Côte de Beaune

An extraordinary vintage for red in the Côte de Beaune, with no hail or frost, and, unlike the Côte de Nuits, they avoided mildew too. There was enough water in nearly all the vineyards after the wet winter and so it might even be described as a relaxed vintage from the point of view of the growers.

Much has and will be said about picking dates and alcohol levels, and if you read the comments on each domaine it is clear that they tended to follow their normal philosophies, either trying to keep elegance by picking relatively early, or going for complete phenolic ripeness, at which point acidities tended to be on the low side, and sugars high, but could be compensated by the freshness realisable from the inclusion of ripe whole bunches in the fermentations. Either way, there are truly astonishing wines here, some of which may be approachable young on the glossy ripe fruit, and others which will age effortlessly on the balance of the richness of the fruit and the super-ripe tannins. It's not for nothing that growers were harking back to 1947 for a comparison.

This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

Domaine Joël Rémy

A family domaine that extends back five generations to 1853, but which Joël has modernised considerably over the past twenty years, installing new fermentation and ageing equipment. Over the years his vinifications have changed, and the wines have a lot more immediacy and precision. The quality of fruit is not in doubt, as lovers of his Bourgogne Rouge from year to year will attest, and a lot of work in the vineyard contributes to this, including leaf-thinning towards the end of the growing season. In the winery he has installed a vibrating sorting table, and the only filtering is by a lens filter at very low pressure to avoid de-naturing the wines. Joël is always in search of freshness in his wines, and now has been working on his bottles too - from 2018 onward he has reduced the internal diameter of the necks of his bottles to get a tighter cork fit, and is only using Diam corks. This development is purely to ensure the maximum freshness is retained. It is not primarily to overcome any problems with cork taint, although that is obviously a bonus.

In 2016 Joël was joined full-time by both his children, Maxime and Manon, which injected a new air of excitement and ambition here, and the 2018s continue to show the confidence that Joël has brought to the winemaking.

2018 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Pinot Noir Domaine Joël Rémy

2018 BOURGOGNE ROUGE Pinot Noir Domaine Joël Rémy

Tasted in November, this was bottled in August and is already showing really nicely. Attractive freshness when you might have accepted some excess and weight to the fruit. Quite tight lines in fact.Tasted in November, this was bottled in August and is already showing really nicely. Attractive freshness when you might have accepted some excess and weight to the fruit. Quite tight lines in fact. Good pep - gentle grip and a piquant feel. Not fat - not too glossy. Good drive, lovely clipped feel. Pure, intense and well balanced. L&S(Nov 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2018 CHOREY LES BEAUNE Les Beaumonts Domaine Joël Rémy

2018 CHOREY LES BEAUNE Les Beaumonts Domaine Joël Rémy

This is richer fruited than the Bourgogne, a clear step up in power, but it also has that bright line - lifting 'pinch' of juiciness. The dark fruit is ripe but nicely indulgent, a delice. A brambleThis is richer fruited than the Bourgogne, a clear step up in power, but it also has that bright line - lifting 'pinch' of juiciness. The dark fruit is ripe but nicely indulgent, a delice. A bramble crumble here. Red and black berries - gently slowly cooked - delicious with fresh cooked crumble-topping notes too. Very good, nicely crafted. Concentrated and deeply coloured and with some nicely concentrated flavours.L&S(Nov 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 12

In Bond

2018 SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE Fourneaux Domaine Joël Rémy

2018 SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE Fourneaux Domaine Joël Rémy

After the Chorey this is more high-toned - more tightly packed. In fact this is really quite ‘senior’ feeling. Lovely gentle tannins - add shape and drive - but no dryness. Good fruit weight - lessAfter the Chorey this is more high-toned - more tightly packed. In fact this is really quite ‘senior’ feeling. Lovely gentle tannins - add shape and drive - but no dryness. Good fruit weight - less sweet than Chorey - and there is more power here and a more classic 'Pinot Noir from Burgundy' feel and profile. Good power and drive - but mouth-watering too. A super effort from Joel and family.L&S(Nov 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 12

