Today’s Story: Domaine Leflaive
It’s hard to believe more than a year has passed since I reviewed Domaine Leflaive’s 1995 Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet, so revisiting this great estate is long overdue.
Domaine Leflaive is a very highly regarded winery located in Puligny-Montrachet, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy. While origins of the estate come as early as 1717 with Claude Leflaive, the winery as it is today seems to begin with Joseph Leflaive (1870-1953). Initially working as a naval engineer who helped develop the first French submarine, Joseph cared for his family’s vines in Puligny-Montrachet following his marriage. Thanks to phylloxera, many of the vines needed dramatic replanting and many of the produce at the time sold to wine merchants. Thus, in the 1920s, Joseph replanted the parcels of his estate and started selling wines under his own label.
When Joseph died in 1953, Domaine Leflaive came under the control of his four children (Jo, Vincent, Anne, and Jeanne) and the family desired to maintain the winery at the peak of excellence. Jo, an insurance underwriter by trade, took over the administrative and financial management of Domaine Leflaive while Vincent, an engineer who studied management and business, covered the vineyard, wines, and commercial side of the business. Over time, Domaine Leflaive produced some of the greatest white Burgundy wines and continues to be a family endeavor. In 1990, Vincent’s daughter Anne Claude became joint manager with Jo’s son Olivier and the two learned from Vincent until his death in 1993 and Anne Claude was named manager.
Much changed at the estate since the 1990s, though it is still run by the family. Today’s steward is Brice de La Morandiere, Anne Claude’s nephew and great-grandson of Joseph Leflaive. Brice’s largest contributions so far include the updating of historic buildings on the estate and enhancements to the winemaking process that include new corks to allow for prolonged aging of the Domaine’s wines.
To wrap up, I will leave you with a brief conversation on the farming and winemaking practices of Domaine Leflaive. Leflaive practices biodynamic farming in an effort to understand and appreciate all natural phenomena that ultimately strengthen the immunity of their vines. They tend to their soil with the use of products made from vegetable, animal, and mineral matter at certain points during the annual cycle, while working the land by tilling and scraping. Further, Leflaive practices organic cultivation of the vines. You can read more in-depth on their practices here.
Today’s Wine: 2007 Puligny-Montrachet
100% Chardonnay; 13% ABV
The 2007 Puligny-Montrachet is transparent and an absolutely gorgeous deep gold in color. Given some time to blossom in the glass, this stunner reveals aromas of golden pear, yellow apple, white peach, honeysuckle, toffee, flint rock, white pepper, hazelnut, brioche, butter, and vanilla cream. The complexity continues onto the palate with notes of crisp golden apple, ripe pear, lemon zest, white florals, almond, crème brûlée, honey, dill, chalk, and toasted oak. This is medium-bodied with racy medium (+) acidity and a well-rounded mouthfeel into a long, long finish.
Price: $200. This is one of those wines with a price tag that makes your eyes pop, however it reminds you of the greatness white Burgundy can be and that Leflaive produces. This could undoubtedly be a 1er Cru from a number of other producers, and is certainly worth the hit to your wallet.