There was no shortage of brilliant wine in 2019 – and narrowing down a list of favourites from the many superb wines we tasted wasn’t easy. These 10, however, stood out in the year's enviable line-up
2019 Meursault, Premier Cru, Gouttes d’Or, Louis Jadot
Gouttes d’Or is one of the cooler Premier Cru sites in Meursault and therefore excels in warmer vintages. It was certainly one of our picks from Louis Jadot in 2019. It has a beautifully rich golden colour and a lovely expressive florality on the nose. It is pure opulence on the palate, full-bodied, exhibiting huge, spherical breadth which fills the palate. Honeyed melon, yellow plum and white peach fruit are in abundance but the wine tightens up nicely on the finish. This is a wonderfully intense and serious Chardonnay.
2019 St Aubin, Premier Cru, La Chatenière, Joseph Colin
The talented Joseph Colin (brother of Pierre-Yves Colin Morey) continues to impress with his superb range of whites. This dry, stony plot gets an hour less sun, shielded from the rising sun by the slopes of En Remilly/Dents de Chien – an hour that makes a huge difference in the resulting wine, which was a stand-out from the range. On the nose, it’s pretty, floral, dainty and mineral, while the palate is soft and supple, with the most extraordinary silken texture. By contrast, the flavour profile is tightly wound, with a mineral line, concentrated citrus and subtle white blossom. Ethereal yet powerful, it will be a joy to watch this evolve.
2019 Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, Clos de la Mouchère, Domaine Henri Boillot
Guillaume Boillot is particularly pleased with the 2019s – with their perfect balance and, for the whites, a real floral character that runs through the range. The four-hectare monopole vineyard Clos de la Mouchère is always a favourite – this sub-section of Perrières producing a particularly honeyed expression of the site. There’s a real roundness to the wine in 2019; it’s soft, intense and long. Vibrant citrus fruit and minerality drives the wine, but there’s a suppleness that surrounds a core of real energy. With air, notes of white nectarine, acacia honey and freshly cut hay emerge – adding richness and weight. Particularly concentrated and fine.
2019 Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Les Suchots, Domaine Lamarche
Nicole Lamarche has no doubt made some of the most ethereal reds in the vintage. Picking at least a week earlier than most of her neighbours, all her wines sit comfortably below 13.6% alcohol. Her winemaking is reliant on her continual tasting of fruit, must and wine to dictate her vinification processes. Every cuvée is approached differently. Despite this bespoke approach, the consistency across the board is commendable. It makes it difficult to pick a favourite in the range but her Suchots is incredibly serious – competing with wines 10 times its value. It is an endorphin-releasing Pinot Noir in which the purity of fruit and exceptional balance leaves you forgetting about flavour and thinking about feeling. It reminds you how good red Burgundy can be with fantastic terroir and an adept hand.
2019 Clos de la Roche, Grand Cru, Domaine Georges Lignier
Benoît Stelhy believes 2019 is “amazing”, the vintage of his career – or at least he did until 2020 arrived. No less, the 2019s here are superb, although there’s sadly not a lot of them – with yields down by up to 50%. His Clos de la Roche really shone at our tasting. Delicate florals combine with crunchy red fruit to make a truly delicious wine. It’s intense, with the tannins building subtly in the mouth – they’re round and soft, yet coat the cheeks and gums. The sweetness of the new oak (40%) coats the dark fruit, while the palate has a savoury freshness thanks to the whole-bunch (30%). It finishes long, with a chalky line and redcurrant bite.
2019 Beaune-Grèves, Premier Cru, Le Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus, Bouchard Père & Fils
Frédéric Weber at Bouchard thinks 2019 is “a huge vintage for the future” – and the domaine’s iconic Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus is case in point. This section of Les Grèves Premier Cru is the “filet mignon” of the vineyard – the most desirable section, right in the middle of the slope, with well-drained gravelly soil which tends to ripen earlier. The resulting wine has
a distinct spicy, floral nose – think black pepper, cloves and violets, with a toasty edge. There’s real richness and weight, with a luxurious creaminess to the wine on the palate, which is laden with muddled black berry fruit, cut by chalky minerality and juicy raspberries. Vibrant, balanced and concentrated with seamless tannins, this is superb.
