The best winemaker I’ve ever encountered? Good question. Short answer is Dominique Lafon. I tasted his 2013s in early November. Here goes:
2013 Monthelie Duresses
This has been in and out of cuve, which is to say racked. There is a touch of reduction on the nose but some weight of fruit (that I call “chunk”) underneath. DL says that the wines are about a month “late” in their elevage on account of long or late malolactic fermentations. This was harvested at the end of September. Sweet fruit in the mouth with a touch of barrel mocha. Fresh. Sweet and some chunk. Elegant. DL likes 13 reds but one had to go light on the vinification. Good. Fresh.
2013 Volnay Santenots
Not quite finished its malo: half has, half hasn’t. A touch of reduction again. Some delicate fruit underneath. And better in the mouth. Very foot-off in terms of winemaking. A touch of gas. Persists in the mouth. This is very delicate with some real substance underneath. Laid back.
I felt that the reds needed a bit more time to show their best. They were a touch tricky to taste and both still had a bit of gas to them, which accentuates acidity, and makes the whole tasting malarkey a bit challenging: like playing hide and seek with what you’re trying to judge.
2013 Macon Milly Lamartine
Sweet sugary fruit on the nose. Flamboyant. Tropical. Then dryer in the mouth. Rather impressive for what it is. Fresh, and some elegance here.
2013 Macon Uchizy
This is one of the first of the Macon plots to ripen. Flamboyance again on the nose. Lots here. And again in the mouth. This has proper Maconnais character – this is what it should be.
2013 Macon Bussiere
A touch of steeliness and a slightly mechanical acidity on the nose. Better in the mouth though this is the tightest of the lot. A bit straight-laced but maybe a bit more energy?
2013 Macon Chardonnay
Some intensity here. Ripe fruit. Flamboyance again. And again in the mouth. There is a ripeness here that gets almost savoury as it develops in the mouth. Lovely. Classy. Excellent.
2013 Viré Clessé
This has all the style of its siblings and some proper Macon sweetness. Flamboyant (again). These are all better than I remember them to be in previous vintages. Excellent again.
Mr Lafon’s Macon wines are excellent and way, way, better than they used to be. In my view they now have much, much, more Maconnais character than they used to. The word that comes up so much – flamboyant –is that.
This is from four different plots. No new wood. Racked late after a slow malo. Some limey edge here. Precise. And again in the mouth, with a hint of depth coming through. Good. Textbook. Very very precise and clean. Persists.
2013 Meursault, Clos de la Barre
A bit more here but a bit tighter on the nose. This is half of the final assemblage. A touch reduced but very good. Carries on. Good. “Serré”.
2013 Meursault, Desirée
A cuvée that is “on time” in terms of its vinification. And it is the most open of the lot so far. Complete. And again in the mouth. Ripe. A touch of flamboyance (clearly my word of the morning). Lovely. Very very good and a saline note in the finish.
2013 Meursault, La Goutte d’Or
More punch here. And lots going on. Richness, poise. Minerality. And complete in the mouth. Tendu. Poised. Sprung. Brilliant. Mister L reckons that the best of the 13s will be a bit like the 10s.
2013 Meursault, Poruzots
Real minerality here, and very very tight. And again in the mouth. These are pin-sharp and laser-precise. Muscle; tightly-wound. VV good.
2013 Meursault, Genevrieres
Some elegant weight here. Punchy. Silk lace complexity. Like fine steel (platinum?) lace. And again in the mouth. Lift. Elegance. This is very, very special. Energy…
2013 Meursault, Les Charmes
More punch here. Lovely edgy lift. Penetrating. Beautiful. Ethereal. And again in mouth. This has a grand cru depth to it and would whip many a Montrachet. Energy and finesse. Quite, quite, excellent.
2013 Meursault, Perrieres
This is a little more saline on the nose. A little more subdued. But equally precise with maybe a little more structure. Straight lines. Linear. Very, very, very, good.
Very, very, reduced. This is the cuvée that DL has to “work” the most. All here. Not really showing its hand today but this is very, very, very serious.
Two years ago I had one of the tastings of my life chez Mister Lafon. This one wasn’t far behind. Is there a better winemaker? Dunno. The Master, I reckon.