I suspect the WS strong sales of White Burg and their admirably proactive attitude to poxed wine, may not be unconnected. If I were buying white burg, it's the place I would trust to buy it from, and I'm guessing many punters see it the same.
 
I genuinely am not interested in drinking white burgundy, other than Chablis now.Too many crap bottles and far far too expensive . And as I have said before, I am not alone, as very few people bring burgundy to our lunches anymore .
No worries. Each to their own
 
I genuinely am not interested in drinking white burgundy, other than Chablis now.Too many crap bottles and far far too expensive . And as I have said before, I am not alone, as very few people bring burgundy to our lunches anymore .
No worries. Each to their own
I don't think the cheaper ones are too expensive, but there's no reason why one shouldn't prefer other things.
 
Toby - thatnks for your excellent response, based on a lot of experience (and by the way, Scottish seafood and White Burgundy is what I expect to be served in heaven).
However it also raises a few questions.
It is warmer now so white Burgundy is less acid than before so producers have been reducing the oxygen the wines get during elevage by a number of factors: a move to vertical presses, more solids, reducing batonnage, larger barrels for less time even smaller bung holes in the barrel. They separate sulphuring and bottling, measure dissolved oxygen, and allow time to see if the sulphur is stable before bottling , and put more sulphur in before.
Is this your opinion, TWS's official view or an official statement from the Burgundy Producers' Association? I really want to know what the latter says about the situation.

A lot of the wines you mention are often drunk within the first 5 years of life so I remain unconvinced they are a bar to set a rule by. I still drink Michel's wines fairly young and only leave a few for 10+ years (the magnums probably being an exception). One also has to ask why corks have suddenly become so bad? And why, with releasing obviously inferior wines have the producers decided to rip off the consumer by boosting prices (the cynic in me says that they are exploiting the reticence of customers complaining and returning wines that are faulty so it all goes by unnoticed without the whole sales chain's profits being impacted). Perhaps if even 50% of consumers returned faulty wines they may feel compelled to take action.
I also noticed that TWS (followed by others specialising in White Burgundy) dramatically revised drinking/maturity dates, while still not offering any real response to what has caused the issue of premox.
Sadly too little, too late has been done (actually I still believe nothing has been done) and, as Keith says, you must be bonkers to spend serious money on White Burgundy.
 
White Burgundy is still my favourite wine of all. Perhaps I’ve been lucky, but apart from s dire case of Leflaive Clavoillons 2006 I’ve had very few poxed bottles.
At the Burgundy WIMPS we had several older bottles and not a duffer amongst them. The thrills of good WB are pretty unique but escalating costs of access are definitely curbing my buying.
 
But at what age are you drinking them now? Leflaive's Clavaillons would have easily kept for 15-20 years and taste spectacular at that age? Do you still have any left to try in the next 10 years?

No 06 Clavoillons left, it was a truly dreadful wine. I haven’t bought any Leflaive since the 07 vintage and don’t have plans to buy any more.
I do have Bouchard whites from 2000 and 02 which are still giving enormous pleasure. Whilst not old by traditional standards I have plenty of Lafon from 2007 onwards which have given consistent pleasure.
 
Not with Diam corks!
I know there’s evidence emerging that Diam-sealed wines may not be collapsing in the way their cork-sealed cousins were, but it’s a bit of a leap from there to deciding that grand white Burgundy is again an ageworthy prospect. As you say, the climate has changed and winemaking has changed too - I’m not at all sure Burgundy winemakers know what to do to craft wines that will age, even if they wanted to.

(Agree entirely there’s tons of delicious whites from the region for drinking young though)
 
Last week, when at Domaine Michel, I tasted wines from 2007 and 2008 bottled under 'normal' cork. Both were in perfect condition and the 2007 in particular still had amazing fresh acidity. I didn't ask when the bottles were opened but they weren't freshly opened that day.
So why is it so difficult for the big boys to find decent corks? I'm sure you will see why I'm dubious of the excuses when they can be countered by reality in the Mâconnais.
 
I agree that the evidence so far on Diams is positive re aging, and I liked my white Burgs at around 5-10 years of age anyhow.

But that’s not the issue for me, it’s the latest 35% or so increases from 2014-16 that’s just about pushed me out.

There is an awful lot of overpriced New World muck it’s true, but all the most exciting Chardonnays now at £20,30,40 price points I’ve drunk recently have been New World ones.
 
