Sadly, time has marched on, since the fantastic Bourgogne Immersion Trip I took with the Wine Scholar Guild lead by Andrew Jefford, October 23 – 28, 2016. Everyone on the trip was definitely a “wine nerd” but the group was composed of a mix of wine industry professionals, wine students of all levels that had “day jobs” and just wine appreciators. I had been on a few wine trips previously that were organized by friends or non-winegroups like Backroads (biking and wine). However, I had never gone on such a blockbuster, action-packed wine trip as this one. So for future participants here are 5 items to keep in mind so you have an incredible trip.
The vintage chart and harvest reports provided by the Wine Scholar Guild gives you the ranking for every French wine region and vintage from 2000 to today.
Andrew Jefford, award-winning wine journalist for Decanter Magazine and author of twelve books on wine including The New France has compiled information and written the vintage charts starting with the 2013 vintage. He is also updating information for the vintages prior to 2013.
Last updated: October 2nd 2019
|2018||Drink/Cellar||After a very wet January, Chablis growers experienced rainfall that was either normal or below normal for the rest of the season, climaxing in a historically dry September. Average temperatures were above normal from April onwards, and average sunshine hours above normal from May. It was, in sum, the easy and generous vintage that growers under these customarily fretful skies have been waiting for since 2015, with harvesting taking place under unhurried conditions in late August and September. The quality of the wines is very attractive, with ample substance to the best Grands Crus and Premiers Crus yet classical freshness and vivacity, too. The wines will age well over the mid- to long-term.|
|2017||Drink/Cellar||After a very cold January followed by a warm February and March, everyone was on frost alert, standing by ready with frost candles. Sure enough, the frost struck in April – and carried on for up to 15 nights, exhausting defensive supplies. Both banks and vineyards at every quality level were hit, though the overall losses were less severe than in 2016 (except in the northerly Châtillonais, which lost 90%). After that, summer was propitious, and the cycle was early, with harvest beginning three weeks earlier than in 2016, in the first days of September, giving growers a chance to harvest fruit in perfect condition. Quantities are lower than the long-term average, but this is a vintage of brightness, freshness and classicism.|
|2016||Drink/Cellar||After a mild winter and a very wet spring, disaster struck Chablis with severe frosts on April 26th-27th, followed by two hail episodes on May 13th and May 27th. Conditions were cool and cloudy until the third week in June, after which summer was dry and warm until mid-September, when further cool and cloudy weather began to provoke rot; a speedy harvest took place in late September. The harvest losses vary from 55 per cent for Chablis and Petit Chablis to 35 per cent for Premier Cru wines and 15 per cent for Grand Cru wines, making this the most difficult vintage for Chablis in terms of quantity since the 1950s. Quality, however, was good, and the style of the wines is light, fresh and classical, with ample ‘mineral’ notes.|
|2015||Drink/Cellar||A mild winter was followed by a clement spring without frost problems. Flowering, in early June, was unproblematic, and summer was generally warm and dry. Unfortunately, a hail storm on September 1st destroyed 300 ha in some of the best sites (Les Clos, Blanchots and Montée de Tonnerre). The region’s remaining 5,100 ha were picked in good conditions over the following two weeks. The wines have ample fruit, with fresh though not steely acidity. Delicious mid-term Chablis, with the best wines ageing well.|
|2014||Drink/Cellar||Spring was warm, with some April frost damage to less propitious vineyards. July and August were both cool months, with double the annual rainfall and less sunshine than usual; at that point, the vintage looked bleak. Then, came the hottest September in 130 years with some useful, freshening rain mid-month. Most fruit was harvested in the latter part of September and early October as growers waited for acid levels to fall. The resulting wines are classically taut, tight and lean, with pungent, nuanced, mouth-watering ripeness: the kind of balance which allows full expression to Chablis’ stony, ‘mineral’ character.|