In Bond

2018 BEAUNE 1er Cru Cent Vignes Domaine Joël Rémy
75cl bottles, case of 12

In Bond

2018 BEAUNE 1er Cru Les Avaux Domaine Joël Rémy
75cl bottles, case of 12

In Bond

2018 POMMARD Vignots Domaine Joël Rémy
75cl bottles, case of 12

In Bond

Domaine de la Choupette

The Gutrin brothers' domaine was created when the twins joined forces in 1992 - it's based in the middle of Santenay, with Jean-Christophe in charge of the vines and Philippe in the winery. Perrine Gutrin runs the 'front of house'. They have vineyards in Puligny (three hectares), Chassagne (half a hectare) Maranges (one hectare) and Santenay (seven and a half hectares).

The vineyards are worked traditionally with ploughing rather than chemicals for weed control and to encourage the roots to go deeper. Yields are initially controlled at the pruning and with de-budding, and finally a greeen harvest as necessary. Whites are classically made with élevage in barrel for a year with up to half new wood. The reds are de-stemmed and macerated cold for a week before the three week fermentation at around 28C, then the temperature is allowed to rise to around 33C to stabilise colour and tannins. This gentle vinification is aimed at making fruit-forward wines, which are then aged in barrel for twelve to eighteen months using a mix of new and up to three-year-old barrels.

Domaine Joseph Colin

Joseph Colin is one of the four children of Marc Colin (the others being Pierre-Yves, Damien and Caroline), who had a large domaine with vines in Saint Aubin, Santenay, Chassagne and Puligny. Pierre-Yves left the family domaine in 2005 and since then Joseph was an important member of the team there. After making a token 1800 or so bottles on his own account in 2016, he started in earnest with 2017, with seven hectares of vines, from which he makes an astonishing nineteen different cuvées.

Most of the vines he has in Saint Aubin are young, but by limiting bunches to six or seven per vine, he manages to control the yields. With plenty of time to learn his craft at Domaine Marc Colin, he has developed into a confident winemaker. He experimented with sulphur levels in the wines at the family domaine, so coming to his current view that the wines should be left the longest time possible without added S02, perhaps adding some at racking, but if he feels there's still enough C02 after racking, he will not even add any at that stage, so as to develop 'wine at its purest', but he is keen to say also that he has no standard recipe - he will adapt to each wine. In 2018 he again used no S02 until just before bottling, but he's clear that if there's some botrytis, for example, he will add it earlier. Genarally nothing is either fined or filtered.

Joseph is a very bright new prospect for lovers of precise, pure white Burgundies with fresh acidity for crystalline definition.

In 2018 Joseph picked over more than three weeks, starting on the 26th August and not finishing the last plots until the 20th of September.

Domaine Hubert Lamy

A domaine with 18.5 hectares of vines - 80% are Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. The vines are spread over Saint-Aubin, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay. Olivier Lamy's wine-making style and preference is to emphasise the fresh and the mineral side of his wines, with limited new wood and that is with the wines in 600 litre demi-muids rather that the classic Burgundy (225 litre) fût. Certainly Olivier's whites do have an arrow-like purity and intensity, and seem to age completely straight and true.

In 2018, he told us, there was for once no frost or hail. It was very dry in the summer, but had been very wet in winter when it seemed to rain every day. In the winter they had 50% more water than usual, but in summer it was 50% less. There was also 30% more sunshine than normal, and it was the sun rather than the heat which for him really defines the vintage - the sunniest for 30 years.

They started picking on the 22nd of August - earlier than in 2003, but did not finish until the 12th September - some of the reds, despite being at 14 degrees potential alcohol, were green inside - that had not achieved phenolic ripeness and they just had to wait. In the reds he used more stems to keep freshness, and in the whites he pressed harder, saying that you can be more aggressive with the skins when there is ripeness like this - you need the phenols from the skins to balance the ripeness.

His final kicker of a comment was that although yields were pretty good in 2018, 2019 is a very small harvest - so buy while you can.


Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot

The origins of the Pillot family in Chassagne can be traced back to the eighteenth century, when they seem to have been coopers more than vignerons. In the nineteenth century they abandoned barrel-making in favour of enlarging the property in Chassagne. Fernand and Laurent, who is the fourth generation, added to it again in 1992, and then in 2001 Laurent's wife Marie-Anne inherited half of her family's property, the Pommard domaine of Pothier-Rieusset, and Laurent and his father bought the other half. The domaine now stands at 14.5 hectares of vines across almost the whole length of the Côte de Beaune from Santenay to Beaune.

The Domaine is worked according to organic principles and are ploughed – no chemical weedkillers are used. They have also been members of the Dephy-ECO-phyto group, which works to reduce the number of treatments using copper sulphate, since 2012.

Laurent has always managed to pack in a lot alongside his running of the vineyard. He has a sophisticated microlight which he flies to all corners of France, he keeps and hunts hawks, and conducts the Chassagne brass band as well as dabbling in Mayoral duties - on top of being a father of three, Anaïs, Adrien and Eugène. They are all mad about the alps and disappear up the mountains at regular intervals.

Laurent's eldest son Adrien has been travelling the world making wine all over the place for the last few years having completed his training in Beaune. Bringing back lessons learnt in Australia, South Africa and California (and from a stint at Lea & Sandeman) - he now helps Laurent with all aspects of the wine-making and viticulture at the domaine. The wines have long been L&S favourites in both red and white - they represent excellent value, and they age very well too, despite being attractive young. The whites are precise and pure, and not lacking for body and generosity, while the reds are velvety and juicy, beautifully balanced even if drunk young on their expressive Pinot fruit. The domaine was rightfully heralded in Decanter Magazine as 'an address that deserves to be better-known'. Great value and real pleasure across their range.

Read more about Adrien here in this recent Forbes article here.

Domaine Henri Germain

Jean-François Germain was joined over the course of 2018 by his daughter Lucie - who is now helping to run this small (6.5ha) domaine.

The Chassagne vineyards came through his mother, a Pillot, and Jean-François is married to François Jobard's daughter, so they are quite intertwined with some of our other producers. His Poruzots comes from rows next to those of Rémi Jobard, as they would have been in the same family originally. In terms of winemaking the Germains are always happy to let nature take its course, and in the vineyards they follow as natural a system of viticulture as possible.

These are concentrated, tightly wound wines from one of Burgundy's coldest cellars. Slow to develop, they show wonderful crystalline purity. New wood is used sparingly.

Jean-François told us that the yields in 2018 had been generous - 60hl/ha across the domaine (and 57hl/ha in the Premiers Crus). He described the whites as fresh and taut, but the concentration as unexceptional - but that they are nicely straight and pure with 'une belle dynamie', and it will be possible to drink them quite young. Prices to be released end of January.

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

With good-sized harvests from 2017 and 2018, it's good to see Nico's cellar full, but the the 2019 vintage is rather smaller. Still, for now it's all smiles. Now in its third year, he could not be happier with his new winery. A fantastic bespoke build, admittedly in a ZI (Zone industrielle) on the outskirts of Beaune, which he recognises is not ideal for the folklore aspect, but it is a perfect tool for the job, and does have a good view of all 'his' bits of the Côte - from the roof.

In 2018 the range was notable for very dark fruit expressions - and although there is no escaping the richness of the vintage and the astonishing concentration that come with it, the different vineyards each show the style variations one expects to see - whether elegant or structured. There are some really terrific wines here, and we have selected the best.

Domaine Comte Armand

A domaine totalling nine hectares, of which the most important part is a magnificent five hectare monopole of the Pommard Premier Cru Clos des Epeneaux, which was put together by Nicolas Marey in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (along with the DRC Romanée Saint Vivant 'Marey-Monge'). These vineyards were all sold, except for the Clos (now been enclosed by a wall), which came to Jean-François Armand as a dowry when he married Nicolas' daughter in 1826. The Volnay vineyards were added in 1994, followed by parcels in Auxey Duresses.