Toby - thatnks for your excellent response, based on a lot of experience (and by the way, Scottish seafood and White Burgundy is what I expect to be served in heaven).
However it also raises a few questions.

Is this your opinion, TWS's official view or an official statement from the Burgundy Producers' Association? I really want to know what the latter says about the situation.

A lot of the wines you mention are often drunk within the first 5 years of life so I remain unconvinced they are a bar to set a rule by. I still drink Michel's wines fairly young and only leave a few for 10+ years (the magnums probably being an exception). One also has to ask why corks have suddenly become so bad? And why, with releasing obviously inferior wines have the producers decided to rip off the consumer by boosting prices (the cynic in me says that they are exploiting the reticence of customers complaining and returning wines that are faulty so it all goes by unnoticed without the whole sales chain's profits being impacted). Perhaps if even 50% of consumers returned faulty wines they may feel compelled to take action.
I also noticed that TWS (followed by others specialising in White Burgundy) dramatically revised drinking/maturity dates, while still not offering any real response to what has caused the issue of premox.
Sadly too little, too late has been done (actually I still believe nothing has been done) and, as Keith says, you must be bonkers to spend serious money on White Burgundy.

You ask some good questions. I do not have answers to them all.

First of all its my personal and professional opinion. To add to this the premature oxidation problem for me occurs for all wines. Its more noticeable in Burgundy because more white Burgundy is kept longer and it has lower acid than non malo wines like Alsace riesling and wines with residual sugar are protected by the sugar. Red wines are protected by their tannins but I have had poxed reds.

The wines I mentioned were really just to point out the valley for money available in white Burgundy. I am now increasing the drinking dates I gave to White Burgundy closed with Diam.

Its interesting to know you recommended Michel to Zubair. I have been a number of times to MIchel with Zubair. I bought a few vintages but in the end found the wish to harvest so ripe led to 14%+ sometimes with 10-15g/l residual sugar made these quite tricky to sell.

Why should cork quality have declined? I don't know. I have a theory that global warming is causing the cork trees to grow more quickly with the result that the cork is less dense. Old corks from the 50s have 10-14 rings whereas now a cork may have 4-7.

Prices have risen in Burgundy for reds and whites due to the series of frost affected harvests in 2012/2013/2014/2016. Like all consumers I wish they would come down.

I really believe Diam corks and better bottling practices have solved the premature oxidation problem. There remains a question, as there is in other regions like Bordeaux or Chateuneuf-du-Pape, as to whether global warming is changing the style of the wines. But that affects all wines. When we have discovered premature oxidation problems some producers have been great and replaced the wine. Others are still in denial. The problem has not been handled well but it is also the case that there are no agreed reasons for the pox. Many people still do not believe that corks are a problem for example.

But then few properties where TCA from wooden elements in the fabric of buildings affected the wines have admitted the problem. There are some famous producers in Bordeaux and elsewhere who have never owned up to this. I suppose so much money is involved its better to keep quiet.

I understand your frustration but Diam corks and better bottling have made a huge difference. It seems very sad to me and terribly bad timing for you and Keith to give up on Burgundy when a solution has been found.
 
Interesting...It does feel like Diam or very high quality corks have ameliorated the problem, eg J-M Vincent, Benoit Ente. Jean-Marc bottles using Diam but will also bottle using traditional corks for those who want them, and he pays top euro for the best quality, samples up to 5% of each batch delivered, and won't shy away from returning an entire delivery if a cork in the batch isn't good enough. Same chez Benoit where the quality of cork is exceptional. In both instances the cost per cork is over €1.

But to what extent, Toby, do you feel that changes in when SO2 is applied helps, with increasing numbers of Burgundians only adding sulphur just before bottling to allow greater microbial activity (if that's the right language) through fermentation? I gather the feeling is that, counter-intuitively, this makes the wine more stable in bottle, as well as increasing aromatic complexity.
 
Toby

Thank you for your considered response. If I may butt in, as another who has abandoned all but the occasional white burgundy -

I've tried to follow the evolution of the arguments concerning premox (which does indeed affect other areas such as white Bordeaux, but is most acute in Burgundy). The sense I get is that it is a complex issue precisely because there are no single causative factors that can be isolated and addressed to cure the problem. Besides those mentioned already, there has been pressure to lower sulphur levels at some addresses, extended lees-stirring and other changes in vinification aimed at making the wines more accessible at the earliest opportunity. The cork is really the last gasp in all this - I applaud the way you have pressed for more wines under DIAM, but the reason I suspect that Keith and others such as myself remain wary is because the underlying vinification has changed wholesale. DIAM may well stop the wine falling over due to oxidation, but what is in the bottle has changed. That's fine if you like them young, but if your taste was for mature white burgundies, the question mark must remain.

(to add - written before but cross-posted with Nick Martin who also addresses some of these issues).
 
Thanks again Toby - I appreciate your input but it is very hard to hit the nail on the head until something comes from the growers themselves explaining what has happened and what steps they are taking to remedy it. Burying their head in the sand in the hope it will all go away is not an option, but seems to be all they have done so far.
I must admit that a wry smile came to my face when you said that they blamed global warming as having a potential impact on cork quality impact, then frost was to blame for the stupendous increases in prices. Warm weather for one and cold weather for the other!!! They really do seem to intermittently have their heads in the sand then up their rear ends.
I appreciate your thoughts on Domaine Michel and it is correct that in some hotter vintages, the alcohol levels could get very high. However that is more down to personal taste. I had heard that TWS did want to purchase a lot of wine from them but it was too many bottles that would leave them having to reduce allocations to existing customer. TWS did off their wines at least once in a bunch of 'small parcel' White Burgundy, but that was quite a few years ago. The 2016 Tradition that I opened last night was 'only' 13.5% and a lovely balanced wine that feels like a top vintage for them. However I have had vintages from them that had hit 16%, which were massively ripe wines but still managed to hid the alcohol level pretty well. However, Michel is not really the subject of this topic (I just brought him into the equation as one of the wee boys, with whom I have a lot of experience, and have still managed to make wines as they always have, still with 'normal' corks and yet not a pox'd bottle from them and not huge increases in price each year.
 
Toby

Thank you for your considered response. If I may butt in, as another who has abandoned all but the occasional white burgundy -

I've tried to follow the evolution of the arguments concerning premox (which does indeed affect other areas such as white Bordeaux, but is most acute in Burgundy). The sense I get is that it is a complex issue precisely because there are no single causative factors that can be isolated and addressed to cure the problem. Besides those mentioned already, there has been pressure to lower sulphur levels at some addresses, extended lees-stirring and other changes in vinification aimed at making the wines more accessible at the earliest opportunity. The cork is really the last gasp in all this - I applaud the way you have pressed for more wines under DIAM, but the reason I suspect that Keith and others such as myself remain wary is because the underlying vinification has changed wholesale. DIAM may well stop the wine falling over due to oxidation, but what is in the bottle has changed. That's fine if you like them young, but if your taste was for mature white burgundies, the question mark must remain.

(to add - written before but cross-posted with Nick Martin who also addresses some of these issues).
 
There was an article in Bourgogne aujourd'hui claiming 75% of white Burg producers had moved to DIAM or other solution.
I have no clue whether this solves the problem... but if it does, then this is good news...for the long term as we are talking ageing White Burgundy.
Of course, I agree that the answer will only come when Diamed bottles will be mature... but some may not be too far (when did they start?)
 
Global warming is affecting the whole world not just Burgundy, and not just Europe. Claret has changed. It used to be 12%, now is routinely 13.5% and in 2009 some right bank wines were 15%. Is it as fresh and drinkable as it used to be? Will it age as it used to? CNDP has become too alcoholic for many on this forum. Burgundy too is riper than it was. In some senses that means it is more enjoyable earlier. However, the mark of a great wine is if it can develop an extra complexity over time. Time will tell if it can continue to age well.

What occurred with white Burgundy is still not widely agreed. Some reckon that there was a phase amongst some producers, not all, to make the wine more drinkable earlier, which happened just when the opposite should have happened which led to premature oxidation. So burgundy got a double whammy.

The theory is that roughly in the mid 1990s to say 2005 there were some people, not all, who were picking a bit late, moving to pneumatic presses and used lowish pressure resulting in less solids, then compounding it by using more debourbage. Some were lees stirring. Yields could be high. Some used less sulphur. The wine became more fragile and prone to oxidation.

