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Legendary California winery Williams Selyem will hand over control to a French producer

One of the most famous Pinot Noir producers from California is preparing to hand over control to one of the most famous Pinot Noir producers from France. On Wednesday, Williams Selyem Winery in Healdsburg announced that the Faiveley family, of Domaine Faiveley in France’s Burgundy region, has purchased a minority stake. A price was not disclosed.

John Dyson, who has owned Williams Selyem with wife Kathe Dyson since 1998, said the motivation for selling a stake was to secure a succession plan, since he and Kathe hope to retire in a few years. He called the partnership “a culmination of many, many years of looking for the right people to succeed us.” They had many interested parties, he said, but had some specific criteria.

“What I was looking for was a family, not a corporation, not a private equity group, both of which have done significant damage to brands of this quality in California,” Dyson said. “And preferably a family that knew something about Pinot Noir,” he added.


VINTAGE 2016 / The harvest in 2016 took place in excellent conditions and fermentations were rapid. The 2016 vintage is promising.

The 2016 weather conditions were challenging, the year divided into three distinct periods, all offset from a normal year.The winter was very mild. There were no full days in which temperatures stayed below zero as would be normal in Burgundy. Yet gradually, from early March, average temperatures cooled down, with high rainfall and early morning temperature nearing zero. 


On April 27, Puligny woke up wrapped in a large veil of white frost. Everyone here understood the catastrophe in the making. The rain of the evening before had brought high humidity which combined with temperature just below zero before dawn turned into fine crystals. The pure blue sky of the morning showing a beautiful sunrise quickly settled the disaster : the sun rays burned delicate young shoots on the twigs. In Puligny, the Grand crus concentrated most of the damage with some areas down 70% and even 90% in some areas like Le Montrachet.

The bad weather continued throughout the month of May and June. The rain never stopped, doubling the rainfall levels of previous years. The flower was rather late in June and disease set in with strong attacks of mildew attack strongly, especially in the lower lying areas, Bourgogne Blanc and Puligny Villages.

From mid-July the weather changed and hot weather set in for many weeks. Water reserves established during the spring allowed vine to grow steadily. There was almost a heat wave that lasted until early September and vine growth slowed. A salutary period of rain event occurred in mid-September and the vine sucked up sap.

The harvest began on September 21 under a sumptuous sky and in cool temperatures. If nothing could compensate for the damage caused by frost and mildew, where ever grapes remained, they are beautiful, fleshy, very healthy, especially in the first growths. Fermentations were fast and resulting in good balance with a nice mineral structure. This vintage has excellent quality potential.




The 2014 Vintage -wines are vibrant and show a nice minerality

The 2013-2014 was overall lukewarm with high rainfall until the first days of March. Spring was throughout a dry and sunny period. In this favourable weather, the bud burst started around March 25 and we started to wonder if 2014 would be another early year. April started equally dry but temperatures dropped mid month and until early may causing the vineyard to slowdown it's growth. Taking advantage of a summer-like May, the growth resumed it's vigor with the dry weather containing any excess. The first flowers are observed on May 22 and the full flower arriving on June 2nd and 3rd in a very warm environment.

June remained hot and dry and the vineyard develops at a fast pace. We are preparing actively for an early vintage. On June 28, all these favourable conditions came brutally to an end with a hail storm affecting mainly the top of the hill in the northern part of Puligny and more severely the winewards of Meursault, Monthélie, Volnay, Pommard, Beaune.July and early August are unusually humid and fresh for the season. The vine development slws down. Summer-like conditions resumed in the second part of August and became very favorable to a good maturation.

The harvest starts on September 10. The alcoholic fermentation proceed in a very 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 nice minerality signing the best terroirs of Puligny.





Zachys once again proved itself as the premier auction house for single owner collections on Friday, February 12, as The Legendary Collection of Robert Caine broke auction records for Coche-Dury and achieved monumental results. This extraordinary session was the second day of Zachys’ La Paulée Auction in conjunction with Daniel Johnnes’ La Paulée de New York, and Burgundy lovers from across the country and around the globe converged on New York City for the single greatest collection of Burgundy ever to come to auction. The Legendary Collection of Robert Caine was 100% sold and surpassed pre-sale estimates of $1,798,100-2,754,450 for a total of $3,486,434; combined with Thursday, February 10th’s session the two day auction totaled $6,208,752 (versus estimates of $3,489,750-5,343,550).