|2013||Drink||After a cool, wet spring, flowering came late (at the end of June) and under difficult conditions. The consequent coulure (shatter) and millerandage (shot berries) set a small crop. July and August were warm and generally dry but the cycle remained a very late one, with harvest beginning at the end of September. Heavy rain on October 4th, and the rapid onset of botrytis afterwards, posed further problems. Early pickers produced attractive Chablis in a fruity, rounded style; late pickers produced softer wines.|
|2012||Drink||Spring frosts , extended flowering with isolated hail followed by very dry summer & water stress. Beneficial rains in September. Reduced harvest of mature grapes leading to structured wines with potentially long life. Some compare to 2010 or 2002.|
|2011||Drink/Past peak||Early start. Cool, wet summer marked by frequent storms. Very sunny end of August. Normal volume after short 2010. Sorting key to quality. Lighter, often delicate wines of lower alcohol & moderate acidity, many with early appeal. Considerable variability.|
|2010||Drink||Challenged flowering, coulure & millerandage reduced crop. Low yields delivered concentrated wines with density & dimension: ripeness plus structure. A uniform success. Even regional Chablis will be worthy of mid-term bottle aging.|
|2009||Drink||Full, ripe wines with generous flavors rather than a textbook Chablis profile. Some forward & soft; drink early.|
|2008||Drink||Extended flowering, millerandage. Good summer, average sun hours & temperatures. Expressive, aromatic wines; a classic Chablis vintage combining substance & vivacity.|
|2007||Drink/Past peak||Several hailstorms affecting Chichée and various 1ers crus. Uneven maturity. Disparate quality ranging from thin and green to fresh and delicate.|
|2006||Drink||Successful, well-balanced wines, sometimes heavy. Clearly defined tiers of quality according to rank.|
|2005||Drink||Ripe, generous, full wines, occasionally high in alcohol. Best grands crus suitable for long cellaring.|
|2004||Drink/Past peak||Large crop. Best sites & those harvested later achieved adequate maturity. Many light, weak wines showing effects of high yields.|
|2003||Drink/Past peak||Anormal year, highly precocious. Exceptionally hot, dry, sunny August. Some grapes “burnt” on the vine. Harvest commenced 25 August. Rich wines, high alcohols, low acidity. Compared to 1893.|
|2002||Drink||Mature, healthy grapes delivered generous wines with ripe acidity. Best grands crus will have long life.|
|2001||Past peak||Unequal ripening favored best sites, old vines. Marked acidity. Particularly large quality gap between petit/ regional Chablis and grands crus.|
|2000||Past peak||Well- balanced, mature and fairly generous wines with sound acidity harvested in good weather.|
|2018||Drink/Cellar||January was very mild (the warmest since 1945) and very wet. After a normally cold February, March was again very wet, with 50 per cent more rain than normal in the Côte de Beaune. April and May were much dryer and very warm, and flowering in June was rapid and successful, setting a generous crop. July, August and September enjoyed normal rainfall but above-average sunshine hours and heat summations, but without drought problems following the ‘hot and tropical’ spring weather, according to Frédéric Barnier of Louis Jadot: “agronomically, it was perfect: just what we needed.” Harvesting in late August and September took place under unhurried conditions, with a number of producers blocking malolactic fermentations this year (unusual for white burgundy). Despite the warmth, quality is outstanding. The wines show both depth and vivacity as well as focus and precision, and are expected to age well.|
|2017||Drink/Cellar||Following the frost catastrophe of 2016, white burgundy growers were alert to the frost danger posed by a cold period in late April after a warm February and March. A long, 10-day campaign of bale burning before dawn paid off when, in contrast to many other parts of France, major frost damage was averted. A hot late May and June led to successful flowering. July was a month of mixed but manageable weather, and August was warm, particularly later in month, bringing what had always been an early season to a successful close. Harvesting began in August in the Côte de Beaune with a rain break on the 30th; the rest of the whites were picked in cooler conditions in early September. This was a generous harvest (21% up on 2016 for Burgundy’s white wines as a whole) of attractive, accessible wines.|
