Everyone talks about the vintages that produced the finest wines, and why wouldn’t they? Delicious and quite often worthy of deep time in a cellar, they are the wines enjoyed and spoken of throughout the decades. Then there are the forgotten years, the vintages that saw terrible weather at the worst times, whose wines were all but written off as times passed. The worst years can still produce fantastic wines, when produced by houses that understand how to deal with what their dealt, and come out shining regardless of the conditions.
This series will be dealing with the vintages in Burgundy of fame, and infamy, with the best producers for that year – enjoy!
Many winemakers speak of poor growing seasons with disdain and frustration, a fairly common reaction from most people, and deservedly so. During those rough times, in the sea of disparity and uncertainty, there are those for whom a bad vintage is less a tragedy, and more a chance to come up with new ideas and techniques so a fine wine is still a possibility. For a house that holds to that particular mindset, the passing of time from one year to the next, good seasons and terrible, cements their much-deserved reputation as a steadfast, unshakable force in the world of wine. Where a terrible year separates the common from the extraordinary.
For Burgundy, 1975 was one of those years.
To be more accurate, 1975 was the last (and worst) entry in a three-year span of less-than-stellar growing seasons. 1973 saw a significant drought, followed by far too much rain, while 1974 had seen a frosty spring, a smidge of warm weather, and then a cold snowy/wet fall and harvest.
1975 started off well enough, the conditions in the spring and early summer were ideal, then towards July, a hot summer turned into colder conditions such as hail and ice storms that lasted until early September. Although the weather improved for a bit, the damage was done, with most crops suffering from severe rot.
Aside from the misery caused by the weather, a select few producers had managed to makes wines of surprising quality, albeit without the ability to age long in a cellar. The two most notable of this year are Bouchard & Fils with their offering from Chambolle-Musigny, and Domaine Romanee-Conti (DRC) with their Echezeaux, Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, La Tache Grand Cru Monopole, and of course, Richebourg Grand Cru. Don’t bother looking for one of these, not to drink anyways.
But if one was found and drinkable – once again, don’t try it - make sure you are drinking them at the proper temperature. For whites, 52° is best, with reds rising up a few digits at 56°, and as always, don’t forget the Avintage DIVA line of wine refrigeration cabinets for all your wine storage needs. For more information, visit us at www.frenchcornercellars.com, or call at +1 (833) 839-4637.