Please note that due to high global demand, along with variable crop levels experienced across Burgundy during 2020/21, many of these wines are only accessible via a strict allocation process. If you are interested in purchasing Burgundy En Primeur, can you please kindly confirm back by 5pm Tuesday 18th January 2022 on which wines and number of cases you’re wishing to purchase; to enable us to equitably allocate out this year’s Offer. Once we’ve received all requests we will then be able to start confirming back on final allocations by Friday 21st January 2022. The majority of prices have now been confirmed with several still waiting for final confirmation by the producers. Once we’ve received all final prices, we will then be able to confirm the offer in full. As always, we will do our very best to honour last year’s buyers’ repeat requests as fairly as possible vs. new account requests; please bear in mind the extreme limitations in 2020 stocks. If you wish to discuss any of the wines and details further, or to place an order, then please do not hesitate to contact us email@example.com
Burgundy 2020 Vintage Report
2020 will be remembered for the clemency of its growing conditions. The weather throughout was wonderfully conducive to the production of beautifully ripe fruit. There was no undue amount of rainfall nor humidity. Disease pressure was pretty much non-existent with mercifully no significant incidence of frost. The summer proved to be both very dry and very warm, yet any impact of hydric stress was kept to a minimum thanks to plentiful water reserves accumulated during the rainy winter months. Some parcels of young vines on free draining soils, however, did struggle with the dry conditions. The main focus of work in the vineyards, therefore, was to protect the ripening bunches of grapes from the abundance of sunshine and the enduring drought conditions. Canopy management was key, with the provision of shade paramount in growers’ minds. Vineyard techniques at the best domaines have been adjusted over recent years in order to better adapt to warm dry summers, resulting in fruit and wines with better balance and retained ‘typicité’. A range of factors, as so often, would determine the resulting quality and style of wine produced. The complete ‘terroir’ thumbprint, so much a part of top Burgundy, bears ultimate responsibility for the character of the wine in the glass. Soils, aspect, altitude, exposure and slope will all play their part. In 2020 this is so true. The mosaic of vineyards has once again produced a fascinating variety of styles, each entirely reflective of their often very precise origins. There is no ‘taste of the vintage’ masking the terroir expressions just an exuberance of ripe fruit counterbalanced by a telling freshness. The best wines do not really taste like wines produced in a sunny, warm vintage thanks to their lively vibrancy. The cool nights too played their part to great effect. The harvest started very early in mid-late August under beautiful blue skies. For many growers the end of the harvest was earlier than the start date of the majority of vintages from previous eras.
So, how do the wines taste?
The best red wines capture the enchanting appeal of fine Burgundy offering a panoply of multi-nuanced flavours. Ripeness of fruit allied to an appetising seam of acidity is the over-riding impression of the vintage. Volumes, sadly, are low, as skins were thick with very little juice in smaller berries due to dehydration. Within each grape, both the fruit richness and the acidity were concentrated in tandem. As a result, the fruit is very concentrated but is not overpowering or heavy-handed – at least at those domaines where sensitive handling of the vinification is the norm. There is vitality and purity much in evidence. The best wines will be able to be enjoyed in their exuberant youth or will equally well reward a longer sojourn in the cellar thanks to their impressive tannic structure and balancing acidity. The quality of the white wines is perhaps even more consistent than that of the reds. Whether the wines are from Chablis of the Côte d’Or the results are excellent. ‘Typicité’ abounds. Chablis tastes like Chablis and Meursault tastes like Meursault. Almost without exception the results were truly eye-catching. The very best marry a richness and concentration of ripe fruit with a riveting acidity and in many cases minerality. There was no sense of over-maturity or over-ripeness. The wines do not taste particularly of the warm vintage of their birth, there appear to be more orchard fruit and white floral expressions rather than more exotic fruit characters on show. There is tension as well as breadth. The lasting impression is one of a telling vibrant core wrapped around by textural, often creamy, fruit. Chardonnay’s more resilient character allows the vines to support a higher ‘rendement’ than Pinot Noir can successfully sustain and without detriment to the fruit quality, in fact the slightly more generous yield on the whites helped retain freshness and elegance. They were a joy to taste in growers’ cellars and will provide wonderful drinking over the next few years.
