Each year we are delighted to welcome Franck Grux to London to do a tasting of the, just to be released, vintage from Olivier Leflaive, last year it was the 2014s so of course this year it follows that it is the 2015s. Franck speaks with incredible passion and has been at Olivier’s right hand for many many years now.
This year we started with a new project, a Champagne. This is a Blanc de Blancs from Avize made as a joint project between Olivier and Erick de Sousa in so much as Erick is a shareholder. The name comes from the fact that both men have sons called Valentin.
Champagne Valentin, Olivier Leflaive – This sees 4 years on the lees and is a minute production of only about 7000 bottles. The dosage is low, but not painfully so, at 4.5g. I liked the style. Good richness, butter, toast and shortbread but with freshness and drive. The plate finished with a little cashew nut. I really look forward to following this wine and project over the years.
Now we were onto the 2015 vintage tasting. There is a very thorough and opinionated vintage report by Franck and Philippe Grillet to be found HERE.
Bourgogne Aligoté Récolte du Domaine – Very primary, pear then really quite rasping but not acidic, the palate is more open and easy with a clean, if indistinct, finish.
Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles – Citrus, rich nose but not OTT, good salty bite, nice volume to the palate, almost ready to go. This comes from as many as 75 vineyards, split roughly 60/40 between Puligny and Meursault.
Montagny 1er Cru Bonneveaux – from a parcel with vines in the 40-45 years old range. 90% Barrel aged and 10% tank. Very light colour, good generous palate with less easily defined aromas. Lime rather than lemon, a good wine, less volume that the Les Setilles right now. Good.
Rully 1er Cru Rabourcé – Ripe lemon and rounded citrus, good acidity and drive, lovely wine. Always comes from the same four vineyards. 85% Barrel aged and 15% tank.
Pernand-Vergelesses – 6 different suppliers contribute here. 100% barrel. Very classy nose, complex, gives off the impression of a cooler site (which it is). Steely with a classy length…
Auxey-Duresses la Macabrée – An interesting combination of 60% old vines and 40% younger vines. 100% barrel of which 20% is new. A little more battonage too. Lemon and some honey, good depth and weight which hints towards the mini-Meursault that this is. It comes from three contracts and the sites are next to Meursault Les Luchets and Les Vireuils. A good buy.
Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir – A little “good greenness”, stones and limes. This does see barrel fermentation but no new wood at all. This is a shade neutral at this early stage but then that is no surprise.
Meursault Clos du Cromin – 11 barrels go into making this. 100% barrel, of which 20% are new. No battonage. A little toasty character and a whiff of reduction. Delicious, generous, a little butter, the palate has just enough “zip” to keep this “honest”. Cracking wine in 2015.
Meursault 1er Cru Poruzots – This is owned by Olivier Leflaive, the first wine from here for them was 1990. 8 barrels in total. Less, if any, reduction, more focus than the Cromin. More steely, good if a little muted, needs time, got better with air.
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Blanchots – Lime and lemon richness, good balance, nice bit of green drive. The palate has a tautness, nicely done…
Puligny-Montrachet Les Meix – Always a favourite of mine, this lieu-dit is near both Les Pucelles and Les Enseigneres. A nice bit of toast, more lemon in character, good generosity.
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts – Classy, tighter, good refined minerality, serious wine this, focused citrus. An obvious candidate for some ageing.
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot Récolte du Domaine – Lovely clean freshness here, less non-fruit flavours, good purity. Really lovely length.
A really great tasting with good insights all the way through. The 2015s are clearly good wines. posibly without the poise and drive of the more classic years like 2010 and 2014 but very good and will be lovely to drink while the 2014s are waited for, clearly there is more richness than the nice (in a good way) 2011s and 2013s.
The previous night Rebecca, Margaux, Robbie and I had taken Franck to 67 Pall Mall for a relaxed dinner with 4 wines all served blind. Hyde de Villaine Chardonnay 2011, Guru 2011 from Wine & Soul, Contrada “P” (Porcaria) 2012 from Tenuta di Passopisciaro and Barolo Serradenari 2011 from Giulia Negri.
It was a cracking time spent discussing the wines and much more. Open minded winemakers are certainly the best. I think the wines that surprised Franck the most were the Hyde Chardonnay for its coolness and the Barolo for its elegance. I am looking forward to Francks visit next year already, although it is too long since I have seen him in Puligny so I should do that first.