Wines from the Côte d’Or:
- **2011 reds, like the 2004 reds, you really have to refer to this.
- *White vintages – everything older than 2011 – ie most of them! – drink-up to minimise oxidation issues. This issue is DEFINITELY not yet fixed. NOTE that if your wines are sealed with DIAM (or similar) then you can justifiably (empirically) have more confidence in the bottles – see here. Also, whilst others have reported issues, I’ve yet to meet an oxidised magnum – going as far back as 2002 in the last 5 years…
(As always, based on decent producers, because even in good years, the worst are to be avoided!)
Wines from the Chablis:
- You may note that no vintages are marked in red as ‘drink-up’. This reflects my experience of significantly less oxidation in the Chablis that I open – is that down to a little cooler climate or more use of DIAM versus the Côte d’Or? – Who is to say…(?) Still, if you are serious about long-term storing of whites, as above, you need to read this [subscribers]
Wines from the Beaujolais:
*Not barrel tasted – the scores are based on bottles…
The ‘versions’ of this page
Version 1.90 – March 2020
Côte d’Or updated based on most recent experiences, and adding the latest (2018) vintage. And, of-course, also updating the tables for both Chablis and Beaujolais which were mainly bottled when tasted so my scores are not in brackets. The Côte d’Or whites in particular show the difficulty of generalised scores – there are 2018 whites that are absolutely 19/20 – so you may think that at the top-end, the quality of the vintage is the same as in 2017. Actually there are far fewer 19/20 wines in 2018 than in 2017 – but hey!
Version 1.80 – February 2018
Version 1.70 – Sept 2017
Version 1.60 – Sept 2016
Version 1.50 – March 2015
Version 1.40 – January 2014
Version 1.30 – December 2012
Version 1.20 – November 2011
Version 1.10 – November 2010
Version 1.00 – January 2010
(Written in 2010 for version 1.0)
I thought that you didn’t like vintage charts? : It seems like forever that I’ve been telling you that vintage charts are close to useless. The standard approach of a particular number of stars, or marks out of 10 etc., per vintage, could never and will never encapsulate the ‘what-ifs’ of burgundy.
Despite that, or maybe in spite of that(!), it has become a regular theme in my mailbox – okay regular is relative, but it’s a couple of questions or requests every month (eh, DC…?). During the summer, one mail was essentially phrased – ‘but what if you had to?‘ Well, I’ve thought about it, and concise is still out of the window, but here is an early ‘work in progress’ shot at a solution.
What about vintages? : You will say that I’m missing a lot of vintages, and that’s true, I’ve restricted myself only to vintages that I’ve tasted from barrel and have continued to follow their development.
And the numbers? : Marked out of 20 – I have decided to give you three; the top one is an average (in my opinion) for the vintage, but alone, and even as an average, that won’t help you get a feel for the vintage – you still need some idea of the gap between the best wines and the disappointing ones, the ‘spread’ if you like – i.e. your relative chance of hitting a good one or a bad one, blind – with those additional two numbers the table is now starting to offer some limited value, but unknown labels will forever remain a game of roulette.
What it doesn’t do? : It doesn’t do a lot; it doesn’t differentiate between Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits (or Hautes Côtes or Côtes Chalonnaise etc., etc.), it doesn’t differentiate the good producers who failed or excelled in a particular vintage, it also doesn’t tell you that despite the first 4 from 5 white vintages ‘peaking’ at 19/20 possible points (ouch I hate points) that the characters of each are totally different – some may be to your taste, some not. It’s also (at best) a snapshot, as vintages can evolve in unexpected directions – what comes out of a bottle is a moving target – with every update I expect some scores to improve and others to slide…
So do I now believe a vintage chart for burgundy is possible? Well in my heart no – but for those people who counter with ‘anything is better than nothing’, I’ll revisit this every twelve months (or so). If you have some bright ideas to make it better, whilst retaining portability, then do get in touch – none of that NIH syndrome here!