Is Burgundy 2012 all it's cracked up to be?

POSTED ON 08/02/2014

Considerable volumes of wishful thinking and even more hot air have been expended on the ‘wonderful’ 2012 Burgundy vintage, currently on offer. Sparing you the hyperbole and cutting to the chase, Burgundy 2012 is a good vintage in which a handful of great wines have been made by a few exceptional growers. It is not a rising tide that raises all boats in the mould of 2005 or 2010.

On the plus side, good late harvest weather made the end result ripe and healthy with many delicious reds and excellent whites. Given the extremely challenging weather conditions, it would be surprising indeed if 2012 were uniformly great. After May frosts, the hail that ripped through the Côte de Beaune on as much as three separate occasions stripped the vines bare in places, leaving them without the all-important foliage required to ripen the grapes. The result is sometimes a degree of greenness, dryness and lack of flesh. The vintage is small and growing worldwide demand has put pressure on prices, which are generally higher, than last year.

The tasting of samples from the barrel is always fraught with difficulty. Since most of the good wines are for the most part unfinished, critics can only give an impression of what the vintage is like and how individual wines will turn out. At the same time, different interpretations applied to their grapes by growers, even in the same location, produce as varied an expression of style as if you commissioned Mark Hix and my mum to cook a meal from the same ingredients.

Burgundy is still a highly fragmented and complex region and although its growing popularity is shining a brighter light on individual producers and appellations, being able to tell your Voillot from your Varoilles, or which particular Pillot, Mortet, Colin or Boillot is the one to go for, is not a game that most people want to, or have time to play. Yet despite the gloom, doubts and high prices, Burgundy engenders more irrational feelings of affection than any other wine because when you fall in love with the right wine, and taste in Burgundy is more personal than any other wine, the rewards make it all worthwhile.

I haven’t been as enamoured this year as I’d expected, but I have picked up the odd six-pack of red and white. Not least because the 2013 vintage by all accounts looks like being another tiny crop. 2012 won’t generally have the staying power of the great 2005 or 2010 vintage but looks set for perfect short-to medium-term drinking. There are even a few wines approaching good value as long as you avoid ‘must-have’ names and la-la land grands crus. Check out for a selection of my recommended wines and Burgundy specialists.

Something for the Weekend 1 February

Night In

2011 Llebre Tinto, Costers del Segre

A Catalonian blend of Spanish and Bordeaux grapes, there’s ripe, spicy strawberry and cherry jam fruit to coat the tongue with a satisfying richness completed by a touch of smoky oak: the ideal pizza and pasta basher. £8.99, Sainsbury’s.

Dinner Party

2012 De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault, Itata

Made from old cinsault vines in amphorae, this is a distinctive Chilean red, scented with herb and cherry with juicy summer pudding fruit and bright damsony mouthwatering freshness. £13.99, Whole Foods Kensington, Les Caves de Pyrène (01483 538820).

Splash Out

2012 Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling

This richly unctuous Kiwi sweetie bursts with riesling’s lime and petrol scent and the unctuously honeyed richness of tropical lime marmalade cut by a trenchant, zesty freshness. £13.99 - £14.99, half-bottle, Harvey Nichols stores, Good Wine Shop (02089948184), Laithwaites (08451947711).

Something for the WeekendSomething for the Weekend


Here is a selection of around 80 recommendations from the 2012 Burgundy vintage with my scores and prices, where available. Asterisks are for exceptional value.

Some of these wines are exclusive to the importer, so I have generally concentrated on the importer who showed the sample, but many are duplicated on the lists of other Burgundy specialist so be sure to check their offers and comparative prices.

Prices are per case of 12 bottles In Bond unless otherwise stated, i.e. payment of duty and VAT is made separately once the wines are delivered either this year or next. For likely delivery dates and the cost of delivery, please check with the wine merchant concerned.

As mentioned, samples are for the most part drawn from cask and so unfinished wines. They are supposed to be representative of the final wine but they may not be. It’s sometimes difficult to tell. In addition, there’s no indication of when the samples were drawn and some I tasted were out of condition.


