The Work of Time
After the vine, the wine must be made, with patience and gentleness. The wine is made by small, thoughtful, meticulous inflections. Attention to detail and time: eighteen months in the wine storehouse and in the cellar until bottling, two winters where the wine matures in a natural environment.
The Precision of the Harvest
The harvest is the culmination of the work of the winegrower. The choice of its date, the way to conduct it, to transport the grapes require the utmost attention and care for the fruit itself. The quality of the harvest, which is systematically manual, depends on the integrity of the grapes, for which it is also necessary to avoid any unnecessary handling.
It is then a question of preserving the integrity of the bunches and berries so that they deliver their precious nectar at the right time and in the best conditions. Modern technology and equipment allow this respect for the fruit: double-bottom skips for transport, a manual sorting table and light crushing make it possible to gently extract the must. The practice is best suited to Burgundy grape varieties, Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir, which have different sizes or even different colours, making the grapes less uniform.
The Stages of Winemaking
To express the diversity of Burgundy's climats and produce these great white wines of pleasure and complexity, you need restraint and avoid any artifice. Slow pressing, light use of sulphur to preserve the must, settling at low temperature… The vinification stages are methodically followed. No superfluous technology but a know-how transmitted over several generations: an opaque must would contain impurities, a clear must could make a wine without matter. Observe, identify, adapt…
The transformation of must into wine is an accompaniment. Each intervention is measured, the wine is respected. The aging is long: one year in oak barrels then six months in stainless steel vats.
This second winter in vats makes it possible to blend the different pieces of the same appellation into a single cuvée. The cuvée will be homogeneous and the wine will express itself fully.
The same principles and the same care are applied to the wines of the Mâconnais as to the grands crus of the Côte de Beaune. Stainless steel or concrete vats, concrete eggs, foudres (large wooden cask)…: La Combe’s vat room is also the place for experimenting with different types of containers, while keeping the Leflaive style. Researching and innovating in the name of wine quality.
The Modernization of the Facilities
Since 2012, the Domaine has undertaken the complete renovation of its wine storehouses and cellars. The Egg Cellar, built in 2012, was the first expression of the demanding philosophy of Domaine Leflaive beyond the vine and the wine. Its delicacy, almost sacred, gives it an atmosphere of an underground cellar, although it is above ground: the water table is too shallow in Puligny-Montrachet to be able to dig. Wines, living micro-organisms full of energy, must mature in peace. The innovative structure of the Egg cellar, made of wood and straw, benefits from incomparable natural insulation. This system makes it possible to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as it is built: the CO2 stored by its superstructure compensates for that spent to dig its foundations.
The precious Preservation of Wines
The magic of great Burgundy wines takes place when they age, when they reveal the aromas that come with time. And it is the role of the great estates to offer wines that have reached maturity. The Domaine Leflaive wine library preserves these treasures behind its walls. It was renovated three years ago, the stone laid bare so that it can breathe, the insulation provided naturally for the gentlest possible air conditioning.
Depending on the vintage, some of the bottles are each year kept in the wine cellar for optimal ageing. The totality of Montrachet Grand Cru is even kept back for 10 years before its first release. This process began with the 2014 vintage to allow the most impatient amateurs to access these delicate aromas which can only be offered in optimal conditions by the passage of time.