Neil Sommerfelt MW, Consultant
Comments from a selection of key producers
Domaine Marc Roy
Harvested 28/8 – 1/9. Alexandrine Roy “A truly high-quality vintage but not consistent everywhere. The Vieilles Vignes have adapted best to the heat and warmth thanks to their deeper roots and more ‘experience’ of past vintages. The magic of the various terroirs is clearly expressed. Appetising, drinkability is key.”
Domaine Georges Lignier
Benoît Stehly “2020 may well prove to be even better than the fabulous 2019 vintage. It has everything! However, we have had some degree of hydric stress for two vintages in a row. Leaves drop early and sunburn risk increases. Thick skins, little juice. Low volumes as a result. -40% in some sites, especially top crus! Quality, though, is perfect! There is more freshness than 2019.”
Harvest started 26/8. Bertrand Chevillon “Fabulous vintage. Top quality. Richness and power but the tannins are silken. Crus expressions are clear. Volumes restricted.”
Harvested last week of August. Vincent Rapet “whites have suffered less than reds as vines carried a larger volume of grapes. Pernand-Verglesses is a cooler appellation so natural freshness assured. For the reds there were thick skins with little juice. Some hydric stress. We picked the reds before the whites.”
Domaine Philippe Bouzereau
Harvested 26/8-3/9. Philippe Bouzereau “we picked early and in small bins to ensure freshness. Having my brother, Charles, working alongside me meant that we could both focus on our key skills. Me in the vineyards and Charles in the cuverie. More efficient and even more focus on quality. “
Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet
Started harvest 24/8. Thankfully all J-P’s fabulous 2020s survived the serious cuverie fire (22/5/21) untainted. Jean-Philippe Fichet “2020 is a bit like 2015 & 2009 – balance is fabulous, offering both richness and freshness. A relatively generous rendement helps retain this balance/freshness in a warm year.”
Domaine Nicolas Rossignol
Harvested last week of August. Nicolas Rossignol “Without doubt a grand millésime ! The best I have ever made! The Pinot Noir had thick skins and little juice, high concentration bears this out. Lots of whole bunch vinifications, where necessary, as stems were beautifully ripe. Tannins are powerful but seductive. Exuberant, bold wines of great typicité
Domaine Patrick Javillier
Started harvest 23/8. Marion Javillier “Great freshness. Not a ‘solaire’ vintage just early (due to early flowering). Elegance, ripeness and freshness together.”
Domaine Marc Morey
Harvested 22/8-27/8. Sabine Mollard “I am very happy with the result. A lovely vintage. The summer was very warm and yet the wines have turned out to be very well balanced. The vines appear to have adapted to warmer drier summers and so have we, as winemakers.”
Domaine Thomas Morey
Harvested 21/8-28/8. Thomas Morey “the end result has been something of a surprise. Great balance and freshness.” Another great success here with marked terroir expressions throughout.
Domaine Justin Girardin
Harvested 23/8-1/9. Justin Girardin “for the whites it was key to harvest early and fast to ensure acidity retention. For the reds I was a bit concerned at the start, but they have turned out fresher and better balanced than expected. It may not be a classic Pinot Noir vintage, but it has plenty of richness and weight of fruit.”
Domaine Hubert Lamy
Harvested end of August. Olivier Lamy “2020 was a hot dry year yet the wines have retained excellent acidity thanks to concentrated high levels of tartaric. The early harvest helped. The whites suffered less than the reds. The ‘cool’ geography & terroirs of St. Aubin also played their part in ensuring final balance.”
Harvest started 22/8. Alain Serveau (head winemaker) “for the reds we took great care not to over-extract. Gentle vinification was key. The wines are rich but not at all heavy. Colour is deep and richness is marked but their innate freshness ensures balance. The whites, too, show fine balance with subtle aromatics. All wines faithfully reflect their terroir identity.”
Domaine Moreau Naudet
Harvested very end of August, first few days of September. Virginie Moreau “the wines show fine concentration, vivacity and typicité.” A very fine set of 2020 Chablis wines.