White Burgundy

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2021 – a difficult, small, frost-ridden vintage means these wines will always be hard to find, but the few there are, achieve good quality. A generally cool year yielded light to mid-weight wines, with moderate alcohols and a firm core of minerality. These are resoundingly classical white Burgundies although perhaps lack the stuffing for long term aging.

2020 – in spite of the warmth of the year, these wines are excellent representations of the likely future of white Burgundy: ripe but dry, with excellent phenolic grip and linear acidity. There is ample tension and energy without the occasional over-ripeness witnessed in 2018 and 2019. 2020s are certainly the best wines since 2017, and succeed particularly well in capturing terroir differences.

2019 – a warm summer yielded attractive, concentrated white Burgundies, with focused fruit and sufficient acidity and minerality. They lack the drive or purity of the 2017s or 2020s, but most drinkers will enjoy the combination of fruit and freshness that the wines show.

2018 – too hot a year for really successful white wines; the best nonetheless show considerable concentration of ripe, even sweet-tasting fruit, pleasant structure and some acidity. Most of the 2018s should be drunk on the younger side while the fruit remains fresh; finish them by 2026.

2017 – a gorgeous white Burgundy vintage, showing freshness, tension, minerality and terroir expression; second only to 2014 in this decade. You can certainly drink the Premiers Crus today, although wait until 2025 for the Grands Crus.

2016 – a small, frost-affected vintage produced a small crop of slightly sweet-tasting, soft wines; drink up.

2015 – quite a warm vintage, but the whites are very respectable, with pleasant terroir expression although a little heavy. Drink now.

2014 – a benchmark white Burgundy vintage; the wines are of excellent concentration and finesse, with a searing mineral core and linear tension. Premiers Crus are going strong today, while the Grands Crus are just getting into their stride.

2013 – some botrytis among the grapes give this vintage a strange profile, at once sweet tasting but with conspicuous acidity. Any wines still remaining should be drunk up.

2012 – a powerful, structured vintage for the whites (as for the reds). The sheer concentration makes these wines impressive, although they lack the lissome profile of the 2014s or 2017s. Nonetheless, the aging potential is certainly there for the Grands Crus.

2011 – for many years a very attractive drinking vintage, with excellent freshness and terroir expression. Many wines are beginning to tire now, but Premiers and Grands Crus from the best producers will keep for another five years at least.

2010 – long thought of as a great white vintage, the wines have disappointed in recent years. They simply lack the concentration to be numbered among the best years, and are tiring rapidly. Drink up.

Older notable vintages

2008 – excellent across the board; concentrated, powerful and fresh.

2004 – the success of Chardonnay in Champagne in this vintage is replicated further south; well stored 2004s can be stunning wines today.