2019 Burgundy, some initial thoughts

With the 2018 and 2019 vintages it is if a boxer went from lightweight to heavyweight. 19 in comparison 18 was a challenging vintage, frost in April, then an exceedingly long dry spell. The harvest was early with producers having to decide to go for phenolic ripeness or physiological ripeness. The former occured earlier, waiting for physiological ripeness (pips, stalks and skins) would mean an increase in the sugar levels and less aciditiy.

The wine buyer has to ask themselves the fundamental question, what am I looking for in Burgundy. If it is the old fashioned style, more crispness, freshness, ethereal aromas and precision, it would make more sense to buy 17 or 14. If however it is for more full bodied, concentrated wines then 18 and 19 are perfect. Alcohol levels vary between 13,5% and 14,5%, for me  a factor that ostensibly  changes the dynamic of Pinot Noir, articulated terroir is becoming negligble. Those who in the past complained of Burgundies being thin and watery, might actually now come to like Pinot Noir.

The positives with the climate change are sites that struggles to gain ripeness in the past are now producing really interesting wines. I used to have nightmares when it came to the reds of Chorey-Les-Beaune but now I really like them.

The 2019 whites fascinate me, they are juicy and ripe but also have nice acidity and tension. Chassagne Montrachets whites are probably my favourites alongside Saint Romian, Savigny-Les-Beaunes and Pernand-Vergelesses. In Marsannay there are some nice mineral driven chardonnay and Montagny in the Côte Chalonnaisse is also worth considering. Chablis also produced really interesting wines, not the steely wines of the past, rather fruity whites more reminscent of the Côte de Beaune whites.

 

What I would buy for myself.

 

 On my first visit to Burgundy a sommelier said to me, if you buy Burgundy, buy expensives wines, don't buy the cheap ones. I think what he said was true then, not now. If you compared the prices of Bourgogne Rouge with say Nebbiolo d'Alba or entry level chianti then, the entry level wines could not compete, now it is different.

To be honest in the past I never drunk Bourgogne Rouge, Bourgogne Blanc or event Passetoutgrain. Now they have become my new staple tipple alongside champagne. They can be drunk young, have good ageing potential and they do not break the bank. I tend now to buy lots of the entry level wines from my favourite producers and buy one or two of the premier Crus and if the Grand Crus are not too exorbitiant one bottle. I would rather drink Burgundy  three or four times in the week rather than only on special occasions.

 

Appellations from which I would buy in 2019 from when looking for value.

 

Marsannay

Morey-St-Denis

Ladoix

Pernand-Vergelesses

Savigny-les-Beaune

Saint-Romain

Pommard

Meursault (Bourgogne Blancs)

Saint Aubin

Montagny

For long term cellaring, I would especially recommend Pommard