In 2015 I twice visited the Cote d’Or to taste the 2014 vintage. In mid-September our arrival coincided with an opening of the heavens that saw those pickers late to bring in the last of the crop soaked to their skins and labouring in soil that quickly turned to mud. Visit number two, started with crisp Autumn sunshine but finished cold, grey and miserable and I was glad of my coat and hat. All that said, I left with the impression that the sun is finally starting to shine once again on the golden slopes. After a run of decidedly dismal luck, things might just be looking up for the Burgundians and the dawn began to break with the 2014 vintage.
Since 2009, Burgundy has seen an outstanding harvest in 2010, an extremely good year in 2012 and very impressive – if less uniform – vintages in 2011 and 2013. Quality aside, however, volumes have been shockingly low, Mother Nature has delivered blow after blow to producers, even as they were reeling from the previous ‘weather event’, and the mood in many a cellar has been black to say the least. As soon as I walked into certain cellars, particularly in Volnay and Pommard, it was obvious that there were very few barrels to be tasted. The statistic that drove it home was that many estates lost the equivalent of an entire year’s crop – which means income - within 4 short vintages.