In tasting some 100 Burgundy wines over the past six months and from eight vintages from 1998 to 2011, we’ve compiled our top 20. Each exhibited the wonderful characteristics of its climat, even in awkward vintages. In going over earlier notes on the same wines, we could enjoy how the top reds of the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune can improve for several decades, with further improvement still to come.

Each wine scored 16.5 on the U.C. Davis scale (91 on other scales), or higher. Top scores were in the 1999, 2005, 2009 and 2010 vintages, although some producers did well in marginal vintages (2004, 2006, 2008). The wines are listed from youngest to oldest.

  • 2011 Maison Albert Bichot Corton-Clos des Maréchaudes Domaine du Pavillon ($77 in 2013). Light-mid ruby, amber edges; earthy, smoky, red fruit Pinot nose; light musk/animal; mid-body; balanced; fine fruity; softening acids and tannins; long semi-chewy finish; needs a little time. 17 UC Davis, 92 other scales.
  • 2011 Domaine Parent Pommard 1er Cru Les Chanlins ($66 in 2015). Light-mid ruby, pink-amber edges; earthy, red fruit, cedar, cherry nose; mid-body; balanced; mid-acids/tannins; good Pinot Noir fruit; rounding out; long semi-lush, fruity finish. 16.5/91.
  • 2010 Maison Albert Bichot Corton Grand Cru Clos des Marechaudes, Domaine du Pavillon. Light-mid garnet, amber edges; earthy, animal, musk and leather nose; mid-body; balanced; nice style; long lush finish. 17-17.5/92-93.
  • 2009 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Genevrieres. Mid garnet; smoky, berry, wood nose; tight tannins, acids; good Pinot extract; long semi-chewy finish; needs time. 17/92.
  • 2009 François Gaunoux Pommard 1er Cru Les Grands Épenots ($35 on sale in 2013). Mid-ruby; earthy, red fruit, cherry, sweet floral nose; mid-body; good acid/tannin balance; semi-tight; long fruity stylish finish. 16.5-17/91-92.

Clos de la Roche

  • 2009 Joseph Drouhin Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru. Mid-dark garnet; light animal nose; musk; black cherries; starting to soften; long semi-chewy finish. 16.5-17/91-92.
  • 2009 Domaine Ponsot Corton Bressandes. Mid-dark garnet; earthy, cedar, black cherry nose; mid-body; balanced; long semi-tight finish. Can use some time. 17/92.
  • 2009 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. Similar to notes from 1/2/2020. Light brick, amber edges; earthy, red fruit, earth, slightly animal nose; mid-body; balanced; refined; long elegant finish. 17/92.
  • 2008 Maison Champy Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers. Light mid-ruby, amber edges; smoky, earthy, animal nose; red fruit, wood; mid-body; balanced; decent acids; long semi-chewy cherry and wood finish. 16.5/91.
  • 2006 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge. Very light-mid brick, thin amber edges; old world nose; red fruit, earth, leather and cedar; balanced; light-mid body; good fruit; red cherries and cedar finish. 16.5/91.
  • 2006 Domaine de Montille Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts. Light pink/brick; gamey, animal nose; red fruit; opens with air; mid-body; balanced; fruit opening up; getting lush; long round finish. 17/92.
  • 2006 Bouchard Père et Fils Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts. Light mid brick; aromatic, red fruit nose; light spice; mid-body; balanced; long semi-stylish finish; can use a little more time. 16.5-17/91-92.
  • 2006 Alain Hudelot Noellat Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots   . Mid-brick; red fruit, truffle and cedar nose; spice and wood; mid-body; decent fruit; not totally together in acid/tannin balance; medium short finish; needs time. 16-16.5/90-91.
  • 2005 Moillard Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts. Pale brick, amber edges; earthy, animal, red fruit, light spice nose; mid-body; balanced; red cherries and wood on the palate; fine texture; long balanced finish. 16.5/91.
  • 2005 Dominique Laurent Clos de la Roche. Mid-brick, amber edges; gamey, earthy, animal nose; red fruit; mid-body to big; good fruit extract; tannin/acids in balance; a little short on the finish, but good richness. 17/92.
  • 2005 Domaine Comte Senard Corton Clos de Roi Grand Cru. Mid-dark garnet; earthy, animal nose; mid-big body; rich earthy and black cherry finish; needs time. 17/92.
  • 2005 Maison Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. Pale brick, amber edges; light smoky nose; cherries; closed, then opens with air; deep red fruit; mid-body; long, still tight finish; can use time for style to evolve more. 16.5-17/91-92.
  • 2004 Maison Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. Mid-ruby, brick edges; red fruit, raspberry, black currant nose, hints of musk; mid-body; balanced; decent acids; good Pinot flavor; long semi-tight finish; can evolve more. 16.5/91.
  • 1999 Domaine Michel Gaunoux Pommard 1er Cru Les Grands Épenots ($125 in 2003). Light-mid brick, amber edges; old world earthy, leathery, animal, red fruit nose; mid-body; balanced; good fruit and texture; slightly tight; long semi-lush finish; some life left. 17/92.

Pommard Grands Epenots

  • 1998 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Crus Champans. Mid-dark garnet; red fruit nose; wood; raspberries; mid-body; balanced; good Pinot extract; tight acids; long fruity finish. Good life left. 17/92.