Dominique Lafon, Bourgogne Blanc
Dominique Lafon, Bourgogne Blanc

Dominique Lafon, Bourgogne Blanc

Burgundy, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$55.00

Dominique Lafon, Bourgogne Blanc

Dominique Lafon is a Chardonnay master. He farms some of the best terroirs in Burgundy’s hallowed Côte de Beaune, and his wines are among the most coveted, limited, and revered on the globe. Of course, they command prices to match, which is why we always eagerly await the release of his Bourgogne Blanc. It’s a perfect, if still very limited, opportunity to experience the Lafon majesty at a plebeian price. One part Meursault, two parts Puligny-Montrachet, 100% Lafon from start to finish, this wine is a delicious reminder of how expressive, elegant, and deeply satisfying Chardonnay can be when it reaches its apogée. Of course it's always limited, but especially so with the current release from the 2021 vintage. The cruel irony is that this is already regarded as one of the best white wine vintages in Burgundy in a generation, but there’s just not much wine.

When, in 1985, Dominique Lafon took the helm at Domaine du Comtes Lafon, he quickly gained widespread acclaim for his preternatural abilities to coax the utmost magic out of each parcel of vines. In less than a decade, he took a good estate with excellent holdings in some of the best terroirs of the Côte de Beaune and elevated it to one of the most prestigious wine addresses on the planet. Based in Meursault, Chardonnay is the focus and his true