It has been called Burgundy’s “lost” region; others have referred to it as Burgundy’s “forgotten” area. But, how can this be when it appears to be the southern extension of the acclaimed Cote d’Or? This session will investigate the reasons for the muddled reputation of Chalonnaise wines. Don will also unveil the progressive steps being taken to move the wines of the Chalonnaise to their proper, elevated position within the hierarchy of Burgundy wines.
For 30 years, Don Kinnan has been active in the fine wine trade, both on a business and personal level. Since his initial visit to Burgundy in 1973, he has returned numerous times exploring the intricacies of the region and its wines.
Kinnan joined Kobrand Corporation, a family-owned wine importer and owner of Maison Louis Jadot, in 1985, covering the Washington, DC, Virginia and West Virginia areas. In 1992, he was promoted to Director of Education and was responsible for Educational Services nationwide. For the next 20 years, he conducted over 60 seminars, annually, for distributor sales forces, trade groups, and consumers.
Kinnan’s passion for wine is evidenced by his involvement in numerous professional organizations. He has been cited by the U. S. Government for his role as founder of the Society for American Wines in Canada. He founded and acted as President of the Decanter Club in Washington, DC, and frequently presents to groups such as the Society of Wine Educators, where he holds that organization’s highest credential, CWE (Certified Wine Educator). He is also a member of the society’s executive committee and board of directors. In 2012, Kinnan will be the lead instructor in the Wine Scholar Guild’s new Master Burgundy Certificate program.
Kinnan received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University and his masters from Johns Hopkins. He had a long and distinguished military career in the US Army, from which he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While in the Army, Kinnan graduated from the Defense Department’s Language Institute for French, the Command and General Staff College, and served as an instructor and, subsequently, as chief of the South East Asian Studies Section at the US Army Intelligence School.
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: Jan. 16, 2023
|2021||Drink/Cellar||After a normal January, February was very warm, moving the vines out of winter dormancy. Mid-March was cold, reassuring wine-growers – but then Easter week (March 29th to April 3rd in 2021) was almost summery, and brought on budburst. Terrible frosts followed on April 6th to 9th, with temperatures plunging to -8°C causing widespread damage, and with snow making matters worse. Frosts continued in Chablis throughout the following week, with eventual losses of 80-100% in many Petit Chablis and Chablis vineyards. May was cool and wet, and July and early August were both cooler than normal, though flowering went off briskly during a warm spell in mid-June. The weather improved from mid-August, and a relatively late harvest unfolded over late September. The cool season meant a fresh, classical vintage, but the normal crop (320,000-340,000 hl for the Yonne département) was cut by 50% in 2021.|
|2020||Drink/Cellar||The 2020 vintage has produced a superb harvest of mouth-wateringly classical wines in Chablis – though it was not stress-free, and nor was the weather pattern a classical one for the region. The stress came early in the year, with an acute frost-risk in the vines with cold weather at the end of March and in early April: many growers lit frost candles for a week in a row. In the end, though, all was well, and flowering (in hot, dry conditions) was successful. From then on, summer was dry and luminous, with no disease pressure but without excessive heat, either. Summer rainfall was 40% below the long-term average (though there were some welcome August storms), while the region experienced 300 more hours of summer sunshine than usual. These conditions cut the crop by 20-30 per cent, and harvest began on August 24th and finished in mid-September. Alcohol levels, though, were moderate and acid-retention was good (average pH levels varied between 3.3 and 3.35, compared to 3.45 in 2019). The growers sensed outstanding ageing potential, and as a result often gave the wines slightly longer élevage than usual.|
|2019||Drink/Cellar||After the warmth and generosity of 2018, the 2019 marked a tiptoe back towards classicism for Chablis – or as near to it as our globally warmed world permits. January was ‘properly’ cold, though a warm February and March followed. April and May were cool months, too, with minor frosts in May and further harvest losses after difficult flowering weather; by this stage the cycle was about a week behind average. There was a change of gear in June and July which were hot, dry months, and these drought conditions continued through a cooler though sunny August and September, with almost 80 per cent less rain than usual in July, almost 60 per cent less in August and over 60 per cent less in September. On aggregate this sunny, dry vintage has given a small crop of concentrated, bright wines which should age well|
