A deep dive into Burgundy and how weather affects it.
The second set of legacy collection NFT’s is here, and this week we are shining a spotlight on Burgundy, or Bourgogne as it is known in France. Once again, we will be taking a glimpse into one of the specifics of this region and seeing what makes Burgundy wines interesting, and importantly, what makes them the kind of excellent investment wines that you would want to purchase in our marketplace. So if you are ready, let’s travel to central-eastern France and meet the grapes.
So what makes Burgundy wine so special?
Burgundy has garnered over the centuries a reputation that is the envy of the wine world. Despite being a technically difficult region at times to grow grapes in, the world has come to know Burgundy to be potentially one of the finest expressions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to be found anywhere in the world. This degree of excellence is of course reflected in the prices of the wines that come out of some of these vineyards. The best wines have been known to sell for upwards of $10,000 per bottle and more. Not to mention, these are starting prices!! With age and rarity, these prices can go exponential. In short, you can hardly find better investment-grade fine wines anywhere in the world.
There are of course many factors that contribute to the price of these wines far beyond what happens in the vineyard. For a start, it is a very rare luxury asset where only a few particularly noteworthy bottles are produced each year. The supply-demand ratio is heavily weighted towards demand. But for today, I will be talking about something that pertains to how the wine is grown, and what contributes to its excellence and its rarity.
Yes, you heard that right. Something as mundane and commonplace as the concept of weather can indeed have a profound effect on Burgundian wines. Chardonnay, generally speaking, can suffer most weather to a degree. It is surprisingly adept at managing wind, rain, snow, frost, and everything else between. Pinot Noir however is a fussy grape. Perhaps one of the fussiest! This means that Burgundy red wines are very vintage-specific. Some wines can age for decades, others perhaps only for a few years. This of course has a great effect on the investment potential of a wine.
Burgundy is a region that has a much more continental climate than many of its French counterparts such as Bordeaux, or even the Rhône Valley. The latter of which is affected by winds that come in from the Mediterranean. This means that the continentality of Burgundy is much wider, with far colder winters, and hotter, but more unpredictable summers. Not to mention, the lack of nearby water sources means the diurnal range is quite large as well.
(The diurnal range is the difference between day and night temperatures and is commonly affected by nearby water sources that act as a mitigating influence. A nearby water source means warmer nights and cooler days. The lack of water often means colder nights and hotter days.)
These climatic influences have a large impact on the ability of the grapes to ripen well or even produce a yield. Long winters that extend into March/April for example can sometimes ruin a Pinot Noir crop with late frosts destroying the buds on this early ripening vine. Flash hail storms are not completely uncommon in Burgundy either, and of course, there is a starker change in the autumn climate around the critical harvest time than there would be in a region with a more maritime climate. The advantage of a maritime climate is in part due to the stabilizing effect the ocean can have on the temperature of a region throughout the seasons.
The risk of rain around harvest is a particular challenge for winegrowers in Burgundy as well. Imagine if you will, a half-full cup of sugary water. You have the water at just the right sugar level to be tasty, and then all of a sudden it rains and fills the cup right to the top. Of course, the sugar in the cup has not changed in volume. So now we have a diluted cup of sugary water where the ratio of sugar to water has been halved. This is your typical grape when it rains. The vine will soak up a lot of that water in the soil and distribute it to the grapes, swelling them and diluting their concentration. This becomes a major problem for winemakers in Burgundy as the concentration of the grape is nearly always consistent with the overall quality of the wine. A grape with concentrated flavours, acids, sugars and compounds is always going to make a more interesting, age-worthy wine than a recent rain-swelled and diluted grape.
Of course, as a winemaker, you can hardly help the rain. That water will find its way into the roots of your vines one way or another, and this alone can account for a great deal of the vintage variation.
This does not mean that every crop is lost and every wine from a rainy harvest season is bad. These climatic factors actually have a rather big impact on what vineyards are denominated as Grand and Premier Cru vineyards. A sloped vineyard with a south-facing aspect and easy draining soil is always going to produce more consistently ripe and concentrated grapes than a flat vineyard with humus soil that retains more water. Simply because the attributes of these vineyards negate some of the worst effects of the weather and changing seasons.
So what does this mean for our NFT’s?
As you can no doubt see now, there really is such a direct correlation between every aspect of the geography, weather, wine growing, winemaking and the overall quality and investment potential of a wine. So in that regard, we have been very particular in choosing wines that are either from excellent vineyards that have a history of producing great yields year on year, or that source their grapes from multiple sites in order to make a very consistent wine, similar to how a champagne non-vintage is made.
Looking at our collection, you can see there is a great deal of consideration taken over what wines we have chosen and where they are from. This mitigates both the weather and climatic effects that can make Burgundian wines so precarious.
- Domaine Armand Rosseau
- Le Grande Rue Grande Cru by Francois Lamarche
- Louis Jadot
- Drouhin-Laroze 1er cru
- Domaine Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée
- Joseph-Drouhin Premier Cru
So how does this information affect our ability to invest wisely?
Understanding wine is paramount to making sure that the wines we invest in are going to appreciate well over time. Not every wine can or will get better with age, and not every vintage is a guarantee of success even when it’s from a region as famous as Burgundy.
We hope that in explaining this detail to you, our wineverse audience, that you will become more well equipped to choose the best investments for your crypto wallet, and gain trust in our ability to curate an excellent selection of wines that will not let you down.
We hope that with each new weekly drop you will enjoy these short accompanying articles. With each new region explored, we will bring to your attention another factor that makes these wines excellent, and that will contribute to their potential to swell your respective crypto wallets. Who knows, by the end of the collection, maybe you too will be fully equipped to find wines that you can store, enjoy and invest in as well.
Knowledge is power, and in the world of investing, it is the thing that will give you the edge over the competition.