2018 Red Burgundy Retrospective

2018 Red Burgundy Retrospective

Thursday 8th December 2022
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Red Burgundy retrospective

A September check-in on the 2018 red Burgundies proved a fascinating, and at times, thrilling five days of tasting. I had not tasted the vintage so extensively since the Autumn of 2019 and so I was delighted to find as many good wines as I did then, from barrel; if anything I came away even more enthused than my initial impressions allowed me. Many of the wines have found a calmness and balance I had not broadly predicted at the time: alcohols were a little less dominant and bold tannins, though still very much a feature of the vintage, were better matched to the fruit.  There is no doubting this is a big, powerful vintage, of course, but they seem to have settled into themselves and feel a bit less daunting. Whilst it is clearly one of the less consistent red vintages of the last few years, lack of freshness or predominance of brett being the two major pitfalls, there were so many wines I loved; many wines I could seem myself enjoying earlier in their life than I had imagined. Be selective but don’t miss the 2018s, embrace their exuberance and boldness, you won’t regret it.  

All wines were tasted blind. The flights were organised by village and, where possible, by vineyard or vineyard style. 

Amongst the 100 producers, and 241 wines entered, there were a handful of producers I personally found to be consistently outstanding: 

My top performing Domaines:

  • Bruno Clair
  • Trapet
  • Comte Liger Belair
  • Violot Guillemard
  • Tawse
  • Groffier 

As a general pattern, and this is very broad brush, the wines that showed best were from clay-dominant sites.  Vineyards strongly influenced by limestone did not quite seem to hit the highs they often do.  This applies equally to the Cote de Beaune as it does the Cote de Nuits

In the Cote de Beaune, Corton was a little less inconsistent than usual, perhaps, but the really top wines were limited to just a small handful -Renardes from Camille Giroud and Rognet from Michel Mallard the clear winners as far as I was concerned; Volnay performed a little below expectations but still produced some excellent wines, Comtes Lafon the most consistent producer and Clos des Chenes the most consistent vineyard. My preferred wine, though, was the stony Taillepieds from Domaine de Montille

However, eclipsing anything else in the Cote de Beaune, was Pommard; continuing its rapid upwards qualitative trajectory of the last few years…  Not only did I find my scores consistently high - Clos de la Chapelle, Comte Armand, Genot Boulanger, Launay Horiot and Olivier Leflaive, Buffet and Domaine du Pavillon all doing well – but also the peaks were higher than anything else in the Cote de Beaune; my number one spot was reserved for Violot-Guillemard’s Pommard Rugiens ( the seven wine Rugiens flight was the best flight in the Cote de Beaune ) a wine of power and nuance, that beautifully balanced earthy substance with high-toned florality. 

The Cote de Nuits produced some of the tasting’s most exciting wines, but lacked the consistency found in the best corners of the Cote de Beaune (listed in tasting order) :

Nuits-St-Georges -  This is a village that has recently overperformed versus its reputation over the last few years, but 2018 turned out to be a little underwhelming; solid wines but nothing too exceptional. The hail that fell in Premeaux clearly did not help the wines there, but quality was better further north.  Just south of Nuits, Cailles, Les St Georges and Vaucrains, was the sweet spot. Chevillon’s Vaucrains my standout. 

Clos de Vougeot - A solid and consistent showing, without producing anything that quite hit greatness. There were some strapping wines, as you would expect, the best examples for me were the ones that displayed a drive, nerve and freshness to counterbalance that raw power.  Comte Liger-Belair’s was my pick of the bunch. 

Chambolle-Musigny - A less exciting year for Chambolle than is often the case. This is an early-ripening village with lots of limestone. The best examples were from the more clay influenced lower vineyards like Charmes. The rest were generally were very concentrated, stony, tight-wound wines.  My preferred wines shared a juiciness and freshness, the pick of the bunch being Groffier’s Sentiers, closely followed by Drouhin’s 1er Cru and Barthod’s Charmes.  

