"Extraordinary," said Decanter. "Best vintage since 2010," said Forbes. Tim Atkin was a little more subdued, "a very good to great vintage for reds." But, Janicis Robinson went further, "Seriously impressive," she wrote.
If you read about Burgundy you know that there's a gushing about the vintage 2015.
I have a history of being odd man out. I don't know why I see the world differently, it could be a curse, but I do.
I loved the tannic 1998. I loved 2006. I found the weird vintages of 2007 (difficult and rot plagued) and 2011 particularly charming.
And as far as the famed 2005? Jancis Robinson wrote. "In general all the wines are charming, truly succulent and they faithfully express their origins. Can one ask for more?" Alan Meadows had proclaimed it, "One of the great Burgundy vintages of this century for Pinot Noir," but for me? Not so much. Not at release and not ten years on.
I have no idea why my colleagues gushed about it. But in politics and vintages are controversial, even if from our vantage points the truth seems obvious. For myself, I can add it to the incredibly difficult (for me and my wine glass) 2003 and 2009 vintage. It was confounding to me how this could have been acclaimed. Yet, unlike the '03 and '09, '05 still hasn't budged. It reminds me of one of these melons that arrive in the market that go from unripe to rotten. I know, that's harsh. I'm not saying they're rotten, but they just don't yield. And I am afraid that when and if they finally loosen their seams, they'll die before they live.
So, why? 2005 was also a very solar vintage. And solar in Burgundy, when that's all you get, makes for the kind of wine that is the opposite of the kind of nuance we want when we go to this hallowed strip of the Cote d'Or. I remember in June of 2005, meeting with Philippe Pacalet. Now, he's not a vigneron but as we went to taste in his cellar he voiced his fears. "The sun, it's too much for the vines," he said. He was mostly correct.
Those who worked the vineyard in both '05 and '15 as if they were in a cloudy, cool vintage... failed. Those who worked by rote: leaf-pullings, fruit dropping, over hedging, extraction and destemming made, to me, charmless wines. In vintages like that stem inclusion and/or whole cluster--with a few exceptions--seemed to help the wines. It's like putting on a hat for shade.
As I hinted, even ten-years on, I was still contemplating the vintage when confronted with over 100 examples to taste.
I thought, now's the time I will understand. Out of those 100 only a handful pleased me, and more reds than whites. They were from both Beaune and the Nuits. The sun didn't cause sun-stroke in the wines. I found complexity and a depth.Where the great majority--from very well-considered estates-- so many others were stunted by the tannin-- not the structure--these had a window open and vibrancy. Certainly not a vintage light on its feet, but I felt the best of the vintage, had the sun, sure, the tannins were unapologetic, sure, but instead of the opaque, there was the transparency I look for in my Burgundy.
Who were they?
de Montille, Mugnier, Lafarge, Dujac, Berthaud, D'Arlot, Chandon de Briailles, Rousseau, Jérôme Galeyrand, a little wine from Epineuil, from Dominique Gruhier. For the whites? Roulot was a standout as was Bonneau du Martray.
Here are some of the survivors....
And here you go.
So now we're at 2015?
As a vintage? Difficult.
Some great wines of pleasure? Without a doubt.
Who and how? Stay tuned-- coming to The Feiring Line soon. Subscribe!