I spent two days in my favourite wine region, Burgundy. And it was fascinating, as always… Here’s a couple of impressions I want to share with you :
The 2015 Madness
if you read the wine press, you cannot have escaped the madness. 2015 is THE year you have to have! Or as Stephen Tanzer phrased it : you are so going to want them! The result is that you have to be damn lucky to still find 2015 Burgundy… Some winemakers have already completely sold out their 2015 stock. Others first want to sell their remaining 2014s before they sell 2015. And some still need to bottle a part of their wine… If you still plan to go there, be sure to inform what they still have on sale, or you could end-up returning empty-handed.
The 2015 Prices
Burgundy prices have risen more than 150% since 2007. So with the 2015 run on Burgundy, it’s no surprise that prices have risen even further. A winemaker we visited in Gevrey-Chambertin has increased the price of his 2015 1er cru with 20% in comparison with 2014. I do have to add, though, that his prices were low in comparison to his fellow winemakers. When I say low, I mean 25€. Now it’s 30€. In Burgundese, that is cheap for a Gevrey 1er Cru. So when me and my pal heard that, we said : we need to buy here big time! I do realise, though, that for people who are not that much into wine, this must sound pretty insane. Unfortunately, that’s the reality in Burgundy! The demand is higher than the supply, one winemaker said…
The 2015 Quality
The wine press is raving about 2015, and the demand is high, so the quality must be good, right? Well, first of all, that goes for the reds. The whites have suffered from the hot and dry summer. Most whites I tasted were very ripe, round, and lacking freshness. At least to my taste. And even the reds did not convince me everywhere. What I like in Burgundy pinot noir is the fresh red fruit, the acidity, the elegance and balance. I came across reds that were very ripe if not jammy, that had more black fruit than red, and some even had hints of chocolate. That’s not what I find normal in Burgundy. But hey, what is normal? Luckily we also found a few winemakers that were able to strike the right balance between ripeness and freshness.
The 2015 Wine Press
We visited 8 winemakers spread over the Côte de Nuits, the Côte de Beaune and the Côte Chalonnaise. We relied in part on reviews in wine magazines to decide where we would go. And that did not really end up as we expected. The three domaines that we selected like that, did not make a great impression on us, to be honest. The domaines we liked the most were recommended by fellow wine amateurs. I never thought much of wine scores in general, but I assumed that wine magazines would be a trustworthy source to distinguish the good from the bad. Apparently not… Lesson learned : rely on people whose taste you know and who have tried the wines themselves!
Conclusion : even though I do not consider 2015 an unqualified success, I still came home broke, but luckily with a car full of good wine…