As I mentioned in the latest newsletter, it’s been a good deal of pain across Southern Europe for the 2023 harvest.

There are of course exceptions and the further east you go, the better things get, especially on the water front. It would also seem that going north, things get better as well, as shown by the current news from Burgundy.

They began picking for the Crémant de Bourgogne wines on 25 August and have been going non-stop since with a plan to finish up by the third week of September. It’s been a rather clean harvest with that most valuable of aspects: volume.

This will come as welcome news to people who have been wanting more of the wines ever since the 2021 vintage that saw up to 80% of losses due to frost. While 2022 was generally good in volume as well, it was hotter and thus wines were a touch more alcoholic. It seems so far that the 2023 wines will be a bit more balanced although this has come largely from night pickings or starting at five in the morning as there’s been a heatwave during the middle of the harvest.

So it seems to be a bit more of a “classic” vintage that’s not suffering from the heat of 2018. Perhaps it will also break the rather shoddy run of The Threes given that 2013 and 2003 were nothing to stop the presses about and to this day I feel those two can be largely forgotten.

The initial verdict will of course come from the Hospices de Beaune on 19 November. While the sales of these wines can be influenced a great deal by outside factors (such as the 2015 terror attacks happening just a week before the auction and thus boosting prices as proceeds went to victims) it still gives those in attendance a chance to taste the wine post-fermentation and give an initial evaluation.

How will two larger-volume vintages in a row affect pricing after the massive price hike following 2021? That will remain to be seen as I keep reading endless discussions by people who love Burgundy who are saying that they’re “done with it” as the prices are simply untenable for regular drinking. This tied in to younger generations that seem to be drinking less at the moment should give Burgundy produces a bit of pause.

For anyone who wants to hear more about the 2023 vintage, you can request to watch the annual autumn press conference by the BIVB on 10 October.


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