What about the 2019 reds in the Côte de Nuits?
I had already tasted all the Côte de Nuits wines when I wrote my summary for the Côte de Beaune so was equally influenced by those wines. What is clear to me is that within their respective terroirs, both have performed very highly in 2019. Given the extra level of their grand crus it is no surprise that many of the greatest reds come from the Côte de Nuits:
Consistent, perfumed, seductively textured. Wines of clarity and fluidity, often airy despite their concentration, pure red-fruited wines – excellently showcasing their terroirs – this cemented for me by three super villages wines showed by Guillaume Tardy. The acidity isn’t ‘strong,’ it is rather ‘correct’ – we have tension.
In this vintage the wines of the Côte de Nuits have a similar level of attainment to their cousins, the reds of the Côte de Beaune – including the regional (Bourgogne) and villages level – though, of course, with many more spectacular grand crus to choose from
As in the Côte de Beaune, this is another fabulous vintage for regional wines and for wines from the Hautes Côtes. What was remarkable for me was how often the first wine in the tasting I rated as great wine for the label – these wines traditionally from areas with ‘marginal’ ripeness that have delivered great wines every year since 2015 – assuming they were not frosted.
Despite two heat-waves – the major, or hottest one, was before veraison, hence, 2019 managed to avoid the excesses of colour or volatility and the extra spice and darker fruit of the 2018 vintage – Chambolle 2019 is from another world vs the often poor wines I found in 2018. For sure, much riper – so sweeter – but here remains the combination of qualities that I haven’t seen since the 2010s. Many domaines suggest these are their best wines since 2015 – I think that underplays their quality – I think these wines better than 2015 and stick with my comparison to 2010 – of course with their intrinsic extra sweetness.
With a generalised 25% lower yield than in 2018, it remains a year of concentration, so the fluidity of the wines is remarkable, and the vast majority are ~13-14°.
I instinctively place this vintage as my new favourite from the modern (warm vintage) vernacular that began its series in 2015.
Who to follow
There are many ‘great’ or ‘bravo’ performances on the level of single wines; I invite you to discover those wines in each of the individual visit reports in this publication of my December visits. Rarer are the domaines where their products are so fabulously consistent that I would unhesitatingly take a mixed case of wine without knowing which bottles I would receive. These domaines deserve special mention, so alphabetically, my super-nine Côte de Nuits domaines for 2019 – completely ignoring the perspective of ‘value’ – are:
Clos des Lambrays
Clos de Tart
Arnaud & Sophie Sirugue-Noellat
A special mention is due to Bruno Clair – for the second vintage in a row, his Clos de Bèze was a wine of such perfume and class that it remains unforgettable to me.
Marsannay had virtually no summer rain – Gevrey had some and Morey St.Denis had the most of the Côte de Nuits – in fact, plenty – perhaps that’s why so many of my most high-performing and consistent domaines seemed to come from Morey St.Denis!
Figures courtesy the BIVB
As in the wider Côte d’Or, the volumes are comparable to those of the heavily frosted year of 2016, so lower than for any other of the new genre of warmer vintages – i.e. post-2014. Domaines were regularly between 25% and 50% down in volume versus their averages.
All report that it was a number of minor things such as frost or hail or poor flowering or the hot dry wind in drought conditions or the grapes grilled/raisined by the sun – all contributing a little, but in combination having a marked effect on the amount of juice.
For more specifics on the 2019 weather, see the section after the ‘grower comments.’
What the growers said…
Encapsulating the Côte de Nuits vintage:
“Fluidity is the word for the wines – for me, it has so much in common with 2010. I’ve hardly previously noted such a vintage where the music is so easy to hear – the terroir so easy to see. That brings me so much pleasure.”
“Roughly half a harvest. It was a succession of small things to blame that added up to a substantial deficit”
“Much nicer tannins than 2010 I think.”
“The gap between bud-break and flowering was the longest I’ve ever seen – it was because of the cold spring that we had to wait to harvest. The nights were cool too so we didn’t start until September 13th which is amazing given the heat of the summer.”
“It’s probably the first time that I’ve put wine in a barrel and thought ‘Oh I did well, these are good,’ as I’m very self-critical.”
“I think 2019, for reds, is practically the best vintage I ever made.”
“We have a year that’s positive for the quality, less than the average for the volumes but with density and fine texture. I think a great vintage.”
“It’s a vintage with the elegance and finesse that was certainly lacking for the most part for 2018, and excepting certain areas in 2017, has been lacking since at least 2015.”
“In Morey there was more rain than most of the rest of the côtes – only Chorey in the Côte d’Or had more rain in 2019. August saw the highest rainfall in the côtes here – we had two big storms. So we had no water stress.”
“Considering the recent warm vintages I find the balance remarkable”
“I think of 2018 as flamboyant and exuberant, 2019 is more discreet but longer, there’s also more purity and I think it better shows the climats today – I agree, it’s a modern 2010…”
Average and 2019 vintage weather…
Please scroll half-way down this page – it makes no sense to duplicate the content of other reports.