for both whites and reds, which proves that the yeast population was quite active. The destruction started today and the first tastes are positive.
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Was it a difficult year in other parts of France's vineyards?
That. Almost all wine regions in France suffered from the April frost. Some areas also suffered from rainfall that sometimes caused mildew, mold or hail. The French government has said that the total amount of wine in France could be reduced by 28 to 32% by 2021, but we don't know how much will be lost. We will get the first idea in November. We are now conducting a field study collecting the results of at least 400 manufacturers. On November 21, at the press conference for the Hospices de Beaune wine auction, we will be able to give a first estimate of our quantities. Final data will be available in February 2022.
With global warming in the vineyards, is there any effect on this year's harvest?
This year, if we ignore the effects of the frost, not really (we had the coldest July in 50 years!). Frost in April is quite common in Burgundy. The problem mainly comes from mild winters. Since 1987, we have seen an increase in average temperatures of 1°C. Various studies indicate that the vine growth cycle occurred earlier than 1988. Flowering occurred an average of two weeks earlier than that date, compared to 1961-1987. This explains why frost in April is now a danger to be aware of. On the other hand, this progress helps us to mature well every year.
Was there a lack of sun and heat for sugar to accumulate?
In fact, average monthly temperatures and average monthly sunshine were below normal, at least from early July to mid-August. After that, the last 2 weeks of August and the first 2 weeks of September were sunny, which helped to complete the ripening. This explains why we are returning to the traditional 100 day delay between flowering and harvest (last year we had more than 90-92 days). We reach a normal level of sugar and acidity (lower than in recent years), which can appear from a typical Burgundian vintage, with a nice freshness.
Are rising alcohol levels in Burgundy a problem in the future?
So far, the rising temperature has been a bonus for Burgundy wines. Burgundy has a cool climate and we traditionally harvest in October with a low sugar content (then capitalization was the annual norm). Regardless of variety, global warming has improved the balance in terms of potential alcohol, acidity, and so on. The two main varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, are now found in much warmer wine-growing regions than ours, and the Bourgogne Wine Commission is currently studying the behavior of these varieties in other warmer regions. Our goal is to determine how well these varieties can adapt to climate change and thus predict what adaptations might occur. With the 2021 vintage, we return to the classic style with a nice expression of fruitiness, balance, freshness and a lower alcohol level.
Can you tell me what the Cave de Prestige des Vins de Bourgogne will achieve?
The Cave de Prestige selection is now a tool and a true showcase for Burgundy wines. First, the selection process is very strict: only 12.85% of samples (203 out of 1580) were selected this year. This rigor is necessary. We (Burgundy Wine Board) will use them for all training, advertising and marketing activities over the next 12 months. These wines will remind people that Burgundy has a truly comprehensive offering that goes far beyond a few legendary names. They must represent all the excellence of Burgundy wines, regardless of the AOC level.
Fête des Vins de Chablis 2021 is coming soon. Can you tell me something about the event?
Since its first edition in 1949, the Fête des Vins de Chablis continues to evolve, but its success is always based on one idea: friendliness! On October 23 and 24 the city center will host again-ua wide selection of compositions with the vines of Chablis and the wider Grand Auxerrois region. The festival is organized by the Office du Chablis in collaboration with the Bourgogne Wine Board.
We expect 4000 to 5000 visitors. Each of them can buy a special glass (€6): after that, all wine tastings are free. Saturday is the Marathon de Chablis. on Sunday morning there is a walk in the vineyards with departures every 15 minutes. If you want, there will be a Bourguignon market in all the streets with local products. About forty producers will present their wines. The list will be available in mid-October.
Everyone must show a 'health card' proving vaccination or covid-free status. Then you can enter without a mask.
Can you tell me more about the progress in the wine city of Burgundy and the climate (these)?
