Leflaive – 2018


Pierre Vincent and Brice de La MorandièreTasted in Puligny-Montrachet with Pierre Vincent and Brice de La Morandière, 07 October, 2019.

Domaine Leflaive
Place Pasquier de la Fontaine
21190 Puligny-Montrachet
Tel: +33 3 80 21 30 13

Pierre and Brice on 2019:
Not a crazy vintage despite the high level of sugar, because we have fantastic acidity – we’re very happy with the quality; ripe, yellow and of course mature. The one problem is a reduction of 30% in volume – like 2017 was less than in 2014. I think it a more even vintage than 2018. We had 5 frosty nights, oïdium pressure followed by the June heatwave and the July heatwave and hot harvesting conditions. Spring and flowering were far from easy, the flowering took longer than we would like, we ended up with tiny berries, many without pips but after pressing it wasn’t the catastrophe for volume that we feared. A good year – plus, probably. “​

Pierre and Brice on 2018:
A plentiful vintage – we didn’t come that close to the limits, but there was still more volume than we target, despite that we took a risk in July 2018 and did some green harvesting. Green harvesting is rare in Puligny, even rarer at Leflaive – we had already trailed this in 2017 – but in 2018 it could have been approaching half the potential harvest we dropped to the ground. But you will see more disparity in the 2018s than either 2017 or 2019 – I think at all the domaines. We began harvesting on 26 August. We can describe the vintages in Mâcon just like here only an extra effect for frost in 2019 in Mâcon. There was no green harvesting in Mâcon as we already had a lower volume on the vines.

The wines…

The high acheivement seems now to be being matched by consistency at this domaine – something that we’ve all waited for. This a great range for the ​vintage conditions – well-done!

DIAM seals from the 2014 vintage.

2018 Mâcon-Verzé
13 ha, about 10% older barrel elevage.
Hmm, a lovely nose – vibrant with a little agrume. Wide, round, bubbling with energy. Full, round and mouth-watering. A certain vintage richness but there is a good balance of, not overt, acidity here. Yum!

2018 Mâcon-Verzey Le Chêne
Le Chêne is the name of the lieu-dit, first time separated in 2017. West-facing vines. Concrete tanks, a little foudre, and a small amount in oak – no stainless-steel.
More vibrant nose, floral, almost a suggestion of pyrazine. More open, more mineral more incisive. There’s a lovely energy here, plus better balance and drive vs the last. Small, slow waves of radiating, finishing, flavour – ooh that’s really good! Excellent Mâcon.

2018 Mâcon-Verzey Le Montée
‘High and north-facing, but…’ Concrete and 20% barrel elevage but also the first wine with a little new oak.
A little smaller nose, but with a very similar mix of aroma to the last. Fuller in the mouth, growing a little plushness. A slowly mouth-watering finale. Fine but today the Chenes would be my choice.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé
Representing about 2ha of vines dotted around the rock of Solutre. Only barrel elevage with 15% of new oak.
Very perfumed and floral, not at all oaky though. Ooh, drive, energy, a vibrant delicious, energetic, mouth-watering wine, a little saline too. Driving and excellent!

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé La Chaneau
Not in the 1er area. 60% concrete egg elevage and 350 litre barrels
Deeper, a biscuity/oaky reduction here, but behind is some agrume minerality – it just needs a little air. A touch of gas, a little extra richness of texture and weight of flavour. Nice energy, not quite as vibrant as the last just yet, but delicious.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Au Vignerais
This will be a 1er Cru. All barrel elevage here.
No reduction here – a width of aroma – generous and open – also becoming more floral and becoming prettier and prettier. Hmm, this has a little plumpness to the texture but it’s melting, long, wiry and mineral – it’s simply excellent. Gorgeous finishing wine. Wait a little while drinking the first wine, but this is top!
2018 Bourgogne
​Three large parcels bringing 4 hectares, all in the commune of Puligny. 10% new oak.
Sleeker, it’s a more mineral agrume nose. Plenty of gas, but fine textured, mouth-watering, saline, complex, ooh that’s a great bourgogne, no question.
2018 Puligny-Montrachet
4.6 ha from around the village. All have completed their first year of elevage separated – they are only assembled for the second part of elevage.
Just a very modest extra volume of aroma vs the Bourgogne but potentially a little barrel warmth. Ooh – full, energetic, mineral, agrume, vibrant. Bravo villages, again, no question.

2018 Meursault 1er Sous le dos d’âne
From vines planted in 2004 and 1995 – all the 1ers have 20% new oak, though here the barrels are large-format – mainly 400 litres
Hmm, directly a different style of nose; lightly spiced, growing some floral aspect. Full, energetic, dancing over the palate. Absolutely delicious, at first perhaps facile but it is just so persistent the nicest of this cuvée for a few years – excellent.

2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Clavoillon
It seems vintage dependent as to whether this is shown before or after the Meursault – last year it was before, this year after. This vineyard was planted to red in the early 1900s. Today Leflaive has a virtual monopoly of this large climat, as such it serves as their ‘laboratory’ a place where they try different treatment regimes, different pruning etcetera.​ It’s the biggest parcel of the domaine at 4.8 ha. The Chavy family have about 1 ha and together that’s most of the vineyard…
There is a mineral undertow here but it’s largely masked by the fine floral aroma. More ingraining and more seemingly serious than the Meursault, a little barrel showing too. It doesn’t dance like the Meursault but it’s delicious. Broad in the finish – there is power here – but today I would take the added delicacy of the Meursault but in 3-plus years this will have the edge.

2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières
This shown before the Combettes for the second consecutive year. ​From two parcels, just above Clos de la Garenne, usually the first harvested as this is a hotter location.
Not so wide an aroma but there is a vibrant depth here. Wide, ingraining, fuller again, more energy than the Clavoillon, with complex, beautiful flavour – excellent. Layered finishing flavour…

2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Combettes
​At the limit of Puligny next to Meursault Charmes though these vines are not on the edge of the vineyard.
More direct floral perfume here – not a big nose though. Attack, mineral, bravo wine! A construction that you wouldn’t guess as 2018 – bravo – grand vin!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Pucelles
Ths nose is way more complex, floral and mineral – it’s so inviting. Like the last, fresh, vibrant, cut from the same cloth, a flavour that vibrates through the palate in the finish. The Combottes is a little showier – it’s the better wine today – but this has more depth – bravo again.​

2018 Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet
Less impact from this nose but it’s very elegant. More width to the palate, more depth of flavour again, persistent and gorgeous finishing, very fine and elegant wine…

2018 Bâtard-Montrachet
Ooh – here is complexity, a certain elegance but this nose is showing far more than the Bienvenues today. Incisive, fresh, cutting through the palate with mineral-infused flavour. Long, long, long, mouth-watering – excellent Bâtard, great wine.

2018 Chevalier-Montrachet
A vertical wine of high and low tones – a lot of youth but very inviting. Big, fresh, so mouth-watering, mineral, almost overpowering the palate. This needs a little more elevage for sure but what a wine!

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