Tasted in Santenay with Antoine Lequin, 17 March 2021
Domaine Louis Lequin et Fils
2 rue du Pasquier de Pont
Tel: +33 3 80 20 63 82
Here’s a 7-hectare domaine that I’ve been aware of for a long time – there are not many domaines in Santenay proclaiming their own Bâtard-Montrachet – but never having met one of their wines, they always remained at the back of my mind. That was until Antoine Lequin invited me over to taste!
Antoine’s grandfather has noted that there were Lequins in Santenay since at least 1637 and that their Santeny Clos Genet, bought before 1700, was the first parcel bought by the family. “It was our grandfather, Jean Lequin, who first bought the vines from outside of the village, to round out the offer of wines. It was my great, great-grandfather was was the first in Santenay to start to bottle his own wines. He also sold snails to keep the family business going during the phylloxera time!”
The domaine’s whites – and what an impressive range – see a little batonnage – more or less – depending on the base wine. Then follows 8-12 months of elevage depending on how the wines are tasting. For reds – 80% of the production here – Antoine likes to include a small amount of whole-cluster but never more than 10%. There’s a cool start to the fermentations, “I don’t like to ‘work’ (pigeage or remontage) the wines during fermentation but do a little afterwards but I’d say by feeling, there’s not really a recipe. The warm vintages support the whole-clusters well but cooler ones can bring a herbal side to the wines that I prefer to avoid. For new wood, the level increases in-line with the level of the wines, up to 50% for a grand cru.”
Antoine says that their commercialising policy reflects that they like to offer wines that are ‘ready to drink.’ “The warm years are a bit different but generally, we would say after 5 years of ageing – we’re selling a lot of 2015s right now, particularly the reds. Despite a prominent position in Santenay they are mainly a domaine selling in France; “It’s the cavistes and some export that are helping balance the lower sales to restaurants right now.”
Antoine recommends to carafe their wines or at least open half an hour ahead of time – ‘otherwise they can be a closed, direct and mineral.’ For the older wines maybe, but the younger ones, 2016-2018, I founnd them open and tasty with no need of such help. Never great but sometimes excellent, more often very good but tasty wines.
All the range is sealed with DIAM, Antoine noting that the domaine had some problems with corks ‘a generation ago but everyone sleeps well today.’ We looked at a range of vintages:
2013 Santenay 1er Passetemps
Medium colour. The nose is forward, not particularly showing much maturity, almost a little smoky aspect to the red fruit. Plenty of energy, a very modest tannin at the base. A little bitters but also a good breadth of flavour, clean and lip-smacking. A good wine!
2015 Santenay Vieilles-Vignes
From 2 parcels Les Hâtes and and the villages section of La Comme.
A medium colour. The nose has extra freshness and an obvious red fruit character, framed with a very faint sous-bois element. Fuller, more impact, a modest grain of tannin in support. Wide, with a good concentration. That’s a very good villages wine showing some extra development.
2015 Santenay 1er Passetemps
A little extra vibration of aroma at the base of this wine. Here the wine is more serious with an extra structure – less ready to drink than the very approachable villages. A little austerity of drier tannin creeping into the finishing flavours. There’s a real mouthful of flavour here but I’d be waiting 3+ years at this stage before returning.
2016 Santenay 1er La Comme
It was mainly the bottom of the slopes that were affected by the frost in 2016 – here was not so bad.
Ooh – now that’s a lovely nose of deep, pure, dark-red fruit. That’s a super invitation. Lots of energy – a wine that’s open and fresh, less comfort than the nose suggests but not really austere – the finish is rather powerful. That’s very good but I’d certainly leave this in the cellar a little while longer.
2016 Nuits Les Brulées
Just south of the city below the buildings of the stone quarries.
A punch of pure fruit – almost a cordial-style to this very attractive nose. Fresh, direct but of width too. A faint dryness but here is a nicely balanced wine, structural but not too much – and then widening in the finish to offer a nice panorama of flavour. Very good wine!
2017 Pommard Les Noizons
Medium colour. Here’s a tighter nose but with a good and attractive depth. Mouth-filling with a nice blend of energy and flavour complexity – it’s not particularly concentrated but it is delicious, nicely textured and long finishing. Very good.
2018 Santenay Vieilles-Vignes
Vibrant, fruity, depth of aroma – that’s a great invitation. Sweeping lines of fresh flavour. A fine grain of ripe tannin in support. Mouth-watering with flavour. The tannin is quite ‘present’ in the finish but with hardly any dryness. That’s a good wine again.
2018 Santenay 1er La Comme
Depth of fruit but with much more harmony, of finesse. Wide, lovely puire fruit – again with a width of fine tannin. Fine, mouth-watering in the finish – I find this a structured but delicious wine.
2019 Santenay 1er La Comme
Fresh again, deeply fruited but in the depth, occasional suggestions of smoke too. Hmm, that’s a more sophisticated impression to the texture. Deep, tasty, layered that’s a delicious wine. Excellent!
2018 Chassagne 1er Morgeot
There is some red at the domaine here too.
Deeply coloured. There’s depth and concentration to this nose – spiced with a little barrel, but impressive. Wide and fleshing in style over the palate – the fruit is a little honeyed and ripe but generally, there’s a good balance here. Still showing a little creamy oak in the finishing flavours but in 1-2 years this should be oaky. Good wine with a fine dryness of finishing tannin too.
In Languettes, just above the Cuverie of Louis Latour.
A more mineral nose, a little more of freshness, certainly of elegance. Mouth-filling, there’s concentration here too, a suggestion of a small grain of tannin at the base – quite silky, and a little buttery-rich. The finish is wide and impressive, lasting very well. A good wine – no faults.
The first vines above the gate of Belland’s Criots.
Already a little leafy development to the nose of this wine, supported by a warmth of complex herbs. Broad over the palate – there’s definitely a presence here – I have the impression both aromatically and in the flavours that this is a slightly oxidized style of wine – but the smallest accent, the wine isn’t actually oxidized. The finish is impressively powerful and layered – it’s a proper grand cru finish – it lasts and lasts.