Chablis Domaine Droin.
Good classic Chablis style, full-flavoured with limey fresh acidity. 88
£126, Goedhuis.

Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Domaine Droin.
Intense fruit flavour, elegantly dry and mineral, with medium to long-term staying power. 92.
£360, Goedhuis

Meursault, Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet.
Ripeness and juicy full-flavoured chardonnay with classic Meursault opulence.
£298, Goedhuis.

Meursault Chevalières, Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet.
A step up from the straight Meursault with a fine complex aromatic quality, lots of leesy tones, very fresh, deliciously intense. 93
£440, Goedhuis

Puligny Montrachert Les Referts, Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet.
Super-leesy and complex nose, light toasty hints, wonderfully delicious fruit, mineral dry finish. 93+
£615, Goedhuis.

Bourgogne Oligocène, Patrick Javillier.
Very nice dry and mineral chardonnay with some richness. Good value. 88+
£170, Goedhuis

Meursault Les Tillets, Patrick Javillier.
Very fresh aromatics, fine richness and opulence in classic Meursault mould with powerful appley chardonnay, mineral finish. 91
£320, Goedhuis

Meursault Tête de Murger, Patrick Javillier.
Fine nose, rich, intense and concentrated chardonnay, with lovely purity and length of flavour. 93
£525, Goedhuis

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cu, Patrick Javillier.
Intensearomatics, toasty oak touches, long and full-flavoured chardonnay fruit, dry, mineral, classy finish, very long and full-flavoured. 94
£395 per six, Goedhuis

Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières, Antoine Jobard.
Leesy and complex aromatics, rich full nutty flavours, creamy and long. 93
£640, Goedhuis

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Gain, Etienne Sauzet.
Intense aromatics, lovely seductive clarity, rich peachy fruit, fine spine of acidity, mineral, dry. 93
£598, Goedhuis

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts, Etienne Sauzet.
Fabulous nose, light toast, leesy complexity, rich, intense, huge flavour and concentration, mineral dry finish. 94
£690, Goedhuis

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru En Remilly, Colin-Deleger.
Fine aromas, complex rich peach chardonnay, dry finish, mineral. 92
£498, Goedhuis

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chenevottes, Domaine Marc Colin.
Gorgeous rich and intense fruit, lots of opulence, stylish and long. 93
£470, Goedhuis

* Mâcon Villages Vergisson la Roche, Domaine Saumaize-Michelin.
Fine aromatics and intense, full-flavouerd clean chardonnay, seamlessly crafted. 89
£134, Charles Taylor

Pouilly Fuissé Pentacrine, Domaine Saumaize-Michelin.
Lovely nose, classic, fine smoky, appley Pouilly Fuissé personality, very juicy and savoury. 90
£164, Charles taylot

Pouilly Fuissé Clos dur la Roche, Domaine Saumaize-Michelin.
Intensely aromatic, lovely richness and stonefruit and apple flavours, long, nutty dry finish. 90+
£179, Charles Taylor

Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre, Samuel Billaud.
Typical crème fraiche aromas, rich, intense, mineral dry acidity, good for the medium term. 91

Pouilly Fuissé, Domaine Parisse.
Good fresh leesy aromas followed by ripe, rich chardonnay with cleancut nutty finish. 89
£141, Charles Taylor

Saint Romain Les Vieilles Vignes, Vincent Girardin.
Fine nose, lively and fresh good flavour, nutty finish, limey acidity. 90
£172, Charles Taylor

* Saint Aubin Champ Tirant, Domaine Gérard Thomas et Filles.
Lovely intense nutty aromatics, ripe, rich appley chardonnay with lots flavour, good nutty finish. 90
£143, Charles Taylor

* Saint Aubin 1er Cru Les Murgers des Dents de Chien, Domaine Gérard Thomas et Filles.
Lovely name, fine wine: fresh and complex lees and light toast on the nose, long rich ripe appley fruit quality, intense, fine nutty finish. 91
£175, Charles Taylor

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Chaumées Clos de la Truffière, Domaine Vincent et Francious Jouard.
Fine fresh smoky nutty oak aromas, intense ripe appley chardonnay fruit with lively savoury finish, complex. 92+
£305, Charles Taylor

