Burgundy looking at “surprisingly good” year

Chablis may be the star of 2011 for Burgundy as the quality is assessed in the vats.

According to James Simpson MW, sales director for Pol Roger Portfolio, which represents Drouhin in the UK, it is the Chablis that has attracted particular praise.

Simpson explained that Frédéric Drouhin, managing director of Maison Joseph Drouhin, had said that he was “impressed with the quality” he was seeing in his vats.

“He told me that yields were down,” said Simpson, “but that it was looking surprisingly good overall, although everything is still bubbling away and it’s a little too early to tell yet.”

While 2011 ferments, Simpson also said that they were looking ahead to the forthcoming 2010 campaign.

As with 2011, last year was a small harvest and this could lead to problems with allocations, particularly on the back of the generous 2009 vintage.

However, Simpson thought that allocations would become less of an issue for the UK market.

“I think we’re attracting some of the Bordeaux buyers,” said Simpson. “When you consider how much is made in Burgundy it is actually good value for money.

“The UK is becoming a more interesting market for Burgundy and as such UK allocations are growing.”

Simpson continued by saying he thought that they would have “a lot of fun” with the 2010 campaign and that the whites in particular were meant to be “stonkingly good”.

In terms of pricing, he felt it unlikely that things would change much from their previous situation.

“We’re looking for stability this year and the prices will probably remain the same as 2009,” he said. “Of course, 2009 was still up a little on 2008 and I’m sure some canny producers will try and increase their prices if they can.”

Overall though he said that this was: “Not the time for over ambitious price increases.”

One Response to “Burgundy looking at “surprisingly good” year”

  1. James Swann says:

    Burgundy’s fortunes are in the spotlight in more ways than one of late.

    As Asian buyers become more sensitive to price rises for top Bordeaux Domaine de la Romanee Conti has seen significant trading of late.

    I recall a drinks business interview with Johnny Goedhuis who talked of a genuine feeling that 2009 may be the last affordable vintage.

    It is interesting to take this further.

    DRC in fact has one of the higher production levels in Burgundy, comparable to the sought-after wines of the Right Bank and, therefore, tradable in ways that other domaines perhaps aren’t. This deficit in trade capacity is exactly why the Right Bank overall lingers behind the Medoc in the collector/investor market, but on the open market, leaves their wines more affordable for the wine drinker.

    Intriguingly, Angelo Gaja, at a recent trade event in London, stated that buyers in new markets, such as China, would have to seek allocations through existing agents, rather than his wines become available to the highest bidder on the open market as with Bordeaux. Masseto issued a similar statement.

    Could this occur with Burgundy, rather than see prices rises orchestrated in business-like fashion as with Bordeaux (and pushed-up by speculation it should be noted) the quality of buyers’ sourcing network becomes the defining factor in the availability of sought-after Burgundy, and Italy?

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