On the 24thMarch, Muyi was fortunate enough to host what is arguably the greatest domaine in Burgundy for the first event in Mainland China of the estate’s history: LEROY
At Xinrongji in Guomao, 20 of us were able to taste through a range of domaine and negoce wines that featured some absolute highlights. After an aperitif of Olivier Collin’s brilliant 2014 Maillons Rosé we moved on to the Maison Leroy Bourgogne Blanc 2016, which accompanied the explanations about the Maison and Domaine’s history that Gilles Desprez gave before dinner kicked off.
After this pleasant introduction, a first flight immediately put the bar very high: 2013 Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseigneres from Auvenay and 2007 Corton Charlemagne from Domaine Leroy showed that no one makes white wines in Burgundy the way Madame does these days. Both incredibly concentrated, with a density that few other producers manage to create and an aromatic palette that covers everything you could possibly want from the greatest Burgundy whites. Whilst some criticise the domaine for having such a strong house-style, these two wines were incredibly transparent of site and vintage. The Corton Charlemagne was still incredibly youthful, tight and almost tannic in its concentration. Having been opened five hours before dinner, it really should be decanted for a couple of hours to show best. Indeed, its fruit really started to unfurl after a good half hour in the glass. The Auvenay on the other hand was a lot more civilised, fluid and elegant (the definition of Puligny), whilst having that textbook concentration, slight reduction and framing of beautiful oak that makes these wines so unique.
The next flight started saw the begnning of reds. First up were two négoce bottlings of Savigny Narbantons. This premier cru is also produced by the domaine, so when negoce bottlings do appear they ted to lend to confusion: are these declassified barrels that didn’t make it into the domaine cuvée? Are they younger vines? Thankfully Gilles was on hand to brush aside such speculation once and for all, and anyone with any doubts was clearly shown that there really is very little in common between the domaine and négoce wines as soon as the first flight of domaine wines was served.
2009 Nuits Aux Bas de Combe and 2008 Gevrey Combottes made for a fascinating pair. The 2009s from the domaine are still fairly shut and/or reductive at this stage, with only a few cuvees really starting to show their potential. This night, the Bas de Combe was on fire: explosively aromatic, with that textbook Leroy nose that maintains a sense of cool despite the warm vintage. Bas de Combe is a special parcel for the domaine as most trials are done in this parcel, which borders Vosne and is one of our favourite Nuits of all! And yet, as soon as the 2008 Combottes was poured, it had everyone stunned instantly. Most 2008s tend to be somewhat austere and acidic. Yet this had none of these shortcomings: a haunting perfume of even cooler, more composed fruit, flowers and slowly emerging secondary tones led to a palate that really starts to pop. This is why you simply cannot fault the wines of Madame. They are stunning in great vintages and no less compelling in more challenging ones.
The final flight was composed of 2006 Clos Vougeot and 2007 Clos de la Roche. A lot of 2006s have been fairly grumpy and hardly showing much until recently. Next to the much more charming 2007s and the impressive 2005s, the vintage was the ugly duckling of the first decade of the 21stcentury. With this Clos Vougeot, any possible doubts about vintage quality were yet again brushed aside fairly quickly: the depth and complexity of the nose was simply stunning. A guest shared a bottle of 2006 Cathiard RSV, which is another great 2006, and yet doesn't quite have the intensity and depth of the Leroy Clos Vougeot! The wine of the night, however, unquestionably was the 2007 Clos de la Roche. Searingly intense aromatically, densely packed on the palate and yet almost weightless this shows that vintages such as 2007 (or 2013) really do suit Madame’s style. 2005 and 2007 Dujac Clos de la Roche that were shared by two other guests to compare had a tough time standing up to this utterly majestic wine.
Evenings such as this make you wonder why it is that so few in Burgundy try to come closer to the incredible heights that Leroy has achieved over the years. Of course wines like these don’t come out of nowhere, but there is no other estate in the world that manages to deliver such mind-blowing, singular and yet classical wines with such consistency. That makes them the greatest in the world in our opinion.
Domaine d'Auvenay, Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères 2013
Leroy, Corton-Charlemagne 2007
Leroy S.A., Savigny-lès-Beaune, Les Narbantons 2013
Leroy S.A., Savigny-lès-Beaune, Les Narbantons 2015
Leroy, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Au Bas de Combe 2009
Leroy, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Aux Combottes 2009
Leroy, Clos Vougeot 2006
Leroy, Clos de la Roche 2007