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Welcome to the Oxidized Burgundies Wiki site!


The goal of this wiki is to share information about the premature oxidation of white burgundy wines. The idea for this wiki was submitted by Charles Smith in a discussion thread on the Mark Squires' wine bulletin board on the E-Roberrt Parker website. A lot of background information can be found in a long-running thread on premature oxidation (if you still have access to it).

In practical terms, our aim is to build progressively a list of specific wines / producers / vintages that have displayed this problem. The minimum entry would be to give full information about the wine. More elaborate entries could contain e.g. a ratio of bottles oxidised / bottles opened for a specific wine, or information about yields or winemaking techniques for each producer. Since many people think that corks take a central role in this issue, it might also be worthwile noting whether the cork was bleached and whether there was a light blue tinge where the wine touched the cork.

Please contribute; this board is only valuable if people continue to contribute notes about their experiences; it's really easy! Also, please add your name at the end of each post.


NEWS - -

A SIGNIFICANT SHARE OF WHITE BURGUNDY IN 2014 IS NOW BEING BOTTLED UNDER DIAM CLOSURES; SOME PRODUCERS ARE INCREASING CORK DIAMETER AND USING LONGER CORKS


Beginning with the 2007 vintage, several producers have abandoned natural cork and switched to DIAM closures. With the 2014 whites now being released, switching to DIAM closures from natural cork has become a strong trend and there is now a significant amount of the white burgundy market where the bottles have DIAM cork closures.

DIAM closures are considered "technical closures" and are made from agglomerated cork (which is ground into fine pellets, sifted to a uniform consistency and then glued with a food-grade binder.) Champagne corks are made in this way. DIAM has a patented process in which the cork pellets are treated with CO2 under temperature and pressure in order to remove TCA. DIAM has some sort of "guarantee" to the producers against cork taint, the mechanical details of which are unclear to me at this writing. DIAM also claims that its closures provide very tightly controlled long-term oxygen transmission rates which are far more uniform from bottle to bottle than natural cork. There is laboratory data which seems to support this claim.

In Europe DIAM was initially marketing three grades of DIAM corks DIAM-5, DIAM-10 and DIAM-15. Starting with the 2013 vintage, there is a new DIAM-30 model. (It's not clear, but DIAM-15 is apparently no longer in the portfolio.) These numbers correlate with the time period for which the wines are allegedly guaranteed against premature oxidation. (Again the details of this "guarantee" are unclear to me. The guarantee supposedly runs only to the producer/brand owner.) DIAM is offering the corks in two lengths, a standard length and new longer "grand cru" cork.

Domaine William Fevre began bottling a portion of its Chablis (the 1ers) with DIAM in 2007. Starting in 2009, all of the Fevre production except for the grand cru Chablis moved to Diam.

Beginning withe the 2009 vintage, additional producers begin using DIAM closures. Bouchard Pere et Fils (Bouchard and Fevre have common ownership) moved all of their whites to DIAM beginning with the 2009 vintage. Domaine Montille, Deux Montille, and Domaine de Chateau de Puligny Montrachet (all related brands), along with Javillier and Roger Belland have bottled all of their white wines under DIAM starting with the 2009 vintage.

F&L Pillot joined the DiAM parade with the 2010 vintage.

Jadot, Roche de Bellene and Droin (in Chablis) began using DIAM for all of their white wines in the 2011 vintage.

Starting with the 2012 vintage, Olivier Leflaive and Jean-Marc Brocard in Chablis began bottling all of their whites under DIAM closures.

Starting with the 2013 vintage, Domaine Lafon and Domaine Chanson began using DIAM for all of their whites (except, in Lafon's case, the entry level Macon that is sold in Australia, which is bottled under screw cap). Domaine Chanson began using the new DIAM 30 (intended to be used for wines intended for 30 or more years of bottle age) on all of Chanson's top wines. Bouchard Pere also immediately started using the new DIAM 30 for all of its whites.

Starting with the 2014 vintage, Daniel Dampt is bottling 90% of their production under DIAM. According to Dampt, the remainder are being bottled either under screwcap or natural cork, depending on the importer's preference. There are likely several additional producers in 2014 who have not yet come to my attention.

Both Sauzet and Roulot use DIAM closures on their Bourgogne Blanc wines. Raveneau bottled the 2013 Chablis AOC under DIAM.

Another trend that seems to be occurring among producers that continue to use natural cork is the use of longer corks (with longer bottle necks to insure a tight seal along the full length of the cork) and slightly increasing the diameter of the corks. The standard cork diameter employed in burgundy is 24 mm. Some producers, such as Sauzet, Niellon and Colin-Morey, began using 25 mm diameter corks in the same bottles (starting with the 2010 vintage) as a means of obtaining a tighter seal. This requires both greater compression force to initially seal the bottles and greater extraction force to remove them..

STAY TUNED FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS....

