Vintage Reports

Burgundy, France

Vintage Reports

The 2014 Vintage: Puligny-Montrachet

Overall, the winter of 2013-2014 was relatively warm with heavy rainfall until the first days of March. Spring was dry and sunny throughout the season. With this favorable weather, bud burst began around March 25, and we started to wonder if 2014 would be another early year.
The beginning of April was equally dry, and by mid-April four to five leaves were showing, but temperatures then dropped until early May, abruptly causing the vines to slow their precocious growth.

Taking advantage of summer-like conditions at the end of May, the vigorous growth resumed, but the dry weather constrained any excess of vegetation. The first flowers were observed on May 22, and full flowering arrived on June 2-3 during several very hot days.
The month of June remained hot and dry, and the vineyards got back to a good rhythm, surpassing normal vegetative stages. We again talked of an early vintage and made the necessary arrangements.

On June 28, all these favorable conditions came brutally to a halt with a hail storm affecting mainly the top of the hill in the northern part of Puligny and more severely the vineyards of Meursault, Monthélie, Volnay, Pommard and Beaune.

The month of July and early August were unusually damp and cool for the season, and there was a pause in vine development. Summer weather returned for the second part of August, anticyclonic and very favorable to good fruit maturation. We began the harvest on September 10 and proceeded at a measured pace in dry conditions. Average yields overall were 46 hectoliters per hectare, slightly higher than that of the previous vintage.

The alcoholic fermentation proceeded in a very classic, conventional manner until November, immediately followed by the malolactic fermentations. The last batch finished their fermentation in July.

The 2014 wines are vibrant and show a fine minerality, the signature of the best terroirs of Puligny.
Our wines are vinified to be aged. The Bourgogne and Villages may be enjoyed after just a few years, while the Premiers Crus and Grands Crus are best kept several years longer to be discovered at their best. To this end, we have created a specific section on our Domaine Leflaive website to advise you of the optimum drinking age for each of our wines: www.leflaive.fr/en/when-taste

The 2013 Vintage: Mâcon-Verzé

At the beginning of 2004, SCE Domaine Leflaive acquired five parcels (Les Chênes, En Perret, Le Monté, Escolles and Les Muses) of mature Chardonnay vines in the commune of Verzé in the Mâconnais (the Mâcon-Verzé appellation) — a total of 9.30 hectares (22.98 acres).

From the very first year, the vines were cultivated biodynamically. Cultivation of the vineyards is carried out by Paul de Noüe (a member of the Leflaive family) within SCE Joseph LEFLAIVE, which is a subsidiary of Domaine Leflaive. All viticulture is supervised by Eric Remy, Domaine Leflaive’s estate manager.

Harvest is entirely manual, with pressing in Verzé in buildings purchased at the same time as the vineyards. Each day following decantation, the grape musts are taken to Puligny-Montrachet for fermentation and maturation under the watchful eye of Domaine Leflaive’s cellar team. Vinification is carried out in tanks, and aging continues for 15 to 16 months in cuves, 50% stainless steel, 50% Béton concrete.

The resulting wine is one of great purity, with floral notes and minerality, expressing a lively energy and ready to be enjoyed earlier than the premier cru wines of the domaine but at the same time as the Puligny-Montrachet.

The 2012 Vintage: Puligny-Montrachet

After a mild beginning, winter took a nose-dive during three days in mid-January before becoming majestic. The first 15 days of February were icy-cold, between -15ºC and -4ºC (-5ºF to 25ºF). Then winter yielded its place to spring; it was thus that the month of March, dry and mild, saw in its appointed time the first budbreak. We thought, therefore, that once again it would be a precocious vintage, based on our recent experiences of the 2011 and 2007 vintages. This did not take into account the cold rains of April which would arrest the new growth. In the month of May, growth of the vines resumed, recovering a bit more normal cycle, but always advanced.

Flowering began during the last days of May, full flowering on June 5, but dragged on until after June 20. The fragile flowers, having to face wretched climatic conditions, offered us berries of mixed size (millerandage) affected by shatter (coulure). At the end of June, a sudden rise in temperatures brought on thunderstorms and then hail on June 30. The month of July was along the same lines but with added humidity.

The vineyards were once again hit by hail on August 1, further reducing an already diminished crop. Then the sun blazed and allowed the grapes to reach good phenolic maturity with a level of sugar that was less elevated than in the last few years.

We began the harvest on September 14: The musts were well-balanced and showed a very good level of acidity. We followed the wines during their aging (élevage), and they have maintained lovely acidity and show in advance an extraordinary minerality. Despite the fact that global production of the domaine was diminished by one-half, the wines manifest numerous qualities: minerality, balance, finesse, precision, tension, energy…a very grand vintage.

The 2012 vintage can be appreciated at the earliest as follows:
Bourgogne Blanc from the end of 2014 forward
Puligny-Montrachet and the Premiers Crus from the end of 2016 forward
The Grands Crus from the end of 2017 forward
Montrachet from the end of 2020 forward

The 2011 Vintage: Puligny-Montrachet

The 2010-2011 winter was marked by snow at the end of November and during December 2010, followed by dry and not particularly cold weather in January and February. In March, after some rainfall at the beginning of the month, temperatures rose and budburst was noted at month’s end.

The April sun sent temperatures up, while the vines developed quickly in the dry atmosphere. A lovely month of May enabled flowering under the most favorable auspices, although somewhat prematurely (May 13-16). June was magnificent, preserving the vintage’s sunny, precocious nature.

July was marked by storms, as well as temperatures that were chilly for the season. From the beginning of August, however, the sun was back, along with several very hot days, resulting in rapid ripening.

