Burgundy 2018: biggest white wine harvest ‘ever’

The white wine harvest in Burgundy this year may be the one of the biggest ever recorded, with bumper crops in the Maconnais and Chablis, according to Louis Fabrice Latour.

Speaking to the drinks business, the president of Maison Louis Latour, one of Burgundy’s leading négociant businesses, said that, while the numbers for the final crop had not yet been calculated the indications suggested a substantial crop right across the region.

“It may be the biggest ever,” said Latour and while the Maconnais and Chablis were the chief beneficiaries of this boon, white-producing villages across the region had enjoyed large crops.

As for the reds, it was a more “normal” vintage, he continued, about the same as last year.

As a result, Burgundy has enjoyed two straight years of decent sized crops and which were qualitatively sound as well.

Although Latour did concede that it was “difficult to make a ‘great’ vintage with the whites with the crop we had,” and that they had relatively low acids so would tend towards “easy drinking”, it was not a vintage lacking complexity or finesse he stressed.

Despite the warm conditions and early start to the harvest, the weather was never “over warm” and three months of heavy rain from February to April ensured there was plenty of water and no hydric stress over the long, dry summer.

The reds meanwhile, at a similar level to 2017, did have the potential to be a “great” vintage, with good colour and alcohol but also higher acid levels than one might have expected after the warm summer and while there was some “concern” for a while, Latour said the acid set fell into place prior to the harvest.

“I think we underestimated the amount of rain in the spring,” he said.

Overall, he continued: “We’re very pleased to have two big crops in a row of very good quality.”

Furthermore, given the size of the white crop, there was a chance prices may settle somewhat.

Latour admitted that musts were already being sold for lower prices than has been the norm because of the amount of wine there is.

Prices may not ‘fall’ exactly and in the Côte d’Or demand for premiers and grands crus means they will at least stay the same but “we’re in a position to be flexible,” and there was a “good chance to have some more affordable Macon and Chablis,” in the near future.

“It’s good news for Burgundy. It’s a commercial vintage and we have stocks again. By being more affordable we can get back in the UK – it’s good for us.

And, furthermore: “It’s good news for customers and for the trade.”

READ MORE: Burgundy ‘relieved’ as harvest returns to normal in 2017

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