Knowing the best Burgundy vintages is one of the best ways to discover Burgundy’s finest wines. This guide will cover white wines (i.e., white Burgundy) and red wines like Pinot Noir.
Avoid Surprises In Wine Shops
What happens if you walk into your favorite restaurant and wine store and ask for their best Burgundian wine? You might be shown an exceptional vintage that costs $1000 or even more! Prices can increase when publications like Wine Spectator highlight a specific vintage. Yet many of Burgundy’s finest wines are available at much more reasonable prices. That’s why I have divided this guide to Burgundy’s excellent wines into an affordable list for beginners and more expensive wines.
What’s The Difference Between An Excellent Vintage And Others?
Weather is the critical factor that impacts quality levels for many producers. A spring frost, cold winters, and warm summers can also majorly impact wine. When you see a significant change in average temperature or normal rainfall, it will change the wine. Likewise, a dramatic hailstorm or dry conditions will impact the wines and how many healthy grapes you have.
Best Burgundy Vintages For Beginner Wine Lovers
Finding top-ranked vintages from Burgundy that combine consistent quality and a reasonable price is tough. However, I have found a few wines of Burgundy that will serve to introduce you to the region. Let’s dive into the entry-level options.
Focus on the following years to avoid poor vintages of Burgundy red wine. I’ve also included a few examples of producers that have earned good ratings. If you can’t find these bottles at your favorite wine store, don’t despair. Careful growers can still grow powerful wines even when conditions are not perfect.
2005 Red Vintages
Wine magazine Decanter considers 2005 a nearly perfect year for Burgundian reds. Here are a few wine brands to look for:
Domaine Francois Lumpp Clos Jus (recent vintages are over $60 per bottle, expect 2005 to be more)
Albert Bichot (expect to pay $70+ for these wines)
2009 Red Vintages
Wine Searcher has excellent comments to make about the 2009 vintage. Here are some examples of this well-regarded year.
2009 Maison Champy Aux Cras, Beaune Premier Cru (average price under $50)
2009 Jean-Noel Gagnard – Caroline Lestime Clos de Tavannes, Santenay Premier Cru (average price of $50)
Whether you call it Bourgogne blanc or Bourgogne Chardonnay, these light wines offer bright acidity. Perfect conditions came together for white wines in the following years.
2005 Louis Jadot Meursault (Average price: $40)
Exclusively made from Chardonnay wine grapes, this Cote de Beaune wine has a low alcohol content of 6%. The grapes are harvested by hand and usually aged in French oak for over 12 months.
Jayer Gilles Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune Blanc 2005 (Average price: $46)
This dry wine offers an appealing combination of oaky notes (i.e., butter and vanilla) and notes of citrus and earthy notes (e.g., honey and mineral). In terms of acidity levels, this wine is moderate.
Best Burgundy Vintages: When Money Is No Object
Do you enjoy successful wines and reading publications like the Journal of Wine Economics? Are you willing to pay any price to avoid disappointing quality? If so, these attractive wines are an excellent choice. Whether you’re interested n ripe tannins or structured wine, the best Burgundian vintages are worth your time. These wines are substantially older, so prices and availability may be much more difficult.
The last year before the pandemic struck was a good year in Burgundy. Let’s look at the exceptional quality of this legendary vintage. Keep an eye out for Domaine de la romanée-Conti as well – those elegant wines rarely appear on a bad vintage list.
2019 Meo-Camuzet Au Cros Parantoux (average price over $3000 per bottle)
2019 Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Les Amoureuses (average price over $6000 per bottle)
2014 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (Average price: $806).
2008 Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Blanc by DRC (Average price: $1401)
This côte de nuits wine has an interesting story. Earnings from this organic wine support the monastery of Saint Vivant in France. The domaine de la romanée-conti wine is fairly difficult to find. I only found it available at one seller in Hong Kong.
2008 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet (Average price: 225)
2008 stands out in terms of vintage quality. This Domaine leflaive producer has brought us a rich wine with 13% alcohol by volume and oaked notes.
How Does Weather Impact Burgundy Wine?
Like all wine regions, weather variations directly impact Burgundy’s vintage ratings and wine quality. To simplify, three general kinds of weather impact a vintage.
The impact of hot weather vs. cold weather has the most significant impact on wine grapes. For example, a cold or cool summer may delay the earliest harvest date. Constant low temperatures mean that there is less sugar in the wine. Likewise, a hotter summer that extends late into the season (i.e., an Indian summer) may mean generous wine rather than austere wines. The timing of warm weather also matters: there’s a difference between a hot summer and a hot spring, for example. Further, mild winter and rainy spring also majorly affect the quality of Burgundian wine.
The impact of rainfall has changed over time. A dry season might have spelled doom for the best Burgundy vintages in the past. Today, wine producers don’t have to depend on heavy rain entirely – irrigation is an option. However, irritation is expensive
Late harvest in Burgundy isn’t a standard practice like it is for late harvest Riesling. Yet, it is sometimes necessary to avoid the avoid problems like unripe grapes and uneven ripening. Changing the harvest timing is sometimes needed to ensure an abundant crop. Letting grapes develop on the wine for an extended period can also affect acid levels. A wine lacking in acidity is unlikely to become a classic vintage.
Best Burgundy Vintages Conclusion
The best vintages command very high prices and offer an incredible experience. If you want to get one of these bottles, take your time to research. Some vintage years are better for red wines, while others are better for white wines like Chardonnay. Yet, you may not have hundreds or thousands of dollars per bottle. In that case, why not simply pick up a bottle of Petit Chablis and see if you like Burgundy wines?