Monday, July 24, 2017

Benjamin Leroux 2015s

Benjamin Leroux, the Wunderkind Burgundian winemaker, who started to get interested in winemaking at age 12 and was appointed as chief winemaker at Domaine Comte Armand at age 24, is now well established on his own. He began with his own label in 2007. These days, he produces more than 35 different bottlings, mostly at minuscule volumes. They come from all over Burgundy, but the core is at Volnay. He is keen to expand his estate wines, which at present come from 8ha of owned vineyards.

I had an opportunity to taste 11 of his wines from the great 2015 vintage, five whites and six reds. The general theme is about fruit freshness. Leroux seeks out vineyards at higher elevation and has reduced the use of new oak to 10-20% in most wines. Many are now matured in large barrels.

The whites were
Bourgogne Blanc: pineapple, hazelnut, a little plump in shape (91 points)
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Baudines: white flower, apple,quite delicate, creamy, excellent wine (94 points)
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Embazées: bigger fruit, a bit bolder, well balanced (93 points)
Meursault 1er Cru Les Porusots: earthy, almonds, not as fat as typical for Meursault, lingering on the palate, enough acidity? (93 points)
Corton-Charlemagne: rich, honey, hazelnut, very elegant, very long, excellent (95 points)

These wines express their respective terroirs very well. I have a slight concern about the levels of acidity in these wines.

The reds were
Bourgogne Rouge: fruity, red cherry, smooth, soft finish (91 points)
Savigny-les-Beaune: dark cherry, a bit sour, drive, well balanced, length (93 points)
Vosne-Romanee: dark cherry, a bit lean, silky finish (93 points)
Gevrey-Chambertin: better mouthfeel, a bit broad, smooth (93 points)
Volnay 1er Cru Les Mitans: 100% destemmed, beautiful perfumed nose, good fruit depth, very silky and elegant with expanding finish, wine of the night (95 points)
Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens Hauts: deeply flavoured, underbrush, very structured, 50% whole clusters (94 points)

The red wines were strong. My only reservation is that Leroux's focus on freshness has perhaps prohibited him to take full advantage of the richness the 2015 vintage can offer (based on my visit and Burgundy tastings of two months ago). 

No comments: