2022 Burgundy En Primeur – A collection from Edouard Delaunay
Several people mentioned that my Wednesday Wines piece last week was overly critical of the 2022 Burgundy vintage. I have since tasted 500+ more wines (with many more to come), and I can only reinforce my initial, now strong, thoughts about the 2022 Burgundy vintage and its wines. Please look back to my 10th January WW post for background because there are a few more observations which I will build on below.
There is no doubt that the wines Edouard Delaunay are slick and professional, and they certainly command strong prices. I tasted a selection made by Delaunay ranging from two Hautes-Côtes wines to a handful of Grands Crus. It is fair to say that I would be more than happy to drink them all in a restaurant down the track. But the subject of this week’s commentary is En Primeur purchasing, which significantly reduces the field of wines that I think one must own, cellar and protect and, therefore, must buy now.
My average scores for these wines bounced around a creditable 17/20 – for some commentators, this is a heady designation, but for me, and for many others who regularly judge wine, this is a silver medal. Interestingly, two Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits wines – a white Le Mont and a red Les Dames Huguettes – scored as well as some of the mighty names.
These two wines don’t form part of the EP campaign because I cannot find their In Bond pricing in any of the literature, but I am told they will retail for around £35, and they both showed terrific accuracy, verve and balance. In fact, their balance was impeccable, coming as they do from elite plots of vines, which did not seem to be as bruised by the intense heat as some of the more noble lieu dits, which had nowhere to hide. You would be well advised to seek out both cuvées as they really shone.
Here are the other wines that caught my eye with cost prices from Honest Grapes, who has been suggested to me as a stockist by Delaunay.
2022 Meursault, Le Village, Edouard Delaunay
£432 per 6 bottles IB www.honestgrapes.co.uk
This was my pick of the white Burgundies from a balance, structure, flavour and presence point of view. It was interesting that as a village-level Meursault, this price seems very expensive at around £89 all told, but it was cheaper than a Chassagne-Montrachet and less than half the price of a Premier Cru Puligny, which was admittedly impactful, but whose flavours didn’t show quite the same level of harmony and seemed too oak-soaked at this stage. This Meursault is a classically proportioned wine that appears not to have been unduly affected by the season, and its four-parcel blend has given it a decent array of complexity. 17.5/20
2022 Pernand-Vergelesses, Les Boutières, Edouard Delaunay
£180 per 6 bottles IB www.honestgrapes.co.uk
In hot vintages, parts of the Côtes that sometimes struggle to ripen fully do so with ease. If these vineyards also tend to be on the more mineral-soaked and less flamboyantly fruit side of the spectrum, it also works in their favour when the season is particularly sunny. And so it follows that this lesser plot of vines surrounded on all sides by starrier Crus stood a good chance of performing well in this vintage. I am thrilled to report that a wine that will land on your doorstep for fewer than £40 is a little cracker. Pure, ripe, direct, clean and, believe it or not, crisply refreshing, this is a forward-drinking, pristine Pinot that belies its origins and price. It is a classic case demonstrating that you can always find gems in every vintage if you look hard enough. 17/20
2022 Beaune, 1er Cru Les Grèves, Edouard Delaunay
£282 per 6 bottles IB www.honestgrapes.co.uk
With clay soils and an eastern exposure, Les Grèves is a Premier Cru that often fares well in particularly hot vintages. This is a ripe, extremely fruit-focussed wine with waves of indulgent black cherry flavours and perfectly controlled oak (only 35% new barrels). While it is ridiculously forward, and I don’t doubt it will drink well on its release, there is sufficient tension here to hold for five years, but don’t bank on any longer without closer inspection because I cannot sense particularly profound tannins here. For approximately £60, there is a lot of fun to be had with this impressively Pinot-drenched wine, and I can see it charming all-comers in restaurants and at generous dinner parties over the near future. 17.5/20
2022 Gevrey-Chambertin, Le Village, Vieilles Vignes, Edouard Delaunay
£354 per 6 bottles IB www.honestgrapes.co.uk
Made from three plots of vines (on the correct side of the Route National!), including the prestigious Les Evocelles, this is a very ripe Gevrey, and it shows that oft-earthy and belligerent Gevrey, in the right hands, can truly blossom in sunny vintages. I like how the fruit sandwiches the genuine earth, muscle, and spice notes in this wine, making it more genial and approachable than many. The fruit was so juicy that the decision was made to use 50% of whole bunches, contributing to the spiciness mentioned above. The oak level was kept at a controlled 35% new barrels, allowing the fruit to shine. This is another very forward and juicy wine, but it packs in a decent level of complexity, and I feel that there is no need to spend any more to enjoy a superb expression of this village. 17.5/20
2022 Nuits-Saint-Georges, 1er Cru Les Poulettes, Edouard Delaunay
£408 per 6 bottles IB www.honestgrapes.co.uk
As you might expect, the Nuits-Saint-Georges section of Delaunay’s portfolio is strong, given this is the village where this outfit is based. Les Poulettes is my pick because it cunningly balances generosity with admirable tension. A slight 6% of whole bunches were used to bring a degree of grip and savouriness to proceedings, and with 50% new oak barrels employed, you might expect it to show more carpentry, but no. This fragrant, juicy, beautifully appointed wine shows a little more density, flamboyance and bravado than the 2022 Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Village (£276 per 6 bottles IB). It is prettier and more approachable than 2022 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Argillas (£408 per 6 bottles IB), which is more gruff and structured and could make ten years of age with careful cellaring. At £85 per bottle, you must be committed to Les Poulettes, but I am certain this wine will not disappoint you. Interestingly, this is the first time I have ever recommended a wine from this tiny Premier Cru, so thank you, Laurent Delaunay, for bringing it to my attention. 18/20