|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 attractive, with ample, sometimes almost exotic substance to the best Grands Crus and Premiers Crus and generously constructed lesser wines. The wines will age well over the mid-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||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||Past peak||Several hailstorms affecting Chichée and various 1ers crus. Uneven maturity. Disparate quality ranging from thin and green to fresh and delicate.|
|2006||Past peak||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||Past peak||Large crop. Best sites & those harvested later achieved adequate maturity. Many light, weak wines showing effects of high yields.|
|2003||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.|
|2021||Drink/Cellar||Both January and (especially) February were markedly warmer than the long-term average in the Côte de Beaune. March was then cooler – but the Chardonnay vines were already inching over the start line, and a warm end to March (with Côte d’Or temperatures of 26°C to 28°C) saw an energetic budburst. Then came the sinister bulge of polar air down into the northern hemisphere. The frosts and snows of 6-9th April in the Côte de Beaune had catastrophic consequences, with at least half of the potential crop of white wines being lost. Premiers Crus and village wines were the worst affected; growers’ actions helped avert the worst of the damage in the Grands Crus, the exposed white-wine vineyards of Corton excepted. May remained cool, slowing the cycle further, though flowering went well in the first half of June. Summer thereafter was generally cool – cooler than any C21 vintage save for 2008, 2010 and 2013. Harvest followed in the second half of September. For those that successfully protected their vines against mildew and sorted their crop thoroughly, the results are promising in a fresh, classical and age-worthy style.|
|2020||Drink/Cellar||Winter was mild, with a very wet February and March; budburst came a week earlier than it did in the already-precocious 2019 season. A very hot April cooled in early May before accelerating again in mid-month, and a successful, leisurely flowering period unfolded in mid-to-late June. July, August and September were all warmer than the long-term average (though never hot), sunnier than normal and above all dryer than normal, dramatically so July (which saw less than a quarter of the long-term average rainfall). Some producers completed their entire harvest in August: a first for Burgundy. The main growing-season challenge was that the summer drought blocked maturity or held it in check, and the Chardonnay proved particularly susceptible to this; some wines lack flavour resonance as a consequence. In general, though, growers were very happy with the unexpected freshness and classicism of the white wines produced in this dry, warm year.|
|2019||Drink/Cellar||The late winter months of January to March were either warm or very warm: February was twice as warm and twice as sunny as the long-term average. This meant that the vegetative cycle of the vine started early, though a cool, wet April and a cool May slowed the season; flowering in cool, unpredictable conditions in early June meant coulure and millerandage, leaving growers with a lowered crop to nurse through the summer. Four hailstorms affected the Côte de Beaune on the 6th, 7th, 14th and 20th of July, cutting crop levels further. But from mid-June onwards, the weather was sunny, dry and hot. The sunburn consequent on these dry to very dry conditions cut the crop yet again, so that many growers ended up with almost 40 per cent less wine than in 2018, even though overall precipitation levels in the Côte de Beaune over the growing season were near normal (in contrast to Chablis’ very dry 2019 season). The good news is that quality in general is excellent: concentrated, ripe, rich white wines which nonetheless have a fresh acid balance and should age well.|
|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||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/Past peak||Challenging season, wet & cold summer. Expressive lighter wines possessing marked acidities. Some are thin, sharp & will not keep well.|
|2006||Drink/Past peak||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||Past peak||Large harvest in white and better overall quality than ’04 reds. Aromatic wines, high acidity.|
|2003||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.
