The first two days of tasting have confirmed the very fine quality of the 2016 vintage.
It is prefered to the 2015s by quite many producers due to the cool and more classic style of the 2016 vintage – and I certainly can understand why – to some degree at least.
The tastings suggest that the variation in quality could be somewhat higher in 2016 than in 2015 – as the frost and mildew have hit rather randomly.
This is a complex vintage to comprehend – at least to me, and I will explain further in the 2016 vintage report that will published after tastings here in October and start November.
The difficult side of 2016
A word of warning about the 2016; As I taste only the top end of the producers I do see issues that could potentailly give a large variation in quality in the low end of the quality range.
The problems were very serious in 2016 and I would certainly expect this to have affected quite some low end wines.
Not all lesser wines in Burgundy are made with the same care and attention to detail as the wines I taste.
So this is in my view a vintage where one should be extra careful when buying volume wines in the low end – or wines from lesser producers (meaning poor producers). Make no mistake there are still plenty of poor wines produced in the region, and in a year with difficult conditions like 2016 – one cant even begin to imagine what they can make.
Variations in the top end
While the best 2016s can rival some of the great wines made in 2015 there are some – apparently random – variation in quality amongst the top wines. Some wines simply stand out quality wise – while others are offering a fine but not to the same degree outstanding performance.
Some of this variation can be explained by the climatic conditions – but to be honest not all are clear at this stage.
I will however continue to analyze the impressions I gather this week and in two weeks time when I return to Burgundy for another round of 2016 tastings.
… 2016 a complex and rewarding vintage
Seen at this stage the 2016 vintage is a complex and rewarding vintage.
It will take quite some work to find the very best wines, but many wines are gorgeous and vibrant offering tremendous balance, freshness and energy.
It’s a vintage of balance – that was balancing on the edge of disaster to be honest – and sometimes hard conditions with a lot of presssure will produce diamonds that are shining bright – this was indeed also the case of the 2016 vintage.