Mother Nature was tough on Burgundy in 2016. She naturally reduced yields with damaging frost and hail. For many experts the 2016 white Burgundies are the result of an outstanding, perfect combination, of ripeness, freshness and concentration. In some sub-regions the frost and hail reduced production by 30%, and in some areas up to 50%. This small production has yielded lively, intense, yet well balanced whites with great aging potential. Many 2016 white Burgundies merit our attention and should find their way into our cellars.
A few days ago @Les Conseillers du Vin a group of 16 experienced tasters analyzed seven (7) 2016 white Burgundies plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
Results: To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
The 2016 vintage suffered a very difficult growing season. Hail and frost reduced yields dramatically, but luckily heat and sun were quite present and ripened grapes perfectly, while cool nights preserved the necessary acid to assure balance and longevity. The overall quality level was excellent and in some instances, outstanding! Available in our market, many of these amazing whites offer lively acidity confirming their excellent aging potential.
For the group, one wine stood out: the Puligny 1er Cru Les Referts from Marc Morey with 23 pts. Surprisingly in second spot with 17 points was the mystery wine: Chardonnay 2016 Patz & Hall from the cool Sonoma Coast appellation. Only three (3) participants identified it as the odd man out! In third place with 14 points, the controversial Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir from Joseph Drouhin. Controversial, because it mesmerized many of the tasters. It was so intensely citrusy, that many thought it was the mystery wine. All of the wines displayed intensity, liveliness and amazing length and potential. 2016 will be remembered as an obvious success story for white Burgundy.
My top three wines were: 1- Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, Joseph Drouhin, 2- Puligny 1er Cru Les Referts, Domaine Marc Morey, 3- Savigny-les-Beaune Simon Bize & Fils. See my tasting notes below.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1- Saint Romain «Sous le Château», Domaine Morey-Coffinet (Group score: 5 pts) 51$
Typical fresh acidity. Mineral and fruity nose with a slight unfortunate hint of cork. Good intensity, balance and medium length. Slight bitter finish. My rating: 90+?/100
2- Savigny Les Beaune, Simon Bize & Fils (Group score: 4 pts) 61$
One of my favourite wines of the tasting. Lovely nose offering citrus and mineral scents. Quite full and intense for this appellation. Fresh acidity, superb balance and great length. Potential : 4 to 6 years. My rating: 93/100
3- Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Quarts, La Souffrandière-Bret Brothers (Group score: 11 pts) 81$
Seems to be made in a more natural/non intervention style. A bit of reduction on the nose with some apple. Typical refreshing acidity, good volume and extract for this Maconnais appellation. Should improve over the next 3 to 4 years. My rating: 90?/100
4- Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes, Domaine du Pavillon (Bichot) (Group Score: 8 pts) 118$
A bit disappointing for this prestigious 1er Cru from Meursault. Discreet nose, some refreshing acidity, but surprisingly light for a Meursault Charmes. Hint of bitterness on the finish. A bit austere. My rating: 89+?/100
5- Chardonnay 2016 Sonoma Coast, Patz & Hall, California (Group score: 17 pts) 65$
Surprisingly only three (3) participants identified it as the mystery wine. Well oaked, lots of ripe fruit, plus the typical lively acidity from the Sonoma Coast appellation. Lovely mouthfeel with intense long lasting flavours. My rating: 91/100
6- Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts, Domaine Marc Morey (Group score : 26 pts) 146$
The preferred wine of the tasting! Lovely nose displaying lots of fruit with mineral hints and just enough oak. Lively and elegant with an intense lingering finish. Good aging potential : 5 to 7 years. Surprising character and volume for Puligny. My rating: 94/100
7- Marsannay Les Champs Perdrix, Domaine Marc Roy (Group score: 5 pts) 64$
From a secondary appellation when it comes to fine whites, this excellent Marsannay will surprise the white Burgundy aficionado. The nose displays a great mix of floral, mineral and fruity scents. Elegant, intense and lively! Some potential: 3 to 5 years. My rating: 91+/100
8- Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, Joseph Drouhin (Group score: 14 pts) 103$
My favourite wine of the tasting. Intense nose of citrus and mineral scents. So intense that many participants (9) believed it was the mystery wine. Lively acidity and great balance. Intense flavours with a lengthy finish. Superb! Excellent potential : 6 to 10 years. My rating: 94+/100