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Burgundy harvest ‘surpasses all expectations’ despite ‘rock and roll year’

The Burgundy harvest has surpassed all expectations, trade body Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) has declared, providing both “stunning” quality and plentiful supply. 

Picture credit: BIVB / Aurélien IBANEZ

The plentiful 2023 harvest comes hot on the heels of the similarly above-average 2022, which the BIVB said had “put a smile on the faces of winegrowers and wine merchants: the cellars are (almost) full again, and the quality is there every time”.

Although weather conditions during the summer were “unstable”, the Chardonnay, Aligoté and Sauvignon grapes had reached full maturity in “perfect condition, while retaining enough freshness to live up to the reputation of Bourgogne white wines”.

Meanwhile a rigorous sorting process of the plentiful Pinot Noir meant producers could “keep the best of a rock and roll year”, discarding any scorched or wilted grapes. This has resulted in “very fine juices… with a great variety of aromas”, it said.

“The result is expressive, fruity wines with beautiful aromatic profiles, for both white and red,” the BIVB harvest report stated.

2023 will be a great year for white wine in particular, it noted, and despite some very hot weather at the start of the harvest, the grapes are ripe, aromatic healthy and well-balanced, producing wines that “stand out for their richness and wonderful opulence, without excess”.

Red wines are similarly “expressive” with the September sunshine providing a boost for the Pinot Noir.

Some wines expressed fresh red fruit flavours, such as raspberries, while others have aromas of dark fruits, and “even spices for some wine profiles”, with deep intense colour, lovely density and a “silky tannic structure”.

Weather conditions

The 2023 vintages started with a milder winter than normal, followed by a “rollercoaster” Spring, with a very changeable and unstable April which saw warmer days followed by colder than normal days. This resulted in later than average budbreak, the advantage of which was that most vines escaped Spring frosts.

The vines progressed in a somewhat “staggered” manner, in part due to regrowth after the strong 2022 harvest, with conditions in May becoming favourable for growth, and temperatures rising from the end of the month encouraging rapid progress towards flowering, the BIVB said.

Localised thunderstorms provided water at the very end of flowering, which encouraging wind pollination, as the flower caps fell off, and generous bunches of grapes.

June and July were unstable, with July seeing alternating thunderstorms, temperature peaks of up to 35- 36°C and high humidity. Hailstorms on 11 and 15 July caused localised damage south of Mâconnais, north of Côte Chalonnaise, Meursault, and around Dijon. But overall the region was unscathed.

Warm sunny conditions led up to harvest, with August punctuated by some rainy spells, before ending with “unseasonably” high temperatures and sunshine, causing many winegrowers to pick at night or in the early hours of the morning to preserves the freshness of the grapes.

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