Tasted in Beaune with Benjamin Leroux, 21 December 2018.
Domaine Benjamin Leroux
5 Rue Colbert
Tel: +33 3 80 22 71 06
It’s now 7.4 hectares for the domaine chez Benjamin, all of the new 3 hectares in Meursault.
Benjamin on 2018:
“Well it was a warm one. A year that had a dry summer, not really a vintage to stress the vines but with fast growth and maturity – another generous vintage that required a green harvest – low malic acidity – like in 2017 – but wines that are impressively direct and fresh despite the heat. They are not really ‘sun’ wines – perhaps a couple that are over 14° but only that. It was a vintage that was essentially about correct rendements and a timely harvest.”
Benjamin on 2017:
“2017 – a little the same compared to 2018 – 27 August harvesting in 2018, 30 August in 2017. A little more red in 2017 a little less white vs 2018. The wines are a little less alcoholic and fresh versus the 2018s too. Some are assembled, the rest are in a mix of barrel and foudres – I’ve bought 4 more foudres each year – the cellar will be full of them when the 2019 order is delivered! But 2017 started with lots of frost worry – 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, that’s why I needed to do my first green harvest since 2002! The whites had less yield – they are high quality. We started with the whites in August and waited for the reds.
“In 2017 and 2018 you can make some really great wines, but not with 50-60 hl/ha!”
Another high-quality vintage chez Benjamin Leroux – equally in both colours. The great wines are well-spread across the range, though as is the vintage, proportionally the best wines are from the best appellations.
Many wines are not yet sulfured as “they are microbiologically and volatile stable – sulfur’s an antiseptic that they don’t yet need – when the cellar warms in the Spring it will be different!” A few cuvées already bottled – simply a question of whether the wines are ready – typically of 2017 some will need another 3-4 months:
Principally Conardises plus some Fourneau villages, here with some whole clusters – overall 15%
Nice depth of colour. Bright, wide – fresh crunch cherry fruit – no herb. Vibrant, fresh, concentrated and intense – Proper wine here – a great villages – with a super-impressive length!
2017 Volnay 1er Mitans
Less overtly fresh – this from barrel – but deep and darkly vibrant. More concentrated again, layered, depth of flavour, very long, more depth of flavour and texture to this wine. Great finishing again.
More elegant and wide, less overtly deep. Volume, less impact, more complex, saline wine – beautifully, elegantly packaged with a sincerely great finish. Bravo!
A little more dynamism to this nose, darker fruited, very pure. Fresh attack that recalls the Savigny a little but with more depth to the flavour. Great velvet texture, also a little saline, great extra depth of finishing flavour too – bravo!
Grand Lolières and Corton Bressandes, first year assembled – the first very old vines. ‘It’s the Corton that I’ve been looking for!’
A beautiful and elegant nose – floral, yes! Gorgeous in the mouth. Open, not overtly energetic or concentrated yet a wine that embraces you. Simply delicious wine with a great finish, inflected with a little graphite…
A little tighter but also fresh and elegant – ‘dentelle!’ A little extra structure here – but with beautiful shape and no angles – the fruit is beautiful – definitely a junior Clos de Vougeot in shape, but with austerity. Top – great finishing!
2017 Nuits St.Georges Aux Allots
A little narrower nose, fresh but really deep. Incisive, fresh more structural but it’s almost a creamy, saline tannin – there’s very attractive complexity here. Long and delicious finish – wait a little for this one.
2017 Morey St.Denis (Le Villages)
Lots of colour. Sweeter, more precise aroma – great. Wide and fresh, great structure here – not simple wine – wait a year or two – great finishing. Such an impressive range!
Multiple parcels, Veroilles above, Badoit below, Chapelot 1er young vines and a small amount of Charmes 1er
A little tight, yet floral for sure. Impact, there’s a great combination of weight and freshness, slowly growing extra dimensions of flavour. A little structure in the middle and a lot of fine finishing flavour – also to wait a little time for.
Still one of the most important cuvées here in terms of volume, containing Seuvres – 50% – and Justice and Fournoux and some from Brochon.
Deep, wide, a little coffee-caramel. Lots of mouth-filling presence. Small waves bring more complexity to the flavour – fine textured. This is excellent as usual!
Mainly from Flagey – Violettes, Maizieres Bas, 2/3 wc, Jacquines and Ravioles – 2nd largest cuvée. Racked 1 week ago.
A pure if tighter nose. Nice shape in the mouth, slowly melting flavour that grows as it does. Very nicely textured – layered. I’ve a slight preference for the Gevrey, but this is, again, excellent.
2017 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Champeaux
Hmm a lovely energy to the depth of aroma but not showing a lot of width today – late arriving floral interest here. Beautiful depth of flavour, layered, sweet, long. Clearly a step up in the hierarchy from the middle onwards. Super.
Hmm – vibrant, fresh deep, pure – all that you wish for. Bright, structural, but growing in intensity, layered, long. A weight of flavour slowly mouth-watering in the finish. Potentially great!
2/3rds whole cluster. ‘Old vines, always small grapes. People say Vosne side but it hasn’t much to do with Vosne – it’s Nuits – but with elegance.’
