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Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise 2017 & 2016 Report on Consequences of Extreme Weather Conditions

The 2017 vintage in France proved to be one of the most low-yielding on record. Problems with a widespread spring frost, abundant hail, and extremely dry conditions during the summer worked mutually to make 2017 the worst harvest since 1945. Amazingly, the one area that managed to avoid these widespread afflictions was the coveted land in the Côte d’ Or. This may come as a surprise to some who followed the news during the growing season, which reported a second round of frost in Burgundy.

Unfortunately for them, Chablis was the only area in 2017 with significant frost damage.

2017 was an excellent vintage, for the most part, in the Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise. First and foremost, the yields were excellent, with most of our growers reporting higher production than in recent years – 2017 is the largest harvest since 2009. Also, our growers had mostly positive things to say about the quality of the wines: many growers compared them to 2015s with a bit higher acidity. Hail was also not a big problem in 2017, sparing the often-hit zone around Meursault and Volnay. Only Morey St. Denis reported hail damage in the northern section of the village – both Ligniers reported a 15 to 30% reduction in affected parcels.

Important Information:

GEORGE LIGNIER:

Marsannay Rouge 2016: this wine was not made in 2016 due to the frost. The small number of grapes he was able to harvest were added to the Bourgogne Rouge.

Marsannay Blanc 2016: did not make Marsannay Blanc due to frost damage.

Aligotè: 2016: this wine failed to finish its fermentation and is still carrying quite a few grams of sugar. Not wanting to sell a demi-sec Aligote, we are going to skip the ’16 and move on to the ’17.

Coteaux Bourguignons Blanc 2017: Benoit presented to us a Coteaux Bourguignons Blanc made from a .45ha parcel of Chardonnay below Morey St. Denis. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, the wine was nicely textured with a brisk minerality. Approximately the same price as the Aligotè. We are going to give this wine a second look in the fall. Stay tuned.

GHISLAINE BARTHOD:

2016 Frost: Among the hardest hit with frost among our vigneron in Burgundy, Ghislaine experienced the smallest harvest of career in 2016. Yields are down roughly 70% for the year, and she failed to produce “Combottes” and “Chatelots”. Prepare your clients who are lucky enough to receive allocations of the ’15 that there is going to be little to no wine next year.

 

ROLLIN:

2016 Frost: Rollin joins Barthod as perhaps the worst affected by the spring frost. Production is down about 70%. They made no Aligotè and no “Ile des Vergelesses” (first time they haven’t produced this wine since they purchased the parcel in 1932). Also, they were permitted to purchase grapes for the Hautes Cotes de Beaune Rouge and Blanc, because his vineyards were completely damaged by the frost. Both wines were sourced from a grower west of St. Aubin near Nolay.

 

CORNU:

2016 Bourgogne Blanc: Because of frost damage to this white grape parcel, Cornu combined all his surviving Chardonnay from Chorey, Ladoix, and Meursault and made 8 barrels (usually, he would have had 30 barrels of his three different whites) of Bourgogne Blanc.

2016 Savigny Rouge: not made because of frost damage.

2016 Ladoix “La Corvee”: also not bottled in 2016; the harvest was too small, and the trivial amount of grapes harvested were added to the Ladoix VV.

2015 Aloxe 1er Cru: because of low yields due to dry conditions, Pierre blended the Moutottes and Valozieres into one cuvee. It is approximately 1/3 Moutottes and 2/3 Valozieres.

BITOUZET:

2016: Because of the limited production of Meursault, he blended “Clos du Cromin” and “Corbins” to make one cuvee. Rougly 60% Cromin and 40% Corbins. This one time cuvee will be named “Climats de Glace”.

 

 

JEAN-MARC PILLOT:

2016 Bourgogne Blanc “Hauts des Champs”: because of frost damage in “Les Grands Champs”, Pillot used a nearby surviving parcel to make his Bourgogne Blanc. The location and character of this wine is very similar to our normal cuvee.

2016 Frost Loss: Jean-Marc lost about 70% of his chardonnay from the spring frost. Fortunately for us, our strong relationship has protected the quantity of our allocations. While we will receive less 2016 white, we will not see a 70% reduction in our allocation – for example the 900 bottles of “Vergers” we have on reserve is the entire production from this vineyard. Still, take note that there was no Chenevottes made in ’16.

2016 Chassagne Blanc Village: note that his usual parcel of “Les Chaumes” was not produced. The 2016 bottling will be made from a nearby parcel “Les Masures”, which rests just beneath the 1er Cru “Les Champs Gains”.

Rully for 2017: Jean-Marc has gained access (through an old army buddy) to two parcels in Rully “Les Raclot” and “Les Gaudoins”. He is only producing 4 barrels of each wine, so there will not be a lot.

Aligote for 2017: from a small 60r parcel from “Les Cornailles”, which is located below in Chassagne below “Morgeot”. Aged in stainless steel.

JACQUES CARILLON:

2016 Frost: If you can’t imagine what a smaller Carillon allocation might look like, you are about to find out. Production was down about 50% from normal levels. No Chassagne Village was produced.