Profile: Lejeune


Tasted in Pommard with Aubert Lefas, 03 November, 2017

Domaine Lejeune
1 Place de l’Église
21630 Pommard
Tel: +33 3 80 22 90 88

This domaine sits opposite the church in the square of Pommard, and almost as importantly, opposite the restaurant Auprès du Clocher too! The buildings were once part of a religious order – the Brotherhood of the Saint Sacrement – but were sold-off, as were many such buildings, following the Revoluion. This was once a much larger domaine – there were over 20 hectares Maxime Lejeune who gave the domaine its name, died in 1864 – but he had three daughters… The last division of the vines came in 1955 when some parts were shared with Domaine de Courcel – as this is a branch of the same family. The doamine today has 10 hectares of vines, 8 of pinot, but augments that production with some regular contract purchases.

Aubert Lefas joined the domaine of his father-in-law, François Jullien de Pomerol, in 2004. François, now retired, was at the domaine since 1977 and was also a former professor of oenology.

The winemaking philosophy has always been to make wine with whole clusters of grapes, though Aubert is (slightly) less dogmatic about that today. This is a domaine situated in, and focused on, the wines of Pommard – with three very different 1er Crus – Poutures, Argillières and Rugiens.

Aubert Lefas on 2017:
It’s something of a ressurection after 5, technically, very difficult years. Finally we found the volume and had the chance, at the same time, to have the quality too. Those vines that were frosted in 2016 recovered to give a normal volume but with concentration too.

Aubert Lefas on 2016:
In 2016 we have 65% less wine, in fact 90% less in the Bourgogne on the flats – we also lost 50% on the hills! But they are great wines. It was the last three weeks of September that saved the vintage and brought us the ripeness. It was the 25 June when the clouds parted and the sun finally came out to stay. Because there was so little fruit, ripeness in these conditions was very easy. They are elegant wines, perhaps not as concentrated as vintages like 2005, 2009, 2015 but they have a freshness and elegance.

The wines..

I note that the domaine has slightly updated their label design since I last visited – I already saw it on their recently released 2015s.

There’s good clarity and weight to the wines here in 2016 – I really enjoyed them. Currently many show plenty of oak and they are certainly wines to have a little patience with, but so it should be in Pommard…

2016 Bourgogne Grand Carelles
Planted at the bottom of Pommard
Open, cushioned aromas with a little oak. Fresh, nice texture, small waves of melting flavour. Delicious though still with plenty of oak, tending to a creamy vanilla at the end…

2016 Cote de Beaune Les Mosnieres
A vineyard that was abandoned in the war of the 1940s. The team here replanted in 2008 after cutting down the trees in 2006. ‘It’s very chalky soil thats south facing…’
A nice vibration of aroma – with a lovely width and melting flavour. This is really lively – though like the bourgogne this has a little oak but on a more modest level. A beauty of a finish, slowly fading. Super!

The following were bottled at the end of August:
‘Maison Lejeune’ normally buy St.Aubin, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne 1er Abbaye de Morgeot, but there’s only the latter in 2016 as the others were frosted.

2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Abbaye de Morgeot
30% new oak
Tighter higher aromatics, deeper at the base though. Hmm, this is super on the palate, there’s a faintly spiced complexity and a texture that reminds me of Meursault Genevrières. Slightly floral finishing. Super wine.

Les rouges
All whole cluster here, they wait another three days after the theoretical maturity of the grapes to pick, to have more ripeness in the stems…

2016 Bourgogne Passetoutgrains
But made by carbonic maceration – starting the fermentation with the pinot then pouring on the other 2/3 of the gamay – which came from the plain in Pommard. No wood.
Deep, quite broad aroma of fruit. Delicious in the mouth, super silky texture, width, delicious juicy fruit – bravo, and less than €8!

2016 Bourgogne Les Grands Carelles
A deep nose, with an impression of a little ripe stems wrapped in an oak overcoat, at the fore there’s a lovely fruit. Lovely in the mouth too – round, fine texture, faint tannin, juicy and saline. Delicious but be oak aware…

20016 Monthelie En Remagnien
Had this vineyard since 2009 – replanted in 2011. Deep clay soil hard to work, but plain south facing too. American oak – 20% new.
A more modest but slightly more floral version of the bourgogne. More freshness, nice texture, a forward note of oak. Slow, fresh, finishing waves of flavour with great persistance.

The following will probably be bottled from March – giving them 18 months of elevage.

2016 Pommard Les Trois Follots
On a terrace near Rugiens, elevage with some american oak.
Ooh, that’s a round, delicious, whole-cluster nose. Mouth-watering, melting flavour. 1st from a newer barrel – To be honest, today I taste the process more than the place – but the result is delicious. Then from an older barrel – Purer, slightly more strucure. The mid-palate and finish is more Pommard and delicious – if more structured…

2016 Pommard 1er Grands Epenots
This was destemmed and from bought grapes
A different style of aroma, but a warm yet still fresh fruit. A super line of flavour. Slowly melting, showing good baseline of tannin – all very fine-grained. Structure with a certain finesse!

2016 Pommard 1er Argillieres
The only one that wasn’t frosted – the parcel above Epenots.
A little confiture fruit in the middle of the rose-petal aroma. Hmm, this has structure, walls of tannin, but not with any overt grain to the tannin, more a drag of texture – but these walls slowly melt. A great finishing impression – to wait for but worth waiting for…

2016 Pommard 1er ‘Exception’
75% poutures, 25% rugiens – not enough in 2016 for the two cuvees, 30% new oak
A hint of reduction and more than a hint of oak spice, but there is also a striking fruit. Linear, concentrated and with a slowly growing intensity. Really to wait for, but with much to wait for! Aubert muses “Rugiens is power and softness, with Poutures you usually get the power – but not always the softness!

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