From Domaine Leflaive, the ultra-rare Montrachet drew heavy bidding interest. Highlights included:


• Lot 1269, 2 magnums (1.5L) Batard Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1985
SOLD $7,865, estimate $3,000-4,600
• Lot 1271, 5 bottles Chevalier Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1983
SOLD $5,808, estimate $2,000-3,200
• Lot 1279, 5 bottles Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1991
SOLD $24,200, estimate $12,000-18,000
• Lot 1280, 2 bottles Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1992
SOLD $13,310, estimate $5,000-8,500




THE FOUNDING OF THE DOMAINE LEFLAIVE Joseph Leflaive (1870-1953) graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique at age 20. An engineer in the marine engineering corps, he participated in particular in the design and creation of the first French submarine. Then his marriage to Camille Béatrix du Villars, from the Dauphiné, changed his career. He ran the La Chaléassière metallurgical factory, at the same time looking after the family vines in Puligny-Montrachet. At the time, this was a viticultural inheritance that had suffered from the phylloxera crisis, was not very extensive, and whose products were sold to the region's wine merchants. Starting in 1920, Joseph Leflaive undertook a programme of replanting, extension and enhancement of the vineyard - with the help of his estate manager and friend François Virot (1890-1964). Together, they chose new rootstocks that were better adapted to each parcel of land. Joseph Leflaive gradually began selling his wine under his own label and to his private clientele.


THE SECOND GENERATION Upon the death of their father in 1953, four children (Anne, Jeanne, Jo and Vincent) chose to maintain the Domaine's unity, and in 1973 created a Société Civile d'Exploitation (SCE - an operating company). Once again, it was a question of careers arising around other activities that became committed to this passion, this ambition: to bring the Côte de Beaune's Chardonnay up to the highest rank of excellence. An insurance underwriter in Grenoble, Joseph (Jo) took over the Domaine's administrative and financial management, while Vincent, an HEC (grande école for management and business studies) graduate and an engineer in Ugine, took care of the vineyard, the wine and its commercialisation. A perfect team, which achieved an outstanding result. Domaine Leflaive became the standard metre of quality and acquired a reputation worldwide.


THE THIRD GENERATION In 1990, the family appointed Anne Claude, daughter of Vincent Leflaive, as joint manager with Olivier, son of Joseph. The new generation continued to benefit from the know-how of the previous one, thanks to the presence of Vincent on the Management Board until his death in 1993. The following year, Anne Claude was named manager, with the assistance of theManagement Board. The latter is currently made up of Emmanuel de Suremain (son of the niece of Anne Leflaive),Marilys de La Morandière (daughter of Jo Leflaive), Bernard de Noüe (son of Jeanne de Noüe, sister of Jo and Vincent) and Paul de Noüe (grand-son of Jeanne de Noüe). The twenty-first century will see the beginning of Act IV, Act V and - we hope -manymore of the same. Good blood and an excellent lineage will never be lacking in this family that so loves Burgundy's vines and wines



GRAPE MAKES THE WINE At the Domaine, the health of the harvest determines the wine's quality. The spreading of compost, close pruning, de-budding and organic cultivation of the vine enable strict yield control. Vinification and raising of the wine are carried out with respect for Burgundian tradition: long natural fermentation in oak casks, and stirring of the lees up till winter. The pneumatic presses and air conditioning in the winery are the contributions of progress. Two winters in the cellar give the wine all the attributes necessary to "stand on both feet" once in bottle, to use a local expression.



UNDER THE MASTER'S EYE François Virot was Domaine Leflaive’s estate manager for 40 years, followed by his son Jean – to whom he passed on all his savoir-faire and exceptional experience working with vines and wine. PierreMorey, also from a long line of great vignerons, succeeded him in 1989. Then Eric Remy took over the reins in 2008. All four have contributed their knowledge, experience and tasting finesse to the Domaine, at the end of long and perfect teamwork.