The current Comte Armand is a lawyer living in Paris, but very supportive of the régisseurs who have looked after this domaine for the thirty years or so that L&S have been buying here. The 1980 vintage, made by one of the many Rossignols of Volnay who was in charge at the time, was for us a great introduction to the possibilities of the great Clos des Epeneaux vineyard. Then came the era of Pascal Marchand, a young Quebecois who came to do a harvest with Domaine Bruno Clair and just never left. He began a period of radical restructuring and the introduction of organic and then biodynamic farming, while making very dark, dense and long-lived wines. Benjamin Leroux, hugely respected amongst growers who approach things from an organic or biodynamic point of view, then took over, and refined this approach and changed the way the parcels of vines are divided up for harvesting, paying less attention to just the age of the vines, and more to the underlying soil types. Claude Bourguignon was employed to provide a full geological survey of the Clos as the basis for this. Under Benjamin the wines of the Clos gained in finesse and precision, while still having the depth and richness expected of a great Pommard.

Both Pascal and Benjamin were keen to expand beyond the confines of the Clos, and the Domaine also has vines in Volnay, and, a particular enthusiasm of both Pascal and Benjamin, in Auxey Duresses, where they are convinced of the great potential of some of this village's undervalued and neglected terroirs. Paul Zinetti, who had worked with Ben for four years, took over in 2014.

The vineyard is cultivated organically (ECOCERT certified) and biodynamically. The grapes are entirely de-stemmed, but left intact, for a five to eight-day cold maceration before the fermentation, which lasts five to ten days, and then the wine remains in the fermenters for between three and fifteen days, depending on the vintage. In most years, the total time with skin contact will be around four weeks, which is longer than most. The wines will then be aged in barrel for between eighteen and twenty-four months, with new wood limited to 30% for the wine from the old vines of the Clos, down to none at all for the village wines.

Paul has nailed his colours to the mast by saying he wants to make a less tannic wine in the Clos, and one which is more about aromatic length. In this he is continuing the route that Ben was following, but perhaps taking it even further.

All the wines here are a triumph in 2018, with a transparent elegance allied to the ripe density of the vintage.

Domaine de Courcel

One of the great domaines of Pommard, with a 400 year history in the same family. The domaine produces a small amount of Bourgogne Chardonnay, a completely over-performing Bourgogne Rouge, a village Pommard (Vaumuriens, 1.44 ha), but the biggest part of the domaine consists of four great Premier Cru expressions of the terroir of Pommard, Fremiers (0.79 ha), Croix Noires (0.58 ha), Grand Clos des Epenots (4.89 ha) and Rugiens (1.07 ha). These represent a very different style to the Clos des Épeneaux of Comte Armand, for example. Yves Confuron, the régisseur, describes the difference between the two top wines by saying that the Grand Clos is 'terreux' while the Rugiens is 'aérien'.

The aim is to limit yields to around 25hl/ha, to attain optimum ripeness. The vines are ploughed, and pruned carefully to suit each one, then de-budded in spring and green-harvested in August to keep the fruit load balanced. Following Yves' usual practice the harvest is late and the vatting is long - usually around a month, with a cold maceration leading into a cool fermentation, and a long post-fermentation soak under the protection of the carbon dioxide given off by the fermentation. The wines are developed in barrel over 21 to 23 months, with a third of the barrels being replaced each year. After racking they are bottled without fining or filtration.

The domaine produces wines with astonishing depth and density that still retain the freshness, just like Yves' own wines at Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot. They are classic vins de garde and patience is advised - and will be amply rewarded.

