Wines will be offered over the next couple of weeks
What a difference a year makes! 2018 red Burgundies are totally different wines compared to the 2017s, which were approachable and are making delicious drinking from the off. 2018 has produced a vintage of more structured Pinot Noir; bigger bodies, with more tannins and more ageing potential. The wines we'll be offering don't show the over-ripeness you might expect from a warm season and they have great complexity even at this very early stage, when they haven't yet started to develop. We saw a lot of floral notes and red fruits. It was certainly a farmer's vintage: good vineyard management and - especially - leaf canopy management were crucial, but deciding when to pick was even more important this year.
The white wines were a real and positive surprise. We are always delighted to read reports of a larger than usual Burgundy vintage because that ought to mean a slight relief on pressure for allocations (and occasionally some relief for the wallet). In Burgundy nothing is ever susceptible to generalisation, but in general the fruit had more juice than expected. We loved the 17s, but the 18s are extraordinary; we had many wow moments and very few meh ones. On the whole the Chardonnays have terrific intensity, energy and balance. They'll age very well if you can keep your hands off them.
It was certainly a vintage for the winemaker and her kit. You had to be totally in command of your cellar and its equipment. Here's why: with harvest being early and in very hot weather picking hours in any one day were limited. You couldn't really ask human beings to be out in that sort of weather for very long periods of time and for quality wine picking has to be manual. Many of our producers worked with much larger teams than usual. They had to because, unusually, Pinot Noir was ripening very quickly in the last few days. The fruit that arrived in the cellars was warm and had to be cooled; then the press had to be cooled; and to achieve a 'cold settling' tanks had to be cooled. Any failures in that chain at cellar reception carried risks for stuck fermentations - exacerbated by the use of stems in those domaines that like them. This aspect of wine production isn't romantic but it is ever more significant. 2018 carried real challenges and we're proud to present a large selection of wines from growers who navigated them successfully.
Starting today with Droin from Chablis, we'll be sending out our 2018 Burgundy offers throughout January. Firmly in the top three Chablis producers, Benoit has made some elegant and enticing Chablis with fruit and minerality.
If you have a 2018 Burgundy wish-list please do reply to this. There's no obligation but it does mean we'll try and offer to you prior to the general emails. Most of you sensibly want to taste before you buy and our tasting is next week. /CW
To place an order, click on the wine name below, reply to this email, or call 020 7638 5998