(english version) 2016 vintage : a great catastrophy yet a great surprise

There are twenty days left before the 156th auction of wines of the famous Burgundian institution (20 November in the hall of the Hospices de Beaune).
The gold foliage of harvested vines offers us this wonderful show which gave its name to Côte-d’Or. The harvest in 2016 was vinified and put in the barrels by Ludivine Griveau, stage manager at the Hospices de Beaune since 2015 (click here to read).

Phew … Because damn, THAT was a challenging year !

2016: chaotic weather & cold sweat

2016  hit a whole generation of winemakers. From ancient memory, we had not seen it since 1981. After a particularly mild winter, thousands of hectares of vines have been literally « grilled » by a gel shot, the famous night of April, 27th. Frozen buds have not survived to the warm rays of bright sunshine (magnifying effect) at dawn. Remember, the areas of Chablis vineyards have even sprinkled water to create a shell of ice able to protect the future flowers. Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Champagne were the most affected regions.

The winemakers-growers of the Côte de Beaune appellations with Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet, Beaune, Pommard, Savigny les Beaune, Chorey Les Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses (non-exhaustive list) and the Hautes Côtes de Beaune payed a very heavy price for this.
And that was only the beginning …

A burst of hail fell on the Chablis region, Pouilly Fuissé and on several Beaujolais Crus. Nearly 80% of Chiroubles appellations were wiped off the map. Spring and early summer, very wet, were conducive to the development of late blight and mildew. Part of the harvest was, again, lost. In mid-July the wine industry professionals were hopeless.

« The harvest will be small in volume, this year, and if it rains again, there will be nothing to harvest in 2 months! « , some say…

In August, the hot and very dry weather turned the lower leaves to yellow, a sign of suffering from lack of water. We definitely had it all…

And suddenly, a miracle !

Nature is remarkable in the fact that nothing is ever finished.
Few tens of millimeters of water fell in early September, enough for vegetation to grow again,  and the grapes began to swell. The beautiful dry and clear weather returned and saved the vintage. The volumes still remain very low, but the beautiful quality of the harvest gave back a big smile to Burgundy.

 What about the Hospices de Beaune wines ?

Frozen areas are numerous on the field Hospices. The satisfaction will come from a remarkable harvest quality and the Côte de Nuits area, almost completely saved.
The two great absent: the Meursault wines « Goureau » and Savigny 1er cru « Arthur Girard » were completely frozen in April.
Many wines will decrease in terms of volumes, including: Batard-Montrachet and Chablis 1er Cru (1.5 each piece *), Volnay 1er cru-Santenots « Massol » (7 rooms), Meursault « Loppin » (7 rooms), Meursault Poruzots 1 (4 pieces), the list goes on.
A wine is born: Corton great white Cru « Docteur Peste » (3 pieces)

* 1 piece = 228 liters.

In total, 596 pieces will be sold. It’s a bit more than the previous year, but less than a normal year of sale which may count nearly 900 pieces of wine.

Ludivine Griveau’s noze

After a first successful year in 2015 at the head of Hospices de Beaune wineyard, Ludivine Griveau is being expected. She vinified very good wines last year and must confirm its performance of 2015. Being a young vineyard manager is not easy … even less when one is in control of the vineyard of the Hospices de Beaune.

Ludivine Griveau has decided to save the harvest by applying in spring very few synthesis treatments (3) – which are not usually used on the Hospices de Beaune organic vineyards. She payed a tribute to the tenacity and professionalism of the wine-grower who have cultivated plots made very difficult by the weather.

The result is there, and it is beautiful: « The grapes are great, » she said publicly, supported by Jasper Morris, new Master of Wine for Christie’s: « 2016 ? This is a good vintage! I chewed very good grapes, i smelled the tanks: beautiful aromas, floral, fruit.  »

First tasting : the live !

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We deliver you a first overall impression of the quality of the 2016 vintage at Hospices de Beaune. The next tasting is scheduled. At the end of it, we will tell you our priority vintages.

For now, our tastebuds are seduced by this fruity vintage. Ludivine Griveau well identified out the spirit of 2016 and practiced shorter vinification. A smart choice. The red wines have a beautiful fruit, as we like them with great brilliance and purity.

An other quality of the wines will be the great beauty of mature tannins,  very tight and silky. The « hit » of mouth is simply splendid. The problem of the « volatile » scent is completely solved!

White wines have not yet finished « their sugars »: indigenous yeast seem a little slower this year, no problem, we will wait. Aromatics are free and of high quality, as are the lies that will feed their wine throughout the  ageing.

Ludivine Griveau can feel relieved : her second vintage is impeccably vinified. The wines are very homogeneous : back in 2015 we noticed a record number of « purchasable » wines. In 2016, it will be difficult to eliminate vintages from our list … It confirms the confidence that Antoine Jacquet, Director of the Hospices de Beaune, who died recently, had placed in her (read here).

We give you an appointment by mail next week, after our next tasting and will book the premiere of our selection and a first estimate of the subscription price.

Do not hesitate to come back to us directly if you have any questions about the subscription.

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