The cellar was cold, but free of the bitter chill and powerful wind. Shoes crunched on the gravel. Since the year 1142, people have slurped red juice under the vaulted stone ceiling. Thirsty monks built this womb and placed a wall around the property. The vines within the wall form the Clos de la Perriere, a vineyard in Fixin once prized as one of Burgundies finest. However, it has been many years since it’s wines fetched the same prices as those from Chambertin and Clos de Beze. The winemaker approached with a long glass tube filled with bright ruby liquid. I extended my glass and the wine gushed from the tube. The aromas were intense and seductively sweet. Although untamed at this stage, the wine was delicious. “Wow,” I mumbled scribbling in my note book. The winemaker dashed off and returned with another tube of glimmering wine. “What is this,” I asked.
“What was the last wine?” I replied in a confused tone.
“The young vine cuvee,” the stocky man shot back.
Darker and more intense, this wine was special. I swirled the glass and tilted the wine into my mouth. The soft tannins coated my gums and concentrated red fruits lingered long after the wine had vanished.
“Unfortunately, I only made half the normal amount of wine,”the winemaker stated in a sad tone.
2012 was an extremely difficult year for winemakers in Burgundy, but many outstanding wines were made from its crop. The weather had been brutal in the early part of the growing season. Cold and wet conditions resulted in a late flowering. Mildew and oidium were a persistent threat and hail struck many villages in the Cotes de Beaune. The vintage was saved by exceptional weather that arrived in mid-July and harvest started in mid-September. Unfortunately, the bad weather in the early part of the season resulted in extremely low yields. Many cellars appeared barren compared to previous years. Although the wines will be hard to find, the best 2012s will be well worth the hunt.