* Meursault Les Tillets, Yves Boyer-Martenot.
Super fresh and complex nose, classic Meursault, intense fresh and long lovely ripe peach and appley bite on the finish. 92
£257, Charles Taylor

Meursault Les Grands Charrons, Domaine Michel Bouzereau.
Fine quality of aroma and fruit, excellent concentration, lively acidity, complex. 92
£291, Charles Taylor

* Saint Romain La Périère, Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot.
Good fresh and complex lees-driven aromatics, lovely leesy chardonnay with good nutty complexity on the aftertaste. 90
£167, Charles Taylor

Chablis Grand Cru Valmur, Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils.
Lively freshness and precision on the nose, fine concentrated chardonnay purity of flavour, with seamless, dry mineral finish. Good medium to long term prospects. 92
£262, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

* Rully Montagne La Folie, Domaine Claudie Jobard.
Stylish fresh aromatic quality, very nive flavoursome appley fruit with juicy texture, dry finish. 89
£108, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

* Rully 1er Cru Les Cloux, Domaine Claudie Jobard.
Concentrated, aromatic, lots of ripe apple and peach, very juicy with lively, nutty finish. Great stuff. 90
£168, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots, Domaine Roulot.
Guy Roulot has come up with a lovely, classic Meursault here, all lees, hazelnut and peachy flavour and concentration, with fine, intense finish. 92
£235, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

Puligny Montrachet, Domaine Etienne Sauzet.
Fine, fresh, complex, leesy aromas and lovely intense yet elegantly styled chardonnay, with fine complex flavours and subtle oak toast. 92
£175 per 6, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

Chassagne Montrachet Blanc, 1er Cru, Clos Saint Marc, Olivier Leflaive Domaine. Precise and complete with good solids character on nose and palate, this is deliciously concentrated and intense. 91
£180 per 6, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

Puiligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles. Olivier Leflaive Domaine.
Olivier Leflaive seems to have been transformed this year, pulling out the stops to produce an intense, powerfully concentrated beauty of considerable length of flavour and finesse. Fabulous. 93
£320 per 6, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

Bâtard Montrachet, Grand Cru, Olivier Leflaive Domaine.
If the Pucelles was impressive, this is even more so, long, smoky, nutty aromas, superb, focused and concentrated rich fruit with lovely hazelnutty complexity and mineral dry finish. The Chevalier incidentally (£1075 per 6), also wonderful. 95
£920 per 6, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

* Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons, Domaine Moreau-Naudet.
Distinctive aromas, concentrated ripe and intense fruit flavours, juicy yet dry with appley bite. 91
£147, Lea & Sandeman

Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre, Domaine Moreau-Naudet.
Beautifully classic Chablis nose, distinctive rich, full crème fraiche fruit , bone dry, mineral finish. 91
£162, Lea & Sandeman

Chablis Grand Cru Valmur, Domaine Moreau-Naudet.
Intense aromatics, mouthwatering concentrated chardonnay that powerful yet juicy and minerally, bone dry finish. A keeper. 92+
£243, Lea & Sandeman

* St Aubin 1er Cru Sentier du Clou, Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot.
Complex, lots of leese, intense, deliciously succulent chardonnay fruit, nutty, balanced finish. 91
£174, Lea & Sandeman

* Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers, Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot. Fine nose, intense, nutty and leesy, very complex rich toasty chardonnay with lots of flavour, great length, a good medium to longer term prospect. 93
£279, Lea & Sandeman.

Meursault 1er Cru Poruzot Dessues, Domaine Rémi Jobard.
Fine, intense, rich, mouthwatering fruit flavours, lovely precision of chardonnay purity and length of flavour. 93
£465, Lea & Sandeman

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru, Clos de la Mouchère, Domaine Henri Boillot.
Super-intense toasty, lees-derived aromas, very rich and complex fruit with lovely mouthwateringly nutty, bone dry minerality. 95
£720, Lea & Sandeman

Corton Charlemagne, Domaine Henri Boillot.
Magnificent, depth, concentration, intensity and complexity, creamy mineral finish. 96
£1122, Lea & Sandeman


