2018 White Burgundy Retrospective

2018 White Burgundy Retrospective

Wednesday 7th December 2022
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

The burgfest team convened earlier in the summer to assess the 2018 White Burgundy vintage in bottle.

Burgfest is a crack team of 10 Burgundy specialists, a mixture of wine merchant buyers and journalists, gathered in the peaceful setting of the wonderful Hameau de Barboron just outside of Savigny Les Beaune.

The tasting gives the lucky participants a unique perspective on a vintage; the ability to taste 1ers and Grands Crus from the top producers, both established and up and coming, from right across the Cote d’Or and Chablis, is a privilege not lost on the tasters – tasting 4 Montrachets or a flight of 8 Chevaliers Montrachets side by side is certainly not a responsibility taken lightly. The wines are tasted in flights grouped by village and then by single vineyard (if enough samples to form a flight will allow) or failing that are grouped by style / location of vineyard – eg high slope Chassagnes.   However, thereafter the identities of the wines and producers are not known. Tastings are in the mornings only, to avoid palate fatigue, to allow group discussion and also to give tasters time to formulate as accurate and reasoned a view, wine by wine, as possible.  

The average results and group conclusions from the tasting will be covered extensively by the World of Fine in their January issue, which will also include the results of the forthcoming Red Burgfest 2018 tasting in September. 

In the meantime, herewith my own personal conclusions on the tasting , after four mornings of tasting 203 wines across 32 flights and 78 different producers.   

We opened with Chablis, perhaps this unfairly disadvantaged the region but it certainly felt like the most inconsistent and disappointing of the villages we tasted.  A flight of mixed right bank Premiers Crus was followed by five single vineyard flights (including their subzones) that comprised Fourchaume, Vaillons, Montmains,  Mont de Milieu and Montee de Tonnerre.   There was little to chose between the different vineyards, save for a couple of flashes of brilliance from Montee de Tonnerre and Vaulorent, the latter of which was lumped in with the a mixed Grand Cru flight without looking at all out of place.  

Overall my top performer was consistently Samuel Billaud, his Montee de Tonnerre just pipping his Sechet as one of the best Chablis I tasted – an accolade it shared with an excellent Butteaux from Julien Brocard, a Clos from Duplessis and a surprising La Moutonne from Long Depaquit which for me outshone their other wines by quite a distance.  The four flights of Grands Crus revealed more consistency than the Premiers Crus, without necessarily hitting the heights they should. 

Next up was Meursault. A strong performer and clear notch up on Chablis. Of the four flights - a mixed Goutte d’or/Poruzot/Boucheres; a Genevrieres,  Charmes and Perrieres, for me the Charmes flight was a clear highlight – the naturally sun-imbued, fleshy yellow fruit of the vineyard coupled well with great freshness and tension; the site and clay rich limestone soils seemed to deal very well with the 2018 conditions. The most successful wines were the Charmes of Henri Germain and Ballot Millot, but there were consistently good scores from the rest, the best of which were Ch de Meursault, Fabien Coche and Olivier Leflaive.  Genevrieres was more inconsistent than Charmes and did not hit the same heights, though the two best examples were a clear step above – these were from Antoine Jobard and Domaine des Comtes Lafon. Though pipped by Charmes this year as the best Meursault flight ( a turnaround from previous vintages), the flight of 9 different Perrieres was a very enjoyable one, with Ballot Millot taking my stop spot once again, and Ch de Meursault a close second – the tasting marked this up and coming producers’ best all round Burgfest performance yet. 

Heading south and in land St Aubin provided some very good wines, no longer a dark horse, the group have come to expect some excellent things from this once underrated valley.  The scores were not quite as consistently high as they have been in the past, however, perhaps having earned the right, in recent years, to higher expectations ? The great En Remilly vineyard provided the top two wines, Olivier Leflaive the best, with that of de Montille a close second. Both showing attractive yellow fruit, and a coiled core of zesty tension.  Of the remainder Montceau from Marc Colin was head and shoulders above the rest.   