|2016||Drink/Cellar||After the warmest December to February quarter in over a century, spring turned cool, wet and gloomy. A humid, wet evening on April 26th was followed by a very cold, clear night which brought severe frost damage on the morning of April 27th; unusually, this affected the Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards (notably Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet) more than ‘village’ vineyards. Damp and dreary conditions continued throughout most of June, and flowering was late, with intense disease pressure. The picture eased with a warm, sunny July, a hot August and a fine beginning to September, with a little refreshing rain. Harvest was generally underway by mid-September, producing a very small crop of charming, fresh-flavoured whites.|
|2015||Drink/Cellar||After a mild winter, spring began early and remained frost-free. A warm April followed by a dry May led to flowering at the end of the month in what rapidly transitioned into very warm weather. The crop was not as large as hoped due to continuing vine stress from 2014. Rain fell just after flowering and helped the Côte d’Or through a hot, dry summer; there were further light showers in early August. Harvest began early, at the end of August, in fine weather. The resulting wines are ripe and generous, vividly fruity, without excess, and should age well.|
Spring was clement and frost-free, and flowering at the end of May went well, setting a good crop. Severe hailstorms on June 28th, though, caused comprehensive damage, especially in Beaune and Meursault, with losses of up to 50% in some sites; Puligny was partly hit, but Chassagne largely escaped. July and early August were mixed, but the weather rapidly improved in late August and the harvest was picked in perfect conditions throughout September. Volume may have been impacted, but quality was excellent: fresh, lively wines with vibrant acidity and excellent ageing potential.
|2013||Drink||Winter was cold. March, April and May were all wet, with flooding in some lower-lying vineyards. Both bud break and flowering were late, the latter in cool, wet conditions towards the end of June, setting a small crop. July was warm, but a hailstorm on the 23rd caused extensive losses, principally in Beaune and Meursault. A normal August and a cool September followed, with a late harvest at the end of September followed by considerable fruit sorting and chaptalisation. Assiduous growers, however, have made fresh, classic white wines with plenty of site expression.|
|2012||Drink||Difficult year with multiple climatic challenges. Severe hail damage in Meursault, Puligny, Chassagne. Volume 39% less than 5-year average. Open, full wines with generous fruit; fat on occasion. Best have balancing acidity. Less consistent than their 2012 peers in red.|
|2011||Drink||Early start. Cool, wet summer marked by frequent storms. Very sunny end of August. Normal volume after short 2010. Sorting key to quality. Lighter, often delicate wines of lower alcohol & moderate acidity, many with early appeal. Considerable variability.|
|2010||Drink||Small harvest. Concentrated whites with dimension, intensity & structure. Most wines, village & above, will benefit from cellaring.|
|2009||Drink||Wines display expressive, very ripe fruit. Best are balanced, offer considerable early pleasure; others lack acidity & will age rapidly. Only the most structured should be cellared.|
|2008||Drink||Focused, elegant, incisive whites. Standouts are backward and have concentration & structure to permit long cellaring. Superior to the ’08 reds.|
|2007||Drink||Challenging season, wet & cold summer. Expressive lighter wines possessing marked acidities. Some are thin, sharp & will not keep well.|
|2006||Drink||Some variability at all levels of AOC ranks. Ripe, full whites, though lacking acidity in certain cases.|
|2005||Drink||Dry year without extremes. Rich, complete whites with sound acidities. Consistent quality across communes. Wines for further cellaring should be selected with care after assessing their current maturity.|
|2004||Drink||Large harvest in white and better overall quality than ’04 reds. Aromatic wines, high acidity.|
|2003||Drink/Past peak||Atypically hot, dry season. Cooler communes (e.g., St.-Romain, Pernand) dealt best with conditions. Rich, heady whites, low natural acidity (no malic). Prone to oxidation.|
|2002||Drink||Smaller vintage of regular quality with sound maturity & acidity. Complex, complete whites with substance & equilibrium.|
|2001||Past peak||Wet, cool season. Whites not as good as reds, which were picked later. Irregular maturities, lower sugars. Best in Meursault.|
Healthy, ripe, often soft whites unaffected by September storm. Immediately appealing, most are past their prime. Machine harvesters, already in wide use in Chablis & Mâconnais, became more prevalent in the Côte by this vintage.