Inside information

In 2008, Anne-Claude Leflaive, director of Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy, collaborated with six other highly respected Burgundy vintners to establish Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs in Puligny-Montrachet. With the goal of broadening wine professionals’ knowledge and understanding, Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs is an educational program that focuses of vine growing and winemaking using an ecological, environmental and humanistic approach.

The first school of its kind, Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs has been in the works since 2005 when the initial plans were formed. The origins of its inspiration, however, were much earlier. In 1991, Domaine Leflaive began experimenting with biodynamic farming, which initiated inquiries about its effectiveness and benefits. Rather than respond to every individual inquiry Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs provides a forum for biodynamic advocates to share their experiences with a broader audience.

Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs offers seminars ranging in duration from three hours to two days covering such broad subjects as winemaking techniques, biodynamic farming methods, wine tasting and botany. Each seminar is led by an expert in their field, including such luminaries as microbiologists Claude and Lydia Bourguignon, oenological revolutionary Bruno Quenioux, and terroir specialist Bruno Weiller.

Classes are held throughout the year. The seminars are divided into in French and English offerings and are limited to only 12 people, providing an intimate and personal experience.

Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs is a non-profit organization formed under the guidance of Anne-Claude Leflaive in collaboration with Michel Boss, Vinium; Pierre-Henri Gagey, Louis Jadot; Dominique Lafon, Domaine des Comtes Lafon; Jean-Marc Roulot,  Domaine Roulot; Aubert de Villaine, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti; and Antoine Lepetit, Domaine Leflaive.



13 different wines with 149 vintages


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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  19 wines 

There were actually six celebrations, arguably seven, when I turned fifty, it was one heckuva week.  This evening in particular was also noteworthy.  It was a dinner of only magnums, and 24 of New York City’s finest collectors, most of whom were already friends before (and certainly friends after), all came together to share many toasts throughout the night of their favorite tipples.  By the end of the night, I was feeling fuzzy, slightly warm and definitely tipsy.

8m 5d ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes-Mares 2018 is very deeply colored, in fact so much so that it would make a young port blush! The ripe aromas of red and blue berries, spice and earth display a mentholated top note. The dense, powerful and mouthcoating broad-shouldered flavors possess evident muscularity while delivering excellent length on the youthfully austere finale. This isn't refined, indeed it's borderline rustic, but it's a dramatic and impressive wine that should live for decades.

1y 2m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  29 wines 

1982 is an iconic vintage for Bordeaux, and for many wine lovers, it’s a reference point as a modern, ripe year that was delicious from the onset. The top wines are still holding up well and show no signs of fading. However, some of the lesser wines are starting to show its age. This ripe vintage has given us a wide drinking window, regardless of the specific appellation and terroir. For those that still have some top 1982 Bordeaux in your cellar, there is no rush to pull the cork. A long life ahead awaits these beauties.

1y 4m ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  3 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  19 wines 

A 1978 Dujac Gevrey Chambertin Aux Combottes quickly stole the show from the 1985 flight. This was a perfect example of a wine punching above its weight class. ‘Wow,’ started my notes. It was close to the Clos de la Roche with a sappy, sexy nose full of musk, along with great concentration, pitch and a leathery finish. There was not a lot of spitting once the reds came around, and the notes were getting sloppy. I wrote something about putting something to bed, in bed, I can’t quite tell, maybe I was referring to myself lol (97).

1y 7m ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2018/ A ripe and super-fresh nose offers up notes of black raspberry, plum liqueur, Asian-style tea and a whiff of incense. The racy, intense and mineral-driven big-bodied flavors retain outstanding delineation as well as an abundance of palate soaking dry extract before delivering stunningly good length. This incredibly powerful effort is both classy and highly complex and like the Bonnes Mares, is a wine that will live for decades. With that said, it's not so backward and compact to preclude it being approachable after only 10 to 12 years. 
Barrel Sample: 94-97

1y 7m ago

 Stephen Tanzer, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  18 wines 

DRC Romanée Conti 2008 / Good medium red, but hazy from the recent racking. The nose shows darker aromas than La T a che: berries, violet, Oriental spices. At once spherical and penetrating, with a silkiness that bathes the palate in berry, pepper, spice and mineral flavors. Comes across as fatter than La T a che today, with a stronger early impression of sweetness. Boasts a three-dimensional texture and uncanny depth, but this is sure to shut down in the bottle. Perhaps most impressive now on the back end, which features great rising length and grip.

