Our annual trip to the Cote d’Or to taste the new vintage is always a highlight of the year. This year felt extra special as travel restrictions that had kept us stuck at home were finally lifted. We entered with caution as 2021 was a year of frost and devastation for many vignerons but we were blown away by the quality of the wines. We’re pleased to see a return to a classic style.
The Growing Season:
After a wet and cold winter, budburst arrived sooner than usual in March. Spring frost has become a regular occurrence in Burgundy, and 2021 was no exception. April saw three days of severe frost and the vignerons did everything in their power to combat it. Burning candles to fight frost has become the new norm in Burgundy. Many vignerons do not have enough candles for all of their climats, generally prioritising their Grand Cru vineyards.
Sporadic hail in June and a wet July and August followed suit resulting in a battle against mildew. A lack of sunshine in June-August meant that veraison arrived later than usual. Many winemakers were monitoring and putting off the harvest on a day-by-day basis, eventually picking uncharacteristically late towards the end of September, around the 20th.
The final yields were down 50% on the reds and up to 80% on the whites. Numerous winemakers had to buy new smaller fermentation tanks to cope with the lower yields. Some arrived very last minute, the day before harvest! Growers such as Charles van Canneyt highlighted that the smaller yields helped quality rise and that larger volumes in this vintage could have ruined the vintage. The smaller yields helped bring extra concentration and freshness to the wines.
The red and whites from 2021:
Having tasted through a number of domaines from the barrel, we’re happy to report that both the 2021 reds and white are beautifully fantastic.
The best growers made aromatic, elegant wines with great energy and concentration, rounded out with silky tannins. There were no hints of green on the noses, but what really struck us was the purity of the fruit. Alcohol levels fell naturally between 12.5 to 13.2%. These are wines for the Burgundy purists who love beautifully classic, elegant, silky and sexy Pinot Noir. These 2021s are welcome, as they will be drunk before the denser 2020s, which the 2020s should be tucked away in the cellar for the long haul. Many winemakers were pleased with the wines highlighting that it’s a return to classically styled Pinot Noir.
We didn’t have the opportunity to taste too many whites, but what we did was fantastic. Céline Fontaine described the 2021s as a “very special vintage”. The cooler conditions sculpted restrained, high-acid and mineral-rich whites. The whites have substantial depth and will reward ageing in the cellar.
Besides having valuable conversations with vignerons, our team has also launched the Burgundy 2021 En Primeur campaign earlier this year. Clients can start placing pre-orders or creating wish-list now through our campaign page. Below are some tasting highlights from the trip; more details and insider tips from the vintage will be available on Cru soon. Stay tuned!
Burgundy 2021 En Primeur Campaign - Pre-Order Now