100ml, Burgundy, France

The Key to Burgundy 2014 en primeur

What’s the key to Burgundy 2014 en primeur?

White wines, white wines all the way baby.

How can you tell before they have been bottled?

Nearly ten years experience of tasting wines at this stage, you can get an idea of the vintage. It’s all about the vibes.

What does that even mean, VIBES??!! That will get you in a lot of trouble on twitter.

Who cares. I’m in it for the Burgundy. The vibes…. As Michael Jackson would say about the white wine vintage, “I’m in ec-sta-sy!” You can tell from the hair standing up on the back of your neck. The zing. Ecstasy. Joy. It’s like this:

 

michael jackson ecstasy

Michael Jackson on the white 2014 Burgundy en primeur vintage

 

Which producers did you see at Burgundy En Primeur week?

I went to Berry Bros & Rudd and Corney & Barrow 2014 en primeur tasting. Also, the Grand Cru Chablis 2014 tasting. 

What do you think the trade will make of it this year?

No one in the trade loves “a good white wine vintage in Burgundy”. There’s not the same money in it as a good red vintage, which I have been told, could be next year in 2015. 

How do you plan when faced with a huge array of wines during Burgundy en primeur?

Go with a producer you know and love and follow them over the years. Treat your Burgundy like children. Not all of them grow up to be surly teenagers. 

So, what about the reds – is it a lost cause this year?

No. Not at all. You will no doubt see a lot of 2014 in restaurants because it has a lovely freshness, pretty fruit and won’t need to cellar for long. Some of the entry level 2014 wines are already on the shelves (Petit Chablis, Côteaux Bourguignon) and are superior to 2013.

What if you want to cellar the 2014 Burgundy vintage?

Go with the best producers. Get good advice. Not many people want to spend £500 on a case and want a fresh and easy drinking wine. They’ll want a bit more fruit. Perhaps they think the more fruit packed in by the 75cl is better value? I’m only joking, somewhat. But that’s where the white wines come in…. 

Powerful whites, is that even a thing?

Yes. Grand Cru Chablis is the key to better living through Burgundy.

Which Grand Cru Chablis stood out?

The UK’s favourite Grand Cru is Les Clos with Vaudesir and Valmur coming up from not far behind. Les Clos has a big structure so is made for cellaring. They also have a big price tag. I have selected a few at the end of the post. 

Did you see meet any of the producers?

I wanted to speak to someone who would be emblematic of the whole 2014 Burgundy vintage so I spoke to – the one and only – Vincent Dampt from Chablis. He always tells it like it is.

Vincent Dampt Chablis at Corney & Barrow

Vincent Dampt Chablis at Corney & Barrow Burgundy 2014 en primeur tasting

What did Vincent Dampt say about the 2014 vintage in Chablis?

Vincent Dampt: “For me, 2014 is back to the classical where each terroir is well defined. The big challenge was the summer because it was not so good. But it cooled down in August. That helped the acidity and concentration. This vintage is the mark of the winemaker, and you can feel the tension between the vintage and winemaking. Whereas 2012 is all perfect acidity with excellent balance. 2013 is atypical for Chablis. 2012 is my favourite vintage. 2014 reminds me of 2005.”

Why do you need to know so much about vintage in Burgundy, in particular Chablis?

Have you ever gone into a shop and accidentally bought the same Chablis but with the next vintage? It can be a disappointing experience if you expect one thing and get another. One reason for the vintage variation is because Chablis is a very northerly, marginal climate for growing ripe grapes.

What are some of the wines you would personally buy at en primeur? Put your money where your mouth is.

Fair enough. This is what gave me a shiver up the spine with their stunning vibrancy, energy and fruit (and reasonable price tag):

 

Vincent Dampt Chablis 1er Cru, Côte de Léchet 2014 – £182.90 in bond (12 bottles)

 

Domaine Hubert Lamy, St-Aubin, La Princée 2014 £156.00 in bond (12 bottles)

Domaine Hubert Lamy, St-Aubin, Les Frionnes 1 er Cru 2014 £102.00 in bond (12 bottles)

Santenay, Clos des Graviéres Blanc 1er Cru 2014 £108 in bond (12 bottles)

 

  • Grand Cru Chablis 

Domaine de Château Grenouilles, Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles 2014

Domaine Collet, Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2014

Domaine William Fevre, Chablis Grand Cru “Cote Bouguerots” 2014

Domaine Louis Moreau, Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2014

 

I hope that helps. If you have any questions, or would like more detailed advice, I’m more than happy to help so please get in touch. 

 

Image: Ed Clark: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell resting on the set of “Gentlemen prefer blondes”, 1953