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25 January 2024

Burgundy 2022 Vintage: Regional and Producer analysis of William Kelley Critic Scores

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Posted in: Wine Investment

Tagged: Burgundy En Primeur

The 2022 Burgundy vintage continues two themes: first, the rising influence of William Kelley (The Wine Advocate) as a leading wine critic in the post-Robert Parker, social media driven digitised era; and second, his specific expertise in Burgundy and Champagne, two regions where Parker himself had limited influence. Kelley, along with Neal Martin, now provides the critical reference points that Burgundy and Champagne markets have lacked for many years.

In this analysis, we focus on Kelley's insights into Burgundy, which drive pricing and attention, and have revealed emerging stars. We have analysed over 900 tasting notes from 78 producers for the 2022 vintage to identify any emerging trends in this campaign.

 

Regional Influence

Global warming increasingly affects modern Burgundy, casting a spotlight on the less famous appellations. These areas, cooler 20 years ago, traditionally produced wines with less natural ripeness and concentration. However, with the climate shifting, consumers, negociants, and winemakers are paying more attention to these regions. Kelley's 2022 scores reflect this ongoing trend.

In 2022, weather conditions enabled Côte de Beaune producers to create outstanding wines, setting a benchmark for some winemakers.

The table below shows scores by appellation (excluding grand crus), with the red-highlighted appellations predominantly featuring red wines.

 

The table below shows the scores by appellation (excluding grand crus). Those highlighted in red, are those where the scores were predominantly, if not entirely for reds.

 

Table 01

 

For this analysis, we are using the mid-point of the en primeur score. i.e. (94-96) = 95 points

 

The first thing to notice here is the clear homogeny from the 2022 vintage. The fact that almost all appellations have scored very highly and very consistently, is a hallmark of the vintage. Jasper Morris MW advises that this is a year to buy broadly, as quality is present across the spectrum.

A notable trend is the diminishing gap in quality (scores) between the Côte de Nuits appellations and the Côte de Beaune. Historically viewed as inferior, Volnay, Pommard, and Beaune now compete at the top-quality levels, comparable to Nuits St Georges, Vosne Romanee, and Gevrey Chambertin.

 

Investment Opportunity

Analysing premier cru and village wines from 2000 to 2020, we find that wines from Volnay, Beaune, and Pommard trade on average at a 30-60% discount to their counterparts in Gevrey Chambertin (which received similar scores this vintage). This price gap presents a significant opportunity for investors, especially in a high-quality vintage like 2022.

 

Appellation Price Comparison

 

Graph 02

 

Appellation Price Comparison Data Table

 

Table 03

 

Clearly there is an opportunity for both consumers and investors to take advantage of this price discrepancy, especially in a vintage like 2022, where the quality in these appellations is so high and as detailed above in many instances on par with the quality found in the much more expensive Côte de Nuits appellations.

As quality in these appellations increases, global attention will likely follow, potentially raising demand and market depth for these wines over the medium term. Investors should consider a mid-to-long-term horizon, as liquidity in the secondary market may not be immediate despite the appealing quality-price ratio.

Producer rankings and highlights

To identify future stars, up-and-coming wineries, and consistent top performers, we ranked producers based on Kelley's scores. We considered the total number of wines rated, the lowest score, the highest score, the average, and the standard deviation.

Different methodologies could yield varied insights, but our approach highlights some intriguing names and top performers in this vintage. The table below features the standout producers, with newer names marked in red, deserving attention in 2022.

Below is a short summary on each:

Faiveley (Rank 1)

 

Table 04

 

Faiveley, historically known more for its negociant business, has significantly impressed the Cult Wines tasting team across various tastings. Their ranking at the top aligns with our opinion. With the Domaine bottlings competing at the top of the Burgundy hierarchy, Faiveley is establishing a stellar reputation. William Kelley awarded their 20 wines an average of 93.3 points, with none scoring below 90, which places them on par with iconic producers like Dujac. The 2022 vintage could become a reference point for Faiveley, offering value compared to bigger names. The Latricieres Chambertin, known for its power, purity, and finesse, stood out as a highlight.

Interesting Fact: Faiveley, in addition to its remarkable wines, is known for owning one of the largest vineyard holdings in Burgundy, encompassing a wide range of terroirs. This diversity allows them to produce a remarkable variety of wines, each with its unique character.

