Olivier Leflaive: Wines of Burgundy

Olivier Leflaive: Wines of Burgundy

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By Bob Lipinski

“Montrachet should be drunk kneeling, with one’s head bared.” — Alexander Dumas, 1802–1870, French novelist and playwright

The Leflaive family has been rooted in Puligny-Montrachet in eastern France since 1717, when Claude Leflaive first planted grapevines. In 1984, Olivier Leflaive launched his own company Olivier Leflaive Frères with the help of his uncle Vincent and his brother Patrick. He quickly established his own reputation among Burgundy’s finest.

The majority of the wines are white, from the three prestigious Côte de Beaune villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault, as well as from Chablis and the Côte Chalonnaise.

At a recent press event, I had the opportunity to taste and evaluate the 2014 vintage wines; here are my tasting notes and food pairings.

Overall comments on the 2014 Burgundy vintage were very good to excellent and certainly better than the previous vintages. Red wines are light to medium-bodied and meant for relatively early drinking, generally with less acidity than 2013. Colors are lighter, tannins lower, but they are showing marvelously now in their youth. The whites are quite fruity and well-balanced, with considerable perfume and aromas at this early stage of development.

Bourgogne Blanc “Les Sétilles”: Bouquet and flavor of citrus, plenty of apples, minerals and hints of vanilla with a clean aftertaste. Serve with some lightly fried squid and plenty of lemons.

Rully “Les Cloux” 1er Cru: Perfumed aroma of peaches and lime; concentrated fruit-acid flavors along with lime. Lean with good structure and great finish. Poached salmon with a dill beurre blanc sauce would work well.

Meursault: For a young wine it has a developed bouquet of oranges and spices; some oak and vanilla present; lovely fruit-acid balance. I would pair this wondrous flavored wine with some cold, smoked fish.

Meursault “Poruzots” 1er: Elegant bottling with good acidity, concentration of fruit, especially tangerine; lively finish and long fruity aftertaste. Serve with grilled chicken loaded with fresh tarragon.

Chassagne-Montrachet: Lively bouquet of apples and citrus; some earthiness and minerals in the mouth; plenty of fruit and a pleasing slightly tart aftertaste. Make it simple; grilled vegetables.

Chassagne-Montrachet “Clos Saint Marc” 1er: Bouquet of ripe melons, oranges, and lime; lemon hints; medium-body with a strong flavored aftertaste of citrus and Granny Smith apples. Take some pork chops, pile them high with slices of apples and cinnamon and bake.

Puligny-Montrachet: Delightful aromas of white peaches and apples; citrus also abounds; powerful in the mouth with vanilla and hints of oak; keep for a few years. Softshell crab anyone!

Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru: Everything you want from a spectacular, full-bodied wine; marmalade, vanilla, nuts, toast, oranges, apricot nectar; smoke, and vanilla; a spicy citrusy aftertaste just lingers. Just serve this wine by itself — that’s it!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila”  (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].