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The real trouble with white burgundy is that there’s never enough of it. That’s because Burgundy’s greatest vineyards are minuscule in size. Consider Le Montrachet, which produces little more than 4,000 cases per year, made by a dozen or more growers, some of them good, some not so good. No wonder the price of burgundy is high.

The skinny on recent white burgundy vintages goes like this: 1990, fine vintage, holding up well; 1991, middling quality; 1992, lots of fruit and plenty of charm; 1993, okay at best (acidity levels too high for the fruit); 1994, weak; 1995, ripe — almost overripe (the best will last; lesser wines are too plump for their own good); 1996, grande ann�e; perfect balance between fruit and acidity; 1997, some are wishy-washy, while others are delicious; 1998, good enough, but just saved from disaster (heavy rain at harvest). The 1999 crop was ripe, healthy — and huge. Where the producers didn’t overcrop, the wines should be fine.

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