|2021||Drink/Cellar||The budding and growing cycle of the Pinot Noir is slightly later than that of the Chardonnay – a crucial factor in 2021, meaning that the red wines of the Côte d’Or were not hit quite as savagely by frost as were the whites. By contrast, the thinner skins of the Pinot made them more prone than Chardonnay to the chronic attacks of downy and (especially) powdery mildew over the midsummer months, and growers were kept perpetually busy defending the crop. After the coolest July for 50 years, warm weather and a drying north wind returned during August and into September, helping deliver almost surprising levels of maturity for the reds: tannin levels similar to those seen in 1999 and higher anthocyanins than in 2015. Unusually, Pinot often ripened before Chardonnay in 2021, and those growers who worked hard over the summer and sorted thoroughly were rewarded with juicy, crunchy red regional and village wines. The Premiers Crus and Grands Crus, meanwhile, have a poise, freshness and classicism uncommon in recent years, combined with a purity, intensity and drive which belies the multiple challenges of the vintage. Pinot Noir almost seemed to enjoy this difficult season on the Côte d’Or.|
|2020||Drink/Cellar||After the mildest winter recorded in Burgundy since 1900 (February was 120% warmer than usual), budburst took place in very warm conditions in early April, and from that point onwards the season was a precocious one. Flowering (from May 14th) was a full three weeks ahead of the equivalent date in 2019, with véraison following suit (the mid-point for Pinot Noir in Côte d’Or was July 22nd). July was warm, with 80 per cent less rain than the long-term average, and August and September were both warmer and dryer than those averages. The result was, in the words of the BIVB, that “2020 was incontestably the hottest year [in Burgundy] since the beginning of the C21, and even since [the beginning of] the C20”. The attendant challenge was drought and the blocked maturations it provoked, sometimes alleviated by local storms at the end of the season; there were also some sun-shrivelled grapes, though these could be eliminated by sorting. Burgundy’s 2020 reds are in general concentrated and dramatic, with surprising levels of freshness given the warmth of the season. They will age well.|
|2019||Drink/Cellar||Growing-season weather conditions in the Côte de Nuits were largely similar to those described for the Côte de Beaune above, with the added advantage that the July hail showers spared the Côte de Nuits (as has often been the case over the last decade). The Pinot vines relished the late summer sunlight and heat even more than the Chardonnay vines and suffered fewer losses through sunburn, though quantities are still down overall by comparison with 2018. In qualitative terms, though, comparisons between 2018 and 2019 (and 2015) will provide a treat for wine lovers for many years to come: quality is outstanding yet again. Indeed maturity indices (based on sugar levels and total acidity) taken by the BIVB on the basis of sampling across the Côte d’Or prior to harvest indicate that 2015, 2018 and 2019 exceed all other vintages from 1998 onwards in terms of ripeness. By contrast, 2019 has slightly lower levels of both tannins and anthocynanins by comparison with 2015, and lower levels of anthocyanins by comparison with 2018 (though it is slightly higher than 2018 in tannins).|
|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||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||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/Past peak||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.
|2021||Drink||The Mâcon region had, if anything, an even tougher time than the rest of Burgundy in 2021. Its southerly position wasn’t enough to spare it from the devastating April frosts, and there were then significant hail episodes in the region on the 19th and 21st of June. May, June and in particular July were also wetter here than elsewhere in Burgundy – Mâcon endured twice as much July rain as Beaune. Fortunately the warm end to August and a hot, sunny fortnight at the beginning of September helped save the day, and the wines are lively, fresh and classical if a little less intense and age-worthy than the best of their peers further north.|
|2020||Drink/Cellar||As in 2019, the Mâconnais enjoyed a more moderate growing season in 2020 than did either the Côte d’Or or Chablis. In particular, it was only 28 per cent dryer than the long-term growing-season averages compared to 41% dryer in the Yonne and 62% dryer in the Côte d’Or. The Chardonnay rarely suffered from drought stress and blocked maturation here, and this is an excellent vintage with which to welcome the Premier Cru system for Pouilly-Fuissé. It was also an outstanding season for red wines in the Saône et Loire département as whole (the Côte Chalonnaise included), and the best of these wines will certainly merit ageing.|
|2019||Drink/Cellar||The weather in the Mâconnais was more temperate during 2019 than further north in Burgundy. The region may have experienced higher sunshine levels than the 30-year average throughout every growing month, but in temperature terms April, May and August were all cooler than that average. Nor did the Mâconnais suffer from drought to the same extent as further north: June was wetter than the 30-year average and August much wetter (more than five times the rain which fell in Chablis in August 2019). The Tournus region also suffered a severe hailstorm of August 18th. Despite this, the vintage is still a ripe and concentrated one, and the wines should age well.|
|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||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||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/Past peak||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/Past peak||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||Past peak||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||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||Past peak||Difficult season. Generally attractive whites, best with richness & weight for early/mid-term consumption.|
|2001||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.
|Poor to Fair|
|Fair to Good|
|Good to Excellent|
|Excellent to Exceptional|
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.