Tasted in Puligny-Montrachet with Frank Grux, 07 November 2017.
Place du Monument
Tel: +33 3 80 21 95 27
Frank on 2016:
“2016 was clearly a complicated vintage. All was wet to start with – and that came after no winter to speak of. The probability of frost here is less than 1% but it came, and I’ve never seen it like that. Lots of vines were seriously touched. We started harvesting the 20 September, paying lots of attention to avoid botrytis. The vines fermented nicely dry. I’m not going out of my way to find grapes with high degrees at harvest but I’m also doing my best to avoid chaptalising…
“In 2016 we had to be pragmatic – so we have fewer labels in this vintage, about 60% fewer! Actually we probably lost about 10% during our triage too, so our volume is significantly down. Of-course you don’t just terminate contracts in Burgundy, but we chose to resell quite a lot where I just felt ‘No’ – And that’s important, because I’ve the ambition to make great wine – not just wine! We didn’t do much batonnage, but we kept most of the lees.”
Emotion is the only thing that really separates the two Leflaives this year, but boy is there emotion in the wines here. I began with the assumption that this producer would possibly still have the edge of ‘Domaine Leflaive’ – after-all Pierre has had so little opportunity to make his mark on their 2016s – but I was wrong, Maison/Domaine Olivier Leflaive has without question the better wines in 2016. It begins with impressive wines, it finishes with pure emotion – there are almost tears for some wines this year…
Bottled during the harvest, grapes from one or two vines in the Hautes Côtes and Chalonnaise but as usual the large part is a blend of grapes from the communes of Puligny and Meursault – about half the volume as a normal year.
Slowly opening. A nice weight of aroma here. Ooh, this is joyous, big fresh fine clarity and texture. Bravo, easily super wine. This is the most delicious that I met here!
All the vines from the commune of Puligny and all domaine vines with all barrel elevage. This also bottled at the end of August/beginning September
A more open, fresh and mineral nose – highly attractive. A little more volume, a suggestion of gas, more direct, citrus and freshness, super juicy a hint that’s more structured but absolutely delicious. Bravo encore!
Montagny harvested before Puligny – but that’s rare. No real suffering from the frost here.
A wide and clean nose – 2010 style. Big volumed, slowly mouth-watering with fine complexity the line and length are really top-notch for the label – can’t afford Pucelles? The. Buy this
A very different style of fruit here – an agrume style but with more sweetness, almost sherbet too. Fine volume and freshness, melting, completely delicious – again almost sherbet flavour. I’m making a rod for my own back here, but at this price level, its hard to say no to a wine like this… almost a hint of tannin too.
2016 Beaune Clos des Mosnières
A relatively new wine for us, impacted by the frost, 4 barrels but it could be 15-16. Leflaive also do the vineyard work here.
Pretty, deep, faintly reductive/agrume in style. Big volume in the mouth but here is a mouth-watering, almost steely but meltingly delicious flavour. Long with a modest accent of reductive flavour. Just a gorgeous drink…
2016 St.Romain Sous le Chateau
“We didn’t keep much St.Romain, but we kept this!”
A hint of reduction but the aromas are balanced with a very pretty floral notes too. Wide and with good freshness, of-course, a little saline and no hard edges, simply a super wine of line but width too. Wide, fine finish of good persistence…
2016 Auxey-Duresses La Macabree
A great name – vines near Meursault Les Vireuils, no frost in this sector. All barrel elevage.
Here also that twist of super-attractive reduction. An extra width of freshness, sherbet impression almost bubbling on the tongue – but there’s no gas here. Lovely energy – a super engaging wine.
2016 St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
Not a lot of St.Aubins this year – ‘It was hard to find the really good stuff.’
Again a subtle reduction. The first wine where I sense a hint of gas. Fresh, direct citrus, less ‘packaged’ than many but with nervosité – another wine with a suggestion of tannin in the finish.
The previous wines were already in bottle, the following are all tank or barrel samples:
All in tank, a minimum 10 different climats, normally there are as many as 20. Normally 120 barrels, this year 23 – probably a January bottling
Wide, attractive, classic Meursault nose. Lovely volume and slowly growing intensity. There is just a touch of rigour, almost minerality in the finish, but this is really something. Great villages!
Vibrant, depth, attractively reductive. Lots of gas. But bold, bright, layered and with lots of changing flavour. This is brilliant. Long, radiating with flavour in the finish. What a great set of wines!
This is only about 90% of the final wine as one part was fined and isn’t really tasting – still only about half the parcels of normal, about 21-22 instead of nearly 40
A modest freshness, here is more a width of yellower citrus. Really a super volume in the mouth with a hint of gas – which adds to the freshness of-course. Fine yellow fruit. A beauty, but I’d honestly take the two Meursaults ahead of this today – a hard choice though as this has a great finish…
Normally from 4 different parcels.
More vibrant depth with a twist of reduction. Plenty of gas, more direction and much more nervosité than the villages. Proper, excellent, Puligny with very little fat, just a fast and fine flavour. A lip-smacking bravo here!
Normally 4 different parcels, again, covering bottom, middle and top.
Hmm, really a depth of fresh, almost exciting aromas – this begs you to take a sip. This is such a mineral Charmes – a wow Charmes! The only possible negative is that with a performance like this, I would never have guessed that it was a Charmes!
2016 Meursault 1er Genevrières? For the second year here, and for the same reason, there is none. Frank saying that “it was simply too expensive!”
Vibrant, mineral faintly reductive – another wine that begs you to drink. Great volume, bright, complex, energetic, faintly saline but faintly a lot of things. Not the most sweetly delicious, but really great, great wine. Bravo simply great!
Not the biggest aromatic volume but with a depth of fine, modest, complexity. Really an extra muscle here, but relaxed muscle with concentrated flavours melting over the palate. Wow again – not in the absolute discrete complexity of the last but in such a delicious delivery of fine flavour… subtle reduction in the finish. This is a wine that you can melt into…
A big, bold, more overtly reductive nose. Volume, vibrant, layers of flavour, almost a reprise of creaminess in the finish. Top! Few words, but this is my new favourite!
Good volume, more reductive. This is a totally different delivery, with layers of fresh but melting and delicious flavours. I think this is my new favourite! There are so many great Folatières in this vintage.
Domaine. This and the last wine with elevage in larger barrels with about 25% new wood.
Less overt volume, a wide but modest nose, but inviting all the same. Vibrant without anything overt, this the calmest but also the most complex of this small group of Pulignys. Brilliant in the finish. Great wine!
From all three villages, but fermented together.
Here the nose is rather modest – it has width but on a very subtle level. A little too much gas today. But then the flavours arrive and start to melt over the palate, some modest rigour but a wave of complexity, and getting all the more attractive along the way… Then a change of gear in the finish with extra flavour and just a long, long, time losing effect… I lose myself sometimes in the wines this vintage and the top two or three were all from Charlemagne…
A broad aromatic, that’s very complex, with faint smoke and not so faint complexity – the depth is more reticent. Supple, growing from the core, melting over the palate. This is more composed than the last, but equally a wine where you can lose the concept of time and company – it’s that good…
Domaine – from the middle near Michel Niellon.
Wow. Not the most forceful but in terms of easy complexity. A hint with lime, this is great stiff. Such an extra fresh volume, there is structure but wide, melting, complexity, this the first with some barrel notes but in the context you really won’t care!