Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Some of the greatest white Burgundy Wines of the Côte are being produced in the cellars of the mansion of the Domaine Lafon, which is situated in the village by the Clos de La Barre. A third of the production consists of red wines, mainly Volnay 1er Crus, two thirds of white wines of the best climates of Meursault and of the climate of Montrachet. Dominique Lafon, who we amply sampled wines with, by now produces also a fine fruity Macon white wine and is even considering expanding his activities into Beaujolais. Some years ago Dominique Lafon switched the production of his vineyards over to organic farming. As a consequence the yield went down considerably. But after some years of organic farming the plants recovered and are now producing good yields and healthy fruit, which Dominique Lafon is very happy about. The red wines are not clarified or filtered at all; the whites are only sometimes clarified with betonite when they don't clear themselves.
Volnay Santenots 1999
Good plum-like colour, strong in tannin, blackberries, plums, some carbon dioxide, some wood.
Apple-like acidity, good balance. Still difficult to judge.
Macon Bussieres 1999
First vintage of this wine. Lemon fruit, soft, good acidity. Quite full-bodied. A fresh, pleasant wine. Dominique Lafon is very pleased with it. In his opinion one can drink it without having to think too much, just like with the Meursault, which Lafon regards as an appealing, but not an intellectual wine.
Meursault 1999 - 40 barrels
Mineral, lemon, a fine touch of buttermilk in the aftertaste and still green tones. A good Meursault which should develop finely over the next years.
Meursault Clos de la Barre 1999 - 50 barrels
Light yellow, lemon, flowers and almonds. Still very fresh, good acidity.
Meursault Gouttes d'Or 1999 - 9 barrels
Slightly more colour, violets, honey, mineral, green tones and good acidity. Lafon explained to us that Americans are very interested in this wine, probably because of the name. In his opinion its quality ranges between the Meursalt Village and the other Premiers Crus.
Meursault Genevrières 1999 - 9 barrels
Flowery, mineral. Complex. Very fine and long. A rather slim, but very fine and ethereal structure. A Meursalt full of elegance. Dominique Lafon uses wood very sparsely and doesn't use too many new barrels; he wants to taste the wine aromas, not the wood ones. He says it is easier to produce full-bodied heavy wines from the wood, full of vanilla tones, than fine aromatic more slender wines with tender aromas, since mistakes are much more noticeable in the latter ones. He clearly strives for these kind of wines, although it is not always appreciated by the market.
Meursault Charmes 1999 - 30 barrels
Wider range, flowers, apples, honey. Not as mineral as the Genevrières which is clearly the finer one of the two. Nevertheless, a very good wine!
Meursault Perrières 1999 - 18 barrels
Powdery tones. Very intensive, mineral, hazelnut. Very full-bodied, very long. Nutlike aftertaste. The best climate of Meursault, which produces a wine of almost Grand Cru level year by year.
Very mature, very good acidity. Full-bodied, flowery, mineral. Touch of honey. Very long. 100% kept in new wood, but the wine is able to integrate that easily.
To get an impression of the new vintage, we sampled the very young 2000 ones:
Meursault Clos de la Barre 2000
Good fruit, very good acidity. Lemon touches, fullness. Very good and pleasant.
Meursault Genevrières 2000
Lemon fruit, fullness. Good length. Fermentation is almost completed.
Meursault Charmes 2000
Takes some more fermentation. Also touches of lemon. More full-bodied, but not as long as the Genevrières.
Meursault Perrières 2000
Fermentation still going on. Lemon. Difficult to assess. But, as expected, the most intensive one of the Meursaults.
Still in the process of fermentation. It showed itself very sumptuous, full-bodied, long in the mouth and is going to be a good vintage.
To taste the difference between the various kinds of barrels, we finally sampled three Montrachets from different barrels. Nevers wood does not emit as many wood tones into the wine, it's soft and well-structured. The Vogese wood is even more elegant, but if the wood is not top quality there can be negative results with unwanted wood aromas. Alliers wood is more consistent and emits more vanilla tones than the other wood types into the wine. Since Dominique Lafon was delivered varying quality even with the Nevers wood, he went there himself, had the trees shown to him and told the cooper what exactly he wanted.
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