I've been involved with Burgundy En Primeur campaigns for the last couple of years now, and have seen the difficulties the vignerons and wine makers have had to face, with poor harvests due to some absolutely devastating weather conditions. With the tiny harvest of 2012 I spoke to several vignerons with regard to 2013 to see what their expectations were, and many said that they were concerned that while the harvest was again going to be small due the hail storms, the large deluge of rain they had had, meant they were also very concerned for the quality, as the grapes were fat with water. Not many people were expecting 2013 to deliver much if anything at all, many were expecting to be putting the vast majority of their fruit into making their most basic village wines, not their Premier or Grand Cru wines.
So for the first tasting of 2015 I headed into central London and dropped into Flint Wines 2013 Burgundy En Primeur tasting at Il Bottaccio, this is the first opportunity that most of the UK trade and press have had to taste these wines, so I was really looking forward to seeing what they had managed to produce from the 2013 vintage.
The whites were difficult, many of the entry wines had plenty of green apple fruit but not much else flavour wise, they did have a real steely minerality to them that made them very austere, most had quite a soft acidity which helped to soften out the minerality a little, but not much. In the middle you had a lot of good wine with a little more depth of fruit, the wines that had spent some time in oak were starting show small signs of development and complexity in them, but their was nothing that really bowled you over, of course many of them need a little more time before they will fulfil their potential, but from what I tasted this is going to a small window and I don't think you'd be particularly bowled over by them.
Moving on to the Premier and Grand Cru wines, these were pleasantly surprising, there was some lovely green fruit that was starting to signs of development and going towards more baked than fresh in character. The oak was starting to integrate beautifully with one or two showing a real toasty side, with this you also got hints of the sweet spice Vanilla, combine these with a bountiful but soft acidity, due to the Malolactic fermentation they had gone through, and you were starting to see the signs of where these wines were going.
There was one producer who really stood out for me on the whites, and that was Domaine Ballot-Millot, this is a family estate based just outside the village of Meursault,they were showing 4 wines, a Bourgogne Blanc, a single vineyard and two Premier Cru Meursault. It was these three Meursault's that really stood out from the rest for me. The 'Les Narvaux' had a lovely yellow/gold colour to it, with some lovely fruit to it that was starting to head towards baked, it had a lovely minerality to it with hints of vanilla coming through very gently and a wonderfully soft acidity just brought it all together. The two Premier Cru, 'Charmes' and 'Perrieres' both really took this up a notch with much greater depth and richness, while they were lovely today they are only going to get better and better with age, for me there wasn't much between these, but I did prefer the 'Charmes' though.
Red's to follow next week....