The next village, Chassagne, was, for me the stand out village of 2018, seek them out!  Eclipsing, for once, some very lofty (and more expensive) neighbours in Puligny.  Results at Burgfest can often be surprising and confounding, but if there seems to have been one constant over the last few years, it is the performance of Paul Pillot, for me one of the very top Domaines in Burgundy.  For Pillot the only question is which of his wines will come out on top, the only variable in this incredibly consistent domaine.  This year it was the Grandes Ruchottes that shone above all other Chassagnes, closely followed by his Grand Montagne, and  then by Abbaye de Morgeot from Olivier Leflaive, Chaumee Clos St Abdon from Philippe Colin, and Vergers Bernard Moreau – one of three high performing Vergers (the others being Philippe Colin and Olivier Leflaive) an interesting trend and one for the canny buyer to note; it is not a vineyard that usually forms part of the upper echelons of the Chassagne hierarchy, and is priced accordingly.

The top wines of Puligny were among the very best of the tasting, but overall the commune was a shade below expectations.  The deeper, clay soils of Chassagne seemingly won the day.  There is no doubt that Domaine Leflaive is at full throttle, their Pucelles was one of the best wines in the whole of Burgfest, silk and complexity matched by a searing verve and drive – both of these latter characteristics being a feature of their other wines too. Leflaive’s Combettes was equally good, a wine of scale, stature and tension. The next best was the Folatieres (a little disappointing as a flight, however) from Sebastien Magnien, whilst Olivier Leflaive performed well too, with their Folatieres and Pucelles. 

13 Corton Charlemagnes produced a better performance than usual, showing great consistency if not ever hitting the heights of the week’s top wines.   Those of Olivier Leflaive and Bonneau du Martray shared top spot, for showing an energy and zest to counter Corton’s more natural inclination towards unctuous stone fruit.  The chasing pack was lead by an oakier but equally vibrant yet full bodied wine from Tollot Beaut.

A quartet of mixed Criots and Bienvenues, trumped a rather mixed flight of Batard. Jacques Carillon’s Bienvenue a clear winner, here – wine that carries its Grand Cru stature and complexity with effortless grace.  

Chevalier Montrachet represented a level up in intensity, if not consistency. The best wines showing a tension and almost textural crunch – the stand out amongst the eight wine flight once more was that of Domaine Leflaive, beaten only by a Montrachet as my favourite wine of the tasting.  2018 white burgfest has been Domaine Leflaive’s best for quite some time, and suggest that Pierre Vincent has ushered in a great new era at this domaine. 

The week was capped off with four Montrachets, presenting richer, more dense propositions than the Chevaliers. Olivier Lelfaive’s was the winner and my top wine of the entire week, a wine that wears its multiple layers and concentration so well.  Comte Lafon’s, in a more open-knit fragrant style came second

Overall the tasting reconfirmed barrels tastings, there are some excellent white wines in 2018 that are well worth seeking out. Whilst in a fuller style than cooler years there is plenty of citrus-styled fruit tension and freshness to enjoy. The highs may not be as consistently great as 2017, but this a very good white vintage worth having

See below for the runners and riders (note the wines are listed in flights in the order in which they were tasted.

