One to Watch: 2008 Leroux Clos St. Denis

Posted by Ian McFadden

One to Watch
2008 Leroux Clos St. Denis
Burgundian Rockstar

Benjamin Leroux is "one of, if not the, most gifted winemaker in all of Burgundy." —Allen Meadows

Allen Meadows bestowed these words on Benjamin Leroux when he was still the twenty-something prodigy régisseur at Comte Armand, turning out impressive Clos des Epeneaux. And people noticed, ourselves included.

The young winemaker has since launched his own negociant project, all the better to see "the most gifted winemaker in all of Burgundy" in action.

I'm thrilled to offer Leroux's 2008 Clos St. Denis, one of the finest offerings from his second — and outstanding — vintage, at the lowest price for any Leroux Grand Cru, anywhere in the U.S.

At $199.95 for one of the Côte de Nuits top Grand Crus from the 2008 vintage, this is one of the better deals I've come across in some time.

Benjamin Leroux definitely has the "touch." While doling out praise to Leroux, Meadows also named the up-and-comer one of the heirs apparent to the great Henri Jayer. Sometimes even I, ardent fan that I am, get taken off guard by how young this guy is.

Maison Benjamin Leroux is not your average negociant. Leroux shares space with Dominique Lafon, making tiny quantities of wines from terroirs he considers especially worthy or under appreciated. (Clos St. Denis definitely qualifies as especially worthy.) Leroux knows everyone in Burgundy, and everyone knows and admires him. He sources only the best grapes, and the meticulous winemaking that won him such accolades under Armand does the rest.

As highly as we think of Pommard and Epeneaux, it's been exciting to see such clear talent applied to land of perhaps greater potential in the Côte de Nuits.

Clos St. Denis hits on the sexy side of Morey. Leroux's other two top-notch Grand Crus, Bonnes Mares and Clos de la Roche, carry a lot of brawn, but the Clos St. Denis manages to be full and luscious while still maintaining lift and vibrancy.

The 2008 vintage was a beautiful one. The more I taste of '08, the more I'm impressed by its purity of fruit, its taut minerality and specificity of terroir. And still prices haven't caught up to the outstanding quality — compare the '08 at $199.95 to the '11 at $268 and the '09 at $275. Also, if you shop around, you'll realize that Leroux's Clos St. Denis is rare; there are just two other listings for any vintage of Clos St. Denis.

This offer has been a long time coming. There has just never been enough to warrant an email. My advice is this: Buy now, because if Leroux is hard to track down now, well, this rising star will only keep climbing.

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

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

Burghound: "Relatively strong wood influence sets off fresh, earthy and plum suffused aromas that display background nuances of violets and beef jerky that slide gracefully into delicious and notably complex medium-bodied flavors that possess a seductive and sappy mouth feel on the solidly but not aggressively structured finish."