 

William Kelley on Faiveley:

Jérôme Flous and his team have produced another compelling range of 2022s, and it's hardly surprising, given the high level of vineyard management chez Faiveley or the skill and precision brought to bear in the winery and the cellar. As is often the case up and down the Côte d'Or, the style is more delicate and sensual than was the case in 2020, and the wines seem set to offer broad drinking windows.

 

2022 Latricières-Chambertin (95-97 pts)

The 2022 Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru is once again one of the high points of the range chez Faiveley, wafting from the glass with aromas of raspberries, rose petals, Indian spices, blood orange and coniferous forest floor, followed by a full-bodied, ample and layered palate that's cool, concentrated, vibrant and perfumed, concluding with a long, saline finish.

Château de la Tour (Rank 7)

 

Table 05

 

Château de la Tour, a well-known name experiencing a resurgence in quality and prestige, owes its improvement to efforts in both the vineyard and cellar. The 2022 vintages, receiving consistently higher scores, suggest a positive trajectory. With prices for high-quality vintages generally between £150-£200 per bottle, this Domaine represents good value in the Burgundy grand cru landscape.

Interesting Fact: Château de la Tour is unique for having the largest monopole (vineyard owned by a single producer) within the Grand Cru vineyards of Clos Vougeot, offering a distinct expression of this renowned terroir.

 

William Kelley on Château de la Tour:

Domaine Pierre Labet and the Château de la Tour continue to hit new heights under the direction of Father François and son Edouard Labet. As I've written before, organic and now biodynamic farming in the vineyards, vinification with—in red—appreciable percentages of whole clusters in the winery and long élevage in the cellars are the order of the day.

 

2022 Château de la Tour (Vougeot) Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Hommage à Jean Morin (94-96 pts)

A serious, multidimensional wine is the 2022 Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Hommage à Jean Morin, which returns to the range this year after an absence in 2021. Wafting from the glass with aromas of sweet red berries, rose petals, orange zest, exotic spices and grilled squab, it's full-bodied, layered and elegantly muscular, with a concentrated core of fruit framed by a chassis of rich, powdery tannin. Broad and resonant, this will require a bit of patience.

Domaine des Croix (Rank 8)

 

Table 06

 

Domaine des Croix, though not widely known, made a strong impression on the Cult tasting team. Before the WK tasting report, the estate was already on our radar. Their wines, mainly from lesser-known appellations like Beaune, Corton, and Savigny-Les-Beaune, shone in the 2022 vintage, impressing William Kelley. The winery, located in Beaune, offers attractive pricing, with premier crus around £50 per bottle, and the Corton grand cru red and Charlemagne white around £150.

Interesting Fact: Domaine des Croix, led by David Croix, focuses on minimal intervention winemaking, emphasising the expression of terroir and producing wines that genuinely reflect the character of each vineyard.

 

William Kelley on Domaine des Croix:

David Croix's well-deserved reputation as one of the leading talents among his generation in the Côte de Beaune is founded on hard work in the vineyards, something I regularly witness in the Beaune premiers crus where I have the good fortune to have him as a neighbour. The 2022 vintage is another very strong set of wines at this address.

 

2022 Domaine des Croix Corton Grand Cru La Vigne Au Saint (94-96 pts)

There are four-and-a-half barrels of the superb 2022 Corton Grand Cru La Vigne Au Saint, a deep, full-bodied and perfumed wine evocative of cassis, orange zest, exotic spices and rose petals. Layered and seamless, it concludes with a sapid, saline finish. An ardent admirer as I am of Croix's Beaune bottlings, this year it's the Vigne Au Saint that gets my nod as the king of the cellar.

Domaine Jean-Marc Vincent (Rank 9)

 

Table 07

 

Domaine Jean-Marc Vincent, producing wines in the underappreciated Savigny-Les-Beaune, is a name to watch. With the appellation's quality gradually increasing, skilled winemakers like Jean-Marc Vincent are proving its capability to produce top-quality Burgundy at affordable prices. The wines are notable for their purity of fruit, finesse, and aromatic expression, reminiscent of Jean-Yves Bizot's style. Reviews on the community platform CellarTracker frequently highlight the intense aromas of Vincent's wines, drawing comparisons to DRC Echezeaux and 1er cru Chambolle Musigny.