Narrower but such an inviting depth of aroma. Intense, slightly touched by CO2 but such a depth of flavour – the first with some overt oak. But a GREAT finish – bravo!
2017 Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Dessus des Malconsorts
Quite close to the previous vines.
A sweeter, airy nose – showing some lovely rose-petal aromatics. Nicely fresh and structural – actually this has great architecture – Clos de Vougeot style but with a more Vosne-style fruit. Fresh, open, very different – I love!
2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Amoureuses
Not so wide but a clean, pure, very complex depth of aroma. A touch of tannin frames this complex, energetic wine. Long – less direct concentration – lovely wine…
All the grand crus are practically 1-2 barrels in size here, so Benjamin likes to ferment in 600 litre demi-muids:
Today a modest, tender nose. But direct, structured, much melting flavour from the structure. Ooh all is growing here – energy as much as the flavour – slightly saline. Great finishing!
2017 Clos de Vougeot
Petit Maupertuis. 80% wc, always small grapes.
A more coffee-inflected depth to this nose. Big in the mouth, a lot of barrel-coffee here but energy, volume, not a hard tannin, complex – always mobile flavour – this will be excellent but be patient!
The high part which was almost completely lost in 2016.
A nose of width and only slowly growing depth – but it’s coming! Airy, gorgeously, sweetly complex – fine structure and energy here. Gorgeously pure and complex finishing. Not a massive wine – but it doesn’t have to be – still a great wine!
Ooh – now that’s great – depth of fine, complex, concentrated aroma – yes! Mouth-filling, perfectly textured, concentrated , with energy. Such a weight of flavour in the finish too – very floral here. Profound wine!
A rounder, almost cushioned core of pure fruit on this nose. Fresh, concentrated, decent energy – a full wine, a pure wine, a wine of weight and stature as opposed to the wiry, mineral Roche. Just a cushioned, beautiful finishing thing. So beautiful… floral finishing!
A wide but less deep nose – hard to follow the last two! More drive, a wine of more energy than CSD, and with a growing, indeed excellent depth of energetic flavour – no fall-guy here – this is great stuff too. Excellent – it just needs the aromas to catch up!
A mix of Bas and Hautes.
Hmm – a wine you need to work, to swirl, but here’s a growing purity of deep and fine fruit. More weight, depth of pure and open flavour – a concentration here – another wine that’s’ showing some oak – there are not many – so be patient, but here is something great and long.
Two barrels from 2015, but…
Directly some barrel notes – quite coffee style. Fresh, stylish, line and depth to the flavour. Melting from the layers, some salinity and plenty of barrel. The volume, texture and shape of this are really top-level today – so just wait for the barrel to fade…
All biodynamic plus wc too!
Fresh, very deep nose – but no reduction emphasizing the depth – slowly growing, adding floral accents too. Energy, freshness, line but complexity that goes in all directions too. A modest accent of oak too, but it’s nothing versus the sweet complexity and mobile style of this wine. Great finishing.
The Benjamin Leroux label is roughly equivalent in red and white – there’s a little bit more red in 2017, a bit less in 2018. The domaine portion of the bottlings are mainly white, but many fewer appellations in white. We stay in the cellar to taste the following – there are, of-course, more cuvées in tank above.
A proper Meursault spice, good depth of aroma. Depth, freshness, complexity – ooh this is really great! It’s long too.
2017 Meursault-Blagny 1er La Piece Sous la Bois
‘It’s a shame it’s called Meursault, for me it’s real Blagny’
A fresher nose, complex, spiced again. Fresher, more energetic in the mouth. Plenty of energy, depth of flavour that holds very long, a faint touch of oak in the finish.
Fresh, slightly agrumed reduction – very attractive. Hmm, this is complex but melts over the palate – more like a Genevrières – ooh this is great. I love!
“Yes the Poruzots is more Genevrières this year, but the Genevrières is also more Perrières!” laughs Benjamin!
2017 Meursault 1er Genevrières de Dessous
Ooh – wide, spice, complex, directly inviting and comforting. Long, direct but melting with flavour – wide, complex, a touch phenolic that softens and becomes ever-more attractive in the finish.
In Le Charlemagne in Pernand and Languettes
A fresh, wide, chalky nose. Full, fine impact, beautiful texture. Long, melting, delicious finishing. Very fine Charlemagne
Bought by a group of Americans, so 2017 is the last vintage. This since 2009. Wasn’t so sure as the vines weren’t in such great condition at the time – was it more for red or white? – Vincent Dancer was here – but the moment we saw the wine, we knew it was the right choice.
Deep, interesting fresh and inviting a suggestion of barrel – but it’s an attractive suggestion! Line, depth, layered, pure – just absolutely gorgeous – more obviously so today than the Charlemagne. Bravo!
From Chassagne, the upper part of the vines, between Vougeraie and the Hospices, and below DRC’s Montrachet. ‘A proper rendement’ after 2016 when there was 8 hl/ha.
Hmm a nose that really freshens with swirling, still with a touch of barrel. Big, super texture, concentrated but fresh, wide, subtly complex, melting flavours – so long. Such a baby but a great baby…