2018 Burgundy En Primeur

An excellent vintage - good quantities of very good whites, and ripe, rich, concentrated reds.

2018 was a very hot vintage – the growing season only beaten by 2003 for overall heat. However, the wines are very different from 2003. Even where they are very ripe there is much more freshness than one could have dreamed possible. The very wet winter of 2017-8 was one decisive factor, as it meant water reserves in the soil were good, and generally speaking the vines did not suffer from drought - and while there was an unprecedented number of hours of sunshine, there were not the peaks of burning heat which marked the 2003s.

The Whites

The whites, produced from a welcome large harvest, are good to very good, a vintage which will be welcome in the market as much for the volume as for the quality. The grapes were in perfect condition at the harvest and it was possible to press hard and long. The ripeness of the year may give a front-of-mouth opulence, but behind that there is quite good acidity and the wines lengthen out and finish on a refreshing pithy phenolic density supported by the acidity – this should develop well in bottle. They will be immensely attractive quite early, but we will bet that, a bit like 2009, many from our top domaines will prove better in the cellar than current more general projections seem to imply.

The Reds

For the mostly excellent reds, the lack of drought means the wines are inclined to be much more sumptuous than 2003, with high colour and tannin levels - tannins that are sweetly ripe and completely enveloped in a feeling of silky generosity.

There was definitely a choice to be made between harvesting early to keep the potential alcohol down, or waiting for phenolic maturity (which came late) and dealing with high sugar levels. Pick too early and the wines, even at 13.5%, could be green-edged; pick at full ripeness and the alcohols can be over 15%, although most are somewhere in between. If picking early, it was not possible to do much extraction for fear of extracting green pip tannins, if picking later the ripe stalks could go into the vat too, bringing a bracing additional ‘straightness’ and elegance. In a year when alcohols are relatively high, and acidities relatively low, the tannins can bring the balance and an impression of freshness - but it is a different freshness to the normal Burgundian freshness of acidity. Or perhaps it will turn out to be the new normal.

It was also possible to extract a lot from the very healthy harvest. Those who made wines by infusion still made wines with rich colour and sumptuous body; those who waited could stray further into a character that is still clearly Pinot, but with an expression more like wines from the Northern Rhône than we are all used to from the Côte de Nuits – but in this exotic style, hugely enjoyable and complete.

This is definitely a vintage to buy, and also one to try – so we look forward to seeing you at our 2018 Burgundy En Primeur Tasting at 67 Pall Mall, Monday 13th January 2020. Book your ticket here.

Find Out More

Read our vintage report or find out more on the individual regions via the sidebar menu. Our 'Top Picks' from the vintage for red and white will be made available as the campaign progresses, along with recommendations from the critics. Whether you are looking for the finest Grand Crus, the best performing Premier Crus, or some great value drinking Burgundy, these lists are the place to start.

Charles Lea & The Lea & Sandeman Team

Allocations & Pricing

Volumes in 2018 have, by and large, been more generous than 2017 in white (except in parts of the Côte Chalonnaise) and in red, except the Côte Chalonnaise again, and the Côte de Nuits where the damp spring did cause problems of mildew for those working organically, and the heat also limited yields. It is inevitable that some of the top wines will have to be allocated. That does not necessarily mean we are sold out. We will be adding wines to the lists below once the initial allocations have been completed, and when more prices are released by the growers, so please keep checking the website as we update availability. Alternatively, please email us your wishlist at any time, even if some of the wines you seek are not currently listed. You can assume we have almost the entire range of all the domaines below.

This year there will only be one price listed: IN BOND per the case size stated. If you would like wines duty paid, please include a note in your order form. Duty & VAT for duty paid orders will be due at the prevailing rate at the time of delivery and cannot be paid in advance.

Buying Advice

Do remember that we are always delighted to offer advice should you need it.

Please contact our Private Client team, or your usual contact. The team can be contacted directly via email or on 0207 244 0522.


TBA = Wines marked 'To Be Advised' are either awaiting answers from allocations, or have yet to be released to us by the producers. Please do ask and we will advise if and when we are able to offer them.

Download our Price List

Download 2018 Burgundy En Primeur Offer

Wines by Producer

(Click to see all wines by producer in either red or white)