2008 VINTAGE ASSESSMENT DINNERS -- AN UNEVEN VINTAGE WITH SOME GREAT WINES BUT ALSO BIG DISAPPOINTMENTS


The 11th annual Vintage Assessment and Premox Check Dinners were held on February 9, February 25 and March 8, 2016. This year the vintage was 2008. The first dinner was held on February 9, 2016 and we tasted 29 bottles of the top 2008 Chablis, Meursault, and Corton Charlemagnes, plus one 46 year old Leroy white. See the notes here. 2008 Vintage-Night One The Chablis flight was one of the most impressive in some years. The Meursaults were also outstanding, but overall didn't quite reach the lavel of the 2007 Meursault flights. The Corton Charlemagnes performaed well. There were a few exotic aromas and a couple of wines with obvious botrytis, but overall things seemed pretty impressive.

On February 25, 2016 we tasted 26 bottles of Bienvenue-Batard, Criots-Batard, Batard and Chevalier Montrachet and 3 selected ringers. We experienced significantly more advanced wines and well as much more obvious botrytis signatures in several of the wines. The 2008 Batard flight was one of the least impressive flights of Batard we've ever had at this dinner series. The Bienvenues and Criots flight performed much better and so did the last flight of Chevalier Montrachet with four spectacular wines that really saved the evening. The ringers this year didn't fare as well as the 2007 ringers as a group. See the notes here. 2008 Vintage-Night Two

On March 8, 2016 we held the annual "Mostly Montrachet" dinner at Melisse restaurant in Santa Monica. We tasted a total of 11 Montrachets and the two top Coche-Dury wines, Corton Charlemagne and Meursault Perriees. This night was the worst one from an oxidation persepctive and we also again had some wines that were absolutely reeking of botrytised aromas. A few of these wines were spectacular and a few were very expensive duds. See the notes here. 2008 Vintage-Night 3

2007 VINTAGE ASSESSMENT DINNERS -- A REMARKABLE VINTAGE WITH SOME UNWANTED SURPRISES

(March 19, 2015). It doesn't seem possible, but this year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Vintage Assessment and Premox Check Dinners held in Los Angeles. The notes and results from the initial dinner, held on February 3, 2015, where we tasted 30 bottles of the top 2007 Chablis, Meursault and Corton Charlemagnes, have been posted here. 2007-Night 1 The Meursaults performed fabulously and met or exceeded all of the reviewers' early expectations. We all agreed that the 2007 Chablis notably under-performed versus the early very laudatory reviews which suggested that 2007 is a classic vintage. The wines did not improve over the course of the evening either. The Cortons were generally very good (mostly 93-94 point wines) but they didn't match up to the Meursaults and my scores were generally one to three points lower than the early reviews by Messrs. Meadwos and Tanzer. We had one corked bottle, three advanced bottles and no oxidized bottles. I hope you enjoy the notes and photos.

On March 4, we did our usual hyphenated Montrachet tasting. We tasted 27 bottles including a few French and California ringers thrown in to keep things real. There were some wonderful surprises that blew everybody away, including a California chardonnay that finished as the No. 2 wine of the night, and an astonishingly bad performance for Domaine Leflaive,with both both 2007 Batard and 2007 Chevalier oxidized. Sadly a bunch of emergency tasting in the subsequent few weeks showed a large percentage of the 2007 Leflaives are similarly flawed. You will find the notes here. 2007-Night Two

On March 19, we held our "Mostly Montrachet" dinner at Melisse Restaurant. In my opinion, it was the most remarkable set of Montrachets that we've ever had. This was an evening when nobody could get that silly grin off their face. Wines that haven't starred in the past showed gloriously. The usual top performers were very backward and may eventually be wonderful. If you have bottles of most of these 2007 Montrachets, count yourself very lucky and be sure to enjoy them. You'll find the Night Three notes here. 2007-Night Three and Overall Results

From an overall perspective, the 2007 vintage had the lowest rate of outright oxidation, and depending on whether you use the group votes or my votes to calculate, either the lowest overall rate of either oxidized or advanced or the second lowest rate. But for the the premoxed Leflaive wines, there would be definite cause for celebration.

2006 VINTAGE ASSESSMENT DINNER SHOWS 2006 VINTAGE TO BE BETTER THAN EXPECTED


The ninth annual Vintage Assessment Dinner, this time for the 2006 white burgundy vintage, was held in Los Angeles on March 6, 2014 at Valentino restaurant. This year the tasting was only night, with 28 wines, rather than the usual three nights (and 60+ wines). The 2006s surprised us all and performed much better than we initially thought they would when the vintage was released. Many of the wines were more pleasant than their 2005 counterparts and the combined total of advanced and oxidized wines for 2006 was lower -- 20%-- than it was for 2005. You'll find the notes here. 2006 Vintage Assessment Dinner

2005 VINTAGE ASSESSMENT DINNERS SHOW 2005 TO BE THE MOST PREMATURELY AGED VINTAGE TO DATE


After tasting 65 wines over three nights in February 2013, our Southern California tasting panel found that 2005 is the worst year ever from a premature aging standpoint. While the percentage of oxidized wines was only 6% -- the second lowest overall percentage to date, the percentage of advanced 2005 wines was really staggering -- 25%. The combined total of advanced and oxidized wines for 2005 (31%) exceeds the total for the 1996s (29%), the 1999s (27%) and 2000s (28%). 2005 is a vintage which is quite sweet, and virtually all are ready to drink now. Only a small handful of wines will reward further aging and our experience suggests that the risk of further aging with most wines is significant. If you own 2005s you need to check out our notes on the 2005s (see 2005-Night 1, 2005-Night 2, 2005-Night 3 and cumulative results) and pop some corks yourself.



