The beginning of July marks the time when we descend upon Burgundy to get our first glimpse of the new vintage by tasting through the whites and the lighter styled reds from Chablis to Beaujolais (the wonders of the Côte d’Or come later in November).
The 2007 vintage was challenging to various degrees in many parts of France. The summer was cooler and rainier than average. Yet, like elsewhere, Burgundy experienced an Indian summer with warm temperatures and a pronounced northern wind that dried out the damp vineyards and concentrated the grapes. The timing of the picking seems to be paramount as those growers who were determined to wait for better ripeness tended to produce the wines with the most flavour which also retained their natural acidity – very similar to white Bordeaux. In addition, due to this balance many growers think the 2007s will age nicely.
The Chablis growers that I visited – Brocard, BenoÃ®t Droin and Isabelle and Dénis Pommier – were very excited by their 2007s. This is a vintage which shows exceptional terroir. BenoÃ®t was one of the first to explain how 2007 really enhanced the differences in quality levels and vineyard sites. It is also more or less the antithesis of 2006 which often produced lush, fleshy wines. In 2007, the wines are focused, fantastically fresh and offer crunchy, racy fruit. Juicy peach seems to be the flavour of the day. They are a purist’s delight. This same character surfaced on the whites from the Côte de Beaune and the Côte Challonaise as well. It must be noted, however, that not all the wines were in perfect tasting condition as quite a few were flushed with fining agents. But their intensity was still present.
For the 2007 Beaujolais, they range from fine and focused (Brouilly from Domaine des Roches Bleues) to the lush and wonderfully sumptuous (Fleurie from Domaine de Robert). We look forward to retasting many in the autumn once the wines will have settled a bit more. This is a vintage to watch…