I have tasted quite a lot of 2017s over the last few weeks and have rarely enjoyed en primeur tastings as much. Forward and aromatic are two words that are going to be used to describe the 2017 vintage in Burgundy. I would add ‘joyous’ to the list. Weather-wise, it was a hot year. Indeed, after 2003 and 2018, it is the hottest year on record (remember the heatwave across Europe which went by the name of Lucifer?). However, whilst heat helps with ripeness (and therefore fruit), this can be at the expense of structure, especially acidity which is, perhaps, the most important structural element in Pinot Noir wines.
Not to worry, the wines are finely structured too, balanced with depth of fruit to age but most can drink well young (certainly younger than the more obviously tannic 2015s and acidic 2016s). It is said (of Burgundy, at least) if a wine is good in youth, it will always be good (Henri Jayer).
Generally, Burgundy returned to normal yields in 2017 with growers reporting a very generous crop, necessitating lots of green harvesting. Despite the region returning yields 8.9% above the five year average, unusually, in parts of Givry the Joblots saw production reduced due to freezing weather in the early part of the growing season. This means we are unable to offer any Cellier aux Moines in 2017 which is a shame as it is always one of our favourite cuvees. However, Clos Marole has stepped up well this year and, of course, Servoisine, and Bois Chevaux remains fine boned, the most delicate of the various wines.
Terroir-focused delicacy – this means the different premier cru wines of Joblot, which always reveal a sense of place, really shine this year and the fantastic new blend of the various crus, ‘L’Empreintes’ is a lesson in what a top producer can achieve in a supposedly lowly appellation. A recent tasting of the 2016 L’Empreintes revealed a wine that has grown considerably over the last year and can seriously rival its more prestigious northern counterparts (except in price, of course – a good Premier Cru from Gevrey-Chambertin will cost at least £75 these days).
Of the wines below, Servoisine offers structure, Clos Marole has the blackest fruit character whilst the lighter raspberry-fruited Bois Chevaux is also the most delicate. All are top flight Pinot and show how the great wines of the Chalonnaise should never be overlooked, especially at a time when Cote d’Or wines continue to escalate in price.