General Discussion of the Nature of Premature Oxidation and Its Variance


Please see the General Discussion pages which explain the phenomenon of premature oxidation and discuss the various various theories and evidence regarding the causes of premature oxidation of white burgundies. These pages also include a discussion of the historical performance of the various producers from an oxidation persepctive and a grouping of the producers into five categories based on historical oxidation performance based on the opinions of Editor Don Cornwell.

Which Producers are Most and Least Affected by Premature Oxidation?

There is a subtantial variation in the incidence of premature oxidation by producer. Some producers have a very high level of incidence of premature oxidation and a few producers have virtually none. In addition to our comprehensive list of data by producer, the editor (Don Cornwell) breaks the burgundy producers into five different categories based on the incidence of premature oxidation in their wines from the 1995 through 2004 vintages. See Producer Incidence

The Potential Causes of Premature Oxidation


The cause or causes of premature oxidation remain subject to considerable debate but most of the discussion centers upon four different different alleged causes. Click on the links below to see a discussion of the alleged cause in question.

Notes from the annual White Burgundy Vintage Assessment/Oxidation Check Dinners held in Los Angeles


Each February or March for the past six years, the editor (Don Cornwell) has held a comprehensive tasting/oxidation check of a particular white burgundy vintage. The purpose of the tasting is to assess the top wines of the vintage all at the same time from ideal cellar conditions and to check for premature oxidation. The wines are usually tasted at 7.5 years after the vintage date. The wines are tasted and evaluated by a panel of serious burgundy drinkers. You will find a comprehensive tasting notes, premox statistics and comments about the wines tasted by clicking on the links below:

1996 vintage assessment

January 25, 2006: 28 wines in a single sitting. You'll find the the notes here: **1996 Vintage Tasting and Oxidation Check**.

1999 vintage assessment

February 28, 2007 and March 5, 2007: 44 top premier crus and grand crus tasted over two nights (with notes on three bottles from another tasting a month previously). You''ll find the notes and stats here: **1999 Vintage Tasting and Oxidation Check**

2000 vintage assessment

February 5 and 26, 2008: 41 top premier crus and grand crus tasted over two nights. You'll find the notes here: **2000 Vintage Tasting and Oxidation Check** The notes also include a tasting of 16 additional wines, including two 2000 Chablis Clos, four different 2000 Puligny Caillerets and ten 2000 grand crus held on June 18, 2007.

2001 vintage assessment

February 4 and 11 and March 10, 2009: 43 top premier cru and grand cru wines (including for the first time some grand cru Chablis) were tasted over three nights. You'll find the notes here: 2001 Vintage Tasting and Oxidation Check

2002 vintage assessment

Febuary 4 and 18 and March 4, 2010: 60 top premier cru and grand cru Chablis and Cote de Beaune whites tasted over three nights. You'll find the notes here: 2002 Vintage Tasting and Oxidation Check

Revisiting the 1995-2000 vintages

February 8 and 23 and March 8, 2011: 66 bottles of the top premier cru and grand cru Chablis, and Cote de Beaune whites tasted over three nights. You'll find the notes here. 1995-2000 Retrospective

2004 vintage assessment

February 15 and 28 and March 7, 2012: 63 bottles of the top premier cru and grand cru Chablis and Cote de Beaune whites tasted over three nights. You'll find the notes here: 2004 Vintage Assessment and Oxidation Check Dinners

2005 vintage assement

February 5, 20, and 27 2013: 65 bottles of the top premier cru and grand Chablis and Cote de Beaune whites tasted over three nights. You'll find notes and photographs for each night here: 2005-Night 1, 2005-Night 2, 2005-Night 3 and cumulative results).

2006 vintage assessment

March 6, 2014: 28 bottles of the top grand cru and premier cru Chablis and Cote de Beaune wines tasted on a single night. You'll find the notes and photographs here: 2006 Vintage Assessment Dinner

2007 vintage assessment

February 3, 2015: 30 bottles of the top premier cru and grand cru Chablis, Meursault and Corton Charlemagnes tasted on night one of a three-night series of dinners. 2007-Night 1

List of producers and wines


Here is a list of producers that might or not be affected by this problem. Each producer has its own page with information about winemaking techniques and a list of wines that have shown to be affected (or not).

The list of producers is also available sorted by appellations.