White, Ready, but will improve

2011 Bâtard-Montrachet, Grand Cru, Domaine Leflaive

2011 Bâtard-Montrachet, Grand Cru, Domaine Leflaive

White | Ready, but will improve | Domaine Leflaive | Code:  16804 | 2011 | France > Burgundy > Cote de Beaune > Meursault | Chardonnay | Full Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Domaine Leflaive

Domaine Leflaive

Domaine Leflaive is the most famous estate in Puligny-Montrachet. After the untimely death of Anne-Claude Leflaive in April 2015, the estate is now being managed by Brice de la Morandiere with the winemaking under the control of Eric Remy (in succession to Pierre Morey who retired in 2008).

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. However it was under the stewardship of Anne-Claude between 1990 and 2015 that the domaine became a leader in Burgundy’s biodynamic movement, the whole property being converted in 1997.
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.

Leflaive has 22 hectares of vineyards, including 10 hectares of Premiers Crus (in Puligny Montrachet: Les Combettes, Les Pucelles, Le Clavoillon, Les Folatieres and in Meursault-Blagny, Sous le Dos d'Ane) and no fewer than 5 hectares of Grands Crus (Chevalier Montrachet, Bâtard Montrachet, Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet and a tiny holding of Le Montrachet).

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

The Grape

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.

Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.

It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.

Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.

The Region

Meursault

Meursault

There are more top producers in Meursault than in any other commune of the Côte d’Or. Certainly it is the most famous and popular of the great white appellations. Its wines are typically rich and savoury with nutty, honeyed hints and buttery, vanilla spice from the oak.

Even though it is considerably larger than its southerly neighbours Chassagne and Puligny, Meursault contains no Grands Crus. Its three best Premiers Crus, however – Les Perrières, Les Genevrières and Les Charmes – produce some of the region’s greatest whites: they are full, round and powerful, and age very well. Les Perrières in particular can produce wines of Grand Cru quality, a fact that is often reflected in its price. Meursault has also been one of the driving forces of biodynamic viticulture in the region, as pioneered by Lafon and Leflaive.

Many of the vineyards below Premier Cru, known as ‘village’ wines, are also well worth looking at. The growers vinify their different vineyard holdings separately, which rarely happens in Puligny or Chassagne. Such wines can be labelled with the ‘lieu-dit’ vineyard alongside (although in smaller type to) the Meursault name.

Premier Cru Meursault should be enjoyed from five to 15 years of age, although top examples can last even longer. Village wines, meanwhile, are normally at their best from three to 10 years.

Very occasionally, red Meursault is produced with some fine, firm results. The best red Pinot Noir terroir, Les Santenots, is afforded the courtesy title of Volnay Santenots, even though it is actually in Meursault.

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