2018 Domaine Leflaive Macon-Verze Chardonnay

$72

Bright citrus fruit, white flower, honeycomb and a classic mineral-driven finish. This is yummy and ready to drink now, but has the potential to sit for another 5 years.

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Chardonnay

As one of the most popular grapes for growing and consuming, Chardonnay can be made in a wide range of styles. These styles can vary from a sparkling Blanc de Blanc, or fresh fermented in stainless steel, to rich and creamy white wine aged in oak barrels. Notable regions for this grape include Chablis or Burgundy in France, Central Coast, Napa, and Sonoma in CA, and Western Australia.

When pairing with food, consider the characteristics of your wine first. No brainer pairing options include seafood, salads, and white meat. Chardonnay, with its vast versatility, is everyone’s best friend.

Burgundy, France

Burgundy, AKA “Bourgogne,” is a small, historical region in east-central France that covers a wide area with ranging climates. The large number of producers and appellations within Burgundy can make the region seem complicated even to a seasoned wine pro, but fear not – the region need only be as complicated as you want it to be. At it’s essence, Burgundy can be quite simple. This is the home for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and these wines are second-to-none around the world with an influence that is huge in the world of vino. Burgundy winemakers were the pioneers for premium Chardonnay production and continue to provide a benchmark of excellence in viticulture and winemaking for all of their varieties. 

A vineyard’s location is extremely important here. The location will determine their quality level within the Burgundy appellation hierarchy. The highest-quality vineyards will generally have a south or east facing exposure providing the most access to sunlight and offering protection from westerly winds. These wines may be listed as premier cru or grand cru on the bottle label. Soils in Burgundy can vary depending on the area, but you’ll find many of them are rich in limestone. Pinot Noir is grown throughout the entire region and accounts for a third of the total vineyard area. Although a wide range of winemaking techniques are used varying by producer, a classic “Burgundian” Pinot Noir has red fruit flavors in youth that evolve into earth, game, and mushroom as the wine matures. These wines, as well as Chardonnay, can age for many years if stored properly. Other grape varieties include the red grape Gamay, famous to the Beaujolais region, and the white grape Aligoté. 

There are many smaller appellations within Burgundy, just like Bordeaux and other regions in France. These appellations include Chablis, the Côte d’Or, the Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâconnais. Each of these areas house many respected and highly-regarded villages and vineyards. 

The roots of the Leflaive family go back to 1717 when Claude Leflaive took up residence in Puligny-Montrachet, intent upon cultivating several acres of vineyards. The domaine, in its present form, was created by Joseph Leflaive between the years of 1910 and 1930, as a result of his successive purchases of vineyards and houses.

Today, the domaine extends over 24 hectares (59.3 acres) in Puligny-Montrachet, of which 4.8 hectares (11.9 acres) are grands crus and 10.8 hectares (26.7 acres) are premiers crus, all growing one varietal: Chardonnay. Since 2004 the domaine has expanded into the Mâconnais and cultivates some 20 hectares 49.4 acres) in Mâcon-Verzé and Solutré-Pouilly.

Domaine Leflaive is one of the pioneers of biodynamic viticulture in Burgundy. After increasing trials at the beginning of the 1990s, conversion has been total since 1996. Biodynamics is a method of cultivation based upon a sensitive understanding of natural phenomenon, taking into account terrestrial and lunar rhythms. It strictly excludes the use of all chemical products. It seeks first to promote the life of the soil and the development of a number of important species. The preparations used in biodynamics allow the vine to reinforce its own immunity by respecting the natural balance of fauna and flora. It provides the organic matter — vegetable, animal and mineral — transformed (horn of manure, horn of silica and other preparations based on wild herbs such as yarrow, chamomile and nettles).

Thus the wines can better express the qualities and particularities of their terroirs. The soils in Puligny-Montrachet are calcareous clay with different percentages of clay and limestone, according to the locations. The soil also includes trace elements: traces of iron, magnesium, boron that assure nourishment to the roots that make a difference to each vine.

In the cellars, the same philosophy of respect presides over the entire vinification process and follows the purest Burgundian tradition: long and natural fermentations in oak barrels in the first year and in stainless steel the second winter. Fermentations are solely from indigenous yeasts. A light bâtonnage (stirring of the lees) is practiced between the end of alcoholic fermentation and beginning of malolactic fermentation. Bottling takes place in the springtime of the second year.

Domaine Leflaive has been entirely a family domaine since its creation. Brice de La Morandière, great grandson of the founder, Joseph Leflaive, represents the fourth generation at the head of the domaine. In 2015, after an international career in industry, he succeeded Anne-Claude, pioneer in biodynamics. It is with the same philosophy of respect for the great terroirs, humility toward the forces of nature, and relentless pursuit of excellence in viticulture and in winemaking that the domaine will continue to grow in the future.

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