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The 2004 vintage in Bourgogne - Pleasures awaiting discovery


2004 will go down in memory as a good year that took us by surprise. Weather conditions during the growing season were capricious and this, together with a heavy crop and slow maturation, militated against optimism. Hope was restored, however, by timely intervention on the part of the growers, who set about thinning the surplus crop, and on the part of the weather which produced a last-minute Indian summer (hot and dry) lasting from the first days of September through most of the harvest period.

To raise or preserve quality, the growers made frequent checks on maturity, plot by plot, and undertook strict triage both during picking and upon arrival of the newly-picked grapes at the winery. Despite this rigorous selection, however, yield was up on the average of the last five years. The quality of the 2004 wines varies widely according to situation, picking dates, and yield, but this is no more than a normal expression of the diversity of Burgundy's terroirs.

Broadly speaking, the 2004 reds are less dense than the 2003 but better express the traditional delicacy of the Pinot Noir. Colours are deep and vivid. Aromas are delicate and complex, comprising small red fruits (morello cherry), black fruits, and sometimes spices in the more concentrated cuvées. In the mouth, they are well-balanced, elegant, finely structured, and satisfyingly full-bodied. The 2004 reds have real charm and will very soon be giving pleasure to consumers.

The whites were in most cases picked after the reds and so enjoyed a maximum of beneficial warmth once the sun returned to its duty. In general they are spontaneous, straightforward, and of great purity. The aromatic palette is highly diverse, involving notes of citrus fruits, white flowers, ripe fruits (peach, apricot) and minerality, varying from case to case according to the nature of the soil and the concentration of the wine. In the mouth they have style and elegance with a good balance between mellowness and acidity which gives them real freshness and brings out their well-fruited personality.

In whites and reds alike, the 2004 vintage is all fruit and delicacy, freshness and balance. The wines can be drunk relatively early (before the 2002 vintage). Many cuvées will be found to have pleasant surprises in store after some years in bottle.