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Best of Burgundy 2018
Burgundy 2018 En Primeur has been nothing short of a triumph. The whites have been consistently excellent across the board, showing richness and deep fruit but with sufficient structure to balance their weight and generosity. There is more diversity among the reds, largely depending on when the grapes were picked and what winemakers did with the bunches, although there is real pleasure to be found throughout the Côte d’Or.
We have been completely awed by this solar vintage and have enjoyed working closely with a selection of elite growers and négociants to cherry-pick the best wines. As the En Primeur campaign draws to a close and Bordeaux looms large on the horizon, now is the perfect time to reflect on the very best winemakers of Burgundy 2018. Here we survey four of the stand-out growers from the vintage.
Domaine de Montille
Tasting at de Montille is always an education and an opportunity to sample across the Côte d’Or. Their expression of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir gives an unrivalled perspective on the quality and style of the vintage, accompanied by chief winemaker Brian Sieve’s typically measured appraisal. He has worked wonders with the terroir once again this year with high scores across both the reds and whites, including 95 points from Tim Atkin for the Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Aux Malconsorts – Christiane” and Jancis Robinson’s 17 points for the staggeringly well-priced Beaune 1er Cru ‘Les Grèves’. He has an extremely well-priced Chablis too…
Domaine de Montille Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru 'Aux Malconsorts - Christiane'
"The 2018 Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts Cuvée Christiane 1er Cru contains two-thirds whole cluster but a little more new oak than the regular cuvée (as a reminder, it comes from the parcel that lies adjacent to La Tâche.) It has a little more definition and darker fruit on the nose, develops more floral scents with aeration. This is very impressive. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannins, focused and harmonious with a gentle grip towards the chalky textured finish. It will require several years in bottle."
94-96/100, Neal Martin, Vinous
It has been a real pleasure to see the return of Edouard Delaunay to Burgundy En Primeur this season. With access to some of the best vineyard sites across the Côte d’Or, 2018 has more than lived up to the high bar set by the 2017s last year. It's the first vintage to be offered En Primeur from the self-proclaimed “most atypical of the fine wine houses of Burgundy” and we were delighted to be amongst a select handful of merchants to partner with the maison. Offering terrific value for money, they are simply a must-have for any cellar.
Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Crots, 2018
Always a benchmark of the best value to come out of Burgundy, Domaines Bichot impresses once again in 2018. The Premier and Grand Crus from Clos Frantin, the flagship domaine, and increasingly the maison itself, continue to produce extraordinary wines which offer real value and character, whilst Domaine Pavillon’s ‘Beaune Clos des Mouches’ is the white Burgundy of choice for the cognoscenti. Even Neal Martin declared that Bichot makes “really quite delicious complex wines that often surprise people in blind tastings when not swayed by the label.”. We were impressed by many of their wines, from AOC Bourgogne to Richebourg, all illustrating the precision, typicity and expressive, generous fruit expected of these prestigious Domaines.
Domaine du Clos Frantin Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru 'Malconsorts'
"The 2018 Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts 1er Cru comes from Bichot’s substantial 1.75-hectare holding, handpicked on September 11 and made with 40% whole bunch and 45% new oak. This has a high-class bouquet of pure red cherries, cranberry and wild strawberry scents, hints of rose petal and orange blossom emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp red berry fruit and a frame of quite firm tannins that should guarantee the longevity of this Malconsorts. It feels a little aloof on the finish, but it just needs time to soften its edges."
92-94/100, Neal Martin, Vinous
Melbourne-born Jane Eyre-Renard is part of the growing micro-négociant movement and is clearly one of the rising stars in Burgundy. 2018 has made its presence clear in the wines and there is a wonderful surplus of power, fruit and gravitas allied to the usual charm and definition. Her decision to include 30% whole bunches (as opposed to none last year) has given the wines extra depth and complexity to balance the ripe fruit. Meanwhile her preference for early bottling, important in a vintage like 2018 to preserve freshness and prevent the fruit drying out, still means the range is pretty and accessible, but is definitely serious.
Jane Eyre Corton Grand Cru
"Jane Eyre's classy Corton is a co-fermented blend of mostly Maréchaudes with Renardes and a little Bressandes. Spicy, muscular and focused, it's ripe and rich, but with lots of acidity, some lift and structure from 40% whole bunches, layers of bramble and wild strawberry fruit and the depth, grip and concentration to age beautifully in bottle."
95/100, Tim Atkin MW
Published on: March 5, 2020