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17. A Burgundy Vintage Chart

RED
WINE
00 01 02 03 **
04
05 06 07 08 09 10 **
11
12 13 14 2015
Average 14 16 17 14 12 19 16 15↑ 15 18 17 14 17 16 16 (18)
Best 17 19 19 18 15 20 19 18 19 19 20 18 20 19 18 (20)
Worst 10 11 13 10 08 14 13 11 09 14 11 10 13 13 14 (14)
WHITE
WINE
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 2015
Average 16 15 17 11 16 17 15 17 18 16 17 17 17 17 18 (16)
Best 19 18 19 15 19 18 18 20 20 19 20 19 19 18↓ 20 (18)
Worst 14 13 14 08 12 15 11 13 14 13 15 13 14 15 16 (13)

**2011 reds, like 2004, you really have to refer to this.
*Vintages in red, drink-up to minimise oxidation issues.
(As always, based on decent producers, because even in good years, the worst are to be avoided!)

Version 1.70 – Sept 2017
Updated based on most recent experiences, and adding the latest (2015) vintage. Scores in bold have changed by one point (in the arrow direction) since the previous version.

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

Vintage Charts…

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 Chablis 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 that 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!

45 responses to “17. A Burgundy Vintage Chart”

  1. JossNOTJosh

    Brilliant. An intelligent vintage chart. Thank you.

  2. Fionn

    Great stuff! This is very handy as a cross reference to vintages and quality. It certainly leaves me thinking I should be drinking much more better 2007 whites now.

    Fionn

  3. Phil Eaves

    Bill, not a lover of 2003 white then ?

  4. Burgundy 2008 | LARRY McPINOT'S VIEW

    […] 2008 was tricky for much of France and Burgundy was no exception. With a cool, wet spring flowering was not ideal with resulting yields between 5-6% down. Mildew also developed due to the damp conditions and hail also put in an appearance damaging up to 70% of some vineyards. As a generalisation, whites seem to have fared better than reds with Chardonnay cleaner than the Pinot Noir which suffered some botrytis infections, but September saw cool breezes which helped dry the fruit out, before a good warm period that ripened the grapes for vintage. As always in difficult vintages there will be some gems to ferret out. For a very detailed and useful guide to the vintages of Burgundy (and a whole lot more information on Burgundy in general) click here […]

  5. Philip

    I suppose the dissappointment is that it gives no indication of readiness. The best of the red 2005, in my view, shouldn’t be touched for quite a while.

  6. Claude Kolm

    I’m surprised by your dropping 2007 whites, Bill. Maybe because I don’t taste at the bottom of the heap, but for me, it’s the greatest young white vintage I’ve ever experienced, and several producers have enthusiastically agreed when I said that to them.

    I’m also (but somewhat less) surprised by your dropping the 2004 whites. Again, maybe I just don’t taste as widely as you do, but I’ve had several lovely examples in the last few weeks. 2005 whites, OTOH, is a touch high to my palate, although I can understand it for others. Also, if you get lucky enough to some of the 2003 Montrachets, I think you’d find justification for raising the upper limit for 2003 whites.

    Best,
    Claude

  7. Marilyn Hulme

    I bought a bottle of red wine many years ago,i liked it so much i bought a case and gave it to friends.The problem is..I
    cannot remember what the wine was called only that the label
    had musical score as a background.Can you help?

  8. Brady

    Unrestrict yourself Bill! Who cares that you haven’t tasted barrel samples of older vintages. Surely you have an opinion of the vintages of the 90’s, and probably 80’s too! Then your color-coded readiness-to-drink version would have more green than red. Just calibrate it at premier and grand cru.

    Just do it! 🙂

  9. kmm

    Bill –

    I very much enjoy your site! Does the “2004 drink up to minimize oxidation issues” include Chablis? I have yet to have a premox Chablis from ’04… Sadly, I have had two from ’07!

    Maybe you could change the premox font color from red to a golden straw color:)

    kmm

  10. Tom Blach

    I am also not anticipating a lot of 03 Montrachet(though I did taste a remarkably feasible 84 Bouchard at lunch) but the Laguiche 03 a few weeks ago was remarkable in its linearity and detail, and I think it will last for ever. Though I’m out of the white Burgundy game many higher level 03s are starting to seem far from the car crash they were a couple of years back.

  11. kmm

    I opened an ’04 Fevre ‘Les Clos’ over the weekend, it was absolutely wonderful with zero signs of premox. I think there is still more to come and I feel like there is no rush to open another one!

    I like to gamble…

  12. Jon Purcell

    Best Burgundy Vintage Chart I have ever seen. Thank you Bill.

  13. patti

    I have a bottle of Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils
    Appellation Nuits Saint Georges Controlee
    Red Burgundy Wine vintage 2000
    Is this wine still good? It has been stored on it’s side in a cool place. I have no idea what it was or is worth so I’m not sure if it’s still good. Please advise me as to what you think.

  14. alex bernardo

    Hi Bill

    This is like, everything’s nice and convivial then you turned on the radio, so of course an argument breaks ’cause everyone has a favorite station! Seriously, I don’t taste as wildly, er widely as you 🙂 but I think we agree most on 2006 reds. Thanks. Great job!

    Best
    Alex

  15. Richard

    Hi Everyone,

    I wonder if anybody can help me by recommending an excellent 2006 and 2008 Burgundy which will last and really mature for 18 to 21 years. This is for my children so that we can have something Very special on thier birthdays.
    It would be crazy for me to be specific. However I do love Pommard.
    I’d appreciate your advice and knowledge.

