Tuesday was spent with two growers whose wines offer a fascinating tour of the different terroirs in the village of Meursault. It’s always a good day when you visit Domaine Roulot and Domaine des Comtes Lafon.
The key for both in 2006 was harvesting early. The grapes were ripe and sugars were rapidly increasing, plus botrytis was spreading. So Jean-Marc Roulot and Dominique Lafon obtained special derogations from the INAO to begin picking the week before the official start of the harvest.
Roulot’s style is one of purity and definition. His wines are rarely big and fat. In ’06, the wines walk the line between taut elegance and the richness of the vintage. The wines have just finished or are at the end of the malolactic fermentations. They were tasted from barrel, sometimes individually, but where there were several barrels or demi-muids (600 liters), Roulot made a rough blend of the final cuvée.
The Meursault Vireuils is spicy, with a gooseberry note. The Meix Chavaux shows a nice texture, intensity and length. Les Luchets is richer and more exotic, yet with good acidity. Les Tillets is bright and focused, offering herb blossoms and lime notes.
The Les Tessons displays a lovely nose of citrus, with hazelnut flavor, fine harmony and length. Bouchères is dense and powerful, while the Charmes, which just finished its malolactic, exhibits floral and honey notes and a creamy texture. We tasted the Perrières from four different barrels: new, one year, three years and four years. It’s interesting to see how the wine is different from each barrel and what each will bring to the final blend. There’s finesse, along with a lacy texture and bright structure.
The 2005s are another story. This is a great vintage chez Roulot, with some bottles showing the vintage character and others reflecting their terroir. The Perrières was the star, precise, focused and full of citrus and stone flavors. There was also an intense, honeyed Tessons, elegant, anise-tinged Tillets and taut, minerally Les Luchets, with grip on the finish.
The Charmes, on the other hand, is all 2005: ripe, with peach and apricot confit notes and good length, but not the grip or tension of the Perrières.
Leaving the cellar, we encountered rain coming down in sheets.
In the afternoon, chez Lafon, Dominique showed me the entire range of 2006 and 2005. Like Roulot, he picked early, beginning on September 15. Thus, he avoided botrytis and got larger yields due to healthy fruit.
The 2006s from the domaine capture the best of vintage—the charming fruit, richness and flesh, with vibrant structures and length. All were tasted from barrel. The Genevrières, Charmes and Perrières reveal their breed, with the Genevrières, at least for now, showing a little extra dimension, exoticism and depth.
The Montrachet, tasted from two different new barrels, exhibited different personalities, but it’s very young and needs time to come together. Fine potential here in 2006.
The 2005 whites are magnificent, with every cuvée potentially outstanding (90 to 94 points) and some flirting with classic (95 to 100). They’re all in bottle except Charmes and Montrachet, which are still in tank after fining. Sadly, it’s the last vintage for the Desirée, due to virused vines, and it might be until 2015 before Lafon bottles it again.
The Genevrières is once more exotic, showing juniper, ginger and a racy structure. The Charmes delivers, with great length, energy and mineral character on a rich frame. The Perrières is my favorite, with a dramatic tension between the mineral notes and power.
I’ve written before that Lafon makes terrific reds and neither the 2006s nor 2005s are to be missed. “The 2006s are not as good [as 2005]. We had botrytis, so we had to sort very well and the ripeness of the seeds and tannins were not as good as ’05,” explained Lafon. “So we did less extraction and worked more on the fruit than the structure.”
And there’s fruit in spades in the ’06s. The Volnay Champans and Santenots are still finishing their malolactics, yet the rich fruit is evident. The Volnay is charming and the Clos des Chênes elegant and long.
The 2005s are stunning. The Volnay, from young vines Santenots fruit, is silky, fresh and complex. The Clos des Chênes is dense and concentrated, with a redcurrant note. The Champans exudes more weight and density still, while the Santenots, still in barrel, is powerful and more animal, with wild berry flavors.
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