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Dominique Lafon – 2014

DSC08919Tasted with Dominique Lafon at the Château de Bligny, 07 December 2015.

Domaine Dominique Lafon
Château de Bligny
14 Grande rue
21200 Bligny-lès-Beaune

The Château de Bligny was the home of a project called ‘Evening Land Vineyards’ – wines that were exported to the US. With the closure of the French part of the Evening Lands project, the local assets and winery (and Château!) were bought up by Dominique Lafon and Pierre Murgey. This is the planned home of their ‘custom crush’ operation – that is, assuming they can achieve the acquiescence of the French customs – no easy task! “If you don’t own the machines you cannot be called a ‘vinificateur’ and get the registration number from customs to get a négoce license” – just one of the many issues. Today, and since August this year, there are three occupants of the Château de Bligny; Jayne Eyre, Pierre Murgey for his growing range of wines from the Mâconnais and Dominique Lafon – together they make only a small dent in the potential capacity of 700 barrels at this address.

Lafon has long had a small domaine of his own, amounting to about 4.5 hectares of vines, 2.5 of which are Bourgogne and are a mix of owned vines and long-term contracts. Previously they were made at a small cuverie in Meursault (not the Comtes Lafon winery) before moving here in the summer.

2014 wasn’t the easiest vintage for this modest operation – mainly due to the low pinot noir yields. Two stark examples of the recent difficulties can be seen here; one parcel that should provide 8 barrels but delivered only 3.5 – but the ‘rent’ is 3 barrels. Another parcel of Beaune Epenottes has a contract for 0.3 hectares where the rent is 1.5 barrels, but only 1 barrel was produced – Dominique having to make-up the difference with other wines. Owners renting out their vineyards have suffered much less than producers since 2009.

Dominique works with a very limited number of distributors for these wines – “Life is easier that way…’

The wines…

Wines tasted from both tank and barrel. A very nice set of wines in 2014 – but given the limited number of distributors and the small (red) yields – good luck trying to find them! I believe that Berry Brothers & Rudd are importers into the UK.

2014 Volnay
From Les Lurets villages, for bottling next spring.
Dark fruit, some depth. Deep and complex, the structure isn’t the most silky but there’s very fine flavour dimension for a villages. Really tasty.

2014 Beaune 1er Vignes Franches
1.4 ha for only 3 barrels…
Deep dark but elegant fruit. Lovely line and faintly padded texture. A wide, pretty and welcoming panorama that you find only in Beaune and Volnay. Lovely wine without unnecessary fireworks…

2014 Volnay 1er Lurets
Under Champans, the top part of Lurets, near Robardelles. There was once a plan to group everything here under one name, but somebody refused.
Depth of faintly textured fruit – nice. Direct but then quickly melts over the palate. Fine ingraining flavours, beautifully seeping into the finish. Large but with elegance and certainly deliciousness. Just here in the finish a little creamy oak flavour.

Les blancs…

2014 Bourgogne Blanc
Fermented in barrel, racked before harvest and bottled in November. Grand Courures in Meursault from 60 year-old vines, plus Femelottes in Puligny – trying to get this latter parcel classified as villages. Work done by Comtes Lafon team, there’s no certification, but the work is the same.
A bright nose with flowers over the citrus. A little fat, but direct, fresh and very, very tasty – a fine citrus complexity. Lovely mid-palate intensity. This is simply excellent. Great finish.

2014 Meursault
In tank since the summer, no collage, nothing…
Fresh top notes, faint Meursault spice. Really good in the mouth – it starts a little mineral but has a fine meltingly fresh flavour over the palate. Lingers well but shows less ‘together’ than the Bourgogne today…

2014 Meursault Narvaux
0.5 hectares – will be fined before end of the year for a spring bottling.
Deep, some reduction, some agrume. Rounder, some spice, grows wider and more intense. An understated but very tasty wine.

2014 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs-Gains
These vines were once worked by Comtes Lafon and are now leased – owned by a doctor from Lille.
Deep, only faintly reduced. A very fine shape, texture and direction. A little saline too. This will be lovely.

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