After tasting more than 50 producers and close to 800 wines in Burgundy and at En Premier week in London, it is evident that 2018 is a variable vintage for the reds, and one should not jump into buying before prior tasting or research.


Vintage

2018 was a warm and dry vintage, many vines suffered hydraulic stress. Since the 2018 summer was very hot (we had the warmest summer in the UK since 1976!), the harvest date played a huge role in making good wines – Producers who starting harvesting their Pinot Noir in Cote de Nuits in the first week of September generally managed to produce wines with less than 13.7% alcohol, producers who started harvesting on the 2nd week of September generally reached 14% alcohol, and third week reached 14.5-15.5% alcohol. (obviously the actual alcohol level varies between location and viticultural methods)

Even though one might argue that alcohol is not everything and shouldn’t be the determining factor, it is only true when the wine is BALANCED. The issue some producers have in this vintage is the astringent tannins and lower fruit intensity, hence I strongly favoured producers who extracted tannins softly.

Many producers in Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits saw very high yields, 45-50hl/ha.


Review

REDS

Tasting the 2018 reds have been a roller coaster ride, few producers made beautiful 2018 that is close to 2015 quality, however a proportion of overripe and tannic wines reminded me of the horrendously over-ripe 2003 hitting north of 15% alcohol hitting north of 15% alcohol.

Overall Gevrey Chambertin and Fixin outperformed as appellations since they had more water. On the contrast, many Chambolle Musigny I have tasted were high in alcohol and lacked the finesse one would usually associate with Chambolle Musigny. (There are exceptions on both appellations)

Producers to look out for:

Domaine Duroche
Domaine Arnoux Lachaux
Domaine Denis Mortet
Domaine Taupenot Merme
Domaine Henri Magnien
Domaine Robert Groffier
Domaine Fourrier
Domaine Bachelet
Domaine des Lambrays
Domaine Perrot Minot
Faiveley

Note: there are plenty more good producers which are not on this list.

WHITES

Whites were a delight to taste despite many merchants overhyping the reds. Whites from Cote de Beaune to Chablis were consistently good, reminded me of the expressive and charming 2015 whites. Great concentration and charm. Hard to go wrong buying some 2018 whites.

Producers to look out for:

Domaine Leflaive
Domaine Ballot Millot
Domaine Pierre Girardin
Heniri Boillot
Domaine J M Boillot
Domaine Joseph Colin
Domaine Bachelet Monnot
Domaine Heitz Lochardet (reds too)

Note: there are plenty more good producers which are not on this list.


Overall I prefer 2017 reds and whites for their expressiveness and transparency. 2018 whites are a good buy and should show well young and built for mid-term cellaring. 2018 reds are a minefield and one should be careful with wine purchase advises (especially when there is conflict of interest!).

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