Domaine Leflaive 2018

April 09, 2021

Domaine Leflaive 2018



Joseph Leflaive (1870-1953) graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique at age 20. An engineer in the marine engineering corps, he participated in particular in the design and creation of the first French submarine. Then his marriage to Camille Biétrix du Villars, from the Dauphiné, changed his career. He ran the La Chaléassière metallurgical factory, at the same time looking after the family vines in Puligny-Montrachet.

At the time, this was a viticultural inheritance that had suffered from the phylloxera crisis, was not very extensive, and whose products were sold to the region's wine merchants. Starting in 1920, Joseph Leflaive undertook a programme of replanting, extension and enhancement of the vineyard - with the help of his estate manager and friend François Virot (1890-1964). Together, they chose new rootstocks that were better adapted to each parcel of land, joseph Leflaive gradually began selling his wine under his own label and to his private clientele. 





Domaine Leflaive was fully converted to biodynamics in 1996, a mere 24 years ago! All the work in the vines, in Puligny, Nantoux or in the Mâconnais, follow its philosophy, its practice and only biodynamic preparations are applied in the vines ...

During the 2020 spring we used:

• Preparation 500 (known as "horn dung"), on April 24, which has a vital role in the structure of the soil by strengthening the bond of the plant to the soil. It was also used for the first time on the meadow in Nantoux in order to give biodynamic information to this virgin soil and to reinforce the effectiveness of the green manure which will be used to "nourish" the soil before vines implantation for next winter.

• The energized horsetail tea used on the full moon before Easter (or Easter horsetail) which has an effect on pathogenic fungi present in the soil, in particular by delaying the maturity of late blight eggs.
This horsetail tea was also used during the full moon in early May when a perigee (1) preceded it, in order to limit the enhanced influence of the moon by the perigee.

• The biodynamic preparation 504 based on nettle in order to promote the development of the plant and subsequently limit the potential nitrogen deficiencies in the grapes and then the musts.

• Preparation 501 (called "horn silica") used before flowering (April 15). A second preparation will be used at the end of the flower (late May, early June). This preparation is very important in order to provide regulation and homogeneity of development of the grape clusters by structuring the plant cells.




The 2018 harvest has pleasantly surprised us, both in its abundant quantity as well as its exceptionally good quality.

The winter of 2017-18 was moderately cold with temperatures sometimes below freezing in the morning but quickly reaching positive numbers in the afternoon. These cool temperatures were accompanied by a high humidity, regularly covering the vines with a beautiful white coating of snow.

March was also a little cool, nature was struggling to awaken. The weather warmed up quickly in the first days of April. Within three weeks the all the vineyards in Puligny were adorned with a light green veil. Like pupae, the buds in their cotton are transformed: green tip, leaves coming out and first leaves spreading. The development was so fast that we were waiting a chill capable of slowing down the vine a little.

The good news is that the rains were plentiful in May and especially in June. At the beginning of June, the flower went quickly in dry conditions very favorable to the development of the clusters. The water tables were at their highest and the heat of the day did not allow the moisture to settle. This enabled the grape to grow in exceptionally favourable conditions.

It was already very hot by the end of June and the temperatures between June 26th and the end of August were very often well above seasonal norms with maximum temperatures exceeding 30 ° almost daily. This was only interrupted by a good rain on August 13 coming to refresh the ground and gorge the berries.

The harvest began on August 26th with radiant and relatively cool weather. The harvested quantity surprised us considering the scorching summer we had experienced.
We welcomed it with all the more pleasure as the berries tasted well, with a good sugar-acidity balance and health status, which could not be better.

We are looking forward to the end of the fermentations to taste these promising 2018s.





Traditionally, the Mâconnais vignerons practice on the Chardonnay grape a variant of the Guyot pruning called ''arch pruning'', or "tail pruning". At Domaine Leflaive, we are gradually implementing a variant of the variant....

The Mâconnais' arch pruning provides the grapes with ventilation conducive to maturity while preserving them from humidity. But we have found that a pronounced arch favors the acrotonic phenomenon, that is to say a more rapid bud burst and development of the buds at the end of the stick.

In order to have a more homogeneous distribution (in number and volume of grapes), the Domaine Leflaive has been implementing in Verzé since 2019 an adaptation of this particular pruning method by practicing a soft arching of the branches. This involves lowering the arc formed by the branch and extending it further on the wire. We observe that in addition to a better distribution of the harvest, this allows each vine to reach its full photosynthetic capacity.

We are supported in this process by the Master Tailors of the Simonit & Sirch company, with whom we have been collaborating for 3 years for budding and pruning in the vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet.

From Puligny-Montrachet to Verzé, our desire is to be in perpetual search for improvement and to have recourse to the best methods allowing the vine to express itself fully, while respecting traditions. 

Vine growing-The grape makes the wine

At the Domaine, the health of the harvest determines the wine's quality. The spreading of compost, close pruning, de-budding and organic cultivation of the vine enable strict yield control.  

Vinification and raising of the wine are carried out with respect for Burgundian tradition: long natural fermentation in oak casks, and stirring of the lees up till winter. The pneumatic presses and air conditioning in the winery are the contributions of progress. Two winters in the cellar give the wine all the attributes necessary to "stand on both feet" once in bottle, to use a local expression.   

The master's eye-Domaine Leflaive has always had an estate manager: François Virot during its first forty years, then his son Jean, to whom he passed on all his know-how and his exceptional experience of the vine and wine. In 1989, Pierre Morey, also from a long, excellent line of great vine-growers, took over. All three have brought to the Domaine their knowledge, experience and tasting finesse as the outcome of enduring and perfect teamwork. . 

The team: One team, in fact. You can't have wine of terroir without women and men of terroir. Salaried employees and pieceworkers (vine-growers doing "piecework" according to the oldest Burgundian tradition, each responsible for his own vineyard area) carry on from father to son in the love of their trade. Coming from Puligny-Montrachet and its surroundings, they're eager to defend, throughout the year in the vineyard, a common heritage and an object of pride, a culture in both senses of the word.  

For more information, or to purchase our 2018 Domaine Leflaive Wines, visit the Domaine Leflaive Collection.

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