But that fashion has changed and even reversed. Burgundians have adapted. Many "old fashioned techniques" have come back. There is even a move to vertical presses. There is less debourbage. Virtually no one is lees stirring. Most are using approx 35-50mg/l free at bottling with natural corks now, as apposed to say 20 free at its lowest ebb. Elevage has changed. There is less oxygen. Bigger barrels and/or shorter time in barrel, and/or more in tank. Also they are separating the addition of sulphur from the bottling date to see if the sulphur is stable. Use of oxygen meters is proliferating. In fact the cliché today is the wines are too reductive. Diam is being widely adopted. People like Bouchard Pére who switched to Diam in I think 2009 and Louis Jadot who changed to Diam in 2011,as well as both revising their bottling lines, and have had virtually no premature oxidation problems. For The Wine Society its the same. We have had no premature oxidation with wines under Diam.

Given Burgundy has changed its techniques for white, if its well bottled with enough sulphur and Diam corks, it seems to be it is no less likely to oxidise than any other chardonnay from elsewhere in the world. So I don't understand the rejection of white Burgundy in favour of other chardonnays.
 
There was an article in Bourgogne aujourd'hui claiming 75% of white Burg producers had moved to DIAM or other solution.
I have no clue whether this solves the problem... but if it does, then this is good news...for the long term as we are talking ageing White Burgundy.
Of course, I agree that the answer will only come when Diamed bottles will be mature... but some may not be too far (when did they start?)
I have Chablis PC Vaulorent 2007 from Fèvre and its tasting very fresh. Diam was trill a trial at that stage but I think it was adopted from 2009 vintage at Fèvre/Bouchard. Jadot moved, for whites, in 2011 vintage, Domaine Lafon in 2013 and Domaine Leflaive in 2014.
 
Thanks again Toby - I appreciate your input but it is very hard to hit the nail on the head until something comes from the growers themselves explaining what has happened and what steps they are taking to remedy it. Burying their head in the sand in the hope it will all go away is not an option, but seems to be all they have done so far.
I must admit that a wry smile came to my face when you said that they blamed global warming as having a potential impact on cork quality impact, then frost was to blame for the stupendous increases in prices. Warm weather for one and cold weather for the other!!! They really do seem to intermittently have their heads in the sand then up their rear ends.
I appreciate your thoughts on Domaine Michel and it is correct that in some hotter vintages, the alcohol levels could get very high. However that is more down to personal taste. I had heard that TWS did want to purchase a lot of wine from them but it was too many bottles that would leave them having to reduce allocations to existing customer. TWS did off their wines at least once in a bunch of 'small parcel' White Burgundy, but that was quite a few years ago. The 2016 Tradition that I opened last night was 'only' 13.5% and a lovely balanced wine that feels like a top vintage for them. However I have had vintages from them that had hit 16%, which were massively ripe wines but still managed to hid the alcohol level pretty well. However, Michel is not really the subject of this topic (I just brought him into the equation as one of the wee boys, with whom I have a lot of experience, and have still managed to make wines as they always have, still with 'normal' corks and yet not a pox'd bottle from them and not huge increases in price each year.

Just to correct a slight misunderstanding, thats my theory about cork quality affected by global warming. It has not come from Burgundians.
 
Interesting...It does feel like Diam or very high quality corks have ameliorated the problem, eg J-M Vincent, Benoit Ente. Jean-Marc bottles using Diam but will also bottle using traditional corks for those who want them, and he pays top euro for the best quality, samples up to 5% of each batch delivered, and won't shy away from returning an entire delivery if a cork in the batch isn't good enough. Same chez Benoit where the quality of cork is exceptional. In both instances the cost per cork is over €1.

But to what extent, Toby, do you feel that changes in when SO2 is applied helps, with increasing numbers of Burgundians only adding sulphur just before bottling to allow greater microbial activity (if that's the right language) through fermentation? I gather the feeling is that, counter-intuitively, this makes the wine more stable in bottle, as well as increasing aromatic complexity.

I am not a technician and am quite influenced by Jean-Marc Vincent (who I know you introduced to Zubair, from whom we buy, so thanks a lot), Sylvain Pataille and Thierry Allemand who practise this approach with good results .I think a number of people believe in using as little sulphur during elevage but then adding enough at the end. I am not sure there is an answer yet. Could it be, to use a human parallel, some sort of anti-bodies are formed as if the wine was vaccinated by oxygen and then becomes more resistant to it? I suppose those oxidisable bits oxidise and what remains is more stable?
 
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