2016 Burgundy En Primeur

Tiny volumes in some areas as a result of frost; a lovely vintage of classically-shaped and pure Burgundy

When tasting in Burgundy this autumn, we were very impressed by the quality of the vintage, right down to village level. The whites may not have the mineral force of 2014 but they still show outstanding energy and crystalline purity. A few that were frosted have an extreme concentration, the effect of focusing the vines' energy into the small amount of fruit that remained. Some may not be quite as popular with the critics, but we will bet many customers will find them rather more immediately pleasurable than the 2014s and better balanced than the 2015s. The reds are built in a classical mould with elegant, focused and fragrant fruit. There is also a bright, juicy acidity and polish to the tannins that give these wines a lovely glossy feel. The very best show a remarkable sense of weightless purity without lacking density or concentration.

It is impossible to ignore the frost, which hit hard in 2016, but unevenly. It was also a very strange frost, not always collecting in the low-lying parcels, but coming from an inversion phenomenon, pouring down off the high ground above the vineyards. As a result, areas at the bottom of the combes or valleys which break up the south-east facing escarpment were the worst affected. In the Côte de Nuits, Gevrey, Chambolle and Nuits itself were particularly badly affected as they sit at the openings of these valleys, while Morey Saint Denis, which has not such a pronounced break in the escarpment, escaped almost unscathed. Some were just lucky - Virgile Lignier (with vines mostly in Morey) told us that the vintage was une belle surprise, as even his village Chambolle escaped the frost, and since it is quite low-lying it is usually the first to be affected. He went on to say that although some of the wines had been a little awkward at the beginning, the élevage, and especially the malolactic fermentation has transformed them and produced wines that are 'luminous'. 'Really a nice surprise', he concluded.

In the Côte de Beaune, it was the valleys of Pernand, Savigny, Pommard, Auxey and Saint Aubin which brought the freezing air, but in places the effect was patchier. A cloud which shielded the northern part of the vineyard of Puligny from the rays of the rising sun, allowed the shoots to thaw slowly, and most survived. The southern half of Puligny and northern end of Chassagne, including almost all the Grands Cru whites, as well as all of Meursault, were not so lucky. As for Savigny, Pernand, Volnay and Pommard, one only has to look at Nico Rossignol, who has vineyards spread across all these appellations, who said simply that having been devastated by hail in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the frost of 2016 was by far the worst.

Although the frost has meant that some wines will be even harder to find this year than usual, this should not stop anyone from trying to get some 2016s into their cellar. One wine writer compared 2016 and 2015 as being not unlike 2010 after 2009. 2015, like 2009 (if less extreme) was a very ripe year with quite low acidity. 2016, like 2010, has the same sunny ripeness - lots of black fruit flavours in the reds - but with a more classical acidity and this gives wines with a svelte shape and great lifted purity to the aromatics, so a vintage that ought to please Burgundy purists and hedonists alike.

In the global market Burgundy has the wind in its sails at the moment, and this is a vintage not to miss in either colour, despite higher prices which stem not only from the recent depreciation of Sterling, but also from the short harvests of recent years, of which 2016 is just the worst in a long run.

Allocations & Pricing

In view of the small size of this vintage in some places it is inevitable that some wines will have to be allocated, but please do ask for any wine you would like to get hold of from any of our producers, even if not currently listed here, and we will do our best to help.

We will add other wines to this list once the initial allocations based on last year are completed. Please keep checking back, but you can also email requesting wines not listed - you can assume we have almost the entire range of all the domaines we work with.

Legend

TBA = Wines marked To Be Advised are either awaiting answers from allocations, or have yet to be released to us by the producers. Please do ask and we will advise if and when we are able to offer them.

Ordering

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Prices: This is a primeur offer - all prices are quoted IN BOND per case (case sizes as stated).

Wines by Producer

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