Domaine Leflaive 2017
Domaine Leflaive was the white Burgundy estate. However in the year since, they have been plagued with premox problems, the death of their visionary winemaker Anne-Claude Leflaive in 2015 but most importantly the changing of tastes. This led to the rise of Meursault estates: Coche-Dury, Roulot, Arnaud Ente etc. as the more fashionable houses these days. However as they were such a stalwart estate, they still remain a mainstay of auction houses and are highly sought after on the secondary market.
Leflaive has evolved ever since. They have moved to Diam corks in 2014 and they have a new regisseur Pierre Vincent (formerly of Domaine de la Vougeraie) who joined in 2017. It will be foolhardy to write off Leflaive just yet, if you can stomach the prices. The Macon on the other hand is also nothing to scoff at. It was the first time I’ve tried the full range of Leflaive (sadly minus the Montrachet, but who is complaining?) from a single vintage to get a real sense of the terroir. To those who say Leflaive is a old man’s over-oaked wine of choice I say nay! I think this was also greatly enhanced by the fabulous 2017 vintage; I have yet to be truly underwhelmed by any producers, red or white, Cote de Beaune or Nuits.
One interesting side note is that the geographical location of the domaine is so discreet that it’s not labelled at all on the outside. We might have missed it entirely if we didn’t ring them up before hand. So hidden, so low key and impossibly chic.
Domaine Leflaive Macon Les Chenes 2017: Lovely lemon, lime, acacia rounded out a gentle sense of minerality. You would expect more ripeness here but it’s not flabby with refreshing acidity. Very on point.
Domaine Leflaive Pouilly Fuisse 2017: Made from the exceptional En Vigneraie parcel, where the estate is trying to fight for 1er cru status. The minerality takes the main stage here, inversely rounded out with lemon and honey. So dense and intense that it take you by surprise.
Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 2017: This is classic Puligny in the best way. Lemon, lemon rind, elderflower with a touch of mineral, intertwined into one. Chewy and gourmand, it is so so easy to drink.
Domaine Leflaive Meursault 1er Cru Sous Le Dos D’Ane 2017: One of the most underappreciated wines from Leflaive in my opinion. It is Meursault done with a very Puligny approach — best of both worlds really. There is ripe lemon, crisp red apples, honey scotch and a touch of butter after taste. Noticeably richer than the others. The finish is clear and precise though with the minerality and fresh acidity.
Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillons 2017: Again I think this is an under appreciated premier cru while everyone clamours for Folatieres and Pucelles. A shame really. This is raciest of the premier crus: lemon peel, acacia, pure steel on the finish. It needs time to shine but also one of the easiest to drink.
Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres 2017: Surprisingly similar to the Meursault in primary fruit characters; you can feel the warmth and the brightness of the vintage and terroir through the red apple, almost cooked lemon, honey, but again all balanced out with the fresh acidity and minerality. It’s quite expressive as is but with the time, I think it will gather the energy to blow your mind and palate with gusto. With warm stony soil and white limestone, this is the easiest parcel to ripen and the first to harvest.
Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Pucelles 2017: The florality and delicacy of the terroir is unmistakable. The same ripe lemons as before with a touch of peach but so full of acacia, elderflower and other white flowers you can think of. Quite glorious and it takes you back. It is more tart than the Folatieres but feels very balanced.
Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues Batard Montrachet 2017: Surprising it opened up at all. There is stone fruit, almost lychee and a tropical fruit mid palate. It is finished up with intense minerality. Much more yet to go.
Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 2017: Now this feels almost too luxurious for my own good, however we must carry on. The nose is saline and almost savoury yet the palate is ridiculous zippy and bright: lemon with lime and ripe apples, honey, white flowers and more. On the mid palate, the signature richness and creaminess comes out but with restraint. There is so much depth and structure here it’s almost too hard to unpack.
Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet 2017: This philistine here has admittedly never tasted the Chevalier before. Nevertheless I do appreciate the wine for its monumentality; many wine buddies have said it trumps Montrachet. There is rich butter and cream on the nose with apple pie, quince, elderflower and honey. The palate is always surprising you though with its freshness: lemon, grapefruit and even a touch of mango, with sharp mineral finish. It’s not as crisp and easy as the 1er crus but truly puts the grand in grand cru.
Tasted from half bottles at the estate, June 2019.