Burgundy 2018 EP Round-Up - F+R's Top 2018 White Wines

By Gavin Smith

With all the wines now released and practically every major critic's review published, we reflect on some of the real gems in the vintage from the Cote de Beaune. Perhaps the biggest surprise about tasting the wines now in bottle was just how well the whites performed. Whilst there was plenty of hype and expectation for the reds long before the campaign started, the whites matched the reds on tasting and have been consistently praised by every critic and anyone who has had the fortune to taste them.

We explore some of our favourite whites from Paul Pernot, Henri Boillot as well as some fantastic inaugural vintages from Alvina Pernot and rising star Jospeh Colin who, if their 2018s are anything to go by, are some of the Cote's most exciting producers.

Don’t miss your last opportunity to source these wines at release price.

 

Alvina Pernot - Meursault La Piece Sous le Bois 2018

“One thing that struck me with the 2018's is that across all parcels we had some of the nicest, healthiest, most perfect grapes I have ever seen” Alvina Pernot

It is an exciting moment when promising young winemakers at the very start of their careers release their inaugural vintage. This new venture is certainly one to watch given its unique access to top fruit that is so essential for success in Burgundy. More importantly, we have tried the wines and were utterly convinced.

As the granddaughter of Puligny Montrachet legend Paul Pernot, Alvina Pernot and her husband Philippe Abadie saw an opportunity to create a small but perfectly formed range of wines based on their favourite appellations. Their total production is no more than 10,000 bottles across 11 top appellations. With access to a proportion of the vineyard holdings of the family domaine as well as contracts with a small number of other growers in the region, their aim is to reflect the best of the Cote de Beaune terroir, with a focus in their winemaking on terroir transparency. Compared with Paul Pernot their style is more focussed at bringing out the minerality in the wines, picking earlier to retain as much verve and tension as possible.

F+R Tasting Note:

Their Meursault- La Piece Sous Le Bois really is a fantastic wine in 2018. Light gold in colour with beautifully fleshy ripe citrus fruit notes and toasted hazelnut and almonds aromas. The palate has a wonderful vibrant lift. Vervain, lime and flint are present, as are butter, honey and citrus flavours. A rich, plump, but not cloying mouth and great tautness on the palate. Highly recommended.

Click to buy here.

 

 

Domaine Paul Pernot - Batard Montrachet

Domaine Paul Pernot in Burgundy terms is a fairly large estate with a total of 20 hectares under vine and is the largest owner of Puligny Montrachet vines second only to Domaine Leflaive with 15 hectares in total. When it comes to Puligny-Montrachet, Jasper Morris MW reports in “Inside Burgundy”- Domaine Paul Pernot “could be the outstanding domaine of that appellation”. The domaine is unquestionably one of the handful of top growers in the appellation, his Pulignys have exquisite delicacy and poise but with the structure to age gracefully.

At present the majority of the wines are sold on to extremely fortunate négociants in Beaune. The remainder the domaine retains and bottles under their own name; it’s the absolute crème de la crème and quintessentially representative of Puligny Montrachet at its best.

The crème de la crème of the Doamine Paul Pernot stable is their Batard Montrachet which was a real highlight when we tasted through the range earlier this summer. Paul Pernot's traditional style of white Burgundy offers incredible multi-layered richness and opulent fruit concentration.

F+R Tasting Note:

Fresh vanilla, honeyed fruit notes. Still compacted and restrained at this early stage on the nose, but there’s so much complexity on the palate already. The palate is so creamy, the intensity staggering. The palate finishes with a captivating tension, fruit purity and stony minerality each of these elements complimenting each other. This exceptional balance makes this a standout for me. Crisp, clear, focused.

Click to buy here.

 

Domaine Hudelot Noellat’s Meursault “Clos des Ecoles” 2018

Domaine Hudelot Noellat has no doubt been one of the most successful producers in Burgundy in 2018 and whilst known for their stunning reds, their Meursault (only their second vintage) is truly an absolute find in Burgundy.

