Burgundy 2015 En Primeur


Mark Bedford

We are delighted to present our own views and opening offer of some very fine Burgundy wines.  As you probably know, have read or been told, the 2015 vintage is exceptional especially for the reds but there are some beautiful, crisp and generous whites as well.  There are also disappointments where wines are fine but simply rather dull.  Three of the Caviste team with a combined history of drinking Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of about 90 years have spent the last two days meeting about 60 producers, tasting their young bottled wines and cask samples. Every wine listed has a purpose for being there.  Are the wines good value?  Yes, there are a number of gems at very fair prices – and there are also others that are clearly expensive.  However, if you do not buy then you may not get to drink these wonderful offerings – so if you want to enjoy them then you are either compelled to be very nice to your rich wine drinking friends – or take the plunge and buy them yourself.

The thing with Burgundy is that there is not very much to go round.  Bordeaux produces almost five times more wine.  You always know that there will be your favourite Bordeaux available – you may have to pay a few £’s extra but it will always be there.  With Burgundy many of these wines simply disappear, and the expanding wine drinking market in Asia has discovered Pinot Noir in a big way.  People buy to drink these wines, and do not let them go, strange though that may seem.

Vintage Summary

I should tell you that April was warmer and drier than usual so budbreak came early (which it did) and that it rained hard through July (which it did not) and that harvest was a smooth and measured event (which it was) except in Chablis where hail and rain struck on the 1st September (which it most certainly did).  Icy golf balls fell on about 100 hectares of vines, mainly on the beautiful Grand Cru vineyards to the north of the town.  However, the fruit that survived was exceptional so the wines are still very good.  I tasted a Grand Cru Les Clos this morning that was utterly amazing, at a very fair price.  Compare the reds to 2009, 2005 and 1990 for those with good drinking memories.  The whites appear to have more precision than they did in these same ripe vintages; I think they are perhaps closer in style to 2010.  While the whites are already starting to drink well, there will be absolutely no hurry with the reds. With such ripe fruit disguising the robust tannins you will be tempted to uncork them earlier than you really should.

The wines that Caviste is offering are all fantastic and have been assessed by several palates before being placed on this page.  Some offer great value, others are simply excellent and unique and the prices are keen within the context of the vintage.  A few wines appear lofty in their pricing – but are so fantastic that they simply should not be ignored.

Why buy?  I shall give you three good reasons:

  • Scarcity.  Small quantities (compared to other French regions and countries) – and there is simply not enough of the best wines for everybody
  • Authenticity. We all drink Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from everywhere these days – but it is important that we always return to the homeland of Burgundy
  • Best price.  Buying En Primeur does give you the very best price. Even when you pay the duty and vat after shipment you will pay about 20% less than waiting for the wine to be on the shelf – and it will never get this far anyway since it will all be gone.

Should I buy 2015 if I bought 2014?

Most certainly I think you should!  The choice wines of 2014 are, and will be, completely lovely – and will have cost you less.  Wine is all about variety and it is a wonderful thing to have the same wine in your cellar from successive years.  No two vintages are identical and the world of compare and contrast prevents wine drinkers from becoming either bored, or boring – or both.

Mark Bedford – January 2017

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