Batard Montrachet Grand Cru Leflaive 2018
The 2018 Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru is powerful and muscular, opening in the glass with notions of orange oil, peach, white flowers, beeswax and warm bread. On the palate, it's full-bodied, deep and introverted, with a broad-shouldered, textural profile, serious reserves of concentration and lively balancing acids, concluding with a saline finish.
Reviewed by William Kelley
While many producers along the Côte de Beaune were inclined to accept the generous yields of the 2018 as nature's gift, arguing that Chardonnay can sustain an elevated crop without suffering dilution, Brice de La Morandière and Pierre Vincent told me that they opted to perform an aggressive green harvest, jettisoning around 40% of the potential crop. The result is a charming set of wines with good depth and structure that's nicely differentiated by site, though the wines were still quite introverted when I visited in November. Brice de La Morandière compares them unfavorably to the 2017s, and certainly the 2018s appear to be less tensile and vibrant. But in some quarters, the same criticism was made of the domaine's 1982s—another abundant harvest of ripe grapes—and today, the 1982 Leflaive wines are still drinking brilliantly. So, I am not giving up on the 2018s just yet. Given that de La Morandière and Vincent have made a number of important changes in winemaking practices at the domaine beginning with the 2017 vintage, I was disappointed that they declined to show those wines from bottle. Tasting wines in the midst of their élevage can be informative, certainly, but there is no substitute for tasting finished wines from bottle—an argument I expand on in the introduction to this report. And when a domaine of Leflaive's importance makes notable changes in their winemaking practices, revisiting the resulting wines from bottle is of more than usual interest. Given that de La Morandière and Vincent appear to be doing everything right to rehabilitate the reputation of Domaine Leflaive, I was a little surprised, and I will make effort to taste this watershed vintage from bottle one way or another in the near future.