2011 Burgundy - Green Meanines 2.0?

I’m a bit behind. I opened my first bottle of 2011 Burgundy tonight - a Henri Jouan MSD. This was initially served at cellar temperature and the green notes were masked for me. My companions thought otherwise and pulled the pyrazine note out instantly.

I read Bill Nanson’s cautionary tale a while back, but opted to get a small amount of 2011 Burgundy, and am curious what others think. Generally, I’m less sensitive to the green notes, so that’s worth noting.

Now you got me wanting to open a 2011!

science experiment, for sure.

will open some more henri jouan 2011s tomorrow to see if it’s a true pox.

Ive opened a grand total of one 2011 Burgundy so far. Can’t remember which one off the top of my head but I posted the note here. When I first smelled the wine it had something faint aroma that rang a bell that I couldn’t place at first and then it hit me: It smelled exactly like the greenie meanies did when they first started appearing in the 2004s. Kind of freaked me out a bit honestly.

To be clear, this wine and (2004s in general) didn’t smell herbaceous like Pinot Noir can when it is underripe. The greenie meanies are something different I believe.

The next time I make it over to the bay area I am going to pick up an assortment of 2011s and see if I can find it in other wines.

It is the first year since 04 when there is indeed a herbal element to the red wines which many will deem under-ripe. I don’t think the cooler characteristics will develop into full blown green meanies a la 2004 but there is certainly a vintage marker and the 11’s are relatively easy to spot in a blind line up. Some wines such as a couple of Joblot Givry’s are quite green and herbal but with many wines at all levels there seems to be lovely plump, sweet fruit that is wide open for business coupled with the cooler spicy elements. I think the fruit profile in the 04’s at the same stage was more crisp and tart and the acidity was certainly more prominent.

Many of the 2011 reds (and whites for that matter) are utterly delicious drinks right now. It is a true ‘restaurant wines vintage’ with which to drink your wines relatively early while your 08’s, 09’s and '10’s bed down for a bit of a sleep.

I tasted quite a few 2011’ s couple of weeks ago at a retailer. Cannot remember all of them. Some were angular and a bit ungenerous. No obvious '04 character I could detect overtly.

BTW, the 2011 Benjamin Leroux village VV Vosne Romanee were quite nice to tempt me to buy them.

By the way, anyone seen anything from any reviewer other than Bill Nanson about this characteristic in the 2011’s?
(Months ago I was at a tasting of 2011’s and I was getting a greenish, green pepper subtle note in most of them, though this tasting only represented 2 or 3 producers’ wines.)
Heard a lot of how lovely the vintage is from Tanzer, Burghound, Gilman, etc. and certainly as one would gather from their scores.
I am not a buyer ever since I saw those photos last year of thousands of ladybugs in with the grapes being crushed.
Just a’wonderin’ if Bill is the only reviewer to have assessed this.
(Of course, reassessing initial vintage and wine assessments has never been a strong point amongst most wine critics…as noted by the paucity of their comments on the 2004’s as well.)

Please stop. Now. “La-la-la-la-lah…”

(Really don’t want to hear this after the experience of 2004!)

There was so much good stuff in 09 & 10 that 2011 became an easy pass.

This reminds me…

Met Luc Bouchard at a tasting of the Bouchard Pere & Fils 2011 lineup several months ago. We talked briefly about the 2011 vintage character and whether it would turn out like 2004. When I mentioned ladybugs being the cause of the greenness of 2004 he looked at me like I was a crazy person. He had never heard of such a thing and categorically denied it as a possibility. Said it had to do with alkalinity and underripeness (which seemed like two opposite things to me, but at that point I really wanted to change the subject).

Beyond this board, how many people buy into the ladybug theory?

Hi Folks,

I have not tasted many 2011s since I was last in Burgundy in June, but have not seen any of this overtly green, ladybug thing going on in any of the wines that I tasted over the spring. I do not have my notes handy, as I am not writing about the vintage right now, but will taste a bunch more in November and maybe put an update together for early in the new year. I have also not been pulling corks on any of my 2004s in the cellar, as I cannot see the point right now- they are certainly at their nadir in terms of popularity in the market, so the most prudent course to me seems to leave them alone and see what happens down the road. Nine years of age seems to be a lousy time to be pulling the plug on a vintage- the 1992 reds were overtly green and vegetal throughout most of their adolescence as well and really turned into something interesting further on down the road- yet, I wasted most of my 1992s by drinking them in their most vegetal phase in the late '90s (though they did go very well with over-cooked asparagus at the time) and greatly rued wasting them when the wines came out of their funky period and blossomed into really interesting wines. The couple of 2004s I have tasted over the last year were every bit as unpleasant as folks say- and I am less sensitive to pyrazines than many- and I have not been rushing to pull out any more bottles from the cellar. That said, I am still not going to dump my bottles of '04 down the sink right now, as they remain nicely structured, young (and plenty weedy) red Burgundies and I have seen stranger things happen than vegetal vintages of red Burgundy turn more interesting with extended bottle age. Not sure this will happen with the 2004s, but it seems like a piss poor time to be opening bottles… BTW, of the vignerons that I speak regularly with in Burgundy, most thought that the greenness in the 2004s was caused by uneven physiological ripeness, rather than the ladybugs-but this was several years ago, and I do not know if they have changed their opinions about this in the meantime.

All the Best,


Exactly what John said, though I’ve had some beautiful 04s in the last year as well as some nasty ones. And isn’t it wonderful how so many 92s at all levels have blossomed given their awfulness when young?


With prices of 2011 higher than 2009-2010, I am backfilling right now. Just bought some 2009 Domaine Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses today.

i haven’t seen 11’s being more expensive than 2010’s for most producers

I don’t buy that much burgundy, but pre-arrival prices for Faiveley, Bouchard, L’Arlot, Jadot, have been slightly higher in 2011 (at least from the same place I bought the 2010’s). Around 5-15% more. In 2012, the increase was even higher.

I was the person who called the greenie meanies on the bottle matt opened. I will note that I’ve been more sensitive to it than matt as we’ve slightly differed on 04s we’ve opened together.

This bottle was absolutely riddled with it on the nose for me, and the palate had the meanies as well.

Obviously I want to taste through a lot more 11s before coming to an 04 conclusion, but it should also be noted that the 04 pox did seem to come on (in a very nasty way) about a year or two after full release from what I noticed.

I do hope that this is more of a one/off than a possible trend (I don’t want to make judgments on 1 data point)

Yup, I’ve seen that to. Zero reason for me to buy a single bottle of 2011s. 2012, now that looks to be more interesting…

Maybe I have dodged a bullet as I have bought one bottle of 2011 so far: 2011 Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère.

Tom and John…thanks for the comments. [cheers.gif]

From my experience, I would like to add 1994… to that of 1992 and 2004.

don’t buy that much burgundy, but pre-arrival prices for Faiveley, Bouchard, L’Arlot, Jadot, have been slightly higher in 2011 (at least from the same place I bought the 2010’s). Around 5-15% more. In 2012, the increase was even higher.

Thanks for the info…need to back-fill some 08 nad 09 g-crus.

2011 Faiveley in Quebec, Canada are higher than previous vintages - close to 15-20% more.