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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Neil Beckett

The press and trade gave a generally warm welcome to the recently released 2002 Burgundy vintage during a flurry of tastings over the past fortnight. The excitement was tempered only by fears that the 2002s might overshadow the 2001s, many of which have still to sell through, and that the strong euro may make the wines seem expensive. Roy Richards of Richards Walford, which ships the wines of several highly rated producers, said that the 2002 whites are similar in style to the 2001s, but more concentrated, and that the closest parallels are 1985 or 1982. David Roberts MW, senior buyer for Lay & Wheeler, described 2002 as a faultless vintage' for whites, with more of everything'. Richards likened the 2002 reds to the 1993s, with their fresh acidity. Roberts praised their beautiful balance', but suggested that the 2001s are much more terroir-oriented wines'. In five to ten years,' he speculated, purists will probably think that 2001 is their preferred vintage for reds. Everybody can understand the 2002, while 2001 is more the thinking man's vintage.' Mark Bingley MW, sales and marketing director of Maisons Marques et Domaines, thought that in the future 2001 and 2002 will be thought of as a very successful pair of vintages.' Burgundy producers have faced conflicting pressures on prices. The high quality of the 2002s and the small volume in 2003 might have encouraged higher prices, but several key markets, such as the US, have been sluggish, and the strength of the euro against both the dollar and the pound has been a moderating influence. Roberts said that by comparison with the 2001s, producers' prices were generally 2-3% higher for the whites and 5% higher for the reds, but that the 8.5% exchange rate difference made them 10-13% more in the UK. He said that producers had preferred to raise prices on the quality of the 2002s rather than on the lower yields of the 2003s.