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To keep things brief and simple, 2021 Red Burgundies are categorically beautiful, and unfortunately in short supply. I have seen some people write about the vintage as a "neither bad nor good" year - to me it's hard to understand, given how incredibly charming they are. Perhaps in the bigger picture for aging 10-20 years, there could be some argument over 2021, but when we finally get a vintage a bit like 2016 in terms of leanness and acidity, but undeniably more open, floral and fruit forward in its youth, it's rather exciting! 2017, '18, '19 and '20 were all warmer and more concentrated years, and many winemakers in Burgundy struggled with alcohol levels for their reds approaching 15% ABV. Of course the best producers always find a way to adapt to a growing season, and many did in those four years, but it is a bit of a breath of fresh air to have a vintage like 2021, with alcohol levels averaging around 12.5, and a more classic translucent burgundy hue in the glass. What's nice too is that the wines are great across the board. I've had some that were as light as rose-water, and others that were a bit deeper in color, but every wine I've tried has been very enoyable and made me want to hunt down all the 2021 reds I can get my hands on, which brings us to the next point: the wines of Cornu-Camus!
Formed by Pierre Cornu and Bernadette Camus in 1981, the domaine consists of a bit under 12 hectares, with vines in Savigny, Chorey, Pernand-Vergelesses and other spots just north of Beaune. Lydia, the daughter of Bernadette and Pierre, took over the estate in 2008, with her husband Christophe Pertuzot, who also hails from a winemaking family. The two have focused on native yeast fermentation, limited or no use of new oak, and have started in recent years to work organically in the vineyards. There are no tricks or bells and whistles, just good farming and a light touch in the cellar. This family estate is by no means a big name in the Burgundy world, but we have been impressed with the outstanding price to quality ratio of the wines, and are very happy to be able to offer five of their 2021 reds, albeit in limited quantity. The wines are perfectly balanced, with fine acidity, pretty fruit, and good structure. We'd recommend stocking up, as the story with 2021s is definitely one of limited supply. For elegant and affordable Pinot Noirs to drink in the near future (or over the next 3-5 years), the Cornu-Camus wines from 2021 are not to be missed!
Cornu-Camus 2021 Savigny-Les-Beaune Rouge
From small parcels around the Premier Cru site of Lavières, this is a fantastic introduction to the wines of Domaine Cornu-Camus. Really pretty on the nose, with ripe red fruits and brightness on the attack. All the fruit is destemmed, and fermentation and aging is in wood. Vineyards have a higher concentration of clay here, so the style is flattering and very easy to open and enjoy.
Cornu-Camus 2021 Côte de Nuits Villages
Vines for the Cote de Nuits-Villages are near the village of Comblanchien, on deeper clay soils. The style is a bit more concentrated than the Savigny-Les-Beaune village wine, with notes of cherry, blackcurrant, and earth. Very finy tannins. A lovely young Burgundy that is very pleasant for drinking now and should age well in the short term.
Cornu-Camus 2021 Pernand Vergelesses
The vines for the Pernand-Vergelesses are mostly on limestone here, giving a pronounced minerality to this Pinot Noir. Nice concentration here, along with the firm acidity, and quite marked by the limestone terroir, making this suitable for pairing with meat dishes, even red meat. A charming snapshot of Pernand-Vergelesses.
Cornu-Camus 2021 Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru 'Les Charnières'
The Premier Cru site 'Les Charnières' is a small parcel within the upper part of the more famous Lavières site, on marl soils, facing south. There is a fantastic combination of structure and finesse here, with a long, mineral finish. Notes of wild raspberries and cherries, with sublte tannic structure. In 2021, it's a harmoniously balanced wine with fine potential for aging.
Cornu-Camus 2021 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru 'Creux de la Net'
The excellent Creux de la Net Premier Cru is a tiny parcel north of Les Vergelesses, above the northern part of Ile des Vergelesses, opposite the hill of Corton Charlemagne on a South-East facing slope. Notes of cassis (blackcurrant) and earth, with generous fruit, balanced by 2021's trademark acidity and overall lightness. A beautiful Premier Cru Red Burgundy for short term aging.