Chablis Côte de Lechet Daniel Dampt & Fils
Chablis Vosgros Gilbert Picq & Fils
Chablis Vaucoupin Gilbert Picq & Fils
Chablis Les Vaucoupins Domaine Long Depaquit
Chablis Vosgros Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Fourchaume Le Domaine d'Henri
Chablis l'Homme Mort Domaine Laroche
Chablis l'Homme Mort Vieilles Vignes Le Domaine d'Henri
Chablis Fourchaume Heritage Le Domaine d'Henri
Chablis Vaillons Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Vaillons Domaine Jean Collet & Fils
Chablis Beugnons Domaine Sebastien Dampt
Chablis Les Vaillons Vincent Dampt
Chablis Séchet Vieilles Vignes Samuel Billaud
Chablis Vaillons Cuvée Guy Moreau Domaine Christian Moreau
Chablis Vaillons Gérard Duplessis
Chablis Vaillons Domaine Servin
Chablis Les Vaillons Domaine Long Depaquit
Chablis Montmain Domaine Pinson Frères
Chablis Butteaux Vieilles Vignes Louis Michel & Fils
Chablis Butteaux François Raveneau
Chablis Les Montmains Domaine Laroche
Chablis La Forêt Domaine Pinson Frères
Chablis Les Butteaux Eleni & Edouard Vocoret
Chablis La Forêt Jean-Claude Bessin
Chablis Butteaux Julien Brocard
Mont de Milieu    
Chablis Mont de Milieu Domaine Pinson Frères
Chablis Mont de Milieu Domaine William Fèvre
Chablis Mont de Milieu Domaine Duplessis
Chablis Mont de Milieu Samuel Billaud
Montee de Tonnerre    
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Charlène & Laurent Pinson
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Louis Michel & Fils
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Gérard Duplessis
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Samuel Billaud
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Domaine Jean Collet & Fils
Vaulorent & Grand Cru  
Chablis Grenouilles Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Les Blanchots, La Reserve de l'Obedience Domaine Laroche
Chablis Blanchot Domaine Servin
Chablis Vaulorent Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Bougros, Côte Bouguerots Domaine William Fèvre
Chablis Vaulorent Domaine William Fèvre
Chablis Vaudésir Jean-Marc Brocard
Chablis Moutonne Domaine Long Depaquit
Chablis Les Vaudésirs Domaine Long Depaquit
Chablis Vaudésir Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Valmur Jean-Claude Bessin
Chablis Valmur Domaine Jean Collet & Fils
Chablis Valmur François Raveneau
Chablis Valmur Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Valmur Domaine William Fèvre
Les Clos    
Chablis Les Clos Domaine Christian Moreau
Chablis Les Clos Domaine Pinson Frères
Chablis Les Clos Louis Michel & Fils
Chablis Les Clos Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin
Chablis Les Clos Domaine Laroche
Chablis Les Clos Gérard Duplessis
Beaune  & Blagny    
Meursault-Blagny   Antoine Jobard
Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin
Meursault-Blagny Sous le Dos d'Ane Olivier Leflaive (Domaine)
Beaune Les Aigrots Domaine Sébastien Magnien
Goutte d'Or & co    
Meursault Poruzots Antoine Jobard
Meursault Porusots Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Meursault Poruzots Henri Germain
Meursault Bouchères Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Meursault Goutte d'Or Domaine Fabien Coche
Meursault Clos des Bouchères Domaine Roulot
Genevrieres Genevrieres  
Meursault Les Genevrières Benjamin Leroux
Meursault Les Genevrières Michel Bouzereau & fils
Meursault Genevrières Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Meursault Genevrières Bouchard Père & Fils
Meursault Genevrières Antoine Jobard
Meursault Genevrières Domaine Ballot-Millot
Charmes Charmes   
Meursault Charmes Domaine Fabien Coche
Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus Vincent Girardin
Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus Château de Meursault
Meursault Les Charmes Domaine du Pavillon (Bichot)
Meursault Charmes Domaine Ballot-Millot
Meursault Charmes Olivier Leflaive
Meursault Charmes Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Meursault Charmes Michel Bouzereau & Fils
Meursault Charmes Henri Germain
Perrieres Perrieres  
Meursault Perrières Bouchard Père & Fils
Meursault Perrières Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur
Meursault Perrières Heitz-Lochardet
Meursault Les Perrières Domaine Vincent Girardin
Meursault Perrières Chateau de Meursault
Meursault Perrières Michel Bouzereau & Fils
Meursault Perrières Domaine Ballot-Millot
Meursault Perrières Domaine Roulot
Meursault Perrières Domaine des Comtes Lafon
St Aubin    
St-Aubin Les Champlots Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
St-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien Hubert Lamy
St-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien François Carillon
St-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien Jean Chartron
St-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
St-Aubin En Montceau Marc Colin & ses Fils
St-Aubin En Remilly Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
St-Aubin Chatenière Olivier Leflaive Frères
St-Aubin En Remilly Hubert Lamy
St-Aubin En Remilly Marc Colin & ses Fils
St-Aubin Clos de la Chatenière Hubert Lamy
St-Aubin La Chatenière Henri Prudhon
St-Aubin En Remilly Domaine de Montille
St-Aubin En Remilly Olivier Leflaive Frères
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers Philippe Colin 
Chassagne-Montrachet Vergers Clos St Marc Olivier Leflaive (Domaine)
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers Bernard Moreau & Fils
Chassagne-Montrachet Vergers Clos St Marc Jean-Marc Pillot
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers Bruno Colin
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Macherelles Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
Chassagne-Montrachet Chaumées Clos St-Abdon Philippe Colin 
