Benjamin Leroux – 2016


Tasted in Beaune with Benjamin Leroux, 12 December 2017.

Domaine Benjamin Leroux
5 Rue Colbert
21200 Beaune
Tel: +33 3 80 22 71 06

Benjamin on 2017:
​2017 started with lots of frost worry again – it was very close – we did lose a little in the bourgogne and the bottom of Meursault, but given that the growth of the vines was quite early, it was a worry. We had good flowering, and really the possibility of a lot of crop. I did my first green harvest since 2002! The vintage looks in general a little like 1999 – I only had one purchase that looked too much (yield) so it was put directly into the Bourgogne. The whites had less yield – they look high quality – not vibrant like 2014 but with good richness and balance despite low malic acids. We started with the whites in August and waited for the reds. In the end, we have wine and it’s good!

Benjamin on 2016:
“​2016 potentially also had a very good volume but the frost cut that of course. But because of that there’s quite some concentration. ​A number of appellations were not made in 2016, mainly because of the frost. I had 80% less wine from Meursault, but of-course everyone wants 80% more! ​Here we had early malos, just like in 2017. I’m using more foudres now, the Gevrey (one of the more important cuvées for volume) was half foudre – I find them good also for the end of elevage.

“​The vintage reminds me of 2010, of course those were very pure wines, but these still remind of that. A seductive vintage. I didn’t expect such quality at harvest – they looked good but the balance was really unexpected. The hardest part was working with the smaller volumes. 30-50% whole-clusters were used and I’m more ‘a destemmer’ so that’s rare.”

Benjamin on pricing:
But prices stay the same. Demand is strong, it will take another ‘full’ vintage to soften the prices because in some quarters 4 harvests from 7 have been lost. But at least the 2017 bulk prices don’t look like they will go up!

The wines…

Always a pleasure – some great wines here in 2016, if a few had been less marked by their reduction there would have been more!

Starting upstairs in cuverie with some wines from tank:

2016 Savigny-lès-Beaune
Hauts Jarrons and villages combined – 9 barrels normally there are 50!
Lovely aromas. A nice volume. Sucrosity, ooh, that’s a super villages Savigny!

2016 Blagny La Piece Sous la Bois
No frost here.
A broad nose. Supple, growing in intensity and energy – great complexity, faintly saline. Bravo!

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin
Here there’s more depth of aroma. More direct in the mouth, intense, energetic, layers of bright and complex flavour. Saline again.

2016 Nuits St.Georges
All assembled this year.
More compact and serious dark fruit aromas. Bright and fresh again – like the Gevrey – a little more complex dimensions of finishing flavour. Not a great structural difference, only right at the end more density.

2016 Vosne-Romanée
A little reduction but also spice. Big, bright, energetic, a little rasp of tannin, but depth of flavour too. Three fresh wines here, this very similar in freshness but with a complex and energetic style.

Now we move to the barrel cellar – wines in barrel of course:

2016 Volnay
Racked one time, still in barrel. Some young vine Santenots and Mitans in here.
A much more composed and red nose. Supple, more melting flavour good energy. Wow villages!

2016 Pommard
Two thirds 1er cru, some village plots lost 100%
Tighter, but a concentrated nose, with bright darker red fruit. Supple again, more direct, more acid-driven intensity, slightly spicy (1/3 new oak), a fizzle of oak in the finish too.

2016 Pommard 1er Rugiens
From Rugiens-Haut
A more open, more complex depth of aroma. Extra concentration, extra intensity too. There is some (oak) tannin that grabs, but it will soon fade. More weight of flavour but fresh and open finishing. Super wine!

2016 Volnay 1er Mitans
Not racked
Good volume some reductive hints. Wide, good transparency, fresh but adding layers of flavour.

2016 Volnay 1er Clos de Cave des Ducs
More open, faint wc spice. Lovely volume in the mouth, some wc complexity but layers of fine flavour here. I love the finish – weighted and complex. Very long

2016 Volnay 1er Caillerets
Fresh, open vibrant nose. A suggestion of gas but melting fresh, delicious waves of flavour. Fabulous wine with a finishing punch that says that patience is required. But great wine!
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Champeaux
The only late malo – done late summer
Ooh, deep, brilliant dark energetic fruit. The palate is lithe, gliding into a fresh juicy fruit. Ooh this is soo good!

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Perrières
Under Mazis
A big vibrant nose again some florals in this one. Supple, layered flavour of fresh concentrated notes, a little barrel coconut. But flavoured and energetic.

2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Goulots
A late maturing place 6 days after everything else.
Lighter colour. A little reduction, redder fruit. Wide, melting, faintly reductive – but seductive wine with a great finish.

2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Boudots
​A little reductive. Supple, deep, quite concentrated wine. Long, complex but a little too reductive today though.

2016 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Amoureuses
Always bottled in magnum.
Wow – directly! Open, impressive with complex red fruits. Supple, a little cushion to the texture, complex and with a balanced freshness. Also just great from the mid into its vibrant finish.

