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The general feeling coming from wineries regarding the 2014 vintage of Burgundy in France is that the year was far from easy. Things got off to a good start, and things looked very promising during the flowering season - the weather was fine, and sunshine was in plentiful supply. However, a massive hailstorm at the end of June was a disaster for many of the principal appellations in Burgundy, including Pommard and Beaune, who overnight lost up to half of their crop for the year. Despite this, the remaining vines reached maturity and a fantastic level of ripeness, which would have been some consolation for the grape growers in these villages.
Very low yielding crops were one of the typifying features for 2014 in Burgundy - a good thing for the quality of the grapes, a bad thing for the profits of the wineries. This was not just due to hailstorms, but also due to the rest of the summer, which was no easier. Fruit fly problems descended just before harvest, meaning that the vintners needed to double their efforts to select the best grapes for processing, and July and August were disappointingly cold and wet, meaning that while maturation was of high quality, it was very, very slow. The end of August saw the weather pick up, and a bright, sunny and warm September saw a harvest which wasn’t dramatically late, with most wineries beginning their harvesting efforts in the second week of this month.
Despite all the difficulties, and the dramatically lower than average yields, 2014 was a good vintage for Burgundy in regards to quality and finesse. Chablis had a particularly fine year, with the patience of the vintners - who must have been highly tempted to harvest early - being paid off with the ripe, juicy, forward and aromatic white wines which resulted. Red wines were also very good in 2014, with some fantastic ageing potential coming from the top vineyards, and a great set of forward, rounded wines from elsewhere.