The 2014 Vintage: Complicated yet classical
Despite being a complicated year with somewhat chaotic seasons, 2014 was an excellent one for white Bourgogne wines, offering a chiseled and precise character that foretells good keeping potential
This latest vintage looks very promising in the Bourgogne winegrowing region, both in terms of quality and quantity. And winemakers agree on one key point – this was a complicated year, with unpredictability being the order of the day.
The spring was more like summer and the weather was hot – so hot in fact that in the later part of the season, in the absence of any wind, the heat triggered flowering in some of the earlier plots, leading to a loss of some of the harvest, mainly on the right bank of the River Serein.
Then the summer was more like the autumn; gloomy, damp and worrying for the winemakers. However September was true to its reputation as “the month that makes the wine”, and played its role to the full, bringing hot and dry weather. In fact, it was the hottest September for 130 years.
The harvest was unusual in the rhythm it followed. Stop-start is the best way to describe it as the pickers took up their secateurs, put them down again, and then took them up again. Thanks to the excellent weather, the teams were able to follow the pace of the ripening grapes, without fearing any deterioration in the health of the bunches, which this year were in particularly lovely condition. Some were even hoping for rain at one point because the berries weren’t growing any fatter, and were tending to become more concentrated!
The first snip of the secateurs rang out on 11 September, but the majority of the troops really got down to work during the week of 15 September. Some even waited until October to start picking. Patience was the order of the day, with growers having to wait for the acidity to diminish naturally. The first feedback on the vintage was very promising: volumes were back on track, although in some cases not quite up to what had been hoped for because the hot weather in June led to some coulure, with flowers not turning into fruit. However, in general, winegrowers were relieved after a 2013 vintage low in quantities. Some markets haven’t been provisioned over the last few months due to a lack of wine stocks. We hope the 2014 vintage will allow us to regain control.
- The future wines promise balance, with freshness, tension and good natural sugar. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations went off without a hitch. The wines are forthright on the nose, expressing the purity of Chablis wines. Ageing will allow them to absorb some of the tension they are currently exhibiting to result in a typical Chablis vintage. Overall, 2014 looks like an excellent vintage for white Bourgogne wines. Their chiselled and precise character suggests great ageing potential.