Burgundy 2017 En Primeur Report

“A lovely vintage north to south: wines singing their heart out.” - Julia Harding MW, Jancisrobinson.com

OVERVIEW

At the Burgundy 2017 En Primeur tastings this week in London there were smiles all round, and winemakers breathed a collective sigh of relief as they showed their wines to an expectant wine trade. The news is good. The whites are universally superb with wonderful finesse and concentration, while the reds are deliciously silky, fragrant and supple.  After five years of below-average sized crops, the Burgundians desperately needed to top up their cellars, so the combination of a proper harvest and healthy yields in 2017 has helped set many minds to rest.

The 2017 growing season started well with an initially warm April encouraging early growth. A potentially catastrophic frost towards the end of the month was evaded by vignerons who burnt bales of damp straw to create a blanket of smoke, shielding the delicate buds from the early morning sun – a technique learnt from bitter experience, though potentially hazardous if you happened to be driving on the nearby autoroute!

Thankfully the buds survived. Flowering in May was even and abundant, while June brought some rain though high temperatures in July kept ripening on the right lines, as did a warm and dry August.  As always, vineyard management was key. Bud thinning and green harvesting was essential with such a healthy crop. Without it the wines would lack concentration and precision.

THE WINES

Growers have compared the reds favourably to 2000 and 1985 - both of which were charming early drinking vintages which have also aged well - whilst the whites offer concentration similar to the 2014’s but with the additional ripeness of 2015 – an enticing combination. There is purity and finesse with beautiful detail in the whites, whilst the reds are supple, fleshy and beautifully exuberant.  We found lots of well-balanced wines which have an immediate appeal and will seduce many, but which will also age gracefully. 

VERDICT

This is a vintage to buy with confidence both for investment and drinking pleasure. For the most part there is price stability due to the larger harvest. However supply is still restricted from certain growers as they are retaining extra wine to replenish their own reduced reserves, which will in turn help drive demand and desirability.

If you would like us to guide you with your purchases, please do not hesitate to ask - we will be delighted to share our enthusiasm for these wines.