Morey-St-Denis – A decent if unexceptional showing in the Premiers Crus, though in general the wines were perhaps a little fresher than in Chambolle, but it was the Grand Crus that really excelled here. Given the brilliance of its Grands Crus, you’d think Morey would have greater cachet as an appellation. Clos de la Roche (Arlaud and H Lignier), Clos st Denis , Clos de Tart and Lambrays were all generally very successful, Lambrays being the pick of the bunch; it was a flight that just eclipsed Bonnes Mares  - among which Vougeraie’s and Groffier’s were the most interesting. 

Gevrey-Chambertin – This was the most successful village, in terms of consistency. There were some really lovely wines mixing structure and lift – there seemed to be more freshness here than in other parts of Cote de Nuits. In and around the Combe de Lavaux was the most successful part. Clos St Jacques was a stellar flight and Bruno Clair’s was the stand out example; whilst Combottes, Lavaux, and Cazetiers all showed extremely well. Of the Grand Crus I found the Chapelles more consistent than the Charmes and Mazoyeres without being earth-moving; the Latricieres & Mazis flight provided a step up – Tawse and Trapet were the most impressive; however, outside of Chambertin, the Ruchottes were the best of the rest, showing more refinement than the others – an exquisite, vibrant Mugneret-Gibourg and a richer, more seductive Henri Magnien were my preferred wines.   

Chambertin and Clos de Beze, provided the most excitement. Chambertins from Rousseau, Camille Giroud and Rossignol Trapet were superb, but the most complete was that of Trapet; Bruno Clair’s Clos de Beze was also among the best wines of the two flights, but the greatest of all was the Beze from Groffier, as vibrant as it was sumptuous. 

Musigny - Often there is clear distance here between these and the best Grands Crus of Gevrey but in 2018 I would put the best Chambertin’s on a par with the best MusignysTawse was the wine I enjoyed most, followed by that of Mugnier. It really did feel as if Gevrey had the edge over Chambolle in 2018.

Moving finally to Vosne. Unfortunately I had to leave the tasting for the 1ers Crus, the general feedback from fellow tasters was of broad success, without quite having the stellar quality these wine often show – those of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair being the notable exception, providing the group’s two best wines in Reignots and Petits Monts, according to the average scores.  

I was luck enough to return for the Vosne Grands Crus, however:

Echezeaux - The two fights of Echezeaux were consistent without offering up anything magical. The best efforts were those of Domaine d’Eugenie and Millot.  The rest of the Vosne Grands Crus very much typified the vintage as a whole, inconsistent but sometimes spectacular and there is no doubt that the vintage’s best wines are to be found here.  One of these was AF Gros Richebourg – the best example from them that I can remember tasting; another was the excellent Richebourg from Grivot, however Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair’s La Romanee was head and shoulders above anything else I tasted during the week, offering up a layered and nuanced intensity, an exquisite mix of energy, power and finesse.  

Beaune Clos du Roi Domaine Tawse
Beaune Les Aigrots Sebastien Magnien
Beaune Clos du Roi Domaine Camus-Bruchon
Beaune Clos du Roi Domaine Tollot-Beaut
Beaune Epenottes Dominique Lafon
Beaune Les Bressandes Domaine des Croix
Beaune Pertuisots Jean-Yves Devevey
Beaune Grèves    
Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jesus Bouchard Père & Fils (domaine)
Beaune Grèves Domaine Tollot-Beaut
Beaune Grèves Domaine Genot-Boulanger

