Vintage Report 2017

The 2017 Burgundy Briefing Vintage Report is an in-depth assessment (over 400 pages) of the 2017 vintage on the Côte d’Or. The season began and finished early with harvest commencing at the end of a rather warm August. It’s a solar vintage, but not extrovert. The sunny style reds and whites are fruity, but quite trim, medium bodied and just fresh enough. Pinot has predominantly red fruit with supple tannins. It’s generally very pleasing and relatively consistent in style and quality.

The report has become a valuable tool for buying these expensive wines, but remans true its original concept to be an engaging insight into the region, aimed at those who wish to keep informed about Burgundy’s latest vintage and its people.

There are two comprehensive vintage reports, one for red wine another for white, which follow a similar format. They include plenty of contributions from the growers and hence cover sixty four pages, however I begin with a few key facts to summarise.

Vintage Vantage Point

  • The defining factors of the season which have shaped the wines.

  • Analysis: Considering sugar, acidity and tannins and how they are balanced.

  • How the vintage was handled in winery.

  • Style is considered with plenty of contributions from the growers.

  • Quality; my assessment and the growers’ opinions.

  • Vintage comparions.

  • Villages and vineyards:
  • Villages: An overview of each of the principal villages on the Côte d’Or; the style and quality of the village wines and specific lieux-dits (named vineyards).

  • Vineyards: Drilling down into the premier and grand crus within the villages; which vineyards stood out or under-performed.
  • Ageing capacity and when to drink the wines.

Tasting Notes

The bulk of the report consists of 310 pages of tasting notes with introductions to the 108 visits to domaines and a few negociants. (58 visits for red and 50 for white).  I find marking out of 20 offers more scope at the upper end and works better for the calibre of wines at the Burgundy domaines I visit. (I have supplied a table for an approximate conversion to 100.)  An asterisk marks wines which stood out in each cellar.

Selection of favourite wines

A red and white ‘hit’ lists; my pick of the favourite wine from each cellar.

Cellar Selection

In addition to my ‘hit list’ of favourite wines of the vintage, I have grouped a selection of favourite wines to serve with meals; from everyday meals to special occasions. I have suggested a few terroir comparisons from the same domaine – to have some fun with your more adventurous friends who will appreciate the nuances.

The Red Collection. Selection of red wines to serve with meals and to lay down.

  • Supper: Fruity wines for kitchen suppers and 6 for supper parties. Good examples of different terroir.  These are relatively reasonably priced wines.

  • Dinner party: Refined, straight and/or mineral collection (7 wines). Stricter (5 wines). Sophisticated and supple textured (3 wines). Fuller body (3 wines). A comparison of two terroir from Vosne Romanée. 

  • Collectors: Showy wines to impress. Wines with quite power. Wines with intensity and finesse. (13 wines suggested)

The White Collection. Selection of white wines to serve with food.

  • Supper: Four light, fresh and mineral wines for  a ‘kitchen supper’ and 5 for a ‘supper party’ with a suggestion for comparing wine from clay and from limestone soils. 
  • Dinner party: 3 collections; Four pure and high toned; Four elegant wines; Three full and rounded
  • Collectors: Muscle & minerality (3 wines); Intensity and finesses (3 wines); Power & precision (3 wines); Presence (3 wines).

Older Vintages

As usual In like to taste some flights of past vintage to evaluate how the vintages are maturing. It is such a pleasure to taste older Burgundy in red and white. As a slight departure this year, there are more reds than whites. I made a separate visit in the spring to gather vignerons’ opinions and plenty of information for a detailed introduction to each flight. Additionally I made accompanying films in the vineyard which can be found in the films section of the website. 

  • Domaine Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin, 1er Cru Les Cazetiers 1998, 1999 & 2003 to 2016

  • Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Cru Grèves, Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 1990, 1999-2014

  • Domaine Bouvier, Gevrey-Chambertin, Racine de Temps 2003-2017

  • Domaine Terre de Velles,  Puligny-Montrachet, Referts 2011-2017
  • Domaine Jean Chartron, Puligny-Montrachet, Clos de la Pucelles 2012-2017
  • Domaine de Montille, Puligny-Montrachet, Les Caillerets 2012-2017

This report can be purchased for £75. It will be emailed as pdfs on receipt of payment via Paypal. If you wish to purchase it by cheque or by bank transfer, please contact me by email. The pdfs are sent manually, so please be patient if you do not receive it immediately, particularly in May, June and October when I am in Burgundy.