En Primeur is the practice of buying wine when it is still in the barrel. This is appealing to fine wine buyers and enthusiasts because it is a way of guaranteeing access to a portion of wine that will be in high demand when it is released, which will also more than likely rise in price as it matures – so there is the financial benefit too, as well as bragging rights.

I write this post armed with some bragging rights myself, as I was able to taste some En Primeur Burgundies earlier this month at the Flint Wines 2018 Burgundy En Primeur Tasting held at One Whitehall Place. While En Primeur is something that originated in Bordeaux, it has something that has become increasing relevant in Burgundy, the Rhône and the States, due to rising demand for these wines.

2018 was a very special year for wine across Europe – do you remember that glorious summer? We couldn’t believe our luck here in the UK, as the blessed sunshine gave us what we called a ‘bumper harvest’ of ripe, juicy grapes. Burgundy was no different: the sun shone from June to September and it was the warmest year on record there.

However, sunshine and warmth aren’t guarantees for good wine – there are many more subtleties that have been key to the varying characteristics of these wines across the region (indeed some parts are more suited to heat than others), such as the time of picking. It’s true that some producers left the picking a fraction too late, resulting in some extremely alcoholic 16% monsters!

Yet, overall, even though there was lots and lots of juicy, beautiful Chardonnay (which didn’t lose its concentration just because there was loads of it), which has produced some gorgeous wines possessing a freshness and a saltiness that frames the fruit deliciously, the consensus is that 2018 was a red vintage. The year sits comfortably alongside the other stunners of the decade. Don’t let the incredibly concentrated fruit deceive – it might be showy and operatic in its high notes, but the best wines are held up by a robust cast iron framework – these are the wines that are built to last.

Pouilly-Fuissé ‘En Bertilonne’ Domaine du Roc des Boutires
Rully 1er Cru ‘La Fosse’ Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot
Mersault ‘Clos des Ecoles’ Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat
Bourgogne Pinot Noir Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat
Vosne-Romaneé Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat
Vougeot 1er Cru ‘Les Petits Vougeot’ Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat
Gevrey-Chambertin Domaine Taupenot-Merme
Meursault 1er Cru ‘Les Charles Dessus’
Meursault 1er Cru ‘Charmes’ Domaine Ballot-Millot
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Morgeot Tête de Clos’ Domaine Ballot-Millot
One Whitehall Place


  1. That’s a heck of a good range of wines to taste, often makes me envious of those who live in London and have access to such tastings or events. We spent a month in Meursault in summer 2018 and I can hardly remember there being a cloud in the sky. Our forays were mostly in the area between Santenay and Beaune so quite a confined area.

    Liked by 1 person

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