Optimism high as Burgundy 2018 offers both quantity and quality

Optimism high as Burgundy 2018 offers both quantity and quality

How the Burgundy 2018 vintage is shaping up, with comments from DRC co-owner Aubert de Villaine.

Burgundy 2018 is set to be a relatively large vintage and several top producers are optimistic about the quality of fruit heading into the cellar.

Crucially, the hail cannons largely fell silent. ‘There have been few interruptions for rain and thankfully no hail, so the crop is large as well as of high quality,’ said Clive Coates MW on his harvest blog.

In general, a hot and dry summer helped to ripen grapes after a wet spring. Harvest took place early and under ideal conditions for many.

Not that Burgundy’s 2018 growing season has been free of complications.

Growers have had to fight against mildew all through the year, like producers in many other parts of France, too.

‘We had a hot and wet spring with a very fast start to vegetation,’ said Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Vosne-Romanée.

‘We have been fighting mildew. This is the first time we have had to stop de-budding to pick up the vine shoots to protect vines.’

Mildew’s presence was mixed, however.

‘We suffered from mildew in Vosne-Romanée [in the Côte de Nuits] but it had no impact on the Côte de Beaune,’ said de Villaine.

‘The yields for reds are around 30 hectolitres per hectare and are better in Côte de Beaune,” he said.

‘After spring we had a favourable season with rain at the right times, especially during the hottest periods. I think the vintage is getting closer to 2015 and 2003, even if we don’t have the very ripe side of 2003.’

Bernard Boisson, of Domaine Boisson-Vadot in Meursault in Côte de Beaune, said that 2018 ‘will be a great vintage; there is both quality and quantity’.

‘We have beautiful acidity, a bit low in some plots, but this depends on the vineyard strategy. And there are gorgeous menthol notes.

‘According to older winemakers, this vintage is similar to 1959. For me, I think it is closer to 1982.’

Fresh forecasts from the French government’s agreste agency have said that an area described as ‘Burgundy and Beaujolais’ should see a 21% increase in production in 2018 versus last year, at close to 2.7 million hectolitres. One hectolitre equals 100 litres.

That’s also around 20% bigger than the average harvest for the previous five years, although a qualifier must be that this arbitrary region created by bureaucrats is vast; also taking in the Rhône.

Extra reporting and editing by Chris Mercer.

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