Burgundy En Primeur 2023 - Vintage Cellar
Introduction As we settle into the New Year and the vinous calendar gets underway the first of the wine futures is now available. The team at Vintage Cellar are very excited to announce our Burgundy En Primeur 2021 campaign which as always is a fabulous way to get access to wines from a region which is becoming more and more difficult to acquire. Burgundy has climbed to new heights over the past few years with demand for the very best continually growing whilst supply and production levels decline. In December 2022 a dozen bottles of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux 1991 sold for HK $3.9m (458,000 euro) and the annual Hospices de Beaune auction of wine in barrel double it’s previous record set in 2018 with sales totalling 29.8m euro. Although the 2021 Vintage was generally a more complicated and tricky growing season this has not deterred interest.
The Season: Speaking with a number of producers we have great relationships with they were relieved to have been able to get to the end of the harvest with a full crop considering the miniscule yields 2021 produced. As with Bordeaux 2021, conditions in the vineyards were not straightforward and mother nature did her upmost to challenge the vine-growers. Going through the season the winter was wet, Spring sprung earlier than expected which woke the vines and then in April a bout of cold weather and frost pushed producers to their limits with crops being protected by the warmth of candle light to get them through these unprecedented conditions. The Grand and Premier Cru sites perhaps suffered the most being geographically higher then some of the village sites and ultimately this hindered the amount of actual fruit to harvest. June and July brought rainfall and then a dry spell allowed for the harvest to start in mid-September. As the grapes came in for sorting what became clear was the yields were severely low across the board, for both whites and reds.
In the Cellar: Upon tasting 2021 has shown signs of being a rather ‘classic’ style. The reds being light and fresh whilst the whites are intricate and concentrated. On the whole it is perhaps fair to say that this is primarily a white-wine vintage and more quality can be found in this colour. Chardonnay is in very low supply with some areas seeing production levels in single-digits per hectare but they offer a mix of medium and longer term drinking. Charles Curtis of Decanter commented that ‘The best whites are lively and fresh, with firm acidity, bright, lemony fruit and noticeable minerality. Wines of substance and depth will reward ageing for at least a decade.’ With the reds, the domaines had to look to adjusting some of their more traditional cellaring techniques with the use of more oak in certain circumstances to help bring out their elegance and classical nature. Pinot Noir yields were somewhat higher than Chardonnay which isn’t saying much. Like the whites however, a number of reds will drink well in their youth whilst the very best can be cellared to age for a good 15-20 years. William Kelley noted that the red wines were ‘supple, fleshy and perfumed, at their best uniting the concentration of low yields and surprisingly good phenolic maturity with the vibrant, perfumed profiles of a cooler vintage’ and expected the 2021 vintage to that of 2017 or 2000 but with much better scope for ageing.
Conclusions: Volumes are clearly the main focal point when it comes to dissecting the release of Burgundy 2021. Quite simply there is not enough to go around but as Jancis Robinson said, ‘what 2021 delivers, in the right hands of course, is a return to classicism, the produce of weather more often encountered in the 1970s and 1980s but with first-class plant material in the vineyards and infinitely more skill and ambition in the cellar’. Beyond the region-specific challenges, the economic challenges we face moving further into 2023 are disconcerting. Issues such as high inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact of Covid19 the world is still recovering from are still impacting the wider global economy. China has started to open up which will certainly drive a new wave of buyers to the fine wine market with a specific interest for Burgundy and some markets have shown some positivity in the opening start of the year. There is still uncertainty but fine wine offers stability and resilience in these trickier economic times. Burgundy sits in a league of its own and we highly recommend to that both investors and collectors have Burgundy wines in their cellar. At Vintage Cellar we have a number of superb opportunities which offer both value and quality from this years allocation and we look forward to assisting both existing and new clients in adding the 2021 vintage to their portfolios – our full offering can be found below: