x
  • Country ranking ?

    524
  • Producer ranking ?

    11
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Scampi and caviar toasts

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The 2016 Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru, like the other of Leflaive’s grand crus, was affected by the frost. This takes time to open but eventually reveals some lovely yellow flower, flint and oyster shell aromas that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is understated on the entry with a fine bead of acidity, but maybe the Batard-Montrachet demonstrated a little more drive and nervosite. There is something sedate about this Chevalier-Montrachet, with a lovely touch of spice on the aftertaste. Dec 2017, www.robertparker.com

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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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Wine Information

I tasted this time with director Brice de La Morandière along with new régisseur (estate manager) Pierre Vincent who was hired away from Domaine de la Vougeraie. They told me that 2016 "gave us a lot of difficulty with the frost and mildew but we managed reasonably well under the circumstances. While May and June weren't great, thereafter we enjoyed fine conditions that allowed the vines to bring the remaining fruit to excellent maturity. We chose to begin picking on the 21st of September and the happily the fruit was spotless so there was essentially almost no sorting required. The frost though cost us severely in terms of yield as they were off 50% overall but 75 to 80% in the grands crus, which is obviously painful for a variety of reasons. And of course there will be no Montrachet, at least not 100% from our owned vines. But the losses were markedly disparate because as hard hit as the grands crus were, yields were about normal in Blagny, Clavoillon and Folatières. As to the wines, they are impressively concentrated with excellent terroir transparency; indeed the word classic is a good descriptor."

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Vintage 2016

2016 RED BURGUNDY VINTAGE REPORT

The 2016 harvest was, of course, later for Pinot Noir in the Côtes de Nuits, and some climats had different productions depending on how they weathered the frost of April 26th. In this report I will talk about each of the producers’ allocations to illustrate the variations between the totals from the 2015 and 2016 vintages. I will also seek to give you an idea of the style of the 2016 red wines versus those of the 2015 vintage.

Depending on the producer, some growers actually preferred the 2016 red wines to the 2015s. There are definitely stylistic differences. The 2015 wines are more structured and powerful, and I consider the top 2015 wines to be superior to the top 2016 wines. However, this does not mean that there are not some fabulous 2016 red wines. I do feel that 2016 was a better vintage for red wines than for white wines, which is opposite of the 2015 vintage. And from what I heard and observed during my visit, the 2017 will also probably favor the whites. I actually think that 2017 could be the best vintage for white wines in quite a while, with the wines showing much more concentration than those of the 2014 vintage but possessing similar acid levels. Needless to say, it will be exciting to try them in June.

The Pinot Noir harvest in 2016 varied from as early as September 22nd for some villages in the Côte de Beaune to as late of the first week of October in the Côte de Nuits. The only other harvests that lasted into October in the past twenty years were those in 1998, 2001, 2008, and 2013. 2016 is by far better than any of those vintages. Looking on the flip side, there have been four harvests that started in August: 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2017. It appears as of now that 2017 will be the best of those. When I tasted the 2016 red wines, I was surprised by the supple textures and abundance of fruit. This fruit was very fresh and the ripeness and lovely acidity made the fruit last long on the palate. The acids were strong on the finish due to the high levels of tartaric acid. The wines are never alcoholic due to the quite cool weather throughout the growing season. Since there were no real heat spikes, no grapes were harvested with a potential alcohol level of over 14.5%, no matter when they were picked. That was not the case in 2015 where some growers that like to push the limits of ripeness went overboard and made top-heavy wines with too much tannin and too much alcohol. What is nice about the 2016 red wines is that even in areas where the frost was severe, it did not affect the quality, although the growers definitely did have to do a lot of work in the vineyards to prevent mildew after the frost and due to a very wet May. Luckily the mildew affected the leaves more than the grape skins. June weather returned to normal and flowering began midway through the month. This meant that harvest would start the last week of September. The areas that did not experience frost, such as Santenay, Morey-Saint-Denis, the northern side of Nuits-Saint- Georges (Vosne-Romanée side), some parts of Corton, and some plots of Bourgogne Rouge, had a larger harvest than in 2015. Some climats of Morey-Saint-Denis, such as Clos de la Roche and Clos de Tart, had their best harvest since the 2009 vintage. Happily, due to dry conditions in July, August, and September, there was beautiful weather for harvest. Rains on September 15th and 19th provided relief from hydric stress that had arisen from the lack of rain from August 5th until September 15th

(5 inches total fell in a month and a half ). So if the grower waited just a little bit after the last rain on September 19th, there was very little rain afterwards, except for about 3 inches on October 2nd. After this it did not rain again until October 14th at which point harvest was over for the vast majority of growers.

