After four weeks of visiting, tasting, reviewing and writing, I am pleased to present my comprehensive report (with over 360 wines assessed) of this difficult vintage.
Once upon a time, the extreme problems of frost, excess rain, poor flowering, a cool summer and poorly timed Autumnal rain would have resulted in a vintage truly to forget. In 2021, however, the greatest estates, perhaps borne of sheer bloody-mindedness – and certainly facilitated by a huge deal of manpower, dedication, and expense – have managed to craft some veritable silk purses. But only the best estates – those where extreme travail has combined with extremely good terroir, via extreme levels of triage, to create wines which capture the elegance, finesse and freshness of the vintage.
Because of its likely future reputation, and that it follows three differently ‘good’ vintages, it remains to be seen whether these wines will constitute a good investment in terms of financial speculation, and it seems unlikely. But the best of them will produce very enjoyable and likely affordable drinking, and in many cases in the medium term. It is an especially good vintage for the dry whites (in that respect rather like 2017), and for the drier, more northern and elevated appellations.
Rod Smith MW