After the big structure of the reds in 2015 and 2016, Burgundy 2017 will be noted for the round, silky tannins of the Pinots, the fact that producers didn’t over-crop and that, after a couple of warmer vintages, 2017 was a return to a more classic style of red Burgundy. The whites – from Chablis to the Côte d’Or – have a nice balance between ripeness and tension. Here’s Bibendum’s wine buyer Robert Mathias’ take on the 2017 vintage.
The whites are drinkable now but have what it takes for mid-term ageing and is a welcome return to form for premium on-trade buyers.
Stylistically speaking, the wines of 2017 are very welcome to many on-trade buyers. Considering Chablis, while the frosts at the end of April had a significant effect on quantity across the region, the quality is very high. Following two less than classic vintages, 2017 shows a nice balance between ripeness, driven by the warmer end of the season, and ‘nervosity’.
It is a vintage worth seeking out, even though quantities are small. Tasting across many producers in November I was most impressed by the wines of Domaine Gilbert Picq, based in the village of Chicee. Didier Picq opts for fermentation in stainless steel with natural yeasts – his wines see no oak whatsoever. They are an amazingly pure reflection of the vintage and terroir of this small village.
Heading further south to the Côte d’Or, for the first time this decade there is good volumes. In particular the whites are generally noteworthy. While not having the same tensile acidity as a vintage like 2014, the whites of 2017 show balance. They present well now but in general have the material for at least mid-term ageing. It’s a vintage sure to please a lot of consumers, with utterly charming and precise fruit character, with a clear reflection of terroir.
One of the key variables was pick date, and with a number of showers over the cooler month of September, this sometimes did have an impact on concentration. Caroline Lestimé of Domaine Jean-Noel Gagnard speaks of excellent concentration and even a certain masculinity to both her red and whites in the village of Chassagne. The same can be said of her neighbour Thibault Morey of Domaine Morey-Coffinet who, after a devastatingly short 2016 vintage, produced some 1er Crus of impressive quality.
The reds from the Côte de Nuits are also stylistically certain to please many on-trade buyers. They offer an immediate charm that the bigger and more structured 2016 and 2015 vintages didn’t give so readily on release. Notably the tannin profile of many of the wines is well rounded and silky. With lower acidity than 2016, but with wonderful aromatics, the reds certainly are serious, yet difficult to resist pulling the cork straightaway. What the wines do have is a wonderfully pure fruit core.
A key danger, which the best producers managed to avoid, was over-cropping resulting in some dilution or diminished structure. Nonetheless, it is certainly a return to a more classic style of Pinot after a couple of blockbuster, warmer vintages.
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