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Burgundy 2018 Guide

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2018 Vintage Report from The Oak Barrel's Joe Perry

As we're seeing more and more 2018 Burgundy arrivals here at The Oak Barrel, our wine team is steadily putting together a list of the wines here in one place for Burgundy lovers to discover. We'll be constantly updating and adding to this list as new wines reach the store.

The 2018 vintage in Burgundy began with a wet winter and spring, with over twice the average rainfall between January to March, topping up water reserves across the region. Despite an irregularly warm January, the cool months of February and March helped ease the nerves of growers.

The early rains proved crucial as spring and summer were consistently warm and dry, the 2018 being the hottest Burgundy vintage on record since 2003. Older vines were able to ripen fully, producing clean, healthy crops. There was far less hailstorm pressure in 2018, a welcome change contrasting to the hail affected vintages going back to 2009, with only the southern part of Nuits St George and surrounding villages affected by hail.

Picking began in late August. Early harvests have become more and more common for the region as we saw with 2015 and 2017. The harvest dates became crucial for vignerons, as the challenge to capture freshness and acidity in the warm conditions was apparent for both whites and reds. Warm harvests brought warm fruit and fragile skins, which needed to be handled gently when processing, another challenge faced by growers and winemakers.

Initial expectations of the warm 2018 being that the whites would struggle to retain freshness and end up flabby and diluted from the large yields. The reds would show great tannin structure and concentration from the lower yields.

Overall, against predictions the 2018 whites show amazing quality and consistency through the region, many winemakers speaking highly of the retained freshness and energy, and noting the prettier aromatics and length of flavour and intensity over the 2017's.

The reds have proven to be exceptional from village level up, Pommard, Chassagne-Montrachet, and Santenay shine personally. Certainly a bigger vintage in comparison, the village and premier cru reds can be enjoyed much more youthfully whilst retaining their age ability, if you liked the 2015 reds, look to your favourite villages in 2018 also.

Of course the 2018's are still extremely to young to analyse this vintage entirely, but early impressions set the bar high. We’re excited to see these wines develop and see where the warm, ripe 2018 sits amongst some of the most historic Burgundy vintages.

CLICK HERE TO LAUNCH A MAP OF BURGUNDY

Click through for descriptions and tasting notes on specific wines. Prices are as listed, members receive their usual 10 percent discount.

Bouchard Pere et Fils

Bouchard Pere et Fils

Started in 1731 by Michel Bouchard, Bouchard Pere et Fils lays claim to one of the oldest estates in Burgundy, spanning almost 3 centuries. The first vineyard holdings were acquired in Volnay where Joseph Bouchard began growing the estates presence in Burgundy.

Today this famous estate holds vines in 12 Grand Cru's and over 70 Premier Cru sites in some of the most highly acclaimed appellations inluding Montrachet, Corton-Charlemagne, Bonnes-Mares, and many more.

The estate describes the quality of the 2018 vintage as, "This vintage has yielded beautifully ripe grapes of premium quality. As such, the red wines exhibit strikingly dark robes, very mature bouquets and are dense and supple on the palate. Elegance, complexity and expressiveness, as ever, grace the chardonnays."

  Beaune du Chateau Blanc Premier Cru $95 750ml Click Here
  Chassagne-Montrachet Village $115 750ml Click Here
  Meursault-Perrieres Premier Cru $215 750ml Click Here
  Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru $425 750ml Click Here
  Monthelie Village $74.95 750ml Click Here
  Volnay Taille Pieds 1er Cru $150 750ml Click Here
  Le Corton Grand Cru $300 750ml Click Here
  Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru $750 750ml Click Here

Domaine Henri Boillot

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Domaine Henri Boillot has history dating back to 1885, named at the time after Henri's father 'Domaine Jean Boillot'. Working with some of the finest growers across the Cote de Beaune, Henri started Maison Henri Boillot in 1996 and quickly became recognised as one of the finest winemakers in the region before acquiring his father's Domaine in 2005.

Henri's thoughts on the 2018 vintage are, "The 2018 white wines make me think of those from 2009 and 1999. 2018 is a very fresh vintage with its principal aromas being white blossom, peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, creating wines that are full of energy with clean minerality. This vintage should be consumed a little faster than 2016 or 2017; up to 5 years for the villages and up to 10 years for the Premier Crus and Grand Crus."

