2015 Burgundy Report

The beautiful autumnal colours of red, yellow, gold, brown and russet have been in abundance in the vineyards as I recently worked my way from Gevrey Chambertin in the north of the Cote d’Or to the south in Puligny Montrachet & Chassagne Montrachet.

Mother nature was kind to burgundy in 2015 and to my surprise both red and white wines are showing exceptional quality levels, particularly the red wines. There is no question that both red and white burgundy wines will be hugely enjoyed by its followers.

Before arriving in Burgundy and hearing reports of a long warm summer led me to fear that the white wines might have been harvested too late, resulting in over ripeness and lacking acidity, producing a heavier, round, one-dimensional style of early `quaffing’ wine.
However I am pleased to report that most domains harvested quite early for the white wines (many beginning around 30th August ) and they do have enough acidity to keep their freshness. The best white wines display a medium body with pleasing aromas on the nose and subtle richness, complexity and finesse on the palate. They do not have the energy/intensity of the 2014 vintage for this is a different style  but they are very attractive wines with great finesse which will be approachable in their youth as well as capable of cellaring in the medium term. In fact I would recommend drinking these 2015 white wines before the 2014’s  from 2019 onwards.

The 2015 vintage for red burgundy wine is truly individual and it is difficult to compare it with any other vintage that I have witnessed in the past 25 years, especially in the Cotes de Nuits.

In general terms the wines have ripe, sweet fruit yet possess fine tannins ( giving smooth, silky textures ) yet many also have expression of terroir, precision and complexity balanced with healthy acidity (which is an important asset for long term cellaring). Due to the sweetness and therefore attraction of the fruit, burgundy lovers may well drink these wines earlier than they should as they will have immediate appeal. However I strongly recommend buyers to refrain for at least 5 years as I believe the 2015 red Burgundy wines will be a delight and show remarkable complexity, especially from 2025 -2050. I could be wrong but I do not believe they will close down totally, as the 2005 vintage has and still is ! There will be price increases but this is a really outstanding vintage and a `must buy’ for red burgundy lovers worldwide.

A quick word about the highly promising 2016 vintage which has been seriously affected by frost. The villages of Chassagne Montrachet, parts of Meursault, Savigny les Beaune and Marsannay have been particularly hard hit resulting in very little and in some cases no yields. In comparison Vosne Romanee, Morey Saint Denis and Gevrey Chambertin suffered considerably less and the good news is that good quantities were produced from the unaffected vineyards.

Which leads me to have some reservations on the pricing of the 2015 vintage as those domains with very small harvests in Chassagne Montrachet, Meursault and Chambolle Musigny may take a view that they must increase their prices for 2015 to compensate for the predicted losses of revenue with the 2016 harvest. Once their neighbours see the price increases, they are likely to follow suit.
However there is no question that there will be serious worldwide demand for the 2015 vintage, particularly for the red wines, as quality levels are really high despite the reduced levels of production.

The Rare and Fine Wine Company will begin releasing prices for the 2015 vintage from February 2017.