x
  • Country ranking ?

    712
  • Producer ranking ?

    21
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Salads

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The Story

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.

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Vintage 1996

When a vintage like 1996 passes and 13 moon chages take place in the year many growers expect difficult moments to come.

Eventhoug the spring was marvellous and the very arly springbut was not affected by any frost.and due to the high tepertures the flowering rarely ever seen before (only one generation !)
The arrival of the summer ...warm and dry in June, cooler but still dry in July and August. A perfect weather with short periods of rainfall each time followed by intense suneshine untill the harvest helped the grapes to finish maturation (Wonderfull natural degrees from 12° to 13°9).

The weather during the harvest was relatively cold, cloudy but dry allowing the growers to harvest each parcel at the best moment of maturity.
The cold nights stabalised the level of acidity in the grapes and most important protected the grapes from rot.

Our first impressions on the Red wines are very promessing with deep colours and good and intense aromas

For the White wines we detect the sugar/acidity balance of a “ Great ” vintage. Despite of the relatively high yields the wines show power and complexity remembering of the 1990 vintage (equal yields).

One very distinctif sign of a very promessing vintage is the smile in the faces of the growers.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

The 1996 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet had the classic Leflaive popcorn kernel smokiness.  There was great citrus and a rich, white meat, juicy poultry quality to it.  The fruit was great in a sun-dried way, icy with its crystallized fruit and possessing a smokehouse finish.  This was more than outstanding stuff, with ‘amazing length and BOOM’ per the Paradox (97).

  • 97p

Pale copper-tinged yellow. Bright fruit aromas of peach and apricot are complicated by nutty pastry shell and a suggestion of oyster shell. In an atypically ungiving style for a Leflaive wine, with penetrating acidity and a note of lemon zest still keeping the wine's fruit and moderate flesh under wraps. With its distinct malic edge, this is not exactly a fun drink today, but its long, echoing, stony finish suggests that it may yet provide more pleasure. And it's certainly vibrant at nearly 23 years of age. This was a year of slow ripening and stubbornly high acid levels, and Morandière noted that the malolactic fermentation of the Chevalier-Montrachet was late and difficult, only finishing during the second winter. Then-winemaker Pierre Morey did more lees stirring for the '96s than for the '95s in an attempt to enrich the wines, but it's clear to see that this was a vintage with considerably less stuffing than its older sibling. Acidity at bottling was 7.11 grams per liter (expressed as tartaric), the second highest of the tasting following the 2008. I can imagine it going on for another decade or two. (13.75% alcohol; 3.12 pH; the harvest began on September 21)

  • 92p
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Information

Origin

Beaune, Burgundy

Other wines from this producer

Bâtard-Montrachet

Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet

Bourgogne Blanc

Corton-Charlemagne

Montrachet

Puligny Montrachet

Puligny-Montrachet

Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon

Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes

Puligny-Montrachet, Clavoillon 1er Cru

Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres

Puligny-Montrachet Pucelles

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