  Bourgogne Blanc   $84.95 750ml Click Here
  Bourgogne Rouge   $84.95 750ml Click Here
  Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrieres Premier Cru $325 750ml Click Here

Domaine Paul Pillot

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Based in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet, Domaine Paul Pillot was founded in 1900 by Jean-Baptiste Pillot who left his trade as a barrel maker for life in the vines. After his grandson Paul Pillot took over in 1968 the Domaine began acquiring a number of Premier Cru vineyards in Chassagne such as Les Grandes Ruchottes and Les Caillerets.

Today the estate is run by Paul son Thierry, who's first vintage at the Domaine was in 1999, and since 2004 the 4th generation winemaker took the helm. Following a string of incredible vintage releases, Thierry has made waves throughout the Cote d'Or as one of the most promising talents, his focus is on purity and clarity using a non interventionist approach to the wines.

  Bourgogne Rouge   $79.95 750ml Click Here
  Chassagne-Montrachet Vielle Vignes Village $110 750ml Click Here
  Chassagne-Montrachet Les Mazures Village $170 750ml Click Here
  Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Saint Jean Premier Cru $195 750ml Click Here
  Chassagne-Montrachet Les Champs-Gains Premier Cru $210 750ml Click Here
  Chassagne-Montrachet Les Ruchottes Premier Cru $270 750ml Click Here

Domaine de Villaine

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One of the biggest names in Burgundy, Aubert de Villaine, arrived in Burgundy in 1971 to take charge of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. It was in the village of Bouzeron in the Cote Chalonnaise where he and his wife began their own private Domaine. It was here that Aubert saw some of the greatest potential in what was Burgundy's forgotten white grape, Aligote.

After beginning conversion to organic farming in 1986, and achieving certification in 1997, Aubert's nephew Pierre de Benoist took over management in 2000. It's Pierre's passion and drive for the terroir in Bouzeron and the Cote Chalonnaise as a whole that continues to put this impressive Domaine on the map vintage upon vintage.

  Bouzeron Aligote   $69.96 750ml Click Here

Domaine Bruno Colin

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After completing his studies at the Beaune Viticultural School, Bruno Colin began at his wine journey at his family estate, Domaine Michel Colin-Deleger, in 1993. His father Michel retired at the Domaine a decade later and in 2003 the holdings were split between Bruno and his brother Philippe. Bruno and his wife Stéphanie now small, unique plots across 5 communes in Burgundy with a focus of showing personality in both terroir and vintage.<.

Bruno's notes of the 2018 vintage for whites, "Hard to imagine better. 2018 is the vintage of superlatives. Whether on the nose or in the mouth, the white wines would be dazzling."

On the reds, "2018 a vintage of excellent quality. The wines are dazzling, the subtle aromas, the aromatic notes, the notes with ripe fruit fruits, They explode in the mouth thanks to their superb tannic, while maintaining an undeniable freshness."

  Bourgogne Blanc   $56.95 750ml Click Here
  Bourgogne Rouge   $56.95 750ml Click Here

Domaine Blain-Gagnard

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Domaine Blain-Gagnard began in 1980 with the marriage of Jean-Marc Blain and Claudine Gagnard, daughter of Jacques and Marie-Josephe Gagnard of Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange. The rich Burgundian and wine roots of this partnership created something special with the couple acquiring vineyards from historic vineyards from relatives in Chassagne-Montrachet.

Today the run the Domaine with the help of their son Marc-Antonin (see Domaine Marc-Antonin Blain below) and the focus is on incredibly subtle oak usage, expression of fruit purity and natural acidity in the wine. Precision is key.

  Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Saint Jean Premier Cru $110 750ml Click Here

Domaine Marc-Antonin Blain

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Son of the famed Jean-Marc Blain and Claudine Gagnard, Marc-Antonin's blood is deeply rooted in Burgundy. With the vineyards of Chassagne on his mind, Marc-Antonin travelled across Australia and New Zealand acquiring the techniques of new world producers and cementing his passion for wine.

After his grandfather Jacques Gagnard handed down his vineyards to Marc-Antonin a year before his passing, he established his own Domaine is 2009 with the vines passed down from 1683. Marc-Antonin is passionate about the sustainable viticulture and like his father only uses oak in the most subtle form, allowing the fruit to shine.

  Chassagne-Montrachet Village $84.95 750ml Click Here

Domaine Rougeot

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Based in the beautiful hillsides of Meursault, the Rougeot family's winemaking history spans over 5 generations. The Domaine works incredible vineyards throughout Meursault, Pommard, Volnay-Santenots, Saint-Romain and more. Quite possibly one of Burgundy's best kept secrets, Owner Marc Rougeot with is son Pierre-Henri brings together a combination of traditional Burgundian experience with a modern French winemaking twist.

