Burgundy 2017s Are Out, and the News Is Good
For Burgundy lovers, there’s a lot to be happy about with the 2017 vintage, especially for fans of whites. After frost damage and small yields in 2016, crops were back to normal in 2017, and quality was pretty consistently strong—meaning there’s some great wine out there and more of it. Neal Martin says of the vintage: “Some quite brilliant whites that, many growers are beginning to opine, equal or even surpass the haloed 2014s”—a lofty pronouncement, but the only way to find out is to drink!
Vignerons escaped a repeat of 2016’s frost disaster by the skin of their teeth. In April 2017, almost a year to the day of the previous devastating cold snap, temperatures plummeted. Yet, there were several factors keeping the vines protected this time around: it was a smidge less cold, a smidge less humid, and a breeze kept air circulating. Plus, vignerons traumatized by 2016 were much more proactive: many turned on fans to circulate air and then burned haystacks to create a “smoke shield” to obscure the burning effects of sun, which gets amplified through the prism-like structure of frost. After that, they slid through to an early harvest on very good, sunny conditions.
Critics are optimistic about this vintage, the reds but especially the whites. Julia Harding (Jancis Robinson’s right-hand woman) says: “The phrase that came to my mind many times while I was tasting was 'true to type' for it's a vintage that has produced fragrant, finely structured wines that are likely to be ready to drink earlier than the 2016s but have the balance and the depth to age well, certainly over the medium term...Aromatic, fine-boned and true to type.” And Stephen Tanzer: “The largest white Burgundy crop since 2009 has yielded pliant, elegant, pure wines with considerable aromatic appeal and early accessibility, along with the balance and stuffing for at least mid-term aging.”
We’re pouring Burgundy on Saturday in all three stores, and we hope you’ll join us! Here are two extremely solid whites to whet your whistle in the meantime.
2017 Domaine Renaud Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes
There is great lift and brightness to this wine with notes of baked golden apples and a lovely stony minerality on the nose. There’s a crème brûléed pear note on the palate leading to a zippy finish. All is very integrated and balanced with a zesty personality.
2017 Château Vitallis Macon-Fuissé (this will be featured in the tasting)
This will do you right any day of the week. It shows lipsmacking acidity with notes of peach and pear blossom, flintiness, and a touch of vanilla. Very elegant and poised.
- Kate Soto