2019 Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze, Grand Cru, Olivier Bernstein
The wines of Olivier Bernstein are a masterclass in dynamism. The wines feel so alive when you taste them. It’s hard not admire Olivier Bernstein’s honesty when he says how each of his cuvées take it in turns to show up: one week the Clos de la Roche might be flexing its muscles, another week it is the Mazis-Chambertin. The Clos de al Roche was one of the highlights of a spectacular set of Grands Crus in 2018, a vintage Bernstein believes to be his best, but another favourite was the Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze which effortlessly ticks all the boxes for what you want in a Grand Cru. The tannin structure is built like a cathedral, so detailed and compact, while at the same time fleshing out on the back-palate and providing so much breadth. The berry fruit remains precise and fresh, and distinctly red-fruited, while the finish is sapid and saline. It is truly a magical wine.
2019 Vosne-Romanée, Premier Cru, Les Malconsorts, Domaine du Clos Frantin, Albert Bichot
The Albert Bichot wines continue to improve under Alain Serveau’s stewardship. They are the largest owners of Malconsorts, with 1.76 hectares of this excellent Premier Cru. In 2019, there’s something almost imperial about the wine – both sophisticated and opulent. The nose fills with a richness of red cherries, complemented by a touch of plum. The palate is intense and tight, the tannins fine and supple. Laden with ripe, bright red berry fruit and juicy acidity, it’s a gorgeous wine in 2019.
2019 Corton, Clos des Cortons Faiveley, Grand Cru, Domaine Faiveley
Faiveley today is the sixth-largest domaine in Burgundy and, despite its expanding size, the wines are only getting better – most notable with a change in winemaking from 2006, shifting to a much lighter touch during extraction. The renovation of their magnificent winemaking facilities in Nuits-Saint-Georges has also improved their ability to find detail and distinct personality in each of their wines. With huge barrel cellars, they are also able to have extended élevage to 16 to 18 months, creating wines with great volume and integration. The true star of their extensive collection of vineyards in the Côte d’Or must be the monopole Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru. The detail on the nose is extraordinary – dried aromatic tea interspersed with pristine red berry fruit, blood orange and a gorgeous vinosity. The spectrum of flavour is staggering, whie remaining succulent and generous in both breadth
and concentration. It’s another remarkable wine in a fantastic vintage for the estate – albeit with 30% less made this year.
2019 Clos des Lambrays, Grand Cru, Domaine des Lambrays
Domaine des Lambrays’s flagship site is almost but not quite a monopole, with an ouvrée – less than 0.2 of the total 8.84 hectares – at the bottom of the clos belonging to Taupenot-Merme. Yields here were down to a measly 15hl/ha in 2019 – although winemaker Jacques Devauges assigns this partly to their ongoing conversion to organics, but the quality is clearly
there. Most of the vines (71%) date from between 1898 and 1935, while the lowest section of the vineyard is 40 years old, and 3% of the vines are spritely 20-somethings. It was fascinating tasting the three sections of this large Grand Cru separately and then as a blend, seeing how each one contributes its own character. There’s the exoticism of the side near Clos de Tart; the
more angular, structured and firmer top section; and the intense, vibrant fruit of the lowest part of the vineyard. Combined, the wine has remarkable concentration – much more than a sum of its parts, building gradually on the palate with layer upon layer of bold, blueberry fruit and sweet-savoury spice, yet plenty of the vintage’s moreish acidity. As Jacques said rather modestly, “You want to drink it.” We might be inclined to go a little further, given the quality and ageing potential on show here – but it’s hard to resist now.
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Our full Burgundy report will be published on 15th November; in the meantime, you can read all our coverage of the vintage so far here.