2021 marked the official opening of three workplaces in Mâcon, Beaune and Chablis. The content will be gradually expanded with start dates set for 2022 and 2023. Another important point in 2021 is the final definition of the name and image: it will be known worldwide as Cité des Climats et vins de Bourgogne. The concept of "climate" now comes first, to remind the world that Burgundy is the place where the concept of terroir is pushed to the limit. All three sites of the Cité des vins et des Climats de Bourgogne network have their own dimensions and timetables and work will start at different times in 2021. It was preceded by the symbolic laying of the first stone in the presence of public partners. In terms of content, business has accelerated as the definition of content and services offered at each location expands, from visitor trails to wine-themed activities, one-off events, shops, wine-themed tips and advice, private hire, discovery bar, workshops, tasting classes and education fromTheBurgundy wine schools.
How is the world market for premium crus like PRC?
Grands Crus represent less than 2% of the total production of Burgundy. They represent the best that Les Climats has to offer. Recent vintages have been very good indeed, offering wines that can be drunk early but also have great aging potential. The demand for these Grand Crus increases every year and even if the production does not match the demand, many retailers and domaines try to spread the Grands Crus to as many markets and customers as possible.
Generally speaking, Burgundy wines are doing very well this year. In the first seven months of 2021, exports increased by 24.8% (number of bottles) and 34.3% (turnover). The numbers are even better than 2019, which was a great year.
2020 was also a good year despite the pandemic. The volume of exported Burgundy wines maintained growth in 2020, close to the equivalent of 90 million 75cl bottles (down 0.3% compared to 2019). Export revenue remained above one billion euros, despite a slight decrease of 0.7% compared to 2019. Nevertheless, in 2021 all AOC groups are recording good results. When it comes to the top Premier and Grand Cru AOCs, the numbers are pretty good:
•White Grand Cru in Côte de Beaune/Côte de Nuits AOC: 203.6% increase in volume and 21.5% increase in value
•Chablis Premier and Grand Cru AOC: 76% increase in volume and 47% increase in value
• Red Grand Cru AOCs in Côte de Nuits/Côte de Beaune: 38% increase in quantity and 28% increase in value
2021 was neither the best of times nor the worst of times, though it came close to the latter on occasion. It really was an exceptionally difficult growing season, as my opening words below describe. But do not panic, the wines taste much better than the weather conditions might have suggested.Why 2021 Burgundy will be an unusual vintage? ›
The 2021 vintage in Burgundy will be remembered for its three nights of intense frost and snow, from 5th to 8th April. Temperatures dropped several degrees below zero, shortly after a summer-like period in mid-March which had coaxed the nascent buds into early development.Is 2021 a good vintage? ›
Although much of the growing season for 2021 was distinctly odd the world over, much of the vintage was surprisingly good – in some places even excellent. For Bordeaux, the vintage was good and the reds, particularly from the Médoc, look set to be excellent.
Know When to Drink While Burgundy wines can age for decades, they also have a window of optimal drinking time. White Burgundies typically peak between 5 and 15 years, while red Burgundies can age for up to 30 years or more.Which is the highest quality tier in Burgundy? ›
Grands Crus appellations are the "elite" of Burgundy wines. They are produced on the most famous plots.Why is Burgundy so popular? ›
But Burgundy's arrival as a luxury good followed its rise in popularity. Part of its appeal is its soulfully complex, subtle and joyful aromas and flavors. The pleasure of Burgundy is amplified many times over by an intellectual attraction to the idea of terroir.Does burgundy get better with age? ›
12-15+ years: Almost all Burgundy will begin to taste fully developed during this period. At this age, you begin to see what really great burgundy is all about: a sublime mixture of intense complexity, the perfect marriage of fruity and savory aromas.What is the best burgundy to age? ›
Chambertin, Clos Vougeot, Corton, Montrachet… these names that make wine lovers dream! These rare wines come from the best terroirs and have the longest aging potential. The grapes from these legendary terroirs are located on the slopes of the Burgundian hills: draining soils with a clay-limestone composition.Why is burgundy a good color? ›
It is more sophisticated and serious than true red, symbolizing ambition, wealth, and power. Burgundy works well with shades of gray, such as light gray or charcoal gray. It also pairs beautifully with turquoise, golden yellow, and umber.What does 2021 vintage mean? ›
Although it can cause confusion, the meaning of the term 'vintage' is actually very simple. A wine's vintage simply tells you which year the grapes were picked.
