The short answer is as follows
My advice is to buy the best you can afford from a good grower because in my view as you ascend the hierarchy from bourgogne to village and then premier cru you are getting wines with better ripeness making better balanced wines. The classification is well done and reliable, although growers vary greatly in style and quality. Burgundy is really quite a cool region and in most years the best situated vines, which are better classified, make the best wines. I think prestige affects mainly the grands crus where you pay a premium. Some growers are very popular and attract a big premium which is more or less deserved depending on the grower.
Growers’ quality and style varies a lot. Our advice is to find a grower you like and follow them.
My specific recommendations this year would be well priced appellations with good growers are Marsannay , Pataille and Jadot, and Santenay, Vincent.
Producers making quite open or rich styles would be Pataille, Vincent, Mortet, Burguet, Tollot-Beaut, Tawse. Chanson made very approachable and attractive 2016s at attractive value for money which I recommend.
If you want to know why red Burgundy is relatively expensive read on.
The reasons why red Burgundy is relatively expensive compared to red Bordeaux or Rhône
I have tried to treat this subject at length in the How to Buy Burgundy article
If you don’t know already, Burgundy is a complicated region, but that’s part of the appeal if you get the Burgundy bug!
The one very important fact about pinot noir, the grape from which red Burgundy is made from, is that it produces poor quality at high yields. That is why there is very little good Burgundy at cheap prices, unlike white Burgundy or red Bordeaux and red Rhône. Pinot noir’s quality drops off a cliff over yields 55hl/ha, and it’s much better between 30-40hl/ha. This is very different from most other grape varieties including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, syrah. These wines make good wine at 55hl/ha, and up to 100hl/ha. There is good relative quality/price ratio here and so you can buy attractive wines from these varieties at high yields where the price can be as low as £7 a bottle.
That has obvious consequences for pricing and it makes red Burgundy an expensive wine. You can either accept that or fight it. But my advice is not to buy Burgundy because it’s cheap. Furthermore, the lower priced wines have relatively more tannin and acidity and less fruit than more expensive ones because they grow in cooler soils and are cultivated at higher yields so they are less ripe in flavour and can taste quite austere wines. If you like austere wines you will enjoy Burgundy at the lower end, if not you will probably be disappointed. As you go up the hierarchy you get more concentrated wines. Premiers crus are regularly the best wines as they are very well situated mid slope, so ripen to attractive levels of grape maturity, and are not as expensive as grands crus.
There is also a great variety in the style of wine a grower makes. I suggest perhaps trying those who make richer wines first as richness is easier to appreciate to start with than elegance. Also some appellations make softer friendlier wines.