Olivier Leflaive – 2018


Franck Grux, 2019Tasted in Puligny-Montrachet with Franck Grux, 21 October 2019.

Olivier Leflaive
Place du Monument
21190 Puligny-Montrachet
Tel: +33 3 80 21 95 27

Franck on 2019:
The end of 2018 was a dry Autumn, the Winter only modestly damp – so already there was some hydric deficit – the reverse of the previous Winter. April started with maybe the most important aspect – lots of suffering due to the frost, most of the Côte de Beaune was touched, but mainly the plains and bottoms of the hills. A little oïdium but really the maladies were nothing to get too worried about. The period around flowering was cold and could have been a lot better – but the important factor was the frost and we are still looking for a proper solution to that – maybe the windmills are not bad – but we have no real solution. Minus 10% to minus 70% – only 1% of our contracts brought the expected rendement! In 30 years it’s my lowest harvest!

Franck on 2018:
2018 – The year was generous for whites – plus 20% – and the possibility was always there in the buds despite everyone saying there will be no wine! The growth was fast and homogenous, red and white. Early flowering areas had no problems, the later flowers a bit less so. In reds it was good, but definitely not generous. The summer was the warmest for 70 years – in line with 2003 – it was like Marseille here. We had big grapes, in the basket you could feel the weight. Everyone made their choice re picking dates: The rain that came at the end of the month was good for the vineyards, but clearly not helpful for the already high volumes. Of course, I’d prefer to have 10 hl/ha less in the whites but the balance is still good.

The wines…

As to be expected in this delicious white burgundy vintage – there is much to covet chez this producer. Many wines for your cellar…

We start with bottled wines, there are over 250 contracts here plus the domaine parcels:

2018 Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles
Usually about 65 parcels, 95% in barrel about 10% new, this in the first of two bottlings, in August
This bottled in August.
Fresh, modestly floral – nicely pure. Bright, energy – ooh intense too. Not an overt concentration, but all the better for it – mobile fresh and certainly delicious. Excellent Bourgogne!

2018 Bourgogne Blanc Oncle Vincent
5 parcels, 4 are domaine, all barrel, all from the commune of Puligny bottled in august 15% new wood.
Deeper, brightly mineral and pure with a little more density. Ooh more citrus intensity, a suggestion of agrume acidity – certainly a tension and brilliantly intense finish for the label – a good Puligny villages level here! Bravo!

2018 Montagny 1er Cru
An assembly of three different 1ers – mainly barrel and less than 10% in tank. The sugars were higher here than in most of the Côte de Beaune.
A nose that’s deep, pushed in this direction by a faint reduction below and faint floral anecdotes above. Fuller – energetic – effervescent, almost bubbly but without overt bubbles. A lovely big wave of finishing, mouth-watering, flavour. Long too…

2018 Auxey-Duresses
Assembly of 7 different parcels, all Meursault side, all barrel elevage.
Again a faintly reductive agrume – these newly bottled wines showing some similarly. Hmm, a very Meursault style to this wine, reductive but fresh and another with a strong finishing wave of intensity – citrus finishing. Long. Excellent!

2018 Beaune Clos des Mosnières
Take the road to Booze above the trees on the mountain looking towards Pommard – south facing, long planted to pinot, this chardonnay now 25-30 years old. All barrel about 20% new, bottled August. Leflaive also do the vineyard work here.
No reduction here; fresh, bright citrus purity – open and attractive. An effervescent entry – perhaps a little gas here, but open, delicious and mouth-filling – it’s the purity that is so engaging. Deep and mineral finishing, beautiful flavour – delicious, and slowly fading – eventually with a floral touch – gorgeous and highly recommended.

2018 St.Aubin 1er Chateignière
Here there is good volume of aroma, but it’s harder to find the focus points of the nose. A little gas, but then a growing intensity of citrus-led flavour – mouth-watering, moreish flavour, and the finish is really super. A wine that finishes very strongly, indeed highly impressively, after a more modest start.

The following all from tank or barrel – no fining or filtration at this stage:

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet
Assembled from 9 parcels
Nice aromatic volume – only a suggestion of reduction – pure. Hmm, a more structural wine – concentration of flavour too – long finishing with a little saline hint. This has really super potential – lovely already today!

2018 Meursault
18 or-so parcels with about 1/3 from the hillside, the rest below.
A good and classic, slightly spiced Meursault nose. Some gas, but nothing that hides the full-flavoured delicious wine – also classically Meursault and absolutely excellent! Lovely finishing – so delicious. Bravo!

