My fellow Berserkers,
I have just returned from almost a month in Burgundy and I would like to share the following info for those of you ITB or not.
As you have seen the price of the wine have gone up considerably since the 2017 vintage that was and will probably be the last affordable vintage as most of the 2018s were impacted by the Tariffs and the 2019s were so acclaimed that I doubt there are many more around to be had.
On top of this, you all know how difficult transportation has been to bring wine into the country with deliveries taking closer to 90 to 120 days versus 30 a few years back and cost of freight having doubled. The only bit of good news is that the EUR/USD rate has been somewhat stable around 1.1 versus closer to 1.2 a year ago.
On the producer side, raw material is also a nightmare with cost of glass up 30% and that does not actually mean that you get delivered on time even if you pay more, lots of small Domaines have wine stabilized in tanks and ready for bottling but no bottles in sight. On the cork front, I am assuming we all remember those fires in Portugal a few years back, well this has also resulted in a 40% price increase in the cost of corks and since the circle would not be closed without the printers struggling to keep up with raw material for printing, the metal that is used for the foil is also problematic and I have producers offering to ship without foil.
This is a dark picture that gets a bit darker as the frost from the first weekend of April although it did not truly affect the Cote d’Or wines, definitely affected some areas of Chablis pretty bad and some producers have told me that it is “as bad or worst than 2021 in some parts”. The frost of the second weekend (last weekend) although not as impressive as far as the low temperatures did more damage across the Cote d’Or as it had rained all week leading to the frost and the vines got frosty with almost 100% humidity in many parts, it will take a few days still to see that actual impact but I don’t see a “break” headed our way for a large 2022 crop, unless there are no more hiccups until harvest.
In conclusion, I am suggesting that if you are offered 2018 and 2019, pull the trigger as the 2020s are much much more expensive and honestly equally good but maybe less seductive and more ups and downs for reds) the whites 2020 are the true Unicorn to get as there will be so little 2021 that this will definitely keep a few lovers’ mouths dry for Burgundy.
Cote Chalonnaise produced several great vintages in a row since 2016 and they are with appellations like Santenay, Saint-Romain, Auxey-Duresses or Pernand amazing wines to be had for both reds and whites.
The Maconnais 2020s are stunning… and the 1er Cru in Pouilly-Fuisse are truly stunning and justify the move to the higher level of appellation that I tasted.
Let’s talk a little bit about 2021: I sampled a few hundred wines from the vintage and the whites will definitely have this high acidity profile that many are looking for with lower alcohol (around 12 for most of the wines I tasted) with great potential for age-ability in my opinion. The reds are going to be leaner with light colors and also fairly high acids but I feel like (from what I tasted) they will turn out to be enjoyable wines, although clearly dramatically different from most vintages since 2015. THey will clearly not seem like bargains but I fear that the ceiling will not be broken any time soon and they will still sell as the volumes are truly small.
Hope you enjoy the note…
Your Burgundy Servant,