Volnay North  
Volnay Fremiets Domaine Tawse
Volnay Les Angles Louis Boillot
Volnay Clos de la Rougeotte Domaine François Buffet
Volnay Les Fremiets Henri Boillot
Volnay Centre  
Volnay Clos de Verseuil Domaine Y Clerget
Volnay Clos du Château des Ducs Domaine Michel Lafarge
Volnay Carelle Sous la Chapelle JM Boillot
Volnay Clos de la Chapelle Domaine Clos de la Chapelle
Volnay Carelle Sous la Chapelle Domaine Y Clerget
Volnay Mitans Benjamin Leroux
Volnay South  
Volnay Champans Olivier Leflaive Frères 
Volnay Champans Domaine François Buffet
Volnay Santenots du Milieu Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Volnay Champans Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Volnay Les Chevrets Henri Boillot
Volnay Les Caillerets, Ancienne Cuvée Carnot Bouchard Père & Fils
Volnay Clos des Chênes & Taillepieds  
Volnay Clos des Chênes Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur
Volnay Clos des Chênes Domaine François Buffet
Volnay Clos des Chênes Domaine François Gaunoux
Volnay Les Taillepieds Domaine de Montille
Volnay Clos des Chênes Domaine Michel Lafarge
Volnay Clos des Chênes Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Volnay Taillepieds Domaine François Buffet
Pommard Clos des Arvelets Domaine Camus-Bruchon
Pommard Clos des Poutures Domaine Heitz-Lochardet
Pommard Jarollières JM Boillot
Pommard Clos Blanc Domaine Genot-Boulanger
Pommard Chanlins Vieilles Vignes Domaine Clos de la Chapelle
Pommard Clos Blanc Domaine Launay-Horiot
Pommard Pézérolles Domaine A-F Gros
Pommard Pézérolles Domaine Heitz-Lochardet
Pommard Clos des Epenots Château de Meursault
Pommard Clos des Epeneaux Domaine du Comte Armand
Pommard Epenots Olivier Leflaive Freres
Pommard Pézérolles Olivier Leflaive Freres
Pommard Pézérolles Domaine de Montille
Pommard Rugiens  
Pommard Les Rugiens-Bas Domaine Launay-Horiot
Pommard Les Rugiens Domaine François Buffet
Pommard Les Rugiens Domaine Y Clerget
Pommard Les Rugiens Domaine François Gaunoux
Pommard Les Rugiens-Haut Benjamin Leroux
Pommard Les Rugiens Domaine du Pavillon, Bichot
Pommard Les Rugiens Domaine Violot-Guillemard
Corton   Domaine Tollot-Beaut
Corton Clos des Marechaudes Domaine du Pavillon (Bichot)
Corton Les Renardes Camille Giroud
Corton Les Renardes Thibault Liger Belair
Le Corton   Bouchard Père & Fils (domaine)
Corton Les Grandes Lolieres Henri Magnien
Corton Clos du Roi Domaine de Montille
Corton Clos des Cortons-Faiveley Domaine Faiveley
Corton Bressandes Domaine Follin-Arbelet
Corton La Vigne au Saint Domaine des Croix
Corton   Domaine Follin-Arbelet
Corton Le Clos du Roi Domaine de la Vougeraie
Corton Marechaudes Claire & Stéphane Follin-Arbelet
Corton Les Renardes Domaine Michel Mallard
Corton   Bonneau du Martray
Corton Rognet Domaine Taupenot-Merme
Corton Bressandes Domaine Tollot-Beaut
Corton Le Rognet Domaine Michel Mallard
Corton Pougets Heritiers Louis Jadot
Nuits St Georges A    
Nuits-St-Georges Clos St Marc (magnum) Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion
Nuits-St-Georges Clos des Forêts St Georges Domaine de l'Arlot
Nuits-St-Georges Clos de l'Arlot Domaine de l'Arlot
Nuits-St-Georges Clos de la Maréchale Domaine J-F Mugnier
Nuits-St-Georges Clos des Grandes Vignes Comte Liger Belair
Nuits-St-Georges Clos des Argillières Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion
Nuits St Georges B    
Nuits-St-Georges Roncière Domaine Jean Grivot
Nuits-St-Georges Clos des Porrets St Georges Domaine Henri Gouges
Nuits-St-Georges Les Cailles Domaine Robert Chevillon
Nuits-St-Georges Les Cailles Bouchard Père & Fils (domaine)
Nuits-St-Georges Les Pruliers Domaine Henri Gouges
Nuits-St-Georges Les Perrières Domaine Jean Chauvenet
Nuits St Georges C    
Nuits-St-Georges Les St Georges Domaine Faiveley
Nuits-St-Georges Les St Georges Domaine Henri Gouges
Nuits-St-Georges Les Vaucrains Domaine Jean Chauvenet
Nuits-St-Georges Les Vaucrains Domaine Henri Gouges
Nuits-St-Georges Les Vaucrains Domaine Robert Chevillon
Nuits-St-Georges Les St Georges Thibault Liger Belair
Nuits St Georges D    
Nuits-St-Georges Aux Boudots Domaine Georges Noellat
