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Burgundy 2012 en primeur kicks off with some allocations already "exhausted"

Published:  11 November, 2013

The severly reduced Burgundy harvest for 2012 is resulting in producers holding en primeur tastings this month with "Allocation Exhausted" labels over some bottles.

Wine merchants that are currently doing the normal round of tastings with key Burgundy suppliers are finding spacious cellars where normally they would be stacked double with barrels. Several wines, for example, at today's tasting for Louis Jadot in central London had "Allocation Exhausted" labels on them, reflecting the damage that hail and rain did the 2012 crop where some producers in in the Côte de Beaune have not been able to produce wine from certain vineyards at all.

"Burgundy enters a difficult period in terms of supply. We have not seen so many small vintages in a row in many decades," said Domaine Louis Jadot's export director Siegfried Pic at today's tasting. He said the 2013 vintage was a double blow after the small 2012 harvest.

The impact on prices is clear, said Pic. "2012 prices have gone up and will not go down in 2013," he confirmed."Prices have already exploded."

The trade can expect price increases across the board of between 17-20% on 2011 prices and 30% for top reds.

While Jadot's biggest export market is the US, followed by the UK and Japan, Pic has just returned from Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia where he reported "significant growth everywhere in Asia". Including mature markets like Hong Kong and Singapore. Despite the financial crisis, markets in continental Europe are also looking good for Burgundy producers, according to Pic.

He said the 2013 vintage was a story of a difficult growing season, beset with spring frost, poor flowering, hail, oidium and mildew, which have all played their part in the reduced vintage, which was partrly rescued by dry and good weather throughout August and September.

He predicted a "vintage with huge concentration, tremendous texture but with good freshness of aromas" due to a long ripening period. Many wines at the tasting showed charm, purity and structure but the jury is out if there is enough flesh on the bones to last the distance.