The harvest ran from August 25-31, the earliest ever seen at Domaine Leflaive.

Once the wines hummed their way through alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation kept them fizzing throughout the winter. The wines have an acid/mineral structure and framework showing finesse and elegance. They are the very definition of the qualities inherent in each of our magnificent parcels.

The 2011 vintage can be appreciated at the earliest as follows:
Bourgogne Blanc beginning in 2013
Puligny-Montrachet beginning in 2014
Premiers Crus beginning in 2015
Grand Crus beginning in 2017
Montrachet beginning in 2019

The 2011 Vintage: Mâcon-Verzé

At the end November and during December 2010, there was some snow in the Mâcon. Following this, the winter of 2011 (January and February) was a fairly mild and dry one. March was mild, with an early start to vegetation at the end of the month.

Budburst was very steady in April thanks to summery temperatures. May was a lovely month. The vines continued their growth, and the first flowers appeared around May 19. June was lovelier still, as was the first week in July. Beginning on July 7, however, cool and damp weather set in.

In August warm, sunny conditions returned and finished ripening the grape clusters. An early harvest began on Friday, September 2.

To summarize, “early” is the defining word for the 2011 vintage. The wines have a good acid structure balanced by delicious, sugary fruit, the whole underpinned by excellent minerality.

The 2010 Vintage: Puligny-Montrachet

The 2009-2010 winter was classic overall, but it was marked by a brutal phenomenon on December 19: a staggering drop in temperature to -20°C (-4°F), then rising to 10°C (50°F) on December 21. January and February had seasonal weather, with the last frosts occurring between March 9-14.

April, mild and dry, saw the start of the vegetative cycle, with the chillier month of May marking a slowdown in the growth of the vines. The first vine flowers were observed on June 6, with full flowering by June 12-14, finishing around June 22. High temperatures continued until mid-July, when a cool and damp spell set in which lasted until the end of August.

The weather warmed up again at the beginning of September, while a hailstorm on September 12 touched the vineyards in Santenay. In Puligny, the ripest grapes developed a bit of botrytis at that time. The harvest, initially set for September 20, was advanced to September 17. Harvest lasted one week and enjoyed a spell of fine, dry weather up to the very last day.

The musts are showing good balance, with alcoholic fermentations occurring normally. Malolactic fermentation is taking place more slowly, revealing well-defined wines with lovely purity.

The 2010 vintage can be appreciated at the earliest as follows:
Bourgogne Blanc beginning in 2013
Puligny-Montrachet beginning in 2014
Premiers Crus beginning in 2015
Grand Crus beginning in 2017
Montrachet beginning in 2021

The 2010 Vintage: Mâcon-Verzé

The 2009-2010 winter weather in Mâcon was irregular but mild. March and April were typical of spring, until the end of April when the temperature began to rise.

June was beautiful and flowering began on June 20. The last week of the month turned hot, and the heat continued for the first two weeks of July. For the remainder of summer, the weather was pleasant, creating ideal conditions for consistent ripening. 2010 is the seventh year of biodynamic viticulture for our vineyards in Mâcon.

Harvest began September 22 under clear skies and finished on September 29, yielding beautiful fruit, a classic vintage.

Fermentations went smoothly and were followed by a slow malolactic fermentation period that lasted until spring.

The resultant wine is vibrant with floral aromas, notable minerality and elegance on the palate.

The 2009 Vintage: Puligny-Montrachet

Mild, regular spring weather followed several heavy winter frosts, bringing on budburst at the beginning of April. The month of May was fine and sunny, though not particularly warm. As a result the vegetation grew steadily, and the vegetative cycle continued its advance. The first flowers were noted on May 22 and the last on June 6, with full flowering on May 27 and 28.

June and July were marked by heavy rain showers over short periods of time. August was magnificent with timely rainfall interrupting long sunny spells and with very hot weather from August 13 to August 20 — the finest month of August since 2005. These conditions were very favorable for the ripening of the grapes.

We started the harvest on Saturday, September 5, finishing on September 11 at the end of the morning – with warm sunny weather throughout the entire week. The grapes for the Cuvée des Climats du Coeur were harvested on September 10.

The musts – rich, powerful and full of sunshine – were run into barrels quickly and were soon bubbling in the cellar. Once fermentations started, they continued unabated and finished by the end of autumn. Malolactic fermentation had just begun when winter arrived, and before winter was over, it was completely finished, earlier than in 2008.

Maturing was classic, and following 12 months in cask, the first racking off took place. Bottling should take place at the end of winter and beginning of the spring 2011. The wines are rich, with an abundance of fruit and mineral character.

The 2009 vintage can be appreciated at the earliest as follows:
Bourgogne Blanc beginning in 2012
Puligny-Montrachet beginning in 2013
Premiers Crus beginning in 2014
Grand Crus beginning in 2015
Montrachet beginning in 2017

The 2009 Vintage: Mâcon-Verzé

This is the sixth year in biodynamic viticulture for our vineyard in Mâcon-Verzé.

Following a classic winter, spring was sunny and warm. The vines grew rapidly, with the first flowers noted on May 26.

Despite poor weather from June 5-16, conditions improved and July was very fine, with one heavy rain spell at mid-month. August had excellent, warm weather with rapid grape ripening.

In September, the grapes were healthy and of good quality. Harvesting began on September 12 under perfect weather conditions.

Alcoholic fermentation was completed quickly for the Mâcon-Verzé must, with malolactic fermentation starting at the end of the winter and finishing during the spring 2010.

The 2009 vintage is rich, powerful and well-balanced, with a plenty of liveliness and mineral notes. The whole is enveloped by fine, subtle floral and citrus aromas.

This wine may be enjoyed upon release in 2011.

 

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