Nuits-St-Georges Les Damodes Domaine de la Vougeraie
Nuits-St-Georges Les Damodes Domaine Jean Chauvenet
Nuits-St-Georges Aux Chaignots Domaine Faiveley
Nuits-St-Georges Aux Cras Domaine Comte Liger Belair
Nuits-St-Georges La Richemone Domaine Gerard Mugneret
Nuits-St-Georges Les Chaignots Georges Mugneret-Gibourg
Nuits-St-Georges Aux Argillas Domaine Jean Tardy
Clos de Vougeot    
Clos de Vougeot   Henri Boillot
Clos Vougeot   Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet
Clos de Vougeot   Domaine Castagnier
Clos Vougeot   Domaine Louis Jadot
Clos Vougeot   Thibault Liger Belair
Clos de Vougeot   Domaine de la Vougeraie
Clos de Vougeot   Domaine Jean Grivot
Clos de Vougeot   Joseph Drouhin
Clos Vougeot   Bouchard Père & Fils (domaine)
Clos Vougeot   Domaine Guyon
Clos Vougeot   Domaine d'Eugenie
Clos de Vougeot   Comte Liger Belair
Clos de Vougeot   Domaine Genot-Boulanger
Chambolle Musigny A    
Chambolle-Musigny   Joseph Drouhin
Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes Ghislaine Barthod
Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes Domaine Hudelot-Baillet
Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat
Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion
Chambolle Musigny B    
Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras Domaine Hudelot-Baillet
Chambolle-Musigny Les Borniques Domaine Hudelot-Baillet
Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras Ghislaine Barthod
Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras Domaine G Roumier
Chambolle-Musigny Les Sentiers Robert Groffier Père & fils
Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées Domaine JF Mugnier
Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées Ghislaine Barthod
Morey St Denis A    
Morey-St-Denis La Riotte Domaine Taupenot-Merme
Morey-St-Denis Ruchots Domaine Arlaud
Morey-St-Denis Cheseaux Virgile Lignier-Michelot
Morey-St-Denis Charmes Virgile Lignier-Michelot
Morey-St-Denis Faconnières Stephane Magnien
Morey-St-Denis Clos des Godelles Camille Giroud
Morey-St-Denis vieilles vignes Hubert Lignier
Morey-St-Denis   Domaine Dujac
Morey-St-Denis Clos de la Bussière Domaine Georges Roumier
Clos de la Roche    
Clos de la Roche   Domaine Dujac
Clos de la Roche   Domaine Arlaud
Clos de la Roche   Virgile Lignier-Michelot
Clos de la Roche   Albert Bichot
Clos de la Roche   H Lignier
Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes Domaine Ponsot
Clos de la Roche   Domaine Castagnier
Morey St Denis Grand Cru    
Clos St-Denis   Stephane Magnien
Clos des Lambrays   Domaine des Lambrays
Clos St-Denis   Benjamin Leroux
Clos St-Denis   Domaine Castagnier
Clos de Tart   Domaine du Clos de Tart
Clos St-Denis   herezstyn-Mazzini
Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru    
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Goulots Domaine Herezstn-Mazzini
Gevrey-Chambertin Bel Air Domaine Taupenot Merme
Fixin Les Arvelets Berthaut-Gerbet
Gevrey-Chambertin Petite Chapelle Rossignol-Trapet
Gevrey-Chambertin La Perrière Arnaud Mortet
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur Rossignol-Trapet
Gevrey-Chambertin Champonnet Louis Boillot
Gevrey Chambertin Champeaux, Fonteny  & Combottes  
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champeaux Domaine Tawse
Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes Domaine Arlaud
Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaut St-Jacques (magnum) Camille Giroud
Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St-Jacques Domaine Henri Magnien
Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes Domaine Dujac
Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St-Jacques Domaine Armand Rousseau
Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St-Jacques Domaine Tawse
Gevrey Chambertin Cazetiers  
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers Domaine Henri Magnien
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers Domaine Bruno Clair
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers Domaine Armand Rousseau
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers Domaine Faiveley
Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers Benjamin Leroux
Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques  
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques Domaine Bruno Clair
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques Domaine Louis Jadot
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques Sylvie Esmonin
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques Domaine Armand Rousseau
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques vieille vigne Domaine Fourrier
Charmes-Chambertin   Domaine Armand Rousseau
Charmes-Chambertin   Domaine Castagnier
Charmes-Chambertin   Domaine Arlaud
Charmes-Chambertin Les Mazoyères Domaine de la Vougeraie
Mazoyères-Chambertin   Arnaud Mortet
Charmes-Chambertin   Domaine Taupenot-Merme
Mazoyères-Chambertin   Domaine Taupenot-Merme
Chapelle-Chambertin   Domaine Louis Jadot
Chapelle-Chambertin   Domaine Trapet Père & Fils
Chapelle-Chambertin   Domaine Ponsot
Chapelle-Chambertin   Domaine Rossignol-Trapet
Ruchottes-Chambertin   Christophe Roumier
Ruchottes-Chambertin   Mugneret Gibourg
Ruchottes-Chambertin   Château de Marsannay
Ruchottes-Chambertin   Henri Magnien
Latricières & Mazis    
Mazis-Chambertin   Joseph Faiveley
Latricières-Chambertin   Domaine J & J-L Trapet
Mazis-Chambertin   Domaine Tawse
Latricières-Chambertin   Domaine Rossignol-Trapet
Latricières-Chambertin   Domaine Launay-Horiot
Clos de Beze    
Chambertin Clos de Bèze   Domaine Armand Rousseau
Chambertin Clos de Bèze   Domaine Bruno Clair
Chambertin Clos de Bèze   Robert Groffier Père & fils
Chambertin Clos de Bèze   Domaine Faiveley
Chambertin   Domaine Rossignol-Trapet
Chambertin   Camille Giroud
Chambertin   Domaine J & J-L Trapet
Chambertin   Clos Frantin, Bichot
Chambertin   Domaine Armand Rousseau
Bonnes Mares    
Bonnes Mares   Domaine Bruno Clair
Bonnes Mares   Domaine Georges Roumier
Bonnes Mares   Domaine Hudelot-Baillet
Bonnes Mares   Robert Groffier Père & fils
Bonnes Mares   Domaine de la Vougeraie
Bonnes Mares   Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé
Chambolle Amoureuses  
Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses Robert Groffier Père & fils
Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses Domaine JF Mugnier
Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses Domaine Georges Roumier
Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé
Musigny   Domaine JF Mugnier
Musigny   Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé
Musigny   Domaine de la Vougeraie
Musigny   Domaine Tawse
Vosne-Romanée A    
Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots Domaine Gérard Mugneret
Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots Domaine de l'Arlot
Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots Comte Liger Belair
Vosne-Romanée Charmes de Maizières Domaine Guyon
Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots Domaine Jean-Marc Millot
Vosne-Romanée B    
Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées Domaine d'Eugenie
Vosne-Romanée En Orveaux Jean-Pierre Guyon
Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts Domaine Jean Grivot
Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat
Vosne-Romanée Les Rouges du Dessus Cecile Tremblay
Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts Domaine Georges Noëllat
Vosne Romanee C    
Vosne-Romanée Les Petits Monts Comte Liger Belair
Vosne-Romanée Les Petits Monts Domaine Georges Noëllat
Vosne-Romanée Les Petits Monts Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet
Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts Domaine du Clos Frantin, Bichot
Vosne-Romanée Aux Reignots Comte Liger Belair
Echezeaux   Domaine Jean Grivot
Grands-Echezeaux   Domaine d'Eugenie
Echezeaux   Domaine d'Eugenie
Echezeaux   Comte Liger Belair
Echezeaux Les Treux, Vieilles Vignes Domaine Jean Tardy
Echezeaux   Domaine Jean-Marc Millot
Echezeaux   Clos Frantin, Bichot
Vosne Grands Crus    
Romanée-St-Vivant   Domaine de l'Arlot
Richebourg   Domaine A-F Gros
Richebourg   Thibault Liger-Belair
Romanée-St-Vivant   Domaine Hudelot-Noellat
La Romanée   Comte Liger Belair
Richebourg   Domaine Jean Grivot