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Burgundy En PrimeurVintage Report 2021

It is with great pleasure that we bring you the 2021 vintage, a year characterised by fortitude, solidarity, exceptionally low yields and surprising quality. 

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In a vintage with such limited quantity and an high demand, we encourage you to balance your order across the range. To stay up to date with our releases shchedule, please follow the link below. 

Burgundy 2021 Releases 
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Burgundy 2021The Growing Season

The challenges of the year are well-documented: a warm early spring brought early budbreak, followed by a devasting black frost in April, destroying the young buds. Damp weather prevailed throughout the early Summer, encouraging the spread of powdery mildew and other disease. Thankfully the weather finally improved before Harvest, allowing the vines to dry out and ripen fully and healthily.
 The severity of the damage, so early in the growing season, caused despondency across the region. The Côte de Beaune suffered the most, with some Domaines losing as much as 80% of their crop as early as April. At Domaine Simon Bize in Savigny-les-Beaune, with the exception of Aux Vergelesses, the estate’s 1er Crus will be bottled as a single 1er Cru blend. This was also the case at Domaine Michel Lafarge and Domaine Reburgeon-Mure, each producing a single Volnay 1er Cru Blend.

Burgundy 2021The Growing Season Continued

At Domaine de Montille, the estate unfortunately lost 70% of their crop. For Bouchard Père et Fils, 2021 saw the lowest production in the entire history of the Domaine. Some estates lost entire vineyards. In the Côte de Nuits, some villages which escaped the frost were later affected by disease, such as mildew. Jean-Luc and Eric Burguet in Gevrey-Chambertin maintained similar yields to 2020 (which were not particularly high), but Domaine Ghislaine Barthod in Chambolle-Musigny suffered up to 75% losses in certain parcels, Domaine Jean Grivot suffered a reduction of 50%.

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The 2021Quality Over Quantity

For many, the only way to keep going was to give extra attention the remaining fruit as best they could and hope that 2022 would bring better luck in yields. It was a vintage of hardship, solidarity and keeping one step ahead of the wildly unpredictable weather. The key to quality was to harvest even less but to look for optimal quality. Heavy sorting was essential, as was highlighted at Domaine d’Eugenie, Domaine Jean Grivot and Domaine AF Gros. Matthias Parent admitted he was originally very scared about the quality of the vintage, but thankfully the wines evolved with time and developed during their maturation. This feeling was also shared by Jean-Marc Blain at Domaine Blain-Gagnard, who was unsure of the profile of the vintage until malolactic fermentation was underway, developing a much needed structure to his white wine.

Upon tasting widely in October and November, from barrel or tank ‘en masse’ (to be bottled over the coming months), it became apparent that the quality of what was harvested is very good, and in some instances, extraordinary.

The 2021:Pinot Noir

The Pinot Noir is pure, precise, and expressive of its terroir. Since 2018, the region has experienced a run of solar vintages, with the reds characterised by sweet, ripe fruit and generous body. The 2021 vintage is more traditionally Bourguignon: the fruit is tense and racy, offering precision of flavour, a grippy tannic structure, nervy acidity and moderate alcohol levels. Most of the producers have limited the impact of the new oak and a we have noticed a tendency of shortening the ageing in barrels across our range of producers.

At Domaine Michel Mallard in Ladoix-Serrigny, quality is excellent, from his Ladoix up to the Corton Grand Crus. Michel explained to us the necessity of thorough sorting in the vineyards, to ensure only healthy grapes made the blend. His Ladoix ‘Clos Royer’ and Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru ‘La Toppe au Vert’ were amongst the highlights of our tastings and represent some of best value in all of Burgundy. Mathilde Grivot of Domaine Jean Grivot and Nicolas Potel of Domaine Roche de Bellene shared the same approach. So long as the skins were healthy, a gentle infusion (thereby limiting extraction) was an important means of keeping the purity of fruit.

At Domaine Georges Roumier in Chambolle-Musigny, we had the pleasure of meeting the next generation, Alexis Aubin. Whilst Christophe still calls the shots, Alexis spoke with great nuance about the challenges and character of the vintage. The wines offer pure Pinot finesse, characterised by a supple, juicy palate and firm grippy texture. Romain Taupenot at Domaine Taupenot-Merme in Morey-Saint-Denis described quality in 2021 as “superb”. Meanwhile, commendable quality was to be found in Santenay from Jean-Baptiste Jessiuame, epitomised in his flagship Santenay 1er Cru, Les Gravières. For those new to the estate, his Santenay bottlings are the place to begin.

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The 2021Chardonnay

Whilst the Chardonnay may not offer the consistency of the Pinot Noir, there are some impressive wines to be found. Sabine Mollard at Domaine Marc Morey described 2021 it to us as “a very good vintage”, breathing a sigh of relief before saying: “I am happy”. Sabine’s Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Crus Les Vergers and En Virondot were amongst the most vibrant, saline and precise whites that we have tasted at the domaine. Jacqueline and her son Matthieu at Domaine Thomas-Collardot are excited about quality, calling it “a very good but rare vintage”. Despite 60% less yields, they managed to keep on track their organic conversion and delivered a concentrated but vibrant family of wines.

Pierre-Antonin of Domaine Darviot-Perrin was also very happy, describing the vintage as “a return to a very traditional style”, noting the stylistic differences from the recent hot years we have become accustomed to. However, the estate suffered a 60% decrease in yield, and we expect our small allocation to be highly sought-after. At Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet, a warm welcome awaited us from Brice de la Morandière and winemaker Pierre Vincent. The wines were among our highlights of the vintage: terroir expressive, complex and complete.

The 2021Chablis

Chablis produced amongst the most expressive, racy and vibrant whites we tasted. The broad range at Domaine William Fevre was nothing short of remarkable, from the humble Chablis Village to the Grand Crus. Meanwhile, a visit to Domaine Raveneau is always a special occasion, but the wines were stratospheric. Isabelle Raveneau described the conditions as challenging but called the resulting wines “joyful”. 

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Burgundy 2021 Campaign

At Armit Wines we are honoured to work with some of the finest Domaines in Burgundy. Our recent visits confirmed our vignerons’ deep understanding of their craft that enabled them to produce wonderful wines in one of the most challenging vintages of recent times. With few exceptions, we were deeply impressed by the quality produced under the most trying circumstances.

Demand for Burgundy remains stronger than ever, but there will be significantly less volume available from the 2021 vintage and prices are rising accordingly. We strongly encourage you to register interest via our wishlist, or contact your account manager or  to discuss further. More wines will be sold by allocation than in previous years and to keep the process as fair as possible, priority will be given to our customers who support us most broadly throughout the year.