2018 Meursault Les ​Vireuils
As last year, little higher and lower parts combined
Wider, more mineral, less round. Plenty of gas here – slowly the muscular frame comes more fully into focus – bright chiselled, with a nice dynamic to the flavour. More rigour today, this will need time to relax – so have a little patience, but really excellent, again with a great finish.

2018 Meursault Clos de La Velle
Organic culture, bought as grapes
Very faintly spiced with a slight cushion to fine yellow citrus. Wait for the gas to fade; Fuller but open with fine structure – beautiful bones here – supple there’s concentration but also a lightness of touch and energy that will bring back to the glass. Excellent wine again, beautifully Meursault finishing!

2018 Puligny-Montrachet
About 70% idea of the fina Puligny cuvée – ‘I hope to convey the esprit, it cannot be of the (exact) finished wine, there are at least 7 different cuvées that blend 32 parcels – that will ultimately be blended.’
Hmm – a vibrant nose – faintly mineral, openly inviting. Nice volume again – super intensity, tension for sure – completely different in style and also the delivery of the middle and finishing flavours. Gorgeously bursting with finishing flavour again. Yes – a great finish!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignières
Normally from 4 different parcels. Like the last some of this will go into the villages assembly, vines abutting Bâtard and Bienvenues.
A more composed, concentrated nose, suggesting but never openly delivering a reductive note. Wider, more energetic, indeed practically dynamic wine. The intensity in the finish squeezing out the flavour from your tongue even more effectively than the last, this with a little phenolic touch. Today the last wine is easier – but this is better. Bravo!
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Marc
In the northern part of Vergers, only 3 producers of this – Genot-Boulanger, JM Pillot and here.
Not the widest nose today but with a very fine depth of lemon fruit. Gas, but ooh how that ingrains and melts over the palate – a little suggestion of fume in the middle – but a wine of intensity, of tension too but supporting fine concentration – bravo – great wine in 2018!

2018 Meursault 1er Les Charmes
All purchased but all three levels of the vineyard though still a small cuvee for here.
A small vibration of reduction in this super-inviting, fresh, nose. Gas. Lots of mouth-filling volume – fresh, mobile, layers, mouth-watering, practically juicy. Super Charmes – I love the subtlety but also with super length…

2018 Meursault 1er Genevrières Dessus
Ooh, directly an open an inviting nose with a small reductive touch and a finely granular spice. The spice on the palate, the freshness in the mouth – the last wine is more about contemplation compared to the dancing energy of this one. Bravo!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs Canet
A single parcel
Ooh – a change of register again – deep, yellow-fruited vibrant aroma. Fuller – a wine of impact – almost a punch – layered, intense, still energetic. I would wait for this only so that it may calm a little – it’s a tour de force! Bravo and just so deliciously long!

2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières
Three different purchases.
Most of this nose is hiding behind a deep and seemingly not so insistent reducto-mineral aroma – but it’s still well hidden. Wide, great energy, mobile, a touch of that same reduction but here it’s very modest. Intense and persistent again – excellent wine!

2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Abbaye de Morgeot
One of my star wines at this producer in the last vintages – this year the nose is a little tighter – but there is clarity in the sweet mineral depth of aroma. Wide, some power, but not delivered with a painful punch, more a weight but a complex and mobile weight, almost a hint of Meursault spice this year, vibrant finishing but with a little more rigour today – normally I’ve tasted in December, maybe that’s the reason, but no reason not to think that this will be great too!

2018 Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet
In demi-muids, one-year-old, still in barrel on lees
Hmm – that has a lovely, easily, disarmingly complex aroma – lovely. Supple, complex – really complex – like one of the previous there’s a little fumé but not distractingly so. Supple, but with energy, floral, perfumed, slowly mouth-watering, textured – so much to find. Beautifully balanced. So lovely…

2017 Domaine Bâtard-Montrachet
2 plots, Chassagne and Puligny all domaine
A nice volume of aroma – with freshness – clarity in the depth – not exceptional in many directions but the combination of all is fascinating. Some gas. Fills the mouth – here less directly complex wine than the Bienvues but here with more volume and open freshness. Ooh – now that’s such a great lingering finish – grand vin here – so great.
2018 Montrachet
Here is a modest reduction but also a mineral clarity and complexity – slowly growing with sweet floral perfume too. Gas. Super drive and freshness – a faint fume – such a weight of middle flavour without every being oppressive – intense yet textural. Wide, long, layered, grand vin…

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