With a notably mild winter followed by a warm spring, the 2014 vintage was remarkably smooth sailing for most of the Cote d’Or apart from the unfortunate but ever so reliable smattering of hailstorms at the end of June, which damaged vineyards stretching along Beaune, Pommard and Volnay. A relatively warm autumn allowed for the grapes to reach an optimum level of ripeness with an excellent density of pure, healthy fruit. Yields are up for most growers in comparison to the last several vintages, but we were surprised to learn that many in the Cote de Beaune actually found themselves with less wine than even they expected following the harvest due to the highly concentrated juice the grapes yielded.
The reds were consistently showing wonderfully ripe red fruit, with a real depth of flavour. As acidity levels were not quite as sky high as last year, they were surprisingly easy to taste even in their infant stage giving every indication that the end product will be a true joy to drink and in the relatively near future at that. We continued to see more and more restraint in the amount of new oak used in favour of showcasing the nuances of the various burgundy terroirs, which is after all what makes these wines so prized and coveted to begin with.
The whites were truly something to behold in 2014 with several growers declaring it the best vintage of their lifetime. While the very best of 2010 may challenge such a bold statement, what is certain is that there is a very impressive weight of fruit and an impeccable amount of balance and freshness across almost everything we tasted. Again we found the best wines to be those which allow the quality of the fruit to speak for itself, avoiding excessive oaking or lees stirring.
It is often said that there is hardly any chance of a truly bad vintage in this current day and age. With the vast viticulture knowledge and advanced technology that exists today, respectable producers know how to make a good wine each year no matter what challenges Mother Nature may through their way. A good vintage simply makes their lives a whole lot easier along the way. 2013 was a great challenge for most of Burgundy, requiring everyone to be exceptionally vigilant in order to produce what in the end are some truly lovely wines. By contrast, the 2014 vintage was a relative breeze (hail and dreaded Suzuki flies aside) and having arrived at the tail end of the stunning 2015 vintage, we were greeted by a far more relaxed group of growers than in past years. 2014 is what the French repeatedly referred to as a “gourmand” vintage, which is to say that it is for those who love to drink with a bit of gusto!