Burgundy, a first look at the 2010 vintage – Olivier Leflaive

Senior Wine Advisor, Will Hepworth, gives his recommendations from the 2010 Olivier Leflaive offer.

For those of us who can’t wait until January 2012 for the main Burgundy en primeur campaign, Olivier Leflaive offers an early opportunity to appraise the 2010 vintage and acquire some of these stunning wines that have long been favourites of staff and customers alike.

The Leflaive name is synonymous with wines of quality and consistency. Olivier Leflaive Frères was established in 1984 by Olivier (cousin of Anne-Claude of nearby Domaine Leflaive) and is now run alongside his uncle and brother. Olivier Leflaive is more than just a negociant, demanding quality from the outset, fruit is sourced only from strictly selected growers alongside their own vineyard holdings which now total more than 12ha over some of the most prestigious sites in the Côte de Beaune.

The 2010 vintage was preceded by the severely cold winter of 2009 which led to some frost damage of the vines, this – coupled with an unsettled spring and problematic flowering led to reduced yields. A spell of fine weather through August and September allowed the fruit to ripen perfectly producing a healthy crop with a good fruit / acid balance. Clearly defined and terroir driven, the wines are more vibrant and taut than the 2009s with less of the austerity shown by the 2008s.

I’ve already bought a case of each of the following wines and I suggest you do the same:

2010 St-Aubin 1er Cru Le Charmois, Olivier Leflaive
£174 per 12 bottle case in bond
An east-facing hillside vineyard bordering Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Chaumées, so this is good territory and you pay much less for it as a St-Aubin. Charming on the nose, with hints of apple, crushed stone and a touch of spice. The palate has ripe and rounded nature, with notes of conference pear and subtle creamy toasted oak. Long on the finish, this is supremely balanced, attractive St-Aubin.

2010 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chalumaux, Olivier Leflaive Frères
£372 per 12 bottle case in bond
Close to the village of Blagny, the Chalumaux vineyard is a stony site, whose wines are often exuberant and opulent in style. The nose suggests honeyed citrus and peach, with a hint of woodsmoke. On the palate, the fruit is intense and layered, with attractive white stone fruit notes and a dart of lively citrus acidity. Beautifully harmonious and with a long, attractive finish, this is a beautiful Puligny.

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