Burgundy 2021: a snapshot of the vintage through the wines of nine producers

Time to taste cask samples of the 2021 vintage in Burgundy. It was a much talked about vintage because of all the problems. A severe frost in April caused a lot of damage, especially with Chardonnay, which experiences bud break earlier than Pinot Noir. And then the growing season itself was unusually damp and cool, giving producers a lot of headaches in terms of disease control. But aside from this narrative of a tricky vintage, what were the wines that ended up getting made actually like? Here was a chance to find out, through the lens of nine producers who I tasted with at the Justerini & Brooks Burgundy en primeur tasting.

Guillaume Lavollée of Génot-Boulanger (pictured above) explained that because most of their vineyards are on the slopes – they are good village of premier cru sites – they lost between 80 and 100% of their primary buds to the frost. Secondary buds then grow, but these bear very little fruit, although it is important to manage the fruitless vines well because this is making sure that the following vintage is OK: they need good canes to tied down. He also had a difficult time in the summer, because he farms organically and the wet weather raised disease pressure. In 2021 they made 25 000 bottles, but in 2022 production was at normal levels of 120 000. Despite the shortfall, he’s happy with the wines he does have. ‘The result for me is amazing,’ he says, ‘This is exactly the style of wine that I love.’

These are my notes on the wines I tasted. These are almost all cask samples, but the older wines here included alongside the 2021s are obviously bottled, and are available now from Justerinis. Because most of these are cask samples, the score is not meant to be an exact one because it isn’t the final wine, and there’s always an imprecision tasting unbottled wines, so use them merely as a rough guide.

Overall, if you can get hold of the wines and the price isn’t crazy, this is a really lovely vintage for whites and reds.


Génot Boulanger Meursault Clos du Cromin 2021
Finely mineral with good concentration and lovely texture and intensity. The acidity is quite high, but this is a good thing in the context of this wine. 94/100

Génot Boulanger Puligny Montrachet Les Nosroyes 2021
Linear and precise with lovely intensity. Has a touch of spice to the fruit, and a distinct minerality, with amazing tension. 95/100

Génot Boulanger Meursault Les Boucheres 1er Cru 2020
Generous with pear, peach and spice. Lovely depth and a mineral streak. Powerful, spice laden and complex. 95/100

Génot Boulanger Mercurey En Sazenay 1er Cru 2021
Lovely floral aromatics here. Fresh and pure with some sappy hints. The palate has precision and purity, and is sappy and elegnt, with real refinement. So expressive. 94/100

Génot Boulanger Pommard Vieilles Vignes 2021
Lovely aromatics with raspberry and cherry fruit showing great focus. The palate has nice presence with texture and elegance and some nice green hints. Very fine. 95/100

Génot Boulanger Beaune Les Greves 1er Cru 2021
Juicy and fine. Mineral edged showing good concentration and precision. Has a sappy edge with lots of pure fruit. 94/100

Génot Boulanger Pommard Clos Blanc 1er Cru 2018
Very fine and expressive with lovely red cherry and plum fruit, and some fine-grained tannins. So refined with real presence and elegance, as well as purity. 95/100

Follin Arbelet

Follin Arbelet Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2021
This Chardonnay is concentrated and rounded with fine spices and lovely weight. Pristine with a fine spicy quality. 94/100

Follin Arbelet Aloxe-Corton 2021
This is ready to be bottled, and as with most of the wines here, it’s destemmed. Supple and direct with lovely pure raspberry and cherry fruit, showing nice density and great fruit purity. Refined. 94/100

Follin Arbelet Aloxe-Corton Clos de Chapitre 1er Cru 2021
Quite bony limestone soils in the middle of the village – a warm site. Lovely freshness here: direct with lovely red cherry fruit and a fine acid line. Such precision. 95/100

Follin Arbelet Corton Grand Cru 2021
This is located in lieu dit Le Charlemagne that is mostly planted to Chardonnay: it’s one of the last Pinot Noir parcels. Very fresh and fine. Light and aromatic with lovely definition to the raspberry and cherry fruit with a good acid line. Such purity here: very fine. 95/100

Follin Arbelet Aloxe Corton Clos du Chapitre 1er Cru 2017
Supple and elegant with fresh red cherries and plums. Balanced and elegant with a chalky edge to the fruit. Very fine with a good acid line. 94/100

Follin Arbelet Aloxe Corton Clos du Chapitre 1er Cru 2013
Elegant and fine with sweet red cherry fruit and some raspberry, as well as a dried herb edge. Lovely elegance here with some evolution appearing, but in a positive way. Gentle. 94/100

Joseph Drouhin

Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru 2021
This is bottled already. 25% new oak. Lovely aromatics of mandarin and lemon showing good precision. Bold with pear and citrus as well as some nuts and fine spices. Amazing concentration. 95/100

Joseph Drouhin Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche 2021
25% new oak. This has a lovely tension with sweet citrus and pear fruit, as well as some green apple. Great concentration and depth here with minerals, fine spices and good acidity. So lively. 96/100

Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er Cru 2021
Perfumed aromatics: fine and floral and expressive with lovely mineral intensity. Rounded, supple palate shows a sappy edge to the fruit. Has really nice balance – so fine. 96/100

Joseph Drouhin Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2021
This is a blend of five premier crus. Nicely aromatic with sweet cherry and plum fruit. Has raspberry freshness too. Good structure here, with lovely balance showing perfume and elegance. 95/100

Domaine de la Commaraine

Domaine de la Commaraine Chambolle Musigny Les Condemennes 2021
Red winemaking here is all destemmed, but they try to keep the whole berries. Just a quarter of normal production from the domaine between the frost and the sorting table (picking later meant a lot of sorting was needed). This parcel was purchased 2 years ago and this is their first wine from it, half new oak. Lovely depth and focus here with concentrated black cherry and raspberry fruit with some grip. Lovely structure and purity, with good acidity. 95/100

Domaine de la Commaraine Nuits St-Georges Aux Bousselots 1er Cru 2021
This is on the Beaune side at the bottom of the slope, with rocky soils and a bit of iron. Lovely vivid aromatics: concentrated and bold with some oak evident. Direct, with firm tannins, showing purity as well as lots of structure and acidity. 95/100

Domaine de la Commaraine Nuits St Georges Les Roncieres 1er Cru 2021
From the south side of the village in the middle of the slope. Vivid, fresh and bold with firm structure under the direct raspberry fruit and lovely fine-grained tannins. Quite firm. 95/100

Domaine de la Commaraine Pommard 1er Cru Clos de la Commaraine Monopole 2021
This is a monopole that goes back to the 12th century on the middle of the slope. Very fine and expressive with lovely pure cherry and raspberry fruit with a sense of elegance. So fine, showing perfect balance. 96/100               

Henri Gouges

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St Georges 2021
Red winemaking here is 100% destemmed but they try to keep whole berries. Aromatic raspberry and cherry fruit nose. Great concentration on the palate: fruity and bright with focused berry fruits. 93/100

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St Georges Les Pruliers 1er Cru 2021
Sappy edge to the concentrated vibrant cherry and raspberry fruit, but there’s some stuffing too. Good structure. Fresh, vivid and lively with good acidity. 94/100

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St Georges Les Vaucrains 1er Cru 2021
Very fine and pure with lovely tension and good structure. Firm raspberry and cherry fruit. Direct and substantial with lovely grip. 94/100

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St Georges 2019
Concentrated with appealing sweet cherry fruit and some raspberry notes. Has real intensity and purity showing structure. Expressive and bold. 94/100

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St Georges Les Pruliers 1er Cru 2017
Green herbal hint on the nose with hints of oak and spice. The palate shows lovely concentration and focus with fleshy cherry fruit and some raspberry. Has layers of flavour. 94/100

Jacques-Frederic Mugnier

Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Nuits St Georges Rouge, Clos de la Marechale 1er Cru 2021
Lovely aromatics. Very poised with good concentration of raspberry and cherry fruit showing lovely purity and focus, with structure and acidity evident. Very fine. 95/100

Domaine Jean Grivot

Domaine Jean Grivot Vosne Romanée 2021
Supple light and expressive with red cherries and some cranberry. Has a sappy edge. 93/100

Domaine Jean Grivot Vosne Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1er Cru 2021
Lively and vivid. This is really bright and expressive with strawberry and raspberry fruit. Elegant, bright style. 94/100

Domaine Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2021
Nice elegance here with pure red fruits and some cherry and raspberry character. Very bright and focused. Red fruits to the fore. This is about elegance. 94/100

Méo Camuzet

Méo Camuzet Bourgogne Côte d’Or Rouge Cuvée Etienne Camuzet 2021
This has lovely compact cherry and plum fruit with nice structure and freshness. Quite textural with lovely concentration. 93/100

Méo Camuzet Vosne Romanée 2021
Vibrant cherry and raspberry fruit with freshness, but also structure and concentration. Nice balance here. 94/100

Méo Camuzet Vosne Romanée Les Chaumes 2021
Fresh, supple and refined with good acidity. Black cherry fruit with some blackberry. Nice depth and intensity here. Really focused. 95/100

Méo Camuzet Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2021
Supple and quite elegant in style with ripe cherry and plum fruit. Quite a tectural wine with some density and quite a bit of ripeness. 94/100

Méo Camuzet Marsannay Rouge 2019
Negociant wine. Sweetly aromatic with a fresh sappy edge and appealing red fruits. Inviting strawberry and cherry fruit with some richness. Nicely elegant. 94/100

Ghislaine Barthod

Ghislaine Barthod Bourgogne Rouge 2021
Supple, quite elegant. Fresh with raspberry and cherry fruit. Expressive, pure and well balanced. 93/100

Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle Musigny 2021
Supple and bright with lovely red cherry fruit. Very focused and bright with good acidity. Pure and elegant with some substance. 95/100

Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle Musigny Les Véroilles 1er Cru 2021
Supple and vivid with lovely cherry and raspberry fruit, showing purity and focus. Cherries, raspberries and plums with nice structure. Good acidity here and real precision. 95/100

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