Thanks to Andrew Jefford for sharing his Vintage overview first published on the Wine Scholar Guild website.
Andrew (similarly to many wine makers we have spoken to) believes the Cote de Beaune white wines are outstanding in 2018 (4.5* vintage) and almost as good as the universally praised red wines throughout the Cote d’Or (5* vintage).
After a very wet January, Chablis growers experienced rainfall that was either normal or below normal for the rest of the season, climaxing in a historically dry September. Average temperatures were above normal from April onwards, and average sunshine hours above normal from May. It was, in sum, the easy and generous vintage that growers under these customarily fretful skies have been waiting for since 2015, with harvesting taking place under unhurried conditions in late August and September. The quality of the wines is very attractive, with ample substance to the best Grands Crus and Premiers Crus yet classical freshness and vivacity, too. The wines will age well over the mid- to long-term.
4* Vintage (on a par with 2017, 2009, 2008) Above all other vintages back to 2000 other than the 5* Vintages – 2014. 2010, 2005, 2002
Cote de Beaune Whites:
January was very mild (the warmest since 1945) and very wet. After a normally cold February, March was again very wet, with 50 per cent more rain than normal in the Côte de Beaune. April and May were much dryer and very warm, and flowering in June was rapid and successful, setting a generous crop. July, August and September enjoyed normal rainfall but above-average sunshine hours and heat summations, but without drought problems following the ‘hot and tropical’ spring weather, according to Frédéric Barnier of Louis Jadot: “agronomically, it was perfect: just what we needed.” Harvesting in late August and September took place under unhurried conditions, with a number of producers blocking malolactic fermentations this year (unusual for white burgundy). Despite the warmth, quality is outstanding. The wines show both depth and vivacity as well as focus and precision, and are expected to age well.
4.5* Vintage (higher rated than the 2017, on a par with 2014 and above all other vintages back to 2000 other than: 2010 (5*)
Cote de Beaune & Cote de Nuits Reds:
A colossally wet, mild January and March meant that there was considerable mildew pressure over spring, with the Côte de Nuits sustaining more damage from this than the Côte de Beaune. From May onwards, though, the disease pressure eased as a warm, dry and sunny summer got underway, with ideal flowering conditions in June setting an excellent crop. The rest of summer was problem-free apart from some minor hail damage and later heavy rain close to Nuits on two occasions in July, and some young-vine parcels suffering from a little drought stress in very free-draining sites. Harvest took place in ideal conditions in early to late September, with cool nights keeping the fruit fresh after warm, sunny days. The red wines are dark and, despite their rich constitution (Frédéric Barnier of Louis Jadot said it was the first time in 20 years he had not had to chaptalise any cuvée), fresh and vivacious too. They will age very well.
5* Vintage (on a par with 2015, 2010, 2005 and rated above all other vintages back to 2000)
Winter and spring, as elsewhere in Burgundy, were very damp and relatively warm in the Mâconnais. Flowering was a little earlier here than elsewhere, and the long, hot summer caused some drought stress to what was in general a generous crop. Harvesting began in August, though some growers found that the warm, dry weather had blocked maturation and consequently preferred to pick in early September. The wines are generous, charming and long, but have retained vivacity; the best will age very well.
4.5* Vintage (higher rated than all other vintages going back to 2000, other than 5* – 2014)