|2018||Drink/Cellar||A colossally wet, mild January and March meant that there was considerable mildew pressure over spring, with the Côte de Nuits sustaining more damage from this than the Côte de Beaune. From May onwards, though, the disease pressure eased as a warm, dry and sunny summer got underway, with ideal flowering conditions in June setting an excellent crop. The rest of summer was problem-free apart from some minor hail damage and later heavy rain close to Nuits on two occasions in July, and some young-vine parcels suffering from a little drought stress in very free-draining sites. Harvest took place in ideal conditions in early to late September, with cool nights keeping the fruit fresh after warm, sunny days. The red wines are dark and, despite their rich constitution (Frédéric Barnier of Louis Jadot said it was the first time in 20 years he had not had to chaptalise any cuvée), fresh and vivacious too. They will age very well.|
|2017||Drink/Cellar||A cold January was followed by warm weather in February, March and early April. Frost threatened, by contrast, throughout much of late April, but was averted by growers’ actions in burning straw bales prior to dawn on cold, cloudless nights. Flowering at the end of May and during a warm early June set the scene for a bumper crop of red wines. July was a relatively cool but uncatastrophic month for all save Morey-St Denis growers (who were hit by hail on July 10th); August was generally warm and sunny. There was a day’s heavy rain at the end of August, and further rain in September, alternating with dryer weather, and growers made the decision to begin the red wine harvest at various times between September 2nd and September 20th. It was the most generous red-wine harvest in Burgundy since 2009, with general red-wine volumes up 41% on 2016, and 26% up on the previous five-year average. The wines are supple and accessible in general, with the most fastidious viticulturalists controlling yield in order to maximise quality; the bumper crop and late-season rain, by contrast, may have diluted the harvest for the less proactive.|
|2016||Drink/Cellar||Very mild, humid winter conditions gave way to a cold March and then a warmer month of April. On the night of the 26th to 27th April, catastrophic frost conditions struck not the customary bottom-slope village vineyards but many of the mid-slope Grands Crus and Premiers Crus. These frosts were inconsistent: the village of Marsannay lost 90% of its fruit, and Vougeot, Echézeaux, Grands Echézeaux, Musigny and Chambolle les Amoureuses were badly hit, while the other vineyards of Vosne, and most of Gevrey and Nuits in general escaped unscathed. Damage to Pommard and Volnay was mixed, too; Corton was hit on the Pernand side, but not the Aloxe side. After the frosts came intense disease pressure during a dismal May and June. By the end of June, though, conditions improved, and July and August were ideal; harvest made it clear that the overall Bugundy crop was 25 to 30 per cent below normal. Attentive growers who were spared the worst of the frost rigours have made deep-coloured, lively, fleshy wines with ample fruit and soft tannins.|
|2015||Drink/Cellar||A mild January and a cold February was followed by a very warm spring, early and mid-summer weather; flowering was speedy and successful, though yields were lower than hoped, with a lot of millerandage (shot berries). The drought conditions of July were eased by August storms, and an early harvest unfolded in perfect weather at the end of August and beginning of September with little sorting required; the berries were small and thick-skinned. Ripe, vivacious, structured and deeply fruited wines with fine ageing potential were made up and down both Côtes.|
A mild winter was followed by a generally hot and sunny spring that delivered much less rain than usual; flowering was successful and uneventful at the end of May and beginning of June. A catastrophic hail storm struck on June 28th, principally affecting Beaune, Pommard and Volnay, with minor damage on the hill of Corton. The Côte de Nuits escaped – but was hit to a lesser extent around Chambolle on July 25th. July and August were cloudy and cool, but the harvest was saved by a sunny, warm September, with the red harvest beginning in mid-September. Comprehensive sorting (up to 20% of the harvest) was required, not only because of hail, but also because summer’s still, humid conditions provoked attack from Drosophila suzukii which can cause acid rot in the berries. The best wines are fresh, vital and energetic, with more length than amplitude.
