Allen Meadows’ new issue of Burghound was released this morning – always a key day in the life of a Burgundy geek. The report he releases each January is the first comprehensive review and analysis of the next vintage to be released, so all of us look forward to this one immensely.
The 2011 vintage is the next one in the chute, most of which have not been bottled yet, and they’ll be released in the 2nd half of this year for the most part. It was a brutally tough year in the vineyards, with odd weather patterns (extreme heat in April, cold and rainy in July.) But as has been happening a lot lately, the “unusual” years have been producing some extraordinary and delicious wines, certainly much more so than they would have been under similar conditions 30 or 40 years ago.
This is mostly due to better-educated vignerons these days, most of whom have traveled the world a bit and picked up the experience and skills to deal with difficult conditions more effectively than their fathers before them. Whatever the reasons, I agree with Allen that the 2011s are absolutely delicious, and will drink well in their youth and over the medium term. These will be wines to drink and savor while waiting for the 2005s and 2010s to mature in the your cellar. From the Burghound himself –
“The most successful 2011s are wonderfully fresh, seductively textured, generous and utterly delicious wines that offer excellent if not truly exceptional transparency. They have this beguiling sense of harmony, partially because they are so well-balanced but also because the tannins are so ripe and fine- grained. Add all of this up and you have a vintage style that will very likely drink well young but also improve and reward mid- term cellaring. The fine-grained tannins offer another benefit as well, which is to say that when the more rustic appellations such as Fixin, Marsannay, Côte de Nuits-Villages and certain sectors of Gevrey and Nuits are good, they tend to be notably more refined than usual. There simply isn’t much not to like about the 2011 vintage except for one key factor: there is less of it than would be the case in a typical vintage, though to be sure, it’s certainly larger than the tiny 2010 and 2012 vintages. Total yields were off between 20 and 40% and thus notwithstanding the continued favorable movement of many currencies vis-à-vis the euro, there will be little incentive on the part of the growers to reduce prices.”
This report covers only the reds of the Côte de Nuits-based producers, with coverage of the Côte de Beaune and the whites to come in the following two issues. Of note in this report are the nice scores for our guys at J-J Confuron and Marc Roy. Also, this report includes a number of in-the-bottle reviews of the excellent 2010s, which Allen is now calling even better than originally reported, and in some cases even potentially longer-lived.
I tasted over 250 2011s on my visit last November, and concur with Allen’s assessment. I found the Côte de Beaune to be more consistent perhaps than the Côte de Nuits, but across the board they are lovely wines that deliver a lot of upfront drinking pleasure, and have better balance than the 2009s (which were a touch too fruit-forward in some cases, to my taste.)
Of particular note are the glowing reviews of the J-J Confuron Grand Crus - the 2010 Clos Vougeot (94pts) and 2010 Romanée-St. Vivant (95Pts) – both of which just happen to be in stock…
Also, in recent years Burghound has started reviewing Champagne as well. Here’s a stellar review of our Marc Chauvet Brut Sélection (also coincidentally in stock) –
“An impressively complex and broad-ranging nose offers up notes of brioche, yeast, green apple, lemon rind and discreet spice nuances. There is excellent volume to the attractively rich and distinctly savory medium-bodied flavors that really fan out on the intensely yeasty finish. I very much like this but it will most please those who enjoy full-on Champagne as the appeal here is for the intensity of the flavor profile rather than refinement. 92Pts./now+”
More updates on the 2011s in the weeks and months to come. For now, just know that the quantities will again be very limited, so start zeroing in on the wines you’re going to want. Once they’re here, they won’t be around for long…