2018 marked an impressive milestone for winemaker Michel Arcelain. Astonishingly it was his 68th Burgundy grape harvest, and he was all smiles. He told us that in all the years he’d been harvesting here, he’d never known a year like 2018. Quite a statement!
At the time, the last so-called ‘normal’ harvest was back in 2009, where reasonable quantities of quality grapes were gathered. Yes, there were some great vintages in the intervening years, but none had any really large quantities. We’d become used to seeing Burgundy’s capacious cellars standing quite empty for some time.
2018 changed all that. Producers from Chablis to the Maconnais were bringing in yields at maximum permitted levels, with off-the-scale sugar levels. Michel talked about 15° natural sugar. In terms of white Burgundy, the whisperings were of the largest harvest ever on record!
Even better, thanks to the long, dry days there were no phytosanitary problems to speak of—the health of the vines and the grapes was tip-top, making the harvest a breeze and as folkloric as you could wish for.
It’s true that some producers might have picked too early, in particular those who panicked that the long, hot summer might have robbed their wines of their acidity. Now, a few years on, you can begin to see differences between producers, but all of those that Elden Selections works with were confident in their whites being sumptuous. Try some of the best of 2018 red and white wines here.
So much happened in such a short time, as with all harvests; the crop was brought in, alcoholic fermentation completed, the whites settled on their lees, the de-vatting of the reds went according to plan, and the cellars were readied to welcome the barrels where malolactic fermentation would begin to work its magic. (For more on this fascinating process, why not check out our article Malolactic Fermentation ; Domaine Félix Saint Bris).
It’s always a relief when the winemakers can sleep easy again and let the wines themselves begin to do their work, as the fine balances of chemicals in each bottle begin to meld together creating those inimitable Burgundy tastes and flavors. All things considered, it was the perfect harvest.
How about joining our Burgundy Wine Club? Become a member and you’ll enjoy unique wine experiences and gifts. And if you’re interested in reading more great articles about the Burgundy region, then head over to our blog page, where you can read all about Bourgogne vs Burgundy and some great ‘How To’ guides such as how to read wine labels.