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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

Founded in 1731 in Beaune by Michel Bouchard, it is one of the oldest estates in Burgundy. In 1775 Joseph Bouchard acquired his first vineyards in Volnay and began to develop the family's vineyard holdings. During the French revolution property Joseph's son Antoine Philibert Joseph Bouchard siezed on property being confiscated from the nobility to expand the holdings, with further acquisitions in the 19th and 20th century.

They describe their 2018 vintage as the following: "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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From the producer: "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.

For the red wines, the nose is very complex; blackberries, very ripe cherries, spice, black pepper and mild tobacco. The colour is deep red with hints of black. One of the biggest achievements of this vintage in red is the village of Volnay, with wine of great clarity and fine purity. They are the perfect representation of fine Pinot Noir wines: elegant, delicate with smooth and gentle tannins. These are my favourite reds."

  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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From importers Bibendum: "Thierry Pillot is starting to hit his groove, driving the wines of his family Domaine to greater and greater heights. With each vintage the wines here get purer, more refined and, well, just better. Thierry is great friends with Vincent Dancer, Marc Bachelet, Arnaud Mortet and many of the other young guns of Burgundy. He is part of a revolution that has been sweeping through the Côte d’Or: a zeitgeist being driven by a new generation.

The Pillot’s have first class holdings in Chassagne 1er cru sites such as La Romanée, Clos St Jean, Les Grandes Ruchottes, Les Caillerets, La Grande Montagne, etc. We do not ship everything, only those wines that truly move us each year."

  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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The Domaine de Villaine is located in Bouzeron, nestled in the Côte Chalonnaise region It belongs to the famous Aubert de Villaine, winemaker and co-manager of the legendary Romanee-Conti. Since the Middle Ages, the monks of Cluny produced wines from this exceptional terroir. They cultivated the Aligoté varietal wines with strong personality and amazing quality.

The very small area of the appellation Bouzeron in fact one of the "secrets" of Burgundy. In Bouzeron Aligoté still occupies the place of honor, benefiting from the conditions and attention it so justly deserves. Bouzeron is unique: it is the only village in Burgundy where this varietal is cultivated exclusively on the slopes. Aubert de Villaine and Pamela bought this domain Bouzeron in 1971. Their nephew, Pierre Benoist since his arrival in 2001at the Domaine has chosen to continue organic agricultural methods commenced in 1986 They were certified by Qualicé-France in 1997. The grapes are picked and sorted by hand and use natural winemaking methods to take the whole wine making process to the highest level.

  Bouzeron Aligote   $69.96 750ml Click Here

Domaine Bruno Colin

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From the producers:

White wines: Hard to imagine better. 2018 is the vintage of superlatives. Whether on the nose or in the mouth, the white wines would be dazzling. Explosion of fruity and floral scents both subtle and powerful: pear, apricot, quince, peach, mango, not to mention delicate notes of almond. Their mouth is dense, round and supple, beautifully structured and balanced. The finish is marked by a beautiful acidity that has just brought the necessary freshness to an excellent guard.

Red wines: 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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From the importers: This is one of the finest white Burgundy estates, where the wine-making involves minimal interventions. It is run by Jean-Marc Blain and his wife Claudine, the daughter of Jacques Gagnard-Delagrange. The family owns some of the village’s greatest hillsides. New oak barrels are never used to excess, being subtly spread amongst the different cuvées, so that spicy oakiness is never perceptible here. Blain is also prudent with stirring-up of the lees (known as bâtonnage) which, if used to excess, may result in heavy wines which taste mealy.

Here, on the contrary, the finished wines have great purity of fruit, with balanced acidity and long, clean flavours which clearly evoke the wines’ precise origin.

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

Domaine Marc-Antonin Blain

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From the importers: Run by Marc-Antonin Blain, son of Jean-Marc and Claudine, the vineyard was handed to him by his Grandfather a year before his passing. Spanning 1.16 ha the Domaine is divded amongst four appellations including Batard Montrachet.