The estate is passionate about organic and biodynamic winemaking, with Pierre-Henri working a natural approach to no sulphur vinification highlighting the energy and balance of the vineyard.

  Les Plumes Aligote   $59.95 750ml Click Here

Domaine des Rouges-Queues

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Set in the town of Sampigny-les-Maranges, of the recently founded appellation Maranges are the dynamic couple behind Domaine des Rouges-Queues. Isabelle and Jean-Yves Vantey produce beautiful, energetic wines in incredibly tiny quantites. Their focus is on minimal intervention farming and winemaking, having worked their vines without chemical sprays since 1998 and transitioned into biodynamics in 2008.

The winemaking is simple, letting the well farmed fruit shine bright. The couple uses spontaneous ferments, and open wooden fermenters in the cellar. Only neutral oak is used and very little sulphur is used if any. This young couple championing the up and coming region of Maranges are making some beautiful, accessible Burgundy.

  Bourgogne Rouge   $69.95 750ml Click Here

Benjamin Leroux

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It would be hard to argue that Benjamin Leroux isn't one of the brightest and most talented winemakers in all of Burgundy. Considered a prodigy in his youth as he claimed the role of winemaker in the cellar of Comte Armand at only 26 years old, Leroux quickly took the world by storm. In 2007 he created his own wine label, and works as a 'micro negociant' sourcing fruit from growers with which he works very closely throughout each vintage.

Benjamin Leroux is a champion of Burgundy terroir, and his incredible 2018's only further that, as Neal Martin from Vinous puts it, “He certainly has the gift of touch that seems to elevate everything from village crus to grand crus.”

  Bourgogne Blanc   $79.95 750ml Click Here
  Bourgogne Rouge   $79.95 750ml Click Here
  Auxey-Duresses Village $100 750ml Click Here

Charles Van Canneyt

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A name familiar amongst many Burgundy fanatics, the young Charles Van Canneyt has the title of head winemaker at Domaine Hudelot-Noellat based in Chambolle-Musigny since 2008. He also produces wines under his namesake label as a micro negociant since 2012 using his exceptional relationships with some of the regions best growers.

Charles carries the same quality and passion from his Domaine role into his negociant winemaking. The Premier Cru wine's see around 15% new oak, and these are made in very small quantities, two barrels of each per vintage. The same for the Grand Cru wines he makes, sometimes only one barrel is produced.

  Bourgogne Pinot Noir   $64.95 750ml Click Here
  Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Fontenys Premier Cru $320 750ml Click Here
  Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cherbaudes Premier Cru $320 750ml Click Here
  Gevrey-CHambertin 1er Cru Cazetiers Premier Cru $380 750ml Click Here

Domaine Hudelot-Noellat

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Well and truly one of the icons of the Cote de Nuits, Domaine Hudelot-Noellat sits firmly in the village of Vougeot. Created in 1964 with the marriage of Odile Noellat and Alain Hudelot, the vineyards of the Noellat family were already established in some of the best appellations, including Grand Cru holdings. After acquiring 5 hectares of vines in Vosne-Romanee in 1978 the Domaine began.

Now with Alain's grandson, Charles Van Canneyt, running the Domaine since 2008, the wines continue their cult status in Burgundy as some of the most sought after. These wines are incredible refined, striving for finesse and elegance in the house style of Domaine Hudelot-Noellat.

  Bourgogne Pinot Noir   $82.95 750ml Click Here
  Chambolle-Musigny Village $165 750ml Click Here

Philippe Pacalet

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Philippe Pacalet was born the nephew of legendary Beaujolais vigneron Marcel Lapierre, and studied under the natural wine icon Jules Chauvet. It was in 1991 that he began his role as winemaker at the iconic Domaine Prieure Roch (owned by late DRC co-director Henri-Frederic Roch), and after 10 vintages began his own micro-negociant label, unable to purchase vineyards due to the high prices of land in Burgundy.

Philippe's winemaking is distinctly minimal intervention, and has established himself one of Burgundy's most popular avant-garde producers. Sulphur is only ever used at bottling and only wild yeast is used in fermentation. These wines show the purity and character of the vineyard like no other.

  Pommard Village $210 750ml Click Here
  Gevrey-Chambertin Village $210 750ml Click Here
  Ladoix Village $165 750ml Click Here