Autumn Gold in Chassagne

EN PRIMEUR: 2017 Burgundy En Primeur

Whilst supply in Burgundy, particularly from the sort of producers with whom we work, is never abundant, it is nonetheless a great relief, after the 2016s so severely reduced by the April frost damage, to be working with a generous vintage.  Winter 2016-2017 was the coldest for some time, with sub-zero temperatures almost every day from early December to late February.  From mid-March temperatures leapt to almost summer-like levels, and bud-break occurred correspondingly early, in late March.  After the experience of 2016, growers were on high alert for frost – and sure enough, temperatures fell below freezing one year to the day since the devastating frost of the year before (26-27th April), and again 28th-29th April.  Damp bails of straw were lit almost the length of the Côte d’Or to produce a layer of smoke which protected the vines from the rising sun.  It was said that everything smelt of smoke for days afterwards, and it is not clear that the local authorities will allow a repeat of this in future.  However, the system worked, and apart from small pockets of Bourgogne, there was little or no damage.  Not so in Chablis or the Jura however, where the damage was considerable.

From early May the weather became hot and dry, with flowering occurring in very good conditions during the first days of June.  The hot dry weather, with temperatures as high as 35°C persisted until the end of July, when it became a little cooler, before returning on 15th August.  Some began to pick Chardonnay as early as 20th August despite the heat.  On the night of 30th August a storm crossed the region, bringing welcome rain and cooler temperatures, which allowed the ripening process to re-start.  There was more very light rain on 31st August and 2nd September – welcomed by the growers.  Harvesting took place in very good conditions, and the wines are generous, pure and pleasing in style, perfect for medium term drinking.

2017 Burgundy En Primeur.pdf