2016: on roller coasters during the season, relief and happiness during the finish !A season everyone in the region will remember !HarvestVinification and élevageCharacter and agingA general assessment (May 2023)Tasting notes (May 2016)The scope of the frost that hit Burgundy late April is unheard of in a very long time. One has to call on the « old guys » to remember something similar: perhaps in 1945 ? This dramatic start was confirmed when it appeared that secondary buds would not compensate at all ... And vineyards which at first appeared unscathed showed smaller and fewer berries than normal.
During a particularly humid month of May, a dawny mildew epidemic wreaked havoc. Certain vineyards seemed to literally "catch fire", with symptoms appearing in just 48 hours and reaching the grapes themselves. Usually, it is the leaves that take the hit. The vintner was under maximum pressure, and wondered even in June if he would be able to keep the diseases in check: powdery mildew also was beginning to pick up, who knew where it would end ?
Then, a miracle: rain stopped almost completely, and July was fair, August warm and sunny ...At the beginning, it was taken as a respite, a pause in that crazy run to disaster, enabling people and equipment to rest. But as a warm and dry summer went on, questions shifted nature: how should we protect the berries from sun burns, are the vines evolving slowly because of the lack of water, should we harvest sooner than we thought ? Slowly, another type of vintage, definitely warmer, was taking shape, and with it, our mood shifted.
The drought did not stop until late August. Even after that date, weather did not change much: it remained calm, temperatures were warm, and precipitations isolated, although sometimes abundant. Rain had been desired and indeed, it allowed the vineyards to restart the ripening process. But berries also increased in size (30 mm of rain in a few days just do not fall unnoticed), and it could have proved dangerous in the end if that messy weather had carried on. Fortunately, it was not the case, and with good weather back, concentration and ripening could resume.
In the end, harvest started on September 26th, in ideal conditions.
Harvesters picked very healthy grapes for the most part. There were one or two threatening episodes but in the end, no significant precipitations. It was a serene process, as much as this term can be used for a harvest ... But still, what a contrast compared to the agony we went through at the beginning of the year ! As if nature wanted to right itself ... Harvesting vineyards stricken by frost was indeed difficult: however few grapes there remained, they were difficult to find in vines which had regrown as bushes. A lot to do for a meagre result.
In terms of quantities, there are huge differences between the vineyards.
It is now clear that before the frost, harvest potential was quite big. In Vosne Romanée, which was largely spared, we were surprised with rather high quantities. In vineyards stricken by frost however, there was no miracle, even if crops in general were on the higher end of our estimations. From Vosne Romanée on, yields decrease as you go towards Nuits St Georges. Clos Vougeot, in which we counted 50% of frosted buds, ends up with a crop just 25% lower than normal; the Chambolle 1er crus, heavily affected at 80%, still make a third of a normal crop, but Marsannay does not reach that level. In Corton, there is almost no crop at la Vigne au Saint, whereas Perrières and Clos Rognet, both located above the frost line, turn out a nice crop.
Wines are often at, or over 13,5° alc. and taste fully ripe.
Malo-lactic fermentations were quiet and un-eventful. They allowed the slightly aggressive finish felt after vinifications to mellow. The vintage has not turned too soft however, and acidities are at a good level, with pHs around 3.5, which shows a good balance.
A very good surprise: the deepness that is now evident in these wines. A character they acquired during summer and their second autumn ... Beyond an evident charm, showing through their caressing and very soft texture, a good structure is detectable. Many cuvées show nice length, with a spicy finish, mineral even, that was not expected of such a ripe vintage. These are wines that storm with friendliness and display a joyful, forthcoming side, which erases all heaviness.
2016 is not far from the concentration of 2015 !
Who would have thought of such a result when we were so low at the end of June ?
A comparison with 2006 is possible: the vintage is in the shadow of the glorious 2005, nonetheless, it was a ripe vintage, harvested also at the end of September, and that never closed. We wish the same fate to 2016 !
Five years ago, we were pointing out the difficulties of a season that had finally ended well and the depth of a beautiful, ripe vintage.
Today, these 2016s foil the predictions. The depth and texture noted at the release of this vintage are still there. The ripeness too; what has not been emphasized enough, even if we were talking about "a certain charm", is the seduction that these wines can exert. Ripe of course, but not heavy; racy but not severe; pretty and pleasant but also long and complex. They have a dimension, a glow, which gives them this gourmand, almost enchanting side, which is astonishing for such a ripe vintage. No doubt this is due to the quality of the acids, certainly not in very large quantities but resulting in a rather low pH for a sunny year like this one.