|2013||Drink||Winter was cold; spring was wet and cool. The vegetative cycle was late, and flowering took place in cool, damp conditions towards the end of June, provoking some crop loss due to coulure (shatter) and millerandage (shot berries). July, by contrast, was hot and sunny, helping the vines to catch up somewhat. Catastrophic hail on July 23rd caused comprehensive losses (up to 90% of the crop) around Beaune, and especially in Pommard and Volnay; the Côtes de Nuits, though, was unscathed. August was normal but September was cool and wet; the reds were speedily harvested in early October. Quality was better than expected, especially once the malic acid was eliminated: pure, crisp, fresh reds with good site definition for the medium term.|
|2012||Drink||Highly irregular, challenging season. Extremely cold February injured old vines. Oidium & mildew. Rainy April & June, difficult flowering. Hail in Pommard and Volnay. Crop cut in half vs. 5-year norm. Hot, sunny, dry from mid-July through September. Low yields. Best reds are dense, perfumed, rich & sensual with fine-grained tannins. Irregular in hail-affected communes.|
|2011||Drink||Very warm April, early budburst. Mixed summer until mid-August, then warm, dry September. Reds of moderate ripeness: light colors, expressive aromas, elegant. Mid-term aging potential. Best in Côte de Nuits where results may be superior to ’07 & ’08.|
|2010||Drink/Cellar||Winter freeze & extended flowering, coulure and millerandage reduced crop. Low yields, small berries with thick skins. Reds possess complexity, intensity & ideal balance of fruit, acidity & tannin. All levels of hierarchy including top Bourgognes are cellar-worthy.|
|2009||Drink||Fully mature reds endowed with generous fruit & sensual texture. Superior ripeness yet with potential to age. High alcohol in certain cases. Many wines with early appeal. Memorable Corton, Côte de Nuits wines will reward mid- to long-term cellaring.|
|2008||Drink||Fresh, aromatic, medium-weight reds. Less successful wines are lean with marked acidity.|
|2007||Drink||Early flowering; cold, wet summer. Threat of mildew & rot. Early harvest. Severe sorting often reduced volume. Best in Côte de Nuits (Gevrey, Vosne, Nuits).|
|2006||Drink||Very hot July, wet & cool August, favorable September. Fleshy reds with fruit & ripe tannins. Considerable variation in quality in Côte de Beaune.|
|2005||Drink||Consistent, well-endowed reds, full-bodied & well-structured. Grands crus destined for long aging.|
|2004||Drink||Fresh, well-defined wines of light to medium weight. Many lack flesh & are angular, unlikely to improve. Better in Côte de Nuits. Hail damage in Volnay, Pommard.|
|2003||Drink||Extremely hot summer, smallest crop since 1981. Earliest harvest in centuries, starting 20-25 August in Côte d’Or. High sugars, incomplete phenolic maturities. Atypical profile: dense, rich, high in alcohol, low acidity (acidification common). Cold locales and clay soils yielded best wines. Most have reached their peak.|
|2002||Drink||Small, ripe & mostly healthy berries. Harmonious, balanced wines of medium weight with attractive fruit. A few lack concentration. Some compare to excellent 1999 Côte d’Or reds.|
|2001||Drink/Past peak||Variable in Côte de Beaune due to hail, notably Volnay. Some excellent wines in Côte de Nuits, especially those picked later and sorted.|
Generous vintage, considerable variation by commune, climat & grower. Green harvesting and sorting key to outcome. Hail & a heavy rainstorm in Côte de Beaune as picking started. Côte de Nuits more successful.
