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1994 VINTAGE in Burgundy
Not at all bad. A useful vintage for early to mid-term drinking. An unprecedented change in the weather at the beginning of September with a very wet first week, meant that the harvest was difficult. The quality of the reds was uneven and at Maison Latour, to maintain our standards of high quality, Grand Crus and Premier Crus wines were declassified and blended into their respective village appellations. The wines are perfumed and charming with soft tannins that have a correct balance between acidity and alcohol. They offer quality drinking and are developing well. The quality of the whites is much higher in general, as the Chardonnay is more resistant to unfavourable weather conditions. The wines are stylish with good balance between acidity, body and fruit. The overall quality is good, with a few wines of exceptional quality amongst the Grands Crus.
By the end of August Burgundy was preparing for a vintage worthy to rival some of the greatest years- It had been an exceptionally warm summer. However an unprecedented change in the weather on the 31st of August followed by the coldest and wettest first two weeks of September in over twenty years (8 degrees below seasonal norm) meant that plans and hopes had to be revised.
A mild Spring led to an early 'bud burst (10th April) although vegetation growth was then temporarily halted by a cooler end to April. May temperatures were average and considerable work was undertaken in the vineyards to halt diseases such as mildew, oidium and grey rot, the first signs of which were evident due to the wet conditions. Spraying and good weather in June prevented serious damage. A slightly delayed flowering (between 10th and 20th of June) was followed by fine weather and high temperatures (30 °C. - 33 °C.) only broken by occasional rainstorms refreshing the vines and aiding the "veraison" which had slowed during the dry spell, fortunately, the potentially devastating effect of hail were largely avoided apart from some localized damage in the Côte de Beaune on the 18th of July.
The hopes of a great vintage were dashed as 3Omm of rain fell on the 31st of August and another lOO mm between the 7th and the 18th of September bringing forward the "ban des vendanges" to the 16th and 21st of September for Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits respectively.
In summary, some of the 1994 whites will be excellent. Even at this early stage they are perfumed and charming, the lack of maceration in the making of white wine making the rot irrelevant. The reds, particularly the Premier and Grand Crus are already showing considerable elegance and finesse.