An Insight Into Burgundy 2015 Vintage

Insight Into Burgundy (1)

It is the only date in the diary that is more exciting than Christmas; Burgundy En Primeur.  No other wines offer such intellectual stimulation and hedonistic pleasure as the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of the Cotes D’Or.  Throw into the mix the passion and the pain that the vagaries of the weather throw at the producers each year and you have yourself an annual vinous thriller that John Le Carré would be proud of.

2015 was a vintage of epic highs; the reds in particular are utterly sublime, seductive yet age-worthy, and savage lows; for the 5th year in a row volumes are significantly reduced with the picture in 2016 looking even bleaker.   The gods giveth and the gods taketh away.

But let us refocus our attentions on the wine quality of the 2015’s, for though it is small, it is mighty. The summer was hot and dry as you can read in our vintage report and though these conditions resulted in lower yields, the impact on quality was undoubtedly positive.  It promoted thick skins with plenty of flavour and aromatic lift as well as beautifully ripe tannins.  The abiding concern in hot vintages is always a lack of acidity, however this was not a problem in 2015 thanks to a combination of careful canopy management and a well-judged harvest dates.  

We had a packed schedule each day with myriad wines to analyse from barrel from multiple producers and in some years this can be hard work as nervous acidities and hard tannins go to war on your tongue.  This year, we had to be prised away from each cellar and my ebullient tasting notes were testament to the glorious pleasure that the red wines offered.  The number of wines with a scribbled annotation ‘must buy’ next to the tasting note swiftly got out of control, forming a wish list that could only be lottery funded.  The producers I am still dreaming about include Arnoux-Lachaux, Domaine Grivot, Michel Lafarge, Georges Noëllat and Jean-Marc Boillot.

The white wines had the potential to be a trickier customer, miss your harvest window by just a couple of days and they swiftly became overly tropical and flabby.  The masters of white Burgundy excelled themselves with the perfect combination of fruit concentration, minerality and spine-tingling acidity producing wines of both richness and tension.   My white hero’s included Etienne Sauzet, Darviot-Perrin and Jean-Marc Boillot.

Ordinarily I am a tough customer to please and as such I can usually give a concise list of the wines that impressed me, this year the list would be far too long though my reviews, along with those of my colleagues can be found in the Burgundy brochure that will be released in January. If you would like to receive a copy please email clients@armitwines.co.uk .

Burgundy can be a temperamental mistress but this year she was smiling with all the charm and beauty she could muster and I for one was smitten. 

Alex Tilling 

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