Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2008
Chardonnay from Burgundy, France
A rich, oaky dry white wine. Long and powerful, yet elegant in a masterly combination of toast, nuts and honey. One of the greatest white Burgundy wine produced.
Wine Enthusiast - "This beautiful wine is austere at this very young stage. But what pent-up power- the richness comes from glorious ripe fruit, tempered with a core of steel and wrapped with pure lemon, apricot and toast flavors. Age for 10 years at least."
Burghound.com - "Here the nose is notably tighter and more reserved with aromas of citrus blossom and zest, spice, smoke, fennel and hints of acacia that introduce big, muscular and wonderfully complex broad-scaled flavors that culminate in a long, focused and explosive finish of breathtaking length and intensity. This should reward at least a decade in the cellar and drink well for a similar period thereafter. This too is terrific and very Bâtard and like the Combettes, the ’08 version is one of the very best young examples from Leflaive that I have ever seen."
Wine Spectator - "Broad-shouldered and somewhat monolithic, this white plays its peach, citrus and apple flavors off spice and toast notes. The vibrant structure keeps this well-defined, as the citrus and spice themes echo on the finish. There's a brilliance to this wine, but it needs time."
International Wine Cellar - "Pale yellow. Complex aromas of ripe stone fruits and musky flowers, with a hint of more exotic fruits. Considerably bigger and richer than the Bienvenue; in fact, this is quite opulent for the year, offering a wonderfully fine-grained texture. A ripe pineapple quality is leavened by firm acidity. Already explosive on the back end.
Wine & Spirits - "Warm tones of brown butter show off the density of this wine, a bold, juicy Bâtard with the sweet tremor of the earth in its formidable structure. Its potent ripeness seems to be restrained only by the cold north winds at the end of the vintage, bringing scents of honeycomb, nectarine pit, heirloom pear and applewood smoke to mind. A rich pleasure, this will begin to drink best around eight to ten years from the vintage."
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Domaine Leflaive Winery
Founded in 1717, Domaine Leflaive has long been considered one of the most highly regarded white wine growers in Burgundy. Currently under the stewardship of Anne-Claude Leflaive, the Domaine’s conversion to biodynamic farming in 1990 has produced remarkable results, raising the standard for one of the world’s greatest wines even higher.
“. . . Leflaive’s nomination as the world’s top white winemaker speaks not only of the quality of her wines, but of the affection and respect in which she is held. . . her combination of humility with a total self-belief, qualities seen when we go into the cave to taste the 2005s. It is early days, but they seem magnificent. There is little that needs to be said. We taste in silence. Serenity is all around. . ."
Clive Coates, MW
About BurgundyView a map of Burgundy wineries
Burgundy is a small region, only about a fourth the size of Bordeaux. The narrow thread of vineyard land stretches from the city of Dijon to Lyon. The five main districts of Burgundy are – from North to South - Chablis, Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Maconnais, and Beaujolais. Chablis is far removed geographically (above Dijon) and adheres to its own classifications. Beaujolais is its own region due to grape variety, vinification methods and regulations. Leaving us with the Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise and Maconnais as the heart of Burgundy.
Grapes of the region are easy to remember - Pinot Noir for reds, Chardonnay for whites. Burgundy can be called home for both varietals, despite their increasing presence in every winemaking country. In this area red wines out number whites, although the quality for both is unparalleled.
A bit of History...Once owned and run by the church and nobility, the vineyards of Burgundy were seized during French Revolution and sold off piece by piece. Further separation occurred with Napoleonic Law, which ordered that inherited land be divided among children equally. These two factors put Burgundy where it is today – a myriad of vineyards and villages, each with a number of growers and producers.
NégociantsBurgundy is organized by plots of land and labeled as such. About half of Burgundy works on a négociant system. Growers of small plots sell grapes, or more often, barrels of already made wine, to négociant houses who then blend it with other wines from that region and put it under their label. While the négociant system may sound like a way to produce mass amounts of anonymous wines, that is, luckily, not the case. Wines are labeled with a sense of place, so you know what land you are getting. There are some négociant houses that are much more renowned and consistent than others, and for the most part, the system works. But times are changing. Some growers are purchasing more land and making the wine on their property, under their label, for more consistency. On the other side, négociant houses are buying up their own vineyards so they will have more control over winemaking.
Classification SystemThe classification system is similar to a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is the most basic of the classifications, the Burgundy AC, meaning grapes can come from anywhere in the Burgundy region. Next up is a village wine, such as Côte de Beaune or Côte de Nuits, or the villages within these regions, like Givery-Chambertin or Puligny-Montrachet. The label will say Appellation Puligny-Montrachet Controlée. At the next level is the premier cru. A wine that says Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru will still be Appellation Puligny-Montrachet [premier cru] Controllée, but may include the premier cru vineyard name, such as Les Pucelles. At the tip of the pyramid are the grand cru vineyards. There are only 30 in the Côte d'Or and the name of the vineyard is the appellation name.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.