In 2018, like in Vosne, he picked the grapes at full phenolic ripeness and the wines are, as he decribes them, plus Rhodaniens que Bourguignons (comparing them to wines from the Northern Rhône). Yves says that it is hard to know what the 1947s were like at the time, as no one can remember, but that he'd wager that they were like this. He compared the 2018s to the last very hot vintage, 2003; the difference, he says, is that in 2003 the lack of water caused both blocage de maturité, when the vines shut down for lack of water, and also the grapes shrivelled as they dried in the unrelenting sun. 2018, he says, is different - there was in most places enough water stored in the ground, and the ripeness is more developed - and so are the wines, which for him are very complete and so well-balanced that they will age for decades.

Domaine Henri Boillot

A domaine which dates back to 1885, but which began properly in the early years of the 20th century under the current Henri's grandfather (also Henri). His son, Jean, was the one who really developed it. Henri arrived in 1975 and worked his way up, becoming the winemaker. In 2000 he began the building of the new winery at the bottom of Meursault, and he then bought out his brother and sister to keep the domaine as one, renaming it from 'Domaine Jean Boillot' to 'Domaine Henri Boillot' to avoid confusion with his brother Jean-Marc's domaine.

After six years working alongside his father, Guillaume is the 'chef de culture', i.e. heads up the vineyard team, and has been entirely responsible for the vinification of the reds since 2012. Henri continues to make the whites which he likes to be 'straight, taut, precise, pure and elegant'. Guillaume's input has resulted in red wines that have gained in definition and energy, without losing the luxurious velvety richness and fruit depth that they have always had. In 2018 he expanded his use of vinification intégrale in which the reds are vinified in the barrels they will be aged in - the cellar being equipped with 140 barrels with stainless steel doors in the ends, all made of wood they bought for the purpose, which has been dried for three years. Labour-intensive and time-consuming though it is, Guillaume clearly believes it is the way to more precision in the wines, and the 2018s certainly are rather astonishing.

The Domaine has roughly equal surfaces of red and white, and of which just under 4ha is the Monopole vineyard of Clos de la Mouchère, a walled enclave within the premier Cru Puligny Perrières. After last year's acquisition of small parcels in Latricières and Échezeaux, the Boillots bought the vineyards of Domaine Henri Darnat early in 2019, and will have almost all the wines from the 2019 vintage.

Henri Boillot

Henri Boillot complements his domaine wines with a small range of négociant wines of superb quality in very limited quantities. A few of the wines are offered here - an opportunity to buy some of Burgundy's rarest appellations from a top source.

Domaine J. Confuron Cotetidot

Vignerons since the seventeenth century, the Confuron family has always selected and propagated vines to ensure that their plant material produces the highest quality, and they even have a clone of Pinot named after them - 'Pinot Confuron'.

The domaine has several Grands Cru vineyards as well as two hectares of the great Vosne Romanée Premier Cru 'Les Suchots'. There are around 12 hectares in all. The vines have never seen chemical weedkillers, and are ploughed and managed organically.

The Confurons have always used whole-bunch fermentation, picking very late, which really is a necessity if the stems are to be properly ripe and not give green flavours to the wine. A bit like the Thévenets with their whites in the Maconnais, they pick so much later that they can seem to have different vintages to everyone else. Yves thinks that 2007 was their great vintage of the first decade of this millennium, and he'd probably be the only grower in the Cote de Nuits who would say that. Yves also makes the wines at Domaine de Courcel in Pommard, in the same way.

Yves, opinionated and laconical as ever, dismisses those who make pale wines by 'infusion' and says that failing to get the whole bunches properly ripe - and using all the bunch - is failing to get everything the terroir can offer. The wines he makes are dark, richly concentrated, and often hard to taste in their development, but experience shows that they age brilliantly. He is sure that, if anyone could remember, the 1947s when young would have tasted like these young 2018s. He says that the vintage was exceptionally hot, with a hot wind from the north, so very concentated berries, and the result is a Rhonish profile - which seems logical to him. Flavours of black cherry and dark chocolate coming from the sucrosity of the ripe tannins. "I say the opposite of everyone else - a wine can be rich and durable - rich and balanced." He mentions the 2003s, which were wines we discussed along similar lines at the time and which frightened some buyers. We agreed that although the acidity was on the low side, there was plenty of tannin and the wines would age on the tannin rather than the acidity - and opening 2003s now proves this point, as his are still fresh and youthful. But the 2003s were always less well-balanced than the 2018s - the drought of the year resulted in tannins that remained dry, and while they may soften more with time, some will remain. The 2018s, by contrast, have tannins ripened to perfect sweetness and the resulting liqueur-like wines are in an extraordinary balance and will age unbelievably. Like the 1947s?