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Macherelles François Carillon
Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie Bernard Moreau & Fils
Chassagne-Montrachet Vide Bourse Marc Colin & Fils
Chassagne-Montrachet Blanchot-Dessus Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
Chassagne-Montrachet En Remilly Philippe Colin 
Chassagne-Montrachet Maltroie Heitz-Lochardet
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Baudines Jean-Marc Pillot
Greater Morgeot    
Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Le Tête de Clos Ballot-Millot
Chassagne-Montrachet Clos de la Chapelle Duc de Magenta (Jadot)
Chassagne-Montrachet La Boudriotte Domaine Blain-Gagnard
Chassagne-Montrachet Abbaye de Morgeot Olivier Leflaive (Domaine)
Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche (Drouhin)
Chassagne-Montrachet La Boudriotte Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
Higher Ground    
Chassagne-Montrachet La Grande Montagne Domaine Paul Pillot
Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée Vincent Girardin
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Grands Clos Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay
Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée Domaine Paul Pillot
Chassagne-Montrachet Tonton Marcel Maison Camille Giroud
Chassagne-Montrachet Grandes Ruchottes Domaine Paul Pillot
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets Jean-Marc Pillot
Chassagne-Montrachet En Cailleret Marc Colin & Fils
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain François Carillon
Puligny-Montrachet Sous Le Puits Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
Puligny-Montrachet Champgain Dominique Lafon
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain Domaine de la Vougeraie
Puligny-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes Jean Chartron
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières Heritiers Louis Jadot
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières Bachelet Monnot
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières Olivier Leflaive (Domaine)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières François Carillon
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières Domaine Genot-Boulanger
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières Sebastien Magnien
Perrieres & Referts    
Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières Jacques Carillon
Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts Etienne Sauzet
Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières François Carillon
Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts Jacques Carillon
Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Mouchère Domaine Henri Boillot
Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts Bachelet-Monnot
Champs Canet    
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Canet Château de Meursault
Puligny-Montrachet Les Champs Canet Jacques Carillon
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Canet Etienne Sauzet
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Canet Domaine J.M. Boillot
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes Domaine Leflaive
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes François Carillon
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes Domaine Henri Boillot
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes Domaine Vincent Girardin
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes Etienne Sauzet
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Olivier Leflaive, Domaine
Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Pucelle Jean Chartron
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive
Puligny-Montrachet Clos du Cailleret Jean Chartron
Puligny-Montrachet Le Cailleret Michel Bouzereau & fils
Puligny-Montrachet Le Cailleret Domaine de Montille
Puligny-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Philippe Colin
Grands Crus    
Corton-Charlemagne   Bouchard Père & Fils
Corton-Charlemagne   Domaine Genot-Boulanger
Corton-Charlemagne   Domaine du Pavillon (Bichot)
Corton-Charlemagne   Domaine des Croix
Corton-Charlemagne   Domaine Bonneau du Martray
Charlemagne    Domaine de la Vougeraie
Corton-Charlemagne   Domaine de Montille
Corton-Charlemagne   Tollot Beaut
Corton-Charlemagne   Heritiers Louis Jadot
Corton-Charlemagne   Domaine Rollin
Corton-Charlemagne   Follin Arbelet
Corton-Charlemagne   Henri Boillot
Corton-Charlemagne   Olivier Leflaive Frères
Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Jacques Carillon
Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Fontaine-Gagnard
Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Blain-Gagnard
Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils
Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Domaine de la Vougeraie
Bâtard-Montrachet magnum Benjamin Leroux
Bâtard-Montrachet   Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay
Bâtard-Montrachet   Jean Chartron
Bâtard-Montrachet   Olivier Leflaive, Domaine
Bâtard-Montrachet   Domaine de la Vougeraie
Bâtard-Montrachet   Vincent Girardin
Chevalier Montrachet  
Chevalier-Montrachet Clos des Chevaliers Jean Chartron
Chevalier-Montrachet Domaine Leflaive
Chevalier-Montrachet Bruno Colin
Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Domaine Louis Jadot
Chevalier-Montrachet Olivier Leflaive, Domaine
Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte Bouchard Père & Fils
Chevalier-Montrachet Domaine de la Vougeraie
Chevalier-Montrachet Philippe Colin
Montrachet   Bouchard Père & Fils
Montrachet   Marquis de Laguiche
Montrachet   Olivier Leflaive Frères
Montrachet   Domaine des Comtes Lafon