Yesterday, I had the chance to enjoy lunch with Eric Remy, cellarmaster of the legendary Domaine Leflaive. As always, it was a serious pleasure to taste the wines: Leflaive’s are among the most consistently excellent in all of Burgundy, and for fans of the region’s whites, it really doesn’t get any better.
Over a leisurely lunch at Millesime, in the Carlton Hotel, we tasted the Meursault 1er Cru “sous le Dos d’Ane” 2008 and the Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Le Clavoillon” 2008. What was most helpful, however, was living with the two bottles throughout lunch: These are magnificently food-friendly wines, after all, and regardless of price or prestige, wines this good are almost always even better appreciated with food. (Though I’d of course have been more than happy to simply sip the wines on their own, too. They're great no matter what the context.)
The Meursault, for all the expressive notes of melted butter on the nose, was lifted by an anise-like perfume hovering in the background, as well as subtle aromas of oak that, even this early in its evolution, were amazingly well-integrated. The palate was defined by spectacular minerality and a laser beam of acidity that was completely unexpected, but that opened up to express a bit more citrus, green apple, and floral character, as well as a wave of butterscotch on the finish that was flat-out irresistible.
The Puligny-Montrachet, on the other hand, was marked by toasted anise and fennel, lemon oil, and spice. It gave the impression of astounding liveliness on the palate, its acid jumping on the tongue and throwing the orchard fruit of this wine into startlingly clear definition. Like the Meursault, this is one for the cellar: It has a very long life ahead of it. Or, if you’re thinking of opening it in the short term, pair with something that has enough richness to stand up to it: Enjoyed alongside the quenelles, it was impossible to stop going back to.
Finally, for some context, take a look at the video below. It provides an excellent glimpse into where these wonderful wines are born and raised, the history of the Domaine, and the work the Leflaive team has done with biodynamics. This is one producer that, vintage after vintage, more than lives up to its vaunted reputation.