* Meursault 1er Cru Clos du Roi, Domaine Jean-Pierre Charton.
Red Meursault? Yes, and it’s good, lovely seductively fragrant raspberry with touch of vanilla for polish, very charming pinot noir. 90
£185, Goedhuis

Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru, Domaine Drouhin-Laroze.
Deeply colour, fragrant, spice and silky cherry and loganberry fruit, great texture and balance. 93
£480 per six, Goedhuis

Gevrey Chambertin Les Cherbaudes, Domaine Fourrier (price stated as POA, short for “you can’t afford it”).
Lovely fraise du bois perfume, voluotuous strawberry richness of pinot fruit, moreishly coated with stylish vanilla and toasty oak, + grip and backbone for medium term. 93

Chambolle Musigny 1er cru Baudes, Domaine Serafin Père et fils.
Fine aromatics, rich, intensly flavoured, concentrated dark berry fruit, textured, ripe
£655 per six, Goedhuis

Echézeaux Grand Cru, Domaine Jean Grivot.
Fabulous. Beautifully concentrated, still elemental but lots of intensity and power, a keeper. 94
£585 per three, Goedhuis.

Domaine de l’Arlot, 1er Cru Clos des Forets St,Georges.
Deep colour, super red berry fruits fragrance, very concentrated cherry and raspberry fruit, firm backbone and muscle for medium to long ter. Excellent. 93
£530, Goedhuis, Corney & Barrow

Volnay Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Joseph Voillot.
Fine fragrance, sweetly juicy pinot fruit, textured, attractive. 90
£275, Goedhuis

Pommard 1er Cru Pézerolles, Domaine Joseph Voillot.
Fresh strawberry aromatics, lovely sweetly ripe cherry and mulberry fruit flavours, good concentration and power. 92
£575, Goedhuis

Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots, Domaine Hudelot Noellat.
Vivid colour, fine fragrance and lovely richness of red berry fruits, intense, silky, polished, powerfully concentrated. 94
£540 per six, Goedhuis

Richebourg Grand Cru, Domaine Hudelot Noellat.
Vivid colour, powerful perfume, intense raspberry and mulberry concentration, super intense flavour and length, veneer of toasty oak, very juicy and voluptuous. 95
£700 per 3

Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Malconsorts Domaine Cathiard (like Fourrier, another superstar so price stated as POA, short for “you can’t afford it”).
Vivid colour, superb fragrance, lovely wine, sexy, voluptuous and opulent with fine texture and balance.

Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts, Domaine Jean Grivot.
Vivid ruby hue, deep and intense loganberry perfume, typical Grivot with a vibrant sweetness and freshness of fruit supported by muscle and backbone. 93
£430 per 6, Goedhuis

2012 Echézeaux, Domaine Jacques Cacheux.
Vivid colour, toasty oak veneer, intense and concentrated strawberry-rich pinot noir, initially juicy and silky with firm dry grip on the finish. 93
£648, Charles Taylor

* Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Domaine Amiot Servelle.
Juicy fresh typical red berry fruit pinot noir with attractive aromatics. Good basic red Burgundy. 88
£155 (estimate), Charles Taylor

* Savigny-Lès- Beaune, 1er Cru Les Peuillets, Domaine, Jean-Jacques Girard.
Bright in colour, attractively perfumed red berry fruits, elegantly balanced and pure mulberry / strawberry-fruited pinot noir. 89+
£149, Charles Taylor

* Savigny-Lès- Beaune, 1er Cru Les Lavières, Domaine, Jean-Jacques Girard.
Bright colour, elegant raspberry scented pinot noir, juicy, nicely balanced and pure mulberry fruitiness. 90
£195, Charles Taylor

Mercurey 1er Cry Les Ruelles, Château de Chamirey.Good aromatic, full-flavoured pinot, juicy and full, clean red berry fruit. 89+
£247, Charles Taylor

* Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Domaine des Perdrix.
Attractive raspberry-scented pinot noir, de-classified Nuits Saint Georges, followed by light, juicy raspberry pinot noir fruitiness. Much better than your common or garden basic Bourgogne. 88
£193, Charles Taylor

Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Rossignol Trapet.
Bright colour, spicy perfume, lovely seductive mulberry fruit juiciness, textured and savoury. 91
£248 - £260, Charles Taylor, Corney & Barrow

Beaune 1er Cru Les Teurons, Domaine Rossignol Trapet.
Bright, richly coloured and perfumed red berry fruits with a seamless mulberry fruit quality that brings lively, crunchy fresh acidity and elegance. 92
£292 - £295, Charles Taylor, Corney & Barrow

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Prieur, Domaine Rossignol Trapet.
Bright, beautifully scented red berry pinot, excellent concentration of loganberry-like berry fruits, seamlessly crafted. 93
£488, Charles Taylor

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru la Petite Chapelle, Domaine Rossignol Trapet.
Super-fragrant berry pinot, elegantly styled dark berry fruit concentration with elegance and savoury finish. 93
£495, Corney & Barrow

Chapelle Chambertin Grand Cru, Domaine Rossignol Trapet.
A deep bright ruby and powerful perfume behind intense, concentrated mulberry and loganberry fruit with elegantly silky texture. 94
£765 –£440 per six, Charles Taylor, Corney & Barrow

Chambertin Grand Cru, Domaine Rossignol Trapet.
Very intensely scented with dark fruit and delicately spicy, toasty oak, beautifully textured raspberry and mulberry fruit seamlessly woven and textured. 95
£1120 - £675 per six, Charles Taylor, Corney & Barrow

* Santenay 1er Cru Clos de la Comme, Domaine Françoise et Denis Clair.
Nicely perfumed fresh pinot noir, a juicy sweetly ripe strawberryish red with an attractive purity of flavour and elegance. 90
£208, Haynes, Hanosn & Clark

* Auxey Duresses Rouge, Domaine Agnès Paquet.
This is a surprisingly elegant and scented pinot noir for the often rustic Auxey-Duresses, with nice juicy red berry fruits flavours and freshness. 89
£144, Haynes, Hanson & Clark.

Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots, Domaine Georges Mugneret Gibourg. Sweet strawberry poerfume and voluptuously juicy mulberry fruit flavours with good structure and spine. 92
£265 per 6, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Au Closeau, Domaine Drouhin Laroze.
Attractively fresh and fragrant, this is well-crafted pinot noir with fim, muscular almosr, dark berry fruit and good structure for the medium term. 92
£220 per 6, Haynes Hanson & Clark

Mercurey les Montots, Domaine A & P de Villaine.
From Mr DRC himself, this is an attractively fresh and fragrant pinot noir, nicely crafted with medium weight, juicy strawberry fruit and nice weight and flavour. 89
£110 per 6, Corney & Barrow.

* Gevrey Chambertin Clos des Meix des Ouches Monopole, Domaine des Varoilles. Perfumed raspberry and mulberry on the nose, delightfully textured sweet red fruits, elegant fresh acidity. 91+
£180 per 6, Corney & Barrow

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos des Varoilles Monopole, Domaine des Varoilles. Lovely floral violets and raspberry on the nose, seductive loganberry-juicy fresh pinot noir with a fine spine of acidity and equally fine tannins for the medium term. 92+
£255 per 6, Corney & Barrow

* Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru, Clos des Forêts Saint-Georges, Clos de l’Arlot.
This is absolutely lovely on the nose, pure berry scented with a lively and concentrated fraise des bois pinot fruitiness but equally the concentration and structure for the medium to long term. 93
£287.50 per 6, Corney & Barrow.

Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux, Domaine Comte Armand.
Intense, ripe mulberryish pinot noir, concentrated with lovely fruit quality, lots of vigour and depth, quite masculine in style with good acid spine and firm tannin structure. 93
£492, Lea & Sandeman

* Marsannay Champs Perdrix, Domaine Huguenot.
Attractive dark sweet pinot scented fruit and juicy mulberryish fruit with lively clarity and savoury balance. 90
£186, Lea & Sandeman

Richebourg, Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair. Vivid colour, powerfully concentrated dark berry pinot noir, crafted in vigorous, msculine style, still youthfully elemental. 93
Tbc, Lea & Sandeman.


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