One of the best white Burgundy vintages of the 1990s, producing a large crop of high quality wines.
White Burgundy 1988 - The Weather The year had an inauspicious start with a mild winter followed by a long, wet spring. June saw sunshine and then hot, dry weather prevailed throughout most of July and August. September was mostly fine and dry - some growers in the Côte de Beaune began harvesting in the 3rd week of the month but those who waited until the end of September were amply rewarded and produced the best wines.
Growers were very happy with sugar levels but were surprised how reluctant the bunches of grapes were to come off the vine. This was the first vintage in which physiological ripeness was discussed because, in effect, the grapes were not as ripe as the sugar readings indicated. The whites, where the crop was perhaps too large, always had a lean aspect to them but the reds have been very promising, albeit in a style which found more favour in the UK than the US.
This was a large vintage with yields on the high side. Therefore it pays to stick with quality conscious growers such as Leflaive and Ramonet who severely restricted their yields.
The best wines are well structured and concentrated. Very few wines are still surviving on lists beyond the late 1990s, and the finest drunk well until the late 2000s.