The best vintage for red Burgundies – 2009, 2010 or 2011?

The 2011s are now getting bottled and most of the wine journalists have now published tasting notes on the 2011 vintage.

I was very positive about the 2011 vintage after my first tasting of the vintage in May 2012, and I remain very positive – but will reserve an upgrade until I have tasted more 2011s from bottle. With the succes of the 2011 vintage we now have theee very fine vintages in a row. But how does these vintages compare quality wise for the red burgundies.

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My view on the vintages 2009, 2010 and 2011 – Red Burgundies

In my view the 2010 vintage is by some margin the best vintage of the three. The 2010 wines have a unique purity and transparancy combined with a very good concentration of lovely vibrant cool fruit. The tannins are finely grained and ripe- but still provide a quite firm grip on the wines – giving almost perfect focus and balance. The 2010 vintage is in my view the best vintage for red Burgundies in recent decades – and surpassing even 2005. The overall score for the 2010 vintage is Extraordinary.

The 2009 vintage is somewhat rich and hot, and in my view some of the lesser wines are almost overripe in this vintage. I prefer a cooler fruit with a more fresh acidity. I must however say that some of the big 2009s really show the qualities of this vintage – producing some truly impressive wines from the big terroirs. The 2009s are perhaps not build for my taste and palate, but the wines from the better and best terroirs are in many cases really impressive, and the overall quality is very fine. The overall score for the 2009 vintage is Outstanding … go for the strong terroirs.

The 2011 vintage is still in cask or getting bottled as we speak … and it’s too early to give the final score. My initial rating was Fine to Very Fine, and I have maintained this rating. If all goes well with the bottling the 2011 vintage could merrit a higher rating … but for the moment Very Fine is the most likely outcome. The 2011s are wonderful fruity wines – quite cool fruit with a good energy and freshness. The acidity is equally fresh adding a very delicate an vibrant touch to the wines. The 2011s are however lacking some weight and concentration compared to 2010 and 2009. While the transparancy is very fine, it’s not matching the unique display of terroir found in some 2010s. I really love the style of the 2011s – and if all goes well they could ultimately rival the 2009s on quality … but for my pleasure alone I think the 2011 are better than the 2009s.

Vintage Chart Red Burgundy

Vintage reports