2016 Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Dessus des Malcosorts
I only know this and the wine of Remoriquet from this 1er Cru.
A lovely and complex top line of aroma, less open below. Lovely in the mouth, not the biggest, but there’s volume, fine texture and a minty vein of complexity. Excellent wine, I love the finish!

2016 Echézeaux
Our vignes Blanches had zero grapes.
Ooh, a nice floral nose here. Supple, concentrated but fresh, a little mineral. Composed very tasty wine.

2016 Mazoyères-Chambertin
A little reductive, swirling brings a little bread. Supple, concentrated, exciting – this is a super wine.

​2016 Mazis-Chambertin
All whole-cluster
A tight nose. But the palate is full and complex, long, saline, and delicious.

2016 Clos St.Denis
Not racked, one-third new oak
A big nose, high-toned, tending to volatile at this stage. Super silky, super concentrated, wow delicious in the finish. So much potential here, if the nose is cleaned up for bottling this will be great wine.

2016 Griotte-Chambertin
A narrow nose but deep and fresh. Less opulent than the CSD but really supple and mouth-watering. Long too.

2016 Clos de Vougeot Petits Maupertuis
Not racked
A deep and exciting nose, a few high-tones. Wide, complex, energetic, vibrant – simply great CV – bravo!
2016 Clos de la Roche
Nice volume, not the most overt aromas but very fine all the same. Melting wine, beautifully structured, more elegant than the CV – different, not better. Great wine though!

2016 Bonnes-Mares
Extra depth of aroma. More intense, more weight behind too. Great freshness and really good energy, ooh this is so good…

Les Blancs…
The first wines tasted, from barrel. Afterwards, to finish, from tank.

2016 Puligny-Montrachet
50% lost.
A big open-armed nose of fresh, ripe fruit. Nice volume and an insinuating good tension. Long and delicious – yum!

2016 Meursault Narvaux
Also 50% less.
A different aromatic – more Meursault, but golden fruit. Bright, fresh, melting flavour – I like this even more! A great finish.

2016 Meursault 1er La Piece Sous la Bois
More open, with a weight of aroma. Gassy, good freshness all the same. Shows something extra in the finish, but I still prefer the Narvaux – almost tannin in the finish.

2016 Meursault 1er Poruzots
Lots of frost, lost 75%
A fine and vibrant depth of Meursault aroma. Wide, fresh, complex and energetic. Really super, with supple finishing flavours. Lovely!

2016 Meursault 1er Genevrières de Dessous
A modest but fine nose – delicious. Supple, wide, complex and very, very tasty wine….

2016 Meursault 1er Genevrières Dessus
This to be bottled only in magnum, these are domaine vines, the last wine from a contract.
A rounder more complex nose. This also rounder, fresher and more complex, sweeter finishing. Beautiful, and floral too.
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Tête du Clos
Bought by a group of Americans, so 2017 will be last vintage.
Ooh, deep, faintly floral and super wine. Volume, melting flavour, ooh, this is great! Vibrant, wide, delicious finishing. Yes! Great wine!

2016 Bâtard-Montrachet
From Chassagne, the upper part of the vines, between Vougeraie and the Hospices, and below DRC’s Montrachet.​
Starts reductive but swirling quickly dislodges that. Still toasty, fresh, lots of volume. Savoury but sweet, complex, really a wild complexity here – partly reductive notes but there is weight and freshness. Long, long, long, super wine!

Now returning to the cuverie for the wines in tank:

2016 Bourgogne Aligoté
Open, fresh, bright, welcoming nose. Really a lovely volume and composed energy here. Bright in the finish, long and beautiful – yes!

2016 Monthelie 1er Les Duresses
A deeper nose. Good volume, fresh, more mineral but sweetly mineral – wide too – oh this is so good…

2016 Auxey-Duresses
Wide with a good freshness. More supple, more energy, more of a yellow citrus. Lovely finishing…

2016 St Romain Sous La Château
A nice freshness of yellow citrus. Wide, slightly vibrant, then mineral and mouth-watering in the finish. Delicious.

2016 Meursault
A big blend in this vintage – 4 barrels from 2.2 ha!
A deeper aromatic, faintly spiced. Lots of volume and energy here – ooh you have to be prepared for the impact, but this is super!

2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Embazées
Ooh – a strikingly attractive energetic citrus nose. Lovely in the mouth, bubbling fresh complexity, layers of delicious flavour, bravo!
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Baudines
More width, less overt energy. A little more volume and intensity, more mineral too. Great wine. Today I prefer the last, but this is possibly even better!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There is one response to “Benjamin Leroux – 2016”

  1. briancheng8030th December 2017 at 8:29 amPermalinkReply

    Great Report Thanks!
    Did you manage to taste the Corton Charlemagne?
    It seems that Corton Charlemagne has been quite successful in 2016

    • billn2nd January 2018 at 3:44 pmPermalinkReply

      Hi Brain
      Sorry, no – if I had, you could be sure it would be in the list – but yes, really very many great Charlemagnes in 2016…

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