1y 9m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  185 wines 

BWW2021 competition finals were filled with superb lineup of the world's greatest wines and superb finds from various price categories. The finals that were run in various blind tasting sessions, revealed many surprises. Most commonly, the fact that all the wines were so enjoyable already at this young stage, although many of them will deliver so much more after ageing of 10-15 years. Congratulations for all the winners!

2y 2m ago

 Domaine Leflaive  has news

Legendary California winery Williams Selyem will hand over control to a French producer One of th  more ...

2y 2m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Cristal 2008 / 16% malo, only on Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. ‘There were lots of similarities with 1996, which gave us the possibility to replay the 1996 vintage! Maybe we picked 1996 a bit early so in 2008 we waited longer, by at least a week, than in 1996. Lots of tasting – far more than in 1996 when Roederer based picking only on analysis – and there was no malo in 1996.’ For the first time ever, they decided to release it later than the younger vintage, 2009 – so 2008 had nine years on lees. The last batch of 2008 will be disgorged in March 2019. (Scan the back label via the Roederer app to get the disgorgement year.) Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon is coy about the assemblage. ‘I’m looking for chalkiness.’ In 2008 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, which reflects perfectly the balance of their plantings. 40% of the estate was biodynamic then.
Really dense nose with lots of evolution but still extreme freshness. Some apple-skin character. Bone dry but wonderful lift and freshness. Long and super-lively. Real undertow, but very racy on the nose. Lots to chew on. Really elegant!

2y 6m ago

 Neal Martin/BWW2022 - Best Bordeaux Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  26 wines 

The half-bottle pair of 1945 Musigny Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru from Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé was part of an extraordinary private dinner that focused upon 1945 clarets. I did not mind the brief detour into Burgundy. Our generous host wanted to compare two bottlings of this legendary Burgundy, one bottled at the domaine and the second an “Avery of Bristol” bottling acquired at the auction of the much-missed John Avery MW. First and foremost, for all those half-bottle naysayers, after 74 years both showed extremely well, and according to a fellow guest they were as good as a 750ml bottle. They revealed no signs of fatigue, nor did they exhibit any excessive vigor that would have raised suspicions about their authenticity. The domaine bottling came with a neck label stating that the wine was bottled in August 1947 and the quantities produced, although I did not take a note at the time. It demonstrated bricking commensurate with a Burgundy of this age. It is blessed with a heavenly bouquet of astounding precision, extant red fruit laced with camphor, jasmine tea, loam and, with aeration, a splash of balsamic. The bouquet seemed to gently intensify with aeration but always remained somehow languid. The palate comes across as extremely harmonious, exuding that sense of Pinoté. I noticed some distant similarity to a mature Rioja Gran Reserva toward the finish, but if anything, with aeration it reverts back to quintessential mature Musigny, developing a discreet gamy note that I absolutely adore. This is a magnificent wine that lived up to expectations. 98/Drink 2020-2035. The Avery bottling was very similar in appearance to the domaine bottling. Likewise, the aromatic profile bore many similarities, albeit with perhaps even more precision. That sweet core of red fruit is present and correct, laced with similar tertiary and gamy characteristics. The main difference was on the palate, which was texturally slightly more honeyed by comparison and consequently shaved away a little precision on the finish. It is still a gorgeous wine, but in the end I decided that the domaine half-bottle just had the edge. 97/Drink 2020-2030.

2y 7m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Leflaive . In a tasting of  30 wines 

2010 Anne Gros Clos de Vougeot Le Grand Maupertui/Bright ruby. Scented, red berries, some dark fruits, fruity, ripe, light sous bois note, intense nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, dark fruits, sweet notes, layered, intense, big, bit warm, somewhat alcoholic, rich and long. 93p

2y 11m ago

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