A beautiful wine in the making - 2011 Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon

Posted by Ian McFadden

Sweet Spot of Iconic Burgundy
2011 Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet
1er Cru Clavoillon
"A beautiful wine in the making"

Leflaive sits prettily at the very highest level of white Burgundy.

The house shares its pedestal with a short-list of the region's finest, including the likes of Coche-Dury, Lafon, Roulot, Ramonet. It is iconic. But you don't need us to tell you that.

So let's cut to the chase. Today's offer goes straight to the sweet spot of Leflaive: the 2011 1er Cru Clavoillon.

Here at the pinnacle of all white Burgundy, where prices reflect the prestige, we look to Clavoillon, where quality and pricing so irresistibly intersect.

2011 in Burgundy is wonderfully elegant, producing whites with striking structure and acidity. There wasn't much buzz in advance of the 2011 vintage, but once the wines began arriving stateside, and once we began opening and drinking them, we were won over: These wines are wildly impressive. Although they are without a doubt built to last, the 2011's are already showing marvelous complexity. Leflaive's Clavoillon is one of these thrilling discoveries.

The praises of Leflaive are well-sung, but Clavoillon is likely not the first 1er Cru of the storied estate to come to mind. It's sort of a sneaky wine. It may not have the distinctive power of Pucelles or the intense minerality of Combettes,but it is a wine of beautiful balance, offering all of these elements in perfect harmony.

A near monopole of Leflaive, Clavoillon is sourced from 50-plus-year-old vines in deep soil. Full and lush with notes of white peach and pretty citrus, the Clavoillon is cut through with mineral acidity - made even more pronounced in 2011, the earliest harvest in the history of the domaine.

When John Gilman tasted the 2011 Clavoillon, he noted its "superb potential," calling it "a beautiful wine in the making." We wholeheartedly agree, and certainly this wine has a good 20 years of aging ahead of it.

But the great thing about this wine (and in 2011 especially) is that the characteristic freshness of Leflaive emerges in Clavoillion long before it comes through in the other Crus. Don't get me wrong: I've had many bottles of twenty year old Clavoillon that have been gorgeous. Clavoillon can age very, very well. But should you want to open one now, it'd be a tremendous amount of fun to drink.

After Pierre Morey left the Leflaive operation in 2008, it admittedly took a vintage or two for the estate to get back on its regal feet.But by now, Leflaive remains secure in its spot at the top of the Burgundy food chain. I can't help but love the way Anne-Claude Leflaive describes her legendary wine: "If you drink it when you are feeling tired or sad, you will feel happy and full of life."

A humble assertion for some of the most iconic wines coming out of Burgundy, yes, but undeniably true.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

John Gilman: "The 2011 Clavoillon from Domaine Leflaive was still in tank in early April and was showing superb potential. The very expressive and floral nose this year wafts from the glass in a blend of lemon, a touch of grapefruit, apple, impressive minerality, a potpourri of spring flowers and a discreet base of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, long and intensely flavored, with racy acids, excellent focus and grip, a good core and impressive mineral drive on the long and vibrant finish. The complex minerality that has emerged in this cuvée since the parcel was completely converted to biodynamique farming a decade ago is really remarkable, as old timers such as myself never would have imagined it could be so expressive in this wine, when viewed through the prism of the vintages of the 1980s and early 1990s Clavoillon! A beautiful wine in the making."