Anne-Claude Leflaive, who managed Domaine Leflaive, one of Burgundy’s iconic white wine estates, and passionately advocated for biodynamic farming, died on April 6. She was 59.
Leflaive, who also owned Clau de Nell in the Loire Valley, co-managed Domaine Leflaive since 1990, becoming the sole director in 1994. There were many family shareholders and it took some years for Leflaive to convince the family to convert to biodynamic farming. In 1990, Domaine Leflaive stopped using chemicals in its 58 acres of vineyards and began organic farming. By 1998, all the vineyards had converted to biodynamic cultivation.
Leflaive also cut yields in pursuit of quality, producing some of the most exciting white Burgundies during the past 20 years. Its grands crus and top premiers crus routinely rated 95-100 points on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale and the Chevalier-Montrachet 1995 scored 100 points.
Anne-Claude's grandfather Joseph Leflaive bought the original phylloxera-ravaged vineyard in 1905, eventually restoring it to health. His sons Vincent and Joseph brought the domaine to greater prominence before Vincent's daughter Anne-Claude took over.
In 2008, the Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs was founded by Leflaive and other producers, at the domaine, to educate about biodynamics, with an ecological and environmental approach to understanding vines and wines.
Leflaive was passionate and worked tirelessly for quality, not only at Domaine Leflaive, but for Burgundy, campaigning against genetically modified vines and organisms in the region.
She is survived by her husband, Christian Jacques, and three daughters: Marine, Charlotte, and Claire.