2018 Bourgogne Côte d’Or


lockdown-april-2020Bourgogne Côte d’Or is a very new label – 2017 was the first vintage.

As the recognition of this new label improves, one may have expected the volume of production to rapidly increase – but in 2019 it fell back. It turns out that this was the case for all the regional appellations; if 2018 was a high-yielding vintage with more than 15% higher volume versus the 5-year-average of production, 2019 was the opposite with nearly 15% lower production versus the 5-year-average.

The result was that there was nearly one-third less red ‘Bourgogne’ (of all labels) produced in 2019 versus 2018 and the gap was even wider for the whites.

Essentially, as a proportion of the total production of Bourgognes, the label did indeed increase its share of the total – now one in 20 bottles wears this label:

Annual production in hectolitres
Bourgogne Côte d’Or Red10,15912,0899,524
Bourgogne Côte d’Or White4,4676,9285,501
Share of ‘Côte d’Or3.76%4.16%4.82%
Why Bourgogne ‘Côte d’Or’?

Bourgogne is supposed to be a generic label but today, some labels are more generic than others.

For consumers, the advantage of the Bourgogne Côte d’Or label is not just the extra geographic precision that it confers, but also that the red wine is 100% pinot and that neither it, nor the white, come from vineyards with more altitude – for instance, the Hautes Côtes. There is also a modest reduction in the maximum production quantity per hectare versus other Bourgognes – 2 hl/hectare – but to be frank, producers who are constantly working at the maximum allowed by the rules, are unlikely to be making highly recommendable wine, whether that be with a Côte d’Or label or otherwise!

Such geographic ‘precision’ – even for a generic – is, however, not without pitfalls; in 2018 it’s clear that possibly better wines and better values can be found in wines of the Bourgogne Hautes Côtes…

The wines…

A very drinkable selection of wines, only one of the reds overtly showcasing the extra ripeness of the vintage – to its disadvantage. Good and ‘safe’ drinking as the these Bourgognes are, from my other tastings I believe that there is better quality and more value to be found by exploring the Hautes Côtes de Nuits in the very ripe 2018 vintage – certainly for the reds.

First, three whites:

2018 Château de Santenay, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Clos de la Chaise Dieu Blanc
Described as a monopole. Sealed with a domaine-branded cork.
A nose of sweet lemon fruit with good depth – a little impression of cushioning. Supple, round, lots of sweetness and a modest and well-integrated impression of wood. Finishing in wide, mineral, waves of flavour. Mouth-watering with faint oak bitters. The cushioning of the nose is present in the flavour too but cushioned rather than ‘rich.’ Well-balanced and tasty wine – it’s very good.

2018 Terres de Velle, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Chardonnay
Sealed with a domaine-branded cork.
A fresher nose, less wide but with more depth of aroma – an impression of oak in the depth but one that fades with aeration. More mineral freshness to add to citrus flavour – also more persistent in this mineral finish – again with a few bitters for complexity. More energy and complexity than the last wine but this is also a wine that requires more patience – the previous is the ‘easier’ drink today, so I’d wait 1-2 years for this one.

2018 Edouard Delaunay, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Chardonnay
Sealed with a domaine-branded cork – darker coloured – perhaps untreated.
Fresh above but with much depth of aroma too – faintly smoky. Wide and silky in the mouth, despite an impression of more CO2. Then comes a little oak mingling with a citrus-inflected minerality. The persistence is like the previous wine, perhaps silkier but with just a little less energy too. Long, easy finishing – no need to wait for this one…

Les Rouges:

2018 Jean Guiton, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir
A relatively short but domaine-branded DIAM5
Plenty of colour. A width of cherry-stone and cherry fruit – that’s quite a powerful nose – nothing cooked or spiced – very good. A wine that eases comfortably into the mouth; there’s plenty of mouth-filling volume here but with no overt density – easy and silky over the palate. Stone fruit again in the finish. There’s no lack of material, it’s ripe but showing nothing that’s particularly ‘hot vintage’ – almost too easy to drink – I can’t decide if that’s a compliment or something negative! A delicious finish. Yum!

2018 Château de Laborde, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir ‘Au Prunier’
Au Prunier, a vineyard in the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin. A longer but not domaine-branded DIAM5
Plenty of colour again – still very-much in the purple stage. A more compact and fresher nose but not lacking any depth – very faintly showing some spiced meat before a cherry fruit hogs the limelight. A wine of more structural presence in the mouth – less obviously ripe but I like the shape of this very much. Mouth-watering with good complexity but this is a wine to give a year or two of patience. I think it more than excellent despite some young bitters in the finish.

2018 Château de Santenay, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Clos Philippe le Hardi
Described as a ‘monopole,’ sealed with a domaine branded cork.
Again, plenty of colour. A stinky reduction to the aromas so I decant and return in 20 minutes: Still, some reduction clings to the aromas, but it’s a little better. The reduction is visible on the palate too – but at least it’s more modest here. The wine is mouth-filling, slightly darker fruited and has a little dryness of tannin. The finish is bright and long. A Curate’s Egg for sure. Return in 2 years to see what has developed.

2018 Terres de Velle, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir
Sealed with a domaine-branded cork.
A little lighter colour than the previous wine. Not an all-encompassing nose, but one with some lightness and freshness of berry-fruit. A wine of width and good freshness – I’d like to see a little more depth of flavour, but slowly it improves in the glass. In the finish is a nice little burst of energy and a certain texture of flavour extract over the palate. A very good wine, and one that I expect will further improve with a little time in the cellar.

2018 Edouard de Launay, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir
Sealed with a domaine-branded cork.
Quite a narrow nose – but there is depth and height to the aromas – vertical, though it could certainly be more expressive. Mouth-filling, lovely balance and a very good energy too. Lip-smacking flavour adheres to the palate. Not the most persistent finishing flavour, yet this is young but very approachable. Excellent Bourgogne!

2018 Ludovic & Emilien Bonnardot, Bourgogne Côte d’Or
Sealed with an unbranded cork.
As all of these – plenty of colour. A modest volume of aroma but one that slowly builds its intensity of red fruit, though perhaps a little volatile. Sweet and wide – quite concentrated the flavours – and a riper style of fruit than has gone before. A little grippy tannin in the finish. The least-likeable of all these if only for the clear expression of the 2018 vintage!

2018 Vaudoisey-Creusefond, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir
Sealed with an unbranded cork.
A bright and energetic nose – one that suggests a little dissolved CO2 – let’s see – yes, perhaps a little. A more forward, chewy, tannin here than the other wines too. A width of fresh flavour and one that holds well. Not a wine that’s obviously from a hotter vintage – indeed I’d have a little patience with it. Good but wait a couple of years.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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