A good vintage means the grapes are well-ripened and contain healthy amounts of acidity and tannins. As the wine ages, it will mature and develop in flavor and depth. This not only makes the wine more enjoyable to drink, it increases the value of the bottle over time.How long does vintage last? ›
The word vintage literally means "of age." With such an open meaning, there are many interpretations. Most antique dealers consider an item to be vintage if it is at least 40 years old. So, in the context of this blog date, a vintage item would be made between 1918 and 1978.When did Burgundy fall? ›
In 532 the Burgundians were decisively defeated by the Franks at Autun, whereafter king Godomar was killed and Burgundian lands was annexed by the Frankish Empire in 534.What are the traits of Burgundy? ›
Burgundy, especially red Burgundy, can be quite a difficult wine to understand. It has a light colour, highish acidity, light tannins and 65-70% of its pleasure comes from its aroma. This is very different to say Bordeaux' s darker, richer and more structured wine.Does Burgundy expire? ›
The best way to enjoy your wine fresh is to drink it shortly after you purchase it. However, you can still enjoy unopened wine about 1–5 years after the expiration date, while leftover wine can be enjoyed 1–5 days after it has been opened, depending on the type of wine.How much is a good Burgundy? ›
Many are priced between $20–30, and it's rare to see any climb above $50. Approachable and enjoyable, the reds are full of delicious, juicy, red-cherry Pinot Noir fruitiness, especially from Mercurey and Givry.What are the top rated vineyard in Burgundy called? ›
'DRC', as the Domaine is fondly referred to, is arguably the best known and the most prestigious estate in Burgundy.What are the tiers of Burgundy wine? ›
The main levels in the Burgundy classifications, in descending order of quality, are: Grand crus, Premier crus, village appellations, and finally regional appellations: Grand Cru wines are produced by a small number of the best vineyard sites in the Côte d'Or region, as strictly defined by the AOC laws.Is Burgundy still in style? ›
Burgundy is officially back. But if it recalls visions of '90s-era wine-soaked walls, rest assured there's a lot to love about how this rich color is playing out today.What is Burgundy called now? ›
After the French Revolution the province of Burgundy disappeared, divided into the départements of Côte-d'Or, Saône-et-Loire, and Yonne. In 2016 the région of Burgundy was merged with Franche-Comté as part of a national plan to increase bureaucratic efficiency.
The modern-day administrative region comprises most of the former duchy. In 2016, Burgundy and the historical region of Franche-Comté merged for administrative purposes into the new region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.What is the best Burgundy to age? ›
Chambertin, Clos Vougeot, Corton, Montrachet… these names that make wine lovers dream! These rare wines come from the best terroirs and have the longest aging potential. The grapes from these legendary terroirs are located on the slopes of the Burgundian hills: draining soils with a clay-limestone composition.Does Burgundy get better with age? ›
12-15+ years: Almost all Burgundy will begin to taste fully developed during this period. At this age, you begin to see what really great burgundy is all about: a sublime mixture of intense complexity, the perfect marriage of fruity and savory aromas.What year is a good vintage for wine? ›
2017, 2014, 2012 and 2010 are good to go. White Burgundy wines are maturing earlier partly because warmer vintages mean riper grapes with lower preserving fruit acidity. Premiers crus from Chablis or the Côte d'Or deserve a wait of four to five years, grands crus six to seven years or much longer.Was 2010 a good vintage for Burgundy? ›
2010 Vintage - Burgundy
The 2010 vintage for Burgundy was extremely good. A harsh winter saw heavy frosts damage vines and conditions failed to improve much in both spring and early summer. A cool, damp June made flowering difficult and concerns around rot and mildew raised their ugly heads.