Well, the hype is real, and 2019 Burgundies are, absolutely, the real deal. The vintage (particularly but not exclusively Côtes de Nuits reds) has generated irrepressible enthusiasm among critics, which has in turn triggered unprecedented excitement among lovers of the region’s wines. Upping the ante, there is also an urgency of action, in that in 2019 exceptional quality was achieved at the expense of quantity as early April witnessed devastating frost damage throughout the Côte. Many growers report yields 50% or more below average; in many cases, production levels were as low as those achieved in 2016, another heavily frosted vintage.
There is further reason to move quickly on 2019 opportunities while they last. Looking ahead, the devastating 2021 frosts all but ensures a massive kink in the supply chain in the relatively near future. The here-today-gone-tomorrow 2019s present a golden opportunity while they last. Allow us to help you get in on the ground floor with preferred access and sharp prices.
In short, 2019 is the completest red Burgundy vintage since 2010, and perhaps vies with that splendid year for the finest of this century. Among others vignerons, Cyprien Arlaud opined that 2019 has that same special ‘sex appeal, fluidity’ that had previously seemed the unique demesne of 2010s. In terms of basic shape and personality, the archetypal 2019 red has vividly perfumed aromatics, notable richness, and very good transparency to underlying terroir. With respect to 2010, the 2019s are generally denser, more hedonistic; and, due to the very small crop, they will be much harder to locate in quantity. The Reds in particular bristle with personality, purity, and vibrancy. In fact, they often feel like fresh vintage wines with more concentration than most rather than fresh-enough ripe wines. Pierre Duroché made this point, sharing via email that a typical 2019 ‘looks like 2017 with more concentration.’
Throughout the Côte de Beaune the whites are also excellent and in some cases prodigious. In general, the wines are notably ripe yet with good acidity and purity. At many domaines, there is a memorable combination of vibrancy and concentration, richness and freshness. It is a very textural white Burgundy vintage, one in which the low yields have conferred an opulence to most wines, an attractive and distinctive feature of the year.
Wines from the outer reaches of the Côte d’Or - Chablis, the Chalonnaise, and the Maconnais - share a family resemblance with the characteristics outlined above. Throughout Burgundy the vintage was warm and notably dry, with most wines presenting as obviously rich but without backend heat or ‘exoticism.’ Chablis’ Charlene Pinson captured the vintage well in sharing that ‘Nobody in the family has ever witnessed this high level of maturity blended with so much bracing acidity in our long history.’ There is a sense of purity and uprightness in the better 2019s that beautifully lifts and amplifies their natural concentration and intensity.
If you’re like us, 2005, 2010, and 2015 are lessons that we we tend to under-invest into great vintages for our cellars. A moment of opportunity can often create the impression that such opportunities will persist; they do not, of course, and here at least a modestly aggressive buying strategy is warranted. Filling your cellar with the treasures of 2019 will be a decision to look back on smilingly. Who among us wishes we were sitting on fewer 2010s?
Ultimately, it is a vintage for both appreciation (pleasure in drinking) and appreciation (upside investment potential). Many wines are already delightful, with great purity and a certain joie de vivre that seems to be a special 2019 quality. There is a user-friendliness that recalls the charms of 2002, though the 2019s are more structured, more ‘serious.’ And again, prodigious quality plus scarcity also suggests tremendous investment potential. These are wines to both drink and collect.