New oak barrels are never used to excess, being subtly spread amongst the different cuvées, so that spicy oakiness is never perceptible.

  Chassagne-Montrachet Village $84.95 750ml Click Here

Domaine Rougeot

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Marc Rougeot, now supported by his son Pierre-Henri, manages the 13 hectares of this family and the traditional Meursault estate. The wines are produced from the villages of Meursault, Monthélie, St Romain, Pommard and Volnay.

They have worked in the vineyard heading to conversion to organic viticulture in 2018 with the philosophy not just about sustainable agriculture, but have also introduced a minimal intervention philosophy in the winemaking process. With careful sorting to eliminated the need for sulfites in the sorting and vatting stages, they are extracting the purest fruit expression from the wine. With these changes in the cellar they have produced wines with detail and expression of their terroir.

  Les Plumes Aligote   $59.95 750ml Click Here

Domaine des Rouges-Queues

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Coming soon.

  Bourgogne Rouge   $69.95 750ml Click Here

Benjamin Leroux

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From the importer: Benjamin Leroux, the gifted manager/winemaker of Domaine Comte Armand launched his own label with the 2007 vintage. He works from a brand new winery in the center of Beaune (just off the Boulevard) that he shares with Dominique Lafon and two other wine growers. The operation is very small and will eventually specialise, primarily, in Puligny and Volnay, but with many other appellations also covered. While there are over twenty terroirs produced, this is certainly a ‘micro negociant’ operation with only two to five barrels made of most of the cuvees.

Leroux works with vineyards he manages, vineyards he owns and also buys fruit (never juice or wine) from growers with who he can work closely; growers that produce the quality of fruit to match Leroux’s exacting standards. Half of the vineyards that Leroux works with are currently organic or biodynamic (this percentage is growing) and 100% of the sites are ploughed with no herbicides or pesticides used at all in any of the sites.

  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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Charles van Canneyt following the taking over of the wine making duties at Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat is a rising star in Burgundy. Having completed his wine making studies at the Dijon University in 2008. He has achieved fame for his wines at Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat (see also Hudelot-Noëllat wines here today). Since 2012 he has been making small quantities (25 barrels in 2014) of very fine ‘micro-négoce’ wines from top Burgundy appellations.

These are impressive wines, worthy of a place in your cellar. The style is very clear, very precise, with good fruit and finesse, and each plot distinguishable when tasted side by side (as we had the pleasure to do in November 2016)

  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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Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat wines have been amongst the best in Burgundy for generations. The domaine was founded in 1962 by Alain Hudelot, the domain covers 10 hectares spread over 4 villages and 15 designations .In 2008 he stepped down when his grandson, Charles van Canneyt. With vineyards in the Cote d’Or's best climats, they produce top wines – Richebourg, Romanée st Vivant, Vosne Romanée les Malconsorts, Les Beaumonts and Les Suchots gaining the status of amongst the best in their appellation, both by wine critics and Burgundy enthusiasts around the world.

The vines date back to the 1920’s and are cared for with the philosophy to produce the finest examples of these fine terroirs. . Techniques employed during vintage include careful sorting in the vineyards followed by detailed further sorting in the winery, fermentation in enamelled fermentation tanks with retention of up to 20% of the stems with the juice. Ageing is in casks from Allier, with some from the Vosges and local Citeaux.

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

Philippe Pacalet

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Philippe Pacalet is a winemaker from Burgundy, based in Beaune who is known for being one of the first natural wine producers in France. Philippe got noticed by Henry-Frédéric Roch, who would entrust him with vinifications at Prieuré-Roch from 1991 to 2001.

He uses minimal intervention methods and natural yeasts with fruit grown without the use of chemical fertilisers or sprays. Philippe Pacalet's approach to winemaking is uncompromising - little or no added sulphur and 100% whole bunches - but it certainly makes for a distinctive style. Year after year, he produces wines with their own characteristics and personality, which honestly showcase the authenticity of the terroir and the pure expression of each of the varieties he works with.

These are wines with a stamp of elegance and that have made Burgundy famous around the world.

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