    Regards,

    Richard

  16. Simon Paul

    Richard, For what it’s worth here’s my suggestion: Domaine Jerome Chezeaux, Gevrey Chambertin Les Suchots for 2006 and 2008. I just bought the 2006 and 2009 for less than 50 euros a bottle. Both should go at least 20 years.

  17. Simon Paul

    Sorry Richard: that should be Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots.

  18. Simon Paul

    Richard, just checked but Bill has no reviews on this producer. Here’s a link from one US reviewer: http://www.bourgogne-vigne-verre.com/pdfs_des_revues_de_presse/robert_parker_issue_194_avril_2011.pdf

  19. annual vintage chart update

    […] Vintage Chart updated today… […]

  20. Dr Burgundy

    Following the London Burgundy 2011 tastings, I have a lot of concern about the Cote de Nuits reds. Seems like a combination of 2007 with problematic hints of 2004. By contrast, some of the Cote de Beaune reds from better producers are enjoyable. Tasted young, the 2011s are far below the quality of the 2010s. Like other years with limited sunshine: buy from more southerly vineyards, with southerly expositions, from top quality producers.

  21. Paul Doust

    i’ve got a copy of the book “The Finest Finest of Burgundy”, and just inside the front cover there’s a different vintage chart, Why is there a different type of vintage chart in print compared to the web site? Just curious! For completeness, perhaps you should have both on the web site?

  22. michael salomone

    For Richard, who is putting down ’06 and ’08, I would suggest Bouchard Le Corton in both years as well as Faiveley’s Clos des Cortons. For ’08 also try Philip Leclerc Gevery 1er crus Cazetiers or le Combe aux Moines. There is lots of high end stuff that will make that 21 year slog too, but these wines are available and you will still have some cash left over for the kiddies’ college fund! What ever you lay down, it will be best in a large format bottle, and the bigger the better.

  23. Stephen White

    I have found your vintage chart quite useful, please keep updating it. It is not a question of slavishly following such a chart, but rather using it as one more piece of evidence to use in putting together a best guess about things I am considering buying on a pre-arrival basis. For example, I see Francis Carillon Bourgogne Blanc on pre-arrival sale at a good price. At present, there are no tastings I can find. But I have greatly enjoyed Carillon’s 2010 BB. If you were to post a reasonably strong number for 2012 whites, I likely would take the plunge. I fully realize that my best guess may not turn out well, but, hey, that’s life. I certainly won’t blame you. Finally, you website as a whole is great, as is your book. Keep up the wonderful work.

  24. the burgundy vintage chart – updated with 2012…

    […] There, that’s one thing off the to-do list: […]

  25. Gilberto

    Thanks for the update Bill.
    From various reports at the London EP tastings I was starting to get the impression that the first very positive comments about 2012 had to be tuned down a bit. From what I was gathering, there was no question that 2012 is inferior to 2010 and perhaps closer to 2011 than originally thought.
    But now you put 2012 even above 2010, so I am quite confused (which is not necessarily a bad thing…).

  26. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2011 | Tomas's wine blog

    […] Nanson of Burgundy Report keeps a very good vintage chart that tends to overlap my own impressions fairly well. He has given 2011 a warning marker for […]

  27. Gilberto

    Hi Bill,
    always interesting to look back at your vintage chart whenever you remind us that it exists! 😉
    What I happened to notice this time is that the average of the average scores of the whites is higher than that of the reds. Would you say it’s a matter of personal taste or the fact that recent vintages have been more favourable for whites?
    (By the way, the average of the best is basically the same, but that is less significant).

  28. nick21

    Bill,
    vintage charts are a no win situation for the author, I don’t think anyone would dispute that. Your attempt is as good as any I have seen, but as you say, they don’t account for too much.
    never-the-less, having seen a broad spectrum of red wines from the 10 and 12 vintages, I find it hard to believe anyone could rate them equal. 2010 by a fair margin, in my humble opinion. 2012 has it’s place, they will make great drinking over the next two decades, but I cannot see more than a handful of wines being touted as “classic Burgundy” 30 years from now, whereas there are a boat-load of such wines from 2010.
    would it be fair of me to assume you have rated 2012 highly because they will have wonderful immediate and mid-term appeal?
    cheers, and I will hasten to add this is not a criticism of what i consider to be a truly excellent attempt at an impossible task!!!

  29. Stephen

    I have some dauvissat-Camus sechet 2006 Chablis recently bought at auction. So far two bottles were delightful but a third started to oxidise as it was drunk. Beware 2006 indeed

  30. Lars Simonsen

    Hi Bill, now picking seems to be over, so how about an update of the vintage chart? I mean, we don’t want you to sit on your hands not knowing what to do! 🙂

  31. updated vintage chart – v.1.7

    […] 17. A Burgundy Vintage Chart […]

  32. Markydb

    Vintage charts of which this is the best one I’ve ever encountered are always problematic because Burgundy is problematic with as many exceptions as rules. So when I tasted an 07 Bourchard MP that makes me weep with joy followed by other 07 MPs that are tired and flaccid I just accept that this is the passion I have chosen. So I guess I’ll just have to keep showing up every day to taste, work hard to taste a broad spectrum and choose wisely and then hope to get lucky, because when you do…..

  33. Bernie and Michele

    Very worthy update to your vintage chart! And in the scheme of things covers the vagaries of producer, picking time etc very well. I just about agree entirely with your rankings🤓🤓. Agree entirely about 2007 reds, just keep getting better and wonderful acidity. Whereas 2008 becoming more problematic, some reds starting to look tired, oxidised, yet the best have long lives ahead….
    Beware 2013 whites, I have had two 1er crus recently that were well on the road to premox, butterscotch and curiously dry finish….. It’s not over yet!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?