At the heart of the Burgundy Briefing website lies my annual vintage report. This focuses on the Côte d’Or, the most illustrious stretch of Burgundy. It is based on extensive tastings of the vintage which is maturing in barrel. I publish my analysis each November, shortly before the wine is offered for sale. In Burgundy’s en-primeur market, where wine is sold before it is bottled, the current report enables prospective buyers to make informed decisions.
Past reports become references of style and quality for purchasing previous vintages, increasingly relevant in today’s market in which fine Burgundy is re-circulated via auctions and the internet, but also to make knowledgable choices from restaurant wines list.
With over 300 pages it is a substantial tome about a relatively small, but complex area, which produces many of the finest wines in the world. Researching this requires experience. I have been tasting Burgundy in barrel, at the same time each year, for eleven vintages which provides me with an ever growing reference. In late May and into June I taste whites and throughout October the reds, to compile my in-depth report.
Fifty pages or so are devoted to an analysis of the vintage, red and white separately, with many contributions from the growers. It is not feasible to visit hundreds of growers, but it is possible to make a detailed assessment of the principal villages and the important premier and grand crus within them by tasting with seventy to eighty producers. This enables readers to select wines on the performance and style of specific villages and vineyards.