Meursault “Clos des Ecoles” – Hudelot Noellat’s Meursault “Clos des Ecoles” is the only white wine of the domaine. Charles secured this 0.5 hectare plot in 2017. It is one half of a single walled vineyard, the other half used to be farmed by Coche Dury but has since been sold to another producer. However, Hudelot Noellat are the only ones who label the wine after the Clos.

Charles is much happier with his 2018 than his 2017, the ’18 he states has more textural richness as well as crunchy vibrant acids. Whilst Charles wants tension in the wine he is not after the razor-sharp, lean approach. He wants fruit maturity too. After working with Trapet in Alsace he learnt how to better handle white wine, realizing that the skills lie in how the wine is pressed. Following lots of experimental pressings he feels he has now got the profile he is looking for in his Meursault 2018.

F+R Tasting Note:

Charles did not want to produce a modern purely mineralic style white Burgundy, preferring to have richness and texture in the wine as well as vibrancy and he has managed just that with his 2018. The key to retaining both vibrancy and richness is picking at full ripeness but being very gentle at the pressing stage. The wine has lovely body, unctuous rich texture, whilst retaining a distinct citric and yellow apple fruit profile and mouth watering freshness.This is delicious!

Click to buy here.

 

 

 

Domaine Joseph Colin – Bourgogne Blanc La Combe 2018

Another new domaine on the block (in just its 3rd vintage) Domaine Joseph Colin is a producer not to miss. Following in some very big footprints of his brother Pierre Yves Colin Morey, Jospeh’s wines are made in an incredibly tense style. A longer élevage process, no settling, no racking, no battonage, larger oak barrel and no filtration makes for precise, finessed white Burgundy, with a focus on fresh fruit, mineral tension, bright acidity, minimal oak influence, and a very pure clarity of fruit. Most of the quality however comes from his work in the vineyard, reducing yields down to just six or seven bunches per vine.

His Bourgogne Blanc La Combe is the perfect entry point to discover this winery and we have the last few cases of our allocation available.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate Tasting Note:

“Bursting with notes of citrus oil, green apple and struck flint, the 2018 Bourgogne Blanc La Combe is medium to full-bodied, lively and expressive, with a charmingly open and succulent profile. This is already drinking well…. he is rapidly establishing himself as a confident new presence in the white Burgundy firmament. I encourage readers to acquaint themselves with his wines.”

Click to buy here.

 

Henri Boillot - Corton Charlemagne & Clos de Mouchere

Henri Boillot is widely seen as the top micro-negociant for the production of the Cote d’Or’s finest white wines. Such is his reputation his wines remain in high demand, and probably none more so than the always exceptional monopole of Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Mouchère. The quality coming from these up to 80 year-old vines is fast developing a cult following and a stunning reputation. Combine that with Henri Boillot’s perfectionism and a no-expense-spared approach it is no surprise that Allen Meadows thinks this superstar producer “has arguably become the finest pure négoce specializing in white Burgundy today“.

 

F+R Tasting Notes:

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2018

“Light zesty citrus aromas with white flower notes and lovely oaky/ walnut touch on the nose. The palate is explosive offering a broad, complex array of flavours whilst providing focus and nicely contained power throughout. The palate is rich and buttery with wonderful textural finesse and beautifully mixes savoury mineral notes and excellent acidity as the wine finds focus on the back palate bringing fantastic precision on the finish. The structure of this muscled, full-bodied Corton Charlemagne is about as good as it gets for the appellation.”

Click to buy here.

 

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de Mouchere 2018

"Pure minerality on the nose, it offers an amazing aromatic scope, with some delicate notes of lemon zest and mandarin, underlying a floral bouquet with hints of lilies of the valley. On the palate a very dense and rich mouthfeel, giving a full picture of this spectacular terroir, very elegant and refined expression. A touch of fresh almonds, enhancing a precise acidity, that appears in all the whites from Henri Boillot in this vintage. We had very high expectations of the 2018 Henri Boillot Clos de la Mouchère, and it delivers."

Click to buy here.

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