In Burgundy, negociants are widely considered the glue that holds the region together. Their role is different to those of a negociant in Bordeaux, as their involvement often starts much earlier in the process. A Burgundian negociant – or a negociant-eleveur – will buy grapes or wine from various growers and then sell the final product onto customers, ranging from private collectors to restaurants and retailers. 

There is often little distinction between growers and negociants, as one can frequently be both. In addition to owning their own vineyards and producing their own wine, many domaines in Burgundy also act as negociants which allows them to increase the quantity of wine. Some of the most famous names in Burgundy fit into this category, from Jadot and Bouchard to Jean-Claude Boisset, yet at times buyers fall into the trap of underestimating the bigger players. Here is why you shouldn’t – particularly in a restricted vintage such as 2021.

Maison Louis Jadot: accessible quality

Synonymous with the production of great Burgundian wines, Maison Louis Jadot is one of the region’s largest growers and negociants. After starting as a grower in 1827, the business expanded into negociant work in 1859. Today the maison owns over 141 hectares of vines in the Cote d’Or, which impressively includes an outstanding collection of Premier and Grand Cru parcels. Despite its sizable operation, Jadot takes great pride in the fact that it vinifies and bottles over 80% of their negociant purchases. It is when comparing their negociant wines to their domaine grown that the wonder of Jadot is clear; for excellent consistency and fairly attainable access, Jadot is not a name to overlook in this evermore challenging region to secure bottles from.

Bouchard Pere et Fils: nearly 300 years of winemaking history

Established in 1731, Bouchard Pere et Fils is one of Burgundy’s oldest wine producers and owns 130 hectares which are spread across 450 different vineyards. Similar to Jadot, their proportion of Premier or Grand Cru vineyards is impressive, with 86 hectares of either quality land. This expansive range of vineyards is bolstered by the Bouchard Pere et Fils negociant wines. Long-term and long-established contracts ensure that Bouchard Pere et Fils retains good relations with the growers. In 1995 the maison was purchased by Joseph Henriot of Champagne, and a decade later a new winery was built with the capability to vinify hundreds of different wines. The style and quality of the wines, regardless of their source, is superb across the board and highlights the skill of this negociant.

Jean-Claude Boisset: an injection of energy

The Boisset name cannot be discussed without an acknowledgement of its founder, the famously optimistic and vibrant Jean-Claude. As a high-energy individual, the business, of course, expanded from Beaujolais and the Rhone to Uruguay and Canada. But it is Burgundy where Boisset reigns supreme. At the turn of the 21st century Jean-Claude’s son, Jean-Charles, overhauled the Boisset domaine. The previously unreliable quality of the wines was replaced with a dependable deliciousness under the firm hand of the then newly-appointed winemaker, Gregory Patriat, and now, the rest is history.

2021 Wines (released so far)

As the 2021 Burgundy en primeur campaign gets into full swing this month, make sure to keep an eye on all of the new releases and our recommendations for the vintage.