2012 Burgundy en primeur
Purity and rarity
You'll want 2012 Burgundy of both colours in your cellar and not just because - as one of the smallest harvests in recent years - it's immensely collectable. On our visits we found the wines - both red and white - to have great energy, finesse and complexity. In a word, they were delicious. Many domaines have made wonderful wines; indeed, Etienne Grivot considers them the best he has ever made. Obviously the wines aren't finished yet, so drinking dates are dangerous speculation, but they all have aromatic depth and intensity and a sense that they aren't revealing everything at this early stage. This is another terroir year, so the differences between village and vineyard are clear, perhaps because of those low yields.
In 2012 all the damage was done in the first half of the year. Deep frosts culled buds in February and there was disease pressure as well as unsettled weather before and during flowering. However, July, August and September all saw lovely weather with some of the surviving fruit suffering the indignity of sunburn. Success was achieved by constant and unrelenting work in the vineyard and minutely observed winemaking. Those tiny, thick-skinned berries had to be treated gently to give their fruit without too much of the massive available tannins.
The new vagaries of climate and weather combined seem to affect Burgundy disproportionately. While some weather stats continue to hold good, the unpredictability and ferocity is increasing. Over the last four years growers across the region have lost on average fully one quarter of what they would normally expect to produce - in other words, the equivalent of an entire vintage - and in some locations they are down to half. Add to this the fact that Burgundy is possibly the most fashionable wine region as well as one of the smallest and we have a collision between the onrushing train of massive demand meeting the immovable buffers of diminishing supply. Hurrah. /CW
Click here to see a list of the wines still available.