Puligny-Montrachet (see map), Burgundy
Anne-Claude Leflaive is a terroir-passionated vintner whose roots in the family winery in Puligny-Montrachet dates back from at least 1717.The family estate was founded by her grandfather Joseph Leflaive. A father of five, he bought 25 hectares of vineyards as the prices had dived following the phylloxera debacle. Anne-Claude Leflaive began to take the reins of the estate in 1990 with her cousin Olivier after the older generation retired. Olivier Leflaive left 4 years later to work full-time on his négoce activity and Anne-Claude continued the transition of the 25-hectare surface from conventional farming to reasonned, then organic, and finally biodynamic farming, the whole property being farmed that way in 1997. She joined the Nicolas-Joly-funded Renaissance-des-Appellations group to share experiences about this particularly-demanding vineyard management. Her estate has been know for the use of a strikingly-modern technology to spray certain biodynamic preparations : she used an agricultural copter to mist-spray her vineyard, allthewhile avoiding having the ground-surface life disturbed by the heavy tractor. Her passion for true wines led her to fund a wine school (Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs) with the participation of several other outstanding vignerons that addresses many topics not taught elsewhere, or not taught that way. Check regularly the program for the scheduled courses.
The estate is planted with Chardonnay only, Anne-Claude Leflaive is a white-wine vintner. All the vineyards are on Puligny-Montrachet with the exception of the one at Blagny, where a Meursault 1er Cru "Sous le Dos d'Âne" is grown. Before, this particular plot was planted with Pinot Noir and it was uprooted and replanted with Chardonnay in 2002. The estate produces 30 000 bottles in Villages Appellations, then come the 1er Crus wines, the biggest being le Clavoillon (4,8 hectares or 90% of the climat), les Combettes (Meursault - 3 plots), les Folatières, les Pucelles (2 plots). Then come the Grands Crus : Bienvenues-Bâtard Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet (a higher, white-clays terroir) and Montrachet (a very small plot - 8,5 ares or 1/1,5 cask).
__Domaine Leflaive, Bourgogne 2007.From a vat. Freshness. Flowers, fruit aromas. Antoine Lepetit says that he loves this vintage. 2007 was a difficult year though, april had been quite hot, the foliage grew too much, with a high disease-pressure on the vines later on. But then there was a northern wind late august, and september was on the whole a beautiful month. For the anectode, here is the Onivins Pdf document (in French) about the weather conditions in the wine regions in 2007.
__Domaine Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet Villages 2007. From a vat again. Floral, vividness. All the wines get their first year in casks and the second year in these vats.8 to 15 casks fit in such a vat. These stainless-steel vats were made in the early 1970s' and they are part of the style of Domaine Leflaive's wines.
__Domaine Leflaive, 1er Cru le Clavoillon 2007. A bottom-of-the-slope 1er Cru. We notice that this cellar is not underground, and Antoine Lepetit says that it is the norm in the region because the water tables are not deep and because the vignerons used to bottle their wines very early befor the summer. In Puligny-Monrachet you will alway see the cellars on the street level and the living quarters upstairs. the wine : green reflections. Glides beautifully on the sides of the mouth. Very nice structure, says B. Lots of minerality too. Neat attack. This vineyard plot was Pierre Moret last job here.
__Domaine Leflaive, les Pucelles 2007. Right near Clavoillon, same level on the slope and same soil depth. Antoine Lepetit says while tasting the wine that the wines really show themselves truly after they have been racked from the casks and put in these steel vats. 2007, he says, is a year with a lot of purity, where the terroirs express themselves without being hampered by side factors. Nose : wheat, honey, cherry plum B. adds. He says that les Pucelles is often narrow on the first mouth, with a minerality that makes salivate in the length, with a delicate and cristalline side.
__Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet 2007. These wines have been racked before the harvest and poured into the steel vats, he says, so that the casks could receive the 2008 juices. The wine : very well balanced. Very masculine, he says. B. feels lemon notes, lis, a hint of hazelnut.
Domaine Leflaive, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2007. On the upper slope, with a meager soil. Very delicate, a minerality from an upper slope. Nice length in the mouth. Less masculine than the Bâtard. Praline, , citrus peel. Speaking of all these 2007 wines, Antoine Lepetit says that a Swiss importer that they met considers they're his favorite vintage. The 2006 are pretty well praised but for some demanding amateur, they are too easy to appreciate.
Read the informative and insightful report by Jamie Goode of Wineanorak on Anne-Claude Leflaive and her wines.