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Domaine Leflaive

Domaine Leflaive is the most famous estate in Puligny-Montrachet. Anne-Claude Leflaive became co-gérant of this famous Puligny domaine in 1990 - she had long believed that the use of fertilisers and herbicides was doing serious long-term damage to the soil in Burgundy and one of her first innovations was to move towards an organic approach to her vineyards.

After seven years of experiments, with one third of the domaine biodynamic and two thirds organic, the whole domaine was converted to biodynamic farming in 1997, following in the footsteps of Lalou Bize-Leroy and Nicolas Joly. The wines are aged for 12 months in 25% new oak and are then transferred to steel tanks where they are allowed to clarify naturally over the second winter. They are then fined and bottled. Leflaive produces superb wines that combine richness and depth of fruit with elegance, refinement and perfect balance.

Leflaives have been extant in Puligny since 1717 but the real founder of the domaine was Joseph (1870-1953) who was succeeded by two of his sons, Vincent and Jo. Responsibility in today’s generation was at first shared by cousins Olivier and Anne-Claude Leflaive, with the latter taking sole responsibility from 1994. The domaine will lose Olivier’s share of the vineyards from 2009.

When I first began to learn about the white wines of Burgundy, at the very end of the 1970s, this was the most famous domaine of all, then in the legendary hands of Vincent Leflaive. Though perhaps there was a slight dip in quality at the end of the patriarch’s reign – not unconnected to a tendency to overcrop – the domaine is once again in the vanguard under the stewardship of Anne-Claude Leflaive. Her right-hand man, until his retirement in 2008, has been Pierre Morey of Meursault.

Leflaive has 22 hectares of vineyards, including 10 hectares of Premiers Crus (in Puligny Montrachet: Les Combettes, Les Pucelles, Les Clavoillons, Les Folatieres/Les Chalumeaux and in Blagny: Sous le Dos d'Ane) and no fewer than 5 hectares of Grands Crus (Chevalier Montrachet, Batard Montrachet, Bienvenues Batard Montrachet).

Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.