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Thanks to some unusual weather conditions - which could be becoming the norm, given what happened in 2012 - the 2011 vintage is characterized by some delicious aromas and flavors.
These are wines to be enjoyed relatively young.
The weather for the 2011 vintage began spectacularly with a particularly warm and early spring, before giving way to a cool and rainy summer with periodic heavy storms. As is often the case, a sunny end to August “a fait le moût” or “made the juice”, as they say. For the third time in a decade, the harvests began in the last 10 days of August, with some very tricky logistics. Each plot had to be harvested as it reached perfect maturity, and the sunshine in early September and low rainfall meant patience was required. The grapes had to be painstakingly sorted but the high discard resulted in fruity, silky reds and whites that were bursting with energy.
Chablis and Auxerrois
Summer 2011 was changeable. June and August were particularly wet, and July and September saw little sunshine. Given these tricky conditions, winemakers had to be determined and extremely rigorous in order to produce such high-quality, seductive wines.
They are very aromatic wines with good minerality and offer balanced acidity on the tongue, a quality essential to Chablis. This acidity has a classic lemon twist without being tart. A touch of citrus and fresh, fruity notes of pear and apricot make these wines expressive and forthright. They will be ripe for drinking fairly quickly.
Some of the wines from these regions, which have a wonderful complexity and perfect structure, can wait a few years.
Côte de Beaune
Small yields resulting from the capricious spring weather meant the harvesting could wait until the grapes were perfectly ripe. With a more clement month of September and some strict sorting, the winemakers were graced with top quality grapes.
Overall, the wines are very aromatic, dominated by notes of both ripe and dried fruits. In the mouth, they are lively with perfect structure and offer breadth with consistency.
After a few months in the bottle, they will quickly soften up to reach a perfect balance. They offer very good keeping potential.
For the Côte Chalonnaise, 2011 will remain a gloomy year. The vines in the Montagny and Rully appellations were hit hard by hail. A few vines were, however, spared and went on to produce wines that are aromatic, smooth and fat, with perfect mouthfeel. The same goes for other appellations like Mercurey, Bouzeron and Givry, which were less hard hit and produced their usual yields.
These whites offer a fine balance between sugars and acidity which indicates good balance and liveliness on the nose. The aromas are expressive, with hints of almond, pear and toasted bread. The acidity is present but never unpleasant.
The Mâconnais enjoyed a mild winter and a hot, dry spring. Many storms during the summer and a heat wave during the second half of August meant the grapes matured very early. The winemakers, who used their skills to manage yields and preserve the balance of sugar and acidity, saw their efforts rewarded.
The wines have the smoothness of early vintages with that extra minerality of cool summers, a combination that guarantees excellence and good keeping potential. This is most certainly an excellent vintage! The best terroirs offer an intense golden color, notes of flint, vanilla and ripe grape and peach, topped off by an attractively exotic hint of ripe mango and pineapple. The palate treads a line between elegance and sophistication with a forthright, sometimes austere finish. These wines will age very well, but they can also be enjoyed now as an aperitif or with food.
The reds, mainly from Irancy, offer lovely notes of morello cherry and redcurrant. Fresh and delicious, they should be enjoyed in their youth.
Côte de Beaune
Hard work paid off in 2011 on the Côte de Beaune. Despite rather tricky weather at the beginning of summer, the grape harvest took place in optimum conditions. The grapes were perfectly mature and healthy in the main, ensuring some quality wines.
The reds from the Côte de Beaune are very aromatic, dominated by elegant fruity notes, and are dense, full-bodied in the mouth with smooth, velvety tannins.
They are flavorful and delicate, and are among the best of the region.
With such tricky weather, careful yield management was key to ensuring the maturity of the grapes. In the end, the red grapes offered thick skins which translated into forthright tannins and raspberry red colors with hints of violet.
Despite being hit by hail, Rully profited from the fine weather during the tail end of the season and the reds caught up with the rest, offering some desirable concentration.
The wines are aromatic with good structure. With a framework of smooth and silky tannins, they are perfect for enjoying in their youth.
Côte de Nuits
The Côte de Nuits grapes were harvested in tip-top condition. Despite the dismal weather earlier in the summer, the grapes were ripe by the beginning of September. Although there was a lot of discard from the harvest, the resulting wines were elegant and silky, with wonderful concentration.
They have a moderate degree of alcohol which makes them mouthwateringly appealing without heaviness. Rich ruby in color, these wines explore all the nuances of a classic, fruity year, between raspberry, blueberry and warm spices. They are remarkably fresh in the mouth and are perfectly balanced. They offer good structure, underpinned by tannins that are both closed yet silky.
Complex and full-bodied, the 2011 wines of the Côte de Nuits offer good keeping potential, but as with the 2007 vintage, they are also accessible in their youth, and are already generous and appealing.
CREMANT DE BOURGOGNE
The 2011 Crémant de Bourgogne wines are smooth and expressive with a rounded mouthfeel.
The Chardonnay offer pure aromas of white peach and grapefruit. The Aligoté release light and discreet acidulated notes.
Despite low yields, the Pinot Noir have good structure and strong color. The Gamay are bursting with intense aromas of red berries.