|2018||Drink/Cellar||Winter and spring, as elsewhere in Burgundy, were very damp and relatively warm in the Mâconnais. Flowering was a little earlier here than elsewhere, and the long, hot summer caused some drought stress to what was in general a generous crop. Harvesting began in August, though some growers found that the warm, dry weather had blocked maturation and consequently preferred to pick in early September. The wines are generous, charming and long, but have retained vivacity; the best will age very well.|
|2017||Drink/Cellar||In common with other Burgundy regions, the Mâconnais faced a challenging late April after two-and-a-half months of unseasonally warm weather; like Chablis growers, they were hit by the frosts at that point, meaning a harvest drop of around 10% on the 2016 crop (which was, however, higher here than elsewhere). After that, though, the summer weather was generally unproblematic, with satisfactory flowering and warm weather in May, June and August. The harvest began towards the end of August, and the quality of the wines is juicy, fresh and attractive.|
|2016||Drink/Cellar||In contrast to the Côte d’Or and Chablis, the Mâconnais escaped the late April frosts – but growers there were no cheerier, as a comprehensive hail storm on the afternoon of April 13th had destroyed around 2,500 ha in the best, southern part of region (especially Pouilly-Fuissé, -Loché and –Vinzelles, and St Véran), meaning overall losses of 30 per cent for this sector. After that, a difficult early summer was followed by a much more successful July and August, and quality was good, with fleshy yet fresh white wines making ideal mid-term drinking.|
|2015||Drink||The growing season was warm, regular and precocious with excessive heat in July being the main challenge (new heat records were set in Mâcon on July 4th and August 7th: 39.2°C and 39.1°C respectively). Temperatures were eased by some intermittent rain later in August. A healthy crop was harvested in late August and September with excellent results overall: lush, generous, broad-beamed though sometimes heady wines.|
A largely trouble-free growing season with successful flowering led to an early, leisurely harvest under benign skies in early September. Quality is outstanding: poised, balanced wines with a perfect balance between acidity-derived tension and round but not exaggerated fruit richness.
|2013||Drink||A rainy spring, poor flowering, a cool summer and a rainy harvest period provided multiple challenges. Those in the south of the region with well-exposed vineyards who harvested before the heavy rains that fell over the first weekend of October made good wines despite the challenges; elsewhere, the wines were underripe and dilute.|
|2012||Drink||Turbulent season, compromised flowering, reduced crop. Expressive whites displaying ripe fruit and good density at top levels. Some inconsistency in quality.|
|2011||Drink||Round, fleshy wines with appealing fruit & delicacy. Top Pouilly-Fuissé suitable for mid-term cellaring.|
|2010||Drink||Smaller harvest of concentrated, balanced wines with noteworthy definition.|
|2009||Drink||Wines with marked ripeness, body & fruit. Cool locales/sites very successful (e.g., Vergisson). Some are powerful, rich & low in acidity and are for current drinking. Cellar the best Pouilly-Fuissé|
|2008||Past peak||Difficult season, varied maturities. Well-defined, lighter, fresh whites.|
|2007||Past peak||Challenging growing conditions, instances of inadequate maturity. Many good, balanced wines.|
|2006||Drink||Best whites possess fruit, substance & acidity and reflect their terroir. St.-Véran stands out. Variability to a degree with high alcohol and low acidity in some cases.|
|2005||Drink||Ripe, full, balanced whites with generous fruit. Very consistent quality. Assess current maturity before further cellaring.|
|2004||Past peak||Attractive, medium-weight wines. St.-Véran most successful; Pouilly-Fuissé falls short.|
|2003||Drink/Past peak||Hot, extremely dry. Highly variable outcomes by locale and grower making it difficult to generalize. Many rich, flamboyant wines with low acidity evolved quickly.|
|2002||Drink/Past peak||Difficult season. Generally attractive whites, best with richness & weight for early/mid-term consumption.|
|2001||Drink/Past peak||Irregular growing season, poor September. Most successful wines hailed from patient growers who waited for the grapes to achieve maturity.|
High yields resulted largely in early-maturing, aromatic wines with lower acidities. Best wines had depth, intensity & balance.
These vintage notes have been prepared by Andrew Jefford, Academic Advisor to the Wine Scholar Guild. New vintage information, and any revisions of previous vintage drinking suggestions, are made each autumn. Use the chart as a guide only; in every vintage there will be outperforming and underperforming wines.
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