The 2005 vintage is as outstanding in Burgundy as everywhere else in France. The success rate is not quite as universal for white wines as for red as some vineyards suffered from the drought. However a significant number of growers made their most exceptional wines for years: full of fruit and with good balancing acidity.
The wines have a terrific sense of energy and despite the weight that comes from really concentrated fruit, they are never heavy and finish with a refreshing minerality.
All regions, from M‚con to Chablis produced top-quality wines but yields were significantly reduced compared to 2004. Bearing this in mind, price increases have been very modest.
The extended cold winter did not finish until around 10th March and ensured that all the bugs in the vineyard were killed off. There were no frost problems later on with a fair crop setting.
April and May were wetter than usual which happily replenished the water table in view of the drought conditions to come. Flowering started during the very hot weekend of 28th-29th May but continued for nearly three weeks as the weather turned cold again. This also led to millerandage (small berries) on the Chardonnay vines which limited the crop.
There was a burst of heat in late June followed by a dry but not very hot July and August. Unlike 2003 where excess heat was the problem, drought was much more of an issue in 2005 affecting young vines and those vineyards with very little topsoil. Rainfall was well below average for the rest of the summer.
Fortunately the coolish weather meant there was relatively little hail damage apart from one serious storm on 17th July which did a great deal of damage in Santenay and parts of Chassagne-Montrachet.
September began with a brief burst of heat followed by much needed rain. The starting date for the harvest was set for 12th September in the Côte de Beaune. Healthy grapes and not much foliage made picking very easy. Producers reacted by using small teams of pickers or finishing early in the day rather than hurrying through the harvest.