Early reports suggest that Burgundy 2018 could have all the makings of a legendary vintage.
The year was notable for having the hottest, driest growing seasons since the intense heatwave of 2003. Despite a wet winter and spring, perfect weather arrived in time for an early but very successful flowering. The summer was hot and exceedingly dry although Nuits St Georges did see some vicious hail which impacted yields. The ideal weather conditions during late August and September meant producers could pick at their own leisure which put the vintage in very good stead. The resulting harvest was one of the largest in years, particularly for Chardonnay.
The heat was problematic in that it did create unusually high sugar content and, therefore, alcohol in the grapes which did in some instances cause an issue with stuck fermentations.
The whites tend to be rich and surprisingly fresh, despite most having higher alcohol than normal. The majority are best drunk young but some have the makings to age very well.
The reds also produced a range of wines suitable for both early drinking and laying down. The intense heat did cause some grapes to overripen, particularly Pinot Noir. Like the whites, the reds were very alcoholic, which sometimes made retaining acidity difficult causing a few producers to use acidification to bolster the wines. However, despite many of the wines having a rich “sun-ripened”, as some have reported, taste profile, an element of freshness was still retained making for mostly complex, pleasing wines with good potential to age.
Brilliant wines were made in both the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits, in particular the wines of Aloxe-Corton, Maranges, Morey, Vosne-Romanée, Chambolle, Marsannay and Gevrey.
Prices will vary but both reds and whites should offer some very good options for both early drinking and laying down. One last point worth noting about the Burgundy vintage is that climate change is now having a very obvious and tangible effect.
Vintage quality: Excellent (Legendary)
Current condition: Keep