What was depressing was seeing so many upright barrels at the Domaines in many areas. Some producers in villages such as Pommard, Volnay, much of Nuits-Saints-Georges, and Vougeot had tiny harvests. Mongeard-Mugneret was down 58%, but given that they had normal crops in their Bourgogne vineyards, the drastic drop in quantity was in vineyards such as Échezeaux (down 70%) and Clos Vougeot (if your parcels were towards the back). Grands Échezeaux was a disaster, as was Savigny- lès-Beaune, which produced no villages level wines (thus we received no villages level Savigny-lès-Beaune from Mongeard- Mugneret). Another example, our allocation of Savigny-lès-Beaune Premier Cru Les Narbantons, which is usually around 170 cases, was only 15 cases in 2016. Also from Mongeard-Mugneret, Pernand-Vergelesses was down from an average of 45 cases

to just 14; Grands Échezeaux, down to 27 cases from the usual 85; Échezeaux, normally 100 cases was just 30; and Vosne- Romanée Premier Cru Les Orveaux, which is usually 87 cases was down to 37. Villages level Vosne-Romanée from vineyards that were lower in altitude also suffered terribly, as did Richebourg. In the end, it all depended on the wind currents, clouds, and if the vineyard was protected from the currents by walls.

 

My growers in Nuits-Saint-Georges that mostly have holdings in the southern side of the village gave me half of the 2015 allocation. Concerning Domaine Henri Gouges, I got half the allocation of Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Les Saint- Georges as well as half the allocations of Premier Cru Les Vaucrains and Premier Cru Clos des Porrets Saint-Georges. While not as drastic as the previous appellations, I also received less Premier Cru Les Pruliers and villages Nuits-Saint-Georges. In the case of Thibault Liger-Belair, some vineyards in the Hautes-Côte de Nuits had to be combined into one cuvée because there were not enough grapes to fill a fermentation tank. In 2017, Liger-Belair only produced 8 barrels of Premier Cru Les Saint- Georges compared to 24 in 2017. To really get a picture of the situation, in 2009 he made 30 barrels. He has produced a few new wines in 2016. We will be introducing a villages Chambolle-Musigny made from purchased grapes, as well as a Corton Grand Cru Clos du Roi. He made 2 barrels of this wine, as well as 2 barrels of Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru. Thibault

is one of the growers who likes his 2016 wines almost as much as his 2015s. With regards to Thomas Morey and Vincent & Sophie Morey, the allocations are almost the same as in 2015. Domaine Matrot will be slightly less. Domaine Henri Boillot is almost identical to the 2015 vintage, but with more Pommard and Volnay. And, finally, Alain Gras and Domaine Michel Briday allocations are pretty much equal to those of the 2015 vintage.

Danny Haas

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

A cool and markedly restrained nose only grudgingly reveals its notes of mineral reduction, essence of Granny Smith apples, acacia blossom and a lovely array of spice elements. The tightly wound and almost painfully intense middle weight plus flavors are stony to the point that the palate feel is akin to rolling small pebbles around in the mouth, all wrapped in an explosively long finish. This is an aristocratic Chevalier that somehow manages to gracefully combine overt power and a taut muscularity with Zen-like harmony. This too is a definite 'wow' wine. 94-97 points


 I tasted this time with director Brice de La Morandière along with new régisseur (estate manager) Pierre Vincent who was hired away from Domaine de la Vougeraie (see below). They told me that 2016 "gave us a lot of difficulty with the frost and mildew but we managed reasonably well under the circumstances. While May and June weren't great, thereafter we enjoyed fine conditions that allowed the vines to bring the remaining fruit to excellent maturity. We chose to begin picking on the 21st of September and the happily the fruit was spotless so there was essentially almost no sorting required. The frost though cost us severely in terms of yield as they were off 50% overall but 75 to 80% in the grands crus, which is obviously painful for a variety of reasons. And of course there will be no Montrachet, at least not 100% from our owned vines. But the losses were markedly disparate because as hard hit as the grands crus were, yields were about normal in Blagny, Clavoillon and Folatières. As to the wines, they are impressively concentrated with excellent terroir transparency; indeed the word classic is a good descriptor.

  • 97p

Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet 2016 98 points / Domaine Leflaive doesn’t show its Montrachet to visiting wine writers - and it didn't make any under its own label in 2016 - so this is nearly always my favourite wine to taste in the cellar. Reflecting its higher position on the slope, the resulting Grand Cru is very fresh, almost bracing, with notes of white pepper and lemon zest, stylish oak and amazing palate length. 2021-35

  • 98p
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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

Inside Information

Domaine Leflaive has long been an icon of white Burgundy and is globally recognised as the most famous estate in Puligny-Montrachet. Adored by Chardonnay connoisseurs, this family-owned winery is distinguished by the care they take throughout the vinification process. Wine Advocate’s Neil Martin put it exceptionally well when he said: “If you do not like Leflaive's wines, then you do not like white Burgundy.

 

The winery was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “the greatest of all Puligny producers, the kind of wine that should be delivered by Grace Kelly. And Robert Parker rates them as “Outstanding”, saying that they “set standards for white Burgundy that few other estates can approach” and that “their Puligny Premier Crus and Grands Crus combine richness and polish with depth and at times almost a lacy intricacy of flavour that can take a taster’s breath away. No one should pass up a chance to purchase villages Puligny or generic Bourgogne from this estate either, and even those are worth cellaring.”

 

In 1976, Leflaive’s Premier Cru wine Les Pucelles was chosen to compete in the renowned Judgement of Paris, one of only four French whites selected. Les Pucelles is a true testament to the producer’s transcendent craftsmanship and has also been welcomed at the prestigious Grand European Wine Jury of 1997 as well as the 1980 Great Chardonnay Showdown in Chicago.

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