Having scratched the door of my car on a dry-stone wall near Volnay as I sought to avoid a reckless and speeding Savoyard, I finally arrived, somewhat énervé, in Meursault for my render-vous with Pierre, my friend from Deauville and patron and owner of the eponymous Les Vins de Pierre Boinet.
Mercifully our tasting at Comtes Lafon was a baume au coeur and a gentle reminder that some domaines just make fantastic wines and have an attitude and intelligence that ekes the best out of soil and vine.
The tasting was almost complete in its array of wines from the Maconnais of Domaines Héritiers des Comte Lafon to the Meursaults of the original domaine itself. The only wine missing was the Montrachet, but that is understandable.
And so we started with the 2012 Clos de Crochette and moved through the gamut of their parcels of vines in the Maconnais. I am writing this two weeks on, and without notes so the details are a little blurred. However, a couple of generalities; first, nothing is amiss. For wines that you would expet to find on the shelf for under twenty euros or twenty quid, they have fruit, they have elegance and they have weight.
The good news, and this was somewhat subtly but firmly underlined…they are holding stock and would like to sell and that includes back vintages. A recent vertical going back to the first vintage, I think 2001, showed the aging potential of these wines. If you can’t put a Montrachet or a Perrières in your cellar put some of these. For those that worship at the altar of Chardonnay they will pay out.
Incidentally, I just had. Before arriving and scraping my car, I had made a cloak and dagger visit to my erstwhile employers picking up a half case each of 2012 Clos de Crochette and Milly la Martine. I put my money where my mouth is.
Also, and as a final addenda, for all markets except France they will be using screw-caps. Long may they prosper.
And so on to Meursault, or rather 2012 Volnay Santenots du Milieu to start with. It is a bit of a gem; think of an atom with its nucleus. The nucleus is the sweet, but not too sweet, cherry, framboise fruit and this kernel is surrounded by a firm, but not hard enveloping structure. And Bingo! There you have it, classic, pure Volnay! It’s a lovely wine with a bright future, but, hélas!, there is bugger all available.
The whites started with their Meursault Village, then Meursault Clos de la Barre, their new Meursault 1er Cru Bouchères, Meursault 1er Cru Poruzots (du Haut), Meursault 1er Cru Les Genèvrières, Meursault 1er Cru les Charmes and finally Meursault 1er Cru les Perrières. All from 2012.
Their two new acquisitions the Bouchères and the Poruzots bode well, although I have to say the Bouchères lacks a bit of oomph on the finish. We discussed this and Dominique Lafon puts it down to the conversion to bio-dynamic methods. It takes time for a vineyard to recover from, er, more “interventionist” techniques (I am in a good mood today). Lafon suggests it takes a minimum of seven years of their ownership and methods before a vineyard will really begin to show its true potential. Interesting.
Of all the wines, inevitably the Perrières and the Genèvrières stand out. Above all the Genèvrieres, it really is quite beautiful with a crystalline weight, lightness of touch and gorgeous saline finish. The Perrères has that finish too but is slightly more flashy, sexier and easier to please.
Lafon do of course use little new oak, and it shows in the lightness and nimble nature of the wines. But do not be mistaken, unlike other “lighter” Meursaults I have tasted the weight is there and the fruit is present. These are really, very, very fine.
Unfortunately, as I say, there really is bugger all, especially of 2012, 2013, and now almost certainly because of devastating hail, 2014.
Pierre gets a case of each of the wines and one bottle of Montachet. Le chanceux!