1991 Vintage Overview

1991 Vintage Overview


World economic and political considerations over-shadowed what was a fine vintage for red wines, and respectable for white. The First Gulf War had been fought against Iraq, the world was in the grip of a severe recession, and private cellars were full of the previous three vintages. The whites started out and stayed under the radar, and should have been drunk up. The reds turned out much better than was initially realised, and though most are fully ready, there will still be treats in store.

The weather This was the year of the three 22s. On April 22nd a severe frost severely depleted the potential crop, albeit not quite as disastrously as in the Médoc. Hail followed on June 22nd in Gevrey-Chambertin and again on August 22nd in Chambolle-Musigny. If the flowering had not been successful these aspects would have meant a very small crop. As it was, the shortfalls were localised, depending on the strength of the frost and hail problems in any given site.

July and August were fine, dry and hot, with the good weather continuing through most of September. The Ban de Vendanges was declared on September 24th and most grapes were picked quite rapidly thereafter, as the weather deteriorated right at the end of the month.

First impressions Whites were thought to be of reasonable quality and the reds rather better, with the hail having affected volume rather than quality. The market was so morose, however, that there was very little discussion of the 1991 vintage at the outset, and very little trading in it. The bulk market collapsed and there were parcels of Meursault being retailed at under £10 a bottle on Britain’s high streets.

The wines in bottle The white wines never really captured the imagination, but there were some attractive wines to be found. The reds however developed into firm favourites, in several instances eclipsing their older brothers from 1990. They were ripe, showed good vineyard definition and displayed an admirable sense of balance and precision. A few have been superlative, almost all very enjoyable; some will stay the course further – although I do not imagine there are many bottles left in captivity.


Tasting Notes

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Click to read tasting notes on wines from 1991

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