Domaine Joseph Drouhin

A huge part of the Drouhin production comes from their own domaine fruit (78 hectares), and much of the rest comes from contracts such as that with the Marquis de Laguiche, who shook hands with the grandfather of the current generation, agreeing to let him manage his vineyards which included an important part of Le Montrachet; this collaboration endures. Today, the fourth generation is at the helm, still driven by the same passions that inspired the founder - and it remains one of the most well-respected names in Burgundy, staying true to their motto of 'natual elegance'. The domaine is all cultivated with an organic and biodynamic approach.

Véronique Drouhin took us through the 2018 vintage and how she and her brothers managed it - always with the help of star chief winemaker Jérôme Faure Brac. A mild rainy winter after the hot dry summer of 2017. A cool spring, a bit of frost, and then in mid April fast growth in warm weather "the vines exploded into growth". It was warm and dry until July - warmer and dryer than usual "good news for Philippe" (Véronique's brother, in charge of the vineyards) - no mildew, no botrytis - they are all organic, so this was especially good as these are hard to treat. Harvest was early, starting on the 29th August, and finishing mostly by the 7th-9th, except for Chablis and Maconnais.

As Véronique put it "sugars were not low", so they had to decide whether to wait for phenolic maturity or not. They decided to wait. "But you cannot pick 80 hectares in one day, so decisions had to be made".

The whites were picked in perfect conditions. Careful management of the lees and almost no batonnage except to help the fermentations along. "I did not think that the wines would keep so much freshness - I think Jérôme did a great job", Véronique summed-up.

In the reds they used a lot of whole clusters - even in wines like the Beaune premiers crus, which is not something they normally do. Between 25% and 65% depending on the cuvée. They were easy to vinify - colour came easily, but they did not want to extract too much or make them too big "they have very good ageing potential, but they have charm too.. you have to respect the vintage, but..." The wines range from 12.5 to 14.3% Alc. (reds and whites), and all the Grands Crus are over 13.5%.


Thibault Liger-Belair Successeurs

The lack of the word 'domaine' in the name signals that this is a négociant wine from Thibault Liger-Belair. Thibault buys the grapes he picks having tended the vines with his own team, so that the wines are domaine wines in all but name.

Domaine Bernard Dugat-Py

Domaine Dugat-Py's wines are far from shy and retiring, but they do require patience to show their best. Old vines, tiny yields, viticulture with minute and constant attention, all lead to a magnificent concentration and purity in the raw material. Without extracting harsh tannins, Loïc (who despite his youthful good-looks, has overseen the wine-making since 2012) gets an astonishing density into the wines, and they take on the high percentage of new oak quite casually. Nevertheless, Loïc has reduced the amount of new wood (The village wines get 50% max., while the Premiers Crus and Grands Crus get up to 75%.)

'Nous on est tres content' said a relaxed and smiling Loïc Dugat as he began to tell us about the 2018 vintage. There were frosts until March - the winter had been cold and rainy so there were good reserves of water, then suddenly in April they had 28C - from freezing at night straight to that. Flowering happened from the 23rd May. It was very hot in August - 34-35C - but there was no blocage de maturité because of the water reserves in the ground. He started to harvest on the 29th August (Charmes, Vosne, Pommard), but it was still 29C in the afternoons, so they hurried, employing a team of fifty to get it all picked in a week. They finished with the Corton Charlemagne on the 7th September. Loïc has just one word for it: 'exceptional'.

Oh, and before you ask, the domaine's Chambertin, of which there were only 200l in 2018, which a couple of critics have made their wine of the vintage, is no longer released en primeur.