We can only be optimistic for the future of these wines. Admittedly, they have lost some of their youthful brilliance and some have entered a period of transition: less fruit brilliance, a little less freshness but not yet quite the complexity and integration that one expects from a mature wine. On the other hand, they are not really closed. A good aeration should allow us not to regret having opened them, even if many of them seem to be able to develop further.
A nose expressing at first notes of reduction (terrine, game) but which opens very quickly on ripe black fruits, with a touch of currant too. Spicy and mentholated compounds and a well integrated wood complete the ensemble.
The attack in mouth is lively and frank. Immediately afterwards, rather tight tannins signal themselves and launch a finish that does not lack elegance even if it remains a bit austere.
A wine still in transition, to be left aside for the moment even if a decanting would surely do it a lot of good.
The nose is quite open but remains discreet, with slightly stewed red fruits.
The mouth is pleasant, round, melted and gourmand. A touch of acidity gives it relief and straightness, until a slightly tight but lively finish.
The whole is very fine and accessible, harmonious, less "strong" than the Chambolle and rather ready to drink.
VOSNE ROMANÉE 1ER CRU LES CHAUMES
Nice open nose of very ripe fruits such as fig. But mentholated, spicy, blond tobacco notes and a well-integrated woodiness give it complexity and intensity.
The palate starts with a very fine attack, well in the style of the terroir; it widens and reveals a long and acidic finish, not lacking in firmness. The wood is still very present and needs to melt.
A young, dynamic, seductive and friendly wine, but still under construction and which will benefit from additional aging.
NUITS ST GEORGES 1ER CRU
A generous and even intense nose, where after a touch of reduction, beautiful aromas of ripe black fruits are revealed. The oakiness is quite present through notes of toast and smoke.
The mouth is ample, enveloping, very pleasant. The tannins are caressing, the finish juicy.
The whole composes a gourmand wine, accessible, that can still be drunk young. Nice future in perspective, an additional ageing will allow to integrate a wood still a bit present for some palates.
NUITS ST GEORGES 1ER CRU AUX MURGERS
A nose full of subtlety, aromas that sometimes need to be uncovered but which end up composing a rich bouquet of black fruits, touches of menthol, aniseed, vanilla... A slight evolution adds complexity.
Very caressing in the mouth, a real velvet touch! Liveliness, subtle and melted tannins compose a structured wine without having the air of it. Very nice length on the finish, with energy.
Finesse from start to finish for this wine which, although delicious now, has not yet revealed its full potential. It has power in reserve and will make a superb bottle in 10 years.
NUITS ST GEORGES 1ER CRU AUX BOUDOTS
The nose is very open and intense: black and red fruits, a nice vanilla oakiness, aromas of pastry ... It is already very gourmand! All the more so as, with aeration, it opens up and gains in expression.
In the mouth, a very nice texture at the beginning, a lot of volume, then the wine continues in a generous, racy, fresh register until an integrated final, on beautiful young and distinguished tannins.
This ensemble is very seductive, of course this wine has everything to age well but one wonders how it could do better? It already has a lot of harmony and shows a certain magic, the terroir which makes its demonstration, no doubt...
An open nose, albeit subtle, offering aromas of red fruits (red currant, cherry in brandy), spices, menthol and integrated oakiness.
On the palate, a certain restraint at first; more volume and depth as the tasting progresses, to finish on sharp but tasty tannins. Also, a nice impression of freshness.
Overall, a balanced wine, rather attractive, with minerality and a nice length in the mouth. We think it will continue to progress in the coming years.
CORTON CLOS ROGNET
An open nose but with some reduction, which expresses itself by an animal side. Then, it opens on aromas of red and black fruits, flowers and spicy/woody touches.
The mouth is very full, concentrated, rich. It manages not to be imposing while gaining in texture during the tasting! The finish is on the fruitiness and allows to finish on a savory sensation.
Very nice and generous wine, which has everything to offer. And yet, it will gain even more with ageing, which should open up the aromatics.
From the start, very nice aromas of fresh red fruits; a slight vegetal note, some sweet notes compose a nice, seductive, gourmand set!
The mouth is voluminous while being very fine, we find a beautiful energy and tannins all in lace which bring a gourmand and long final.
It is truly a charming wine, already very much in place, which excites the senses! To drink before it closes ?
VOSNE ROMANÉE 1ER CRU AUX BRULÉES
At first impression, black fruits; then spicy, peppery touches, a sensation of sweetness indicating a well-integrated oakiness. However, a certain general restraint.
On the other hand, very gourmand and generous in the mouth. What a beautiful and majestic wine! We crunch the fruits in an enveloping texture and caressing tannins, with a great length.
It is a ripe, fleshy and deep wine, all in majesty, which can be tasted very well today but could wait: the reward would be more subtlety and perhaps vivacity.