At £85 per bottle, for their flagship 1er Cru Les Gravières, this provides huge value and significant upside versus wines of similar quality. There are also comparisons with Hubert Lamy, due to the high-density plantings that Jean Marc uses, and given the price increases in recent years of Lamy’s wines, it again provides a potential reference point as to where these wines could go. This sentiment is shared across the critic landscape with Jasper Morris describing Jean-Marc as one of the most intelligent winemakers in the whole of the Côte d’Or, and Neal Martin remarking that Jean-Marc Vincent is full of ideas, philosophies and insights. Whilst this summary has focussed more on the red side, his whites, are not to be overlooked. Including an Auxey-Duresses, Santenay Premier crus and a Puligny-Montrachet, they could offer equally exciting upside for collectors and investors.

To put this into perspective, the 93-95 points received for the Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières Blanc (£85 p/b), is on par with Jadot’s Montrachet (£833 p/b), Sauzet’s Batard Montrachet (£600 p/b), and Lafon’s Meursault Perrieres (£700 p/b).

Interesting Fact: Domaine Jean-Marc Vincent is a small, family-run estate, emphasising handcrafted winemaking and meticulous vineyard management, which contributes to the exceptional quality of their wines.

 

Tasting Notes

 

William Kelley on Jean Marc Vincent:

In the August 2021 Week 2 Issue of The Wine Advocate, I devoted a feature to the wines and work of Jean-Marc Vincent, so I direct readers to that piece rather than attempt to reprise all its minutiae here. High-density plantings of massal selections, high canopies that are either hedged late or interwoven by hand, soils cultivated using small caterpillar-tracked engines instead of tractors, long macerations with significant percentages of whole bunches and long élevage on the lees—these are just some of the pieces of the puzzle. If Jean-Marc's 2020s set a new benchmark for contemporary Santenay, his 2022s come close to rivaling them: complex, textural whites of substance and structure and serious, sapid reds that will reward patience.

 

2022 Domaine Jean-Marc Vincent Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières, Rouge (93-95 pts)

The 2022 Santenay 1er Cru Gravières Rouge is a prodigious wine in the making, and Vincent has decided to prolong its élevage in barrel to give it the time it needs to realise all its potential. Unwinding in the glass with complex aromas of wild plums, peonies, orange zest, spices and rose petals, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and structured, with a concentrated core of fruit built around lively acids and sweet but abundant tannins that assert themselves on the youthfully firm finish. This 2022 is on a similar level to its 2020 counterpart but will likely require more patience.

Domaine Lignier-Michelot (Rank 14)

 

Table 08

 

Domaine Lignier-Michelot, often overshadowed by similarly named estates, has been gaining attention through a revised approach in vineyard and cellar management. With prized holdings in Morey Saint Denis, the estate is finding favour in the market, offering reasonable prices compared to its peers. The Clos de la Roche and Clos Saint Denis lead their offerings. The Lignier-Michelot's grand cru wines, priced significantly lower than Hubert Lignier's, offer great value considering their increasing quality and scores.

Hubert Lignier’s Clos de la Roche, scored 93-95 points, the same as the Lignier-Michelot. The big difference here is that Hubert’s grand cru will cost between £500-600 per bottle, whereas recent vintages of Lignier-Michelot are around £200-£250 per bottle. For an upcoming name in Morey Saint Denis, with great vineyard holdings, increasing quality and scores, this Domaine seems to offer a lot of value to both investors and collectors.

Interesting Fact: Domaine Lignier-Michelot practices organic viticulture, reflecting a commitment to sustainability and the production of wines that are both environmentally friendly and expressive of their terroir.

 

William Kelley on Lignier-Michelot:

This was my first visit to this 12-hectare domaine in Morey-Saint-Denis, where the estate's holdings are complemented by some carefully chosen négociant exchanges and acquisitions. Virgile Lignier is an adept of whole bunches and looks for gentle extraction during vinification, followed by maturation in increasingly discreet cooperage. I left impressed by a winery that's clearly made appreciable progress over the last few years, delivering a range of sauve, fleshy 2022s with good depth and balance.

 

2022 Domaine Lignier-Michelot Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (93-95 pts)

Lignier produced 15 barrels of the 2022 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, derived from holdings in Genavrières and Monts Luisants. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of sweet red berries, orange zest, burning embers, exotic spices and loamy soil, it's full-bodied, layered and multidimensional, with a deep core of fruit, supple tannins and a long, sapid finish. This is a terrific effort.

Ranking Table

The full table of William Kelley’s Burgundy 2022 scores ranked by producer.

 

Full Ranking Table

 

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