本案内書の紹介文は、いつもどおり二部構成になっています。イタリックで書かれている最初の部分は生産者の概要で、その造り手を初めて知る皆様にとっては有用でしょう。後半は、ヴィンテージについての簡潔なコメントです。しっかりと内容を読みこまれる方は、今年は複数の書き手がいることに気が付かれることでしょう。ワイン･ディレクター Mark Pardoe MWの助力と、同僚Will Heslopのお陰であることを書き添えておきます。
The 2016 vintage in Burgundy will almost certainly be remembered for terrible frost on 27th April. However, while much of the growers' talk this autumn was of diminished volumes, the focus quickly and invariably shifted to the excellent quality of the wines. Speaking to the growers, tasting over a period of weeks and months, it became clear that this is a vintage which has developed slowly in barrel and tank, gradually gaining in complexity and depth, as though the wines had initially been stunned by the trauma of the frost. What has emerged is delightful; 2016 has given wines with real charm, classic Burgundian profiles and a complexity which at the top end hints at serious ageing potential.
The question of volumes is inescapable; while we have been well looked after by suppliers thanks to our longstanding relationships, there are many instances where volumes are limited. Should you wish to buy, please contact your Account Manager as soon as possible. Additionally, prices have increased for two reasons: the continued weakening of Sterling, and the catastrophic frost and hail in 2016, as well as 2017 in Chablis.
With such pressure on both prices and volumes, 2016 is the time to look beyond the bigger names and consider lesser-known villages such as Marsannay, Santenay, St Romain and Auxey-Duresses.
As is customary, every producer receives a double introduction. The first part, in italics, is an overview which may be useful to those coming to our producers for the first time. The second part offers a brief commentary on the vintage. The more eagle-eyed may note there are a number of different voices this year, which is thanks to the assistance of our Wine Director Mark Pardoe MW, and my colleague Will Heslop, both of whom have provided excellent tasting notes.
The catastrophic frost damage incurred on 27th April will define the vintage, but there was also hail in the southern sector of the Mâconnais a fortnight earlier, and two instances in Chablis on 13th and 17th May. The extent of the frost varied wildly, with some parcels being completely destroyed, while neighbouring vines remained untouched. Only Santenay, Puligny-Montrachet and Morey-St Denis escaped relatively unscathed.
Spring was wet and cool, opening the door for mildew, which hit weakened vines hardest and tested growers, particularly those practising organic viticulture. Just in time, the weather picked up from mid-July, with warm and dry conditions lasting through August, and rain arriving when needed. September was dry and cool, with harvest taking place in optimum conditions. Thankfully, the season's extreme climatic events had limited impact on the quality of fruit, with very little sorting required.
A detailed report on growing conditions is available at bbr.com/burgundy2016.
The white wines
The white wines generally have a fresher, more classic feel than their richer 2015 counterparts. Some frost-affected vineyards display a more angular profile, but many of these filled out over the course of the autumn barrel tastings and will continue to do so with further élevage. The very best white wines will come close to matching those of the 2014 vintage. While the Chablis crop was particularly small, the wines are generally very good and offer more of the classic marine characteristics than last year.
The red wines
The overall quality of the red wines is more consistent than the whites, with interest at all quality levels. Across the board, the wines display an unmistakably Burgundian Pinot Noir fruit character. They offer a beguiling paradox of initial rich fruit on the front of the palate and succulent acidity on the finish, leaving one delightfully perplexed as to whether this is a warm or cool vintage. The very best wines are the equal of the 2015s, albeit in a style that will appeal more to the traditional Burgundy drinker.
• A small vintage of excellent quality
• Classical Burgundies of both colours
• Reds more consistent than whites
• Prices have risen; but the wines are worth it