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The Grand Cru Chevalier Montrachet sits high on the hillside overlooking Le Montrachet, Bâtard Montrachet and the village of Puligny Montrachet far below.
As a leader of biodynamic viticulture, Domaine Leflaive is renowned for the attention to detail and care that goes in to nourishing each vine from ground to bottle. This organic method of cultivation enriches the soil with plant-based compounds, thus sparing the vines of harmful herbicides and allowing the wine to exude the particularities of the Puligny-Montrachet terroir.
Their Grand Cru wines have consistently scored highly with Wine Advocate, Neal Martin describes them as “wines with audacity and ambition.” Le Montrachet, Batard Montrachet, Bienvenue Batard Montrachet and Chevalier Montrachet dominate Wine Advocate’s top scorers from this domaine, all of which are produced in tiny quantities. It is also worth noting that Neal Martin flags up Domaine Leflaive’s ability to “transcend the limitations of the growing season” – so even in less than favourable vintages their wines are worthy of consideration.
For those looking for an accessible opportunity to taste the top quality white Burgundy produced by this domaine, their Bourgogne Blanc and Mâcon Verzé provide just that.
Domaine Leflaive’s wines age excellently. Allen Meadows has previously noted that one particular vintage of Le Montrachet “even at almost 20 years of age… is still cruising along like it was only 10 as the freshness of the aromas is uncanny.” To help judge when the wines are ready to drink, Domaine Leflaive’s website provides an excellent database of recommendations by wine and by vintage.
Sol argilo-calcaire: 3 parcels in the Chevalier-Montrachet appellation.
Chevalier du bas sud: 6.5 ouvrées (0.69 acre) planted in 1957 and 1958.
Chevalier du bas nord: 21 ouvrées (2.22 acres) planted in 1955, 1964 and 1980.
Chevalier du haut: 19 ouvrées (2.01 acres) planted in 1974.
Surface: 1ha 99a (4.92 acres).
Method of culture: Long, gentle pneumatic pressing, decanting over 24 hours, then racking and running into cask of the must.
Alcoholic fermentation in oak casks, 25% new (maxi 1/3 Vosges, mini 2/3 Allier).
Maturing: after 12 months in cask, the wine is aged 6 months in tank where it is prepared for bottling.
Homeopathic fining and very light filtering if necessary.
Biodynamic: Manual harvesting with grape sorting and optimisation of choice of date through parcel-by-parcel ripeness monitoring.
Fine spring weather resulted in a rapid fruit-set, followed by a textbook summer and a warm start to autumn. However there was little green harvesting at the time, so the resulting crop was huge. Pinot Noir is very sensitive to high production and, despite the ideal growing conditions, this has affected the character of the vintage. The red wines were light and offered immediate drinking pleasure in their early life; the whites did much better because Chardonnay is less sensitive to high cropping levels. The best climats could still provide some surprises.