Buying Red Burgundy 2019

The vintage 2019 in Burgundy has been hailed already in December as another vintage of the century by some testers. I would not agree with this, 2019 is more a vintage which shows in which direction the climate change is changing Burgund and how wine growers are coping with the challenges of climate change.

Probably the first question one has to ask ones self, what am I looking for in Burgundy?. Rich full bodied wines with medium acidity, then the 2018 and 2019 vintags and the upcoming 2020 vintage are definitely interesting. For those looking for a more restrained style of Burugndy with more acidity and less ripe fruit notes, 2017 and 2014 are probably of more interest and in consideration of how the climate is changing backfilling might be an option.

Prices

Most customers tend to get flashed by the exorbitant prices being asked for perhap 3-5% of the wines being produced and forget that Burgundy has a lot to offer between 15€ and 50€. The market for specific producers and grand crus is insatiable and this is reflected in the price, those chasing such wines must be prepared to pay the tarif. 

In Burgundy in the past producers had difficulty harvesting ripe grapes, now the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, overripenss and high alcohol levels are now the problem. Some producers have recorded 16°/l in 2020. What has a negative side also has a positive side. Appellations and sites which in the past had problems achieving ripeness are profiting. If one is not fixiated on the trophy wines from most desired appellations, appellations and sites which have underperformed in the past are now producing really good wines at interesting prices. Instead of looking to Vosne Romanée, Chambertin etc, the consumer should consider the likes  of Marsannay, Savigny Les Beaune, Monthelie or the Côte Chalonnaise.

Also in well known appellations the dynamic is changeing. For instance in Pommard and Vougeot in the past the sites at the top produced better wines, the bottom sites tended to be too cooler and the soil to damp. This has changed, when buying such sites are becoming more and more interesting.

What to buy.

Again the question is what one  is looking for. For immediate drinking, (yes, it is no longer necessary to cellar Burgundy for ages before it can be consumed, the tannins in the wines are softer and more supple.) my choice would be Bourgogne Rouge from top producers and Village wines from less popular appellations. Top producers take a lot of care with their entry level wines, these are usually easier to get and one can often buy quantity. These wines indicate the signature style of the producer and the price in relationship to the quality is often mind blowing. 

Village wines from the likes of Chassagne Montrachet, Savigny les Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses or Marsannay to name a few are usually reasonably priced and offer a more precise indication of an appellations character and the style of a producer than a bourgogne rouge. 

It is important to remember that  burgundy in the beginning is open and fruity, at some point it will shut down. This does not mean the wines are finished and nolonger drinkable, they go throught this phase and after a few years open up and develop really interesting aromas. Robert Parker never understood this.

One does not have to buy expensive burgundy to cellar. I have had bottles that costed 20 € or less and after ten years they were singing. 

Premeir Crus and Grand crus

I would personally buy these to cellar or as an investment. Premeir crus depending on the storage conditions need ten years as a minimum and here also the vintage plays a role. With Grand Crus I would be looking at 15 to 20 years for them to start showing their potential. I know a lot of these wines are drunk too early; this is a shame as one really misses what is magical about these burgundy.

Wines as an investment is not for everybody. If investing producer, vintage and I hate to say it points are important.

We have numerous interesting, up and coming producers in out sortiment. Do not hesitate to ask us for advice.