We’ve gathered the Ansonia team in Maine this week to taste through nearly 100 wines for the next two Futures issues. (We know, we know — someone’s gotta do it.) By this point in the year we usually have a good feel for the vintage, having spent a week tasting in Burgundy — but our cancelled trip means we’ve had to wait for samples to arrive from France.
In the meantime we’ve been reading up on the 2018s. It was an unusual vintage in Burgundy — even amid a trend of warmer and earlier vintages, this one stands out: record breaking temperatures, an early budbreak, enormous yields and high sugar levels. Many winemakers drew comparisons to 2003, but credited a very wet winter with 2018’s much better balance — same heat, less drought.
As usual, our first reds from the vintage come from Pierre Amiot, a family domaine in the heart of Burgundy. Amiot’s entire lineup of 2018 reds will be in next Sunday’s May Futures release, but we’re beginning today with their simplest: 2018 Bourgogne rouge.
The wine writers’ notes on 2018 reds are full of qualified enthusiasm. The best are said to be ripe, rich, mouthfilling, bold, and delicious — Vinous’s Neal Martin found “a sense of nascent joie-de-vivre” across the vintage. But wines picked too late can be overripe — blowsy, unbalanced wines that lack definition and character. “Very ripe wines of highly variable quality,” concluded Allen Meadows (Burghound).
With these reviews in mind, we wondered if Amiot’s 2018 Bourgogne might be a New Worldy fruit-bomb — pleasant, but neither balanced nor Burgundian. We needn’t have worried: the wine bursts with ripe, juicy fruit, but stands sturdily on the classical pillars of structure and freshness.
We found a pleasant, darkly floral wine, with notes of honey, plum/cherry jam, and black licorice in the nose. The mouth is punchy and juicy but with great definition — gulpable fruit with a precise, delineated finish. At the price, it’s a perfect picnic Pinot, due to arrive in time for July on the back patio.
As usual with this wine, quantities are limited; first come, first served. If there’s any left we’ll include it in next Sunday’s May Futures release.
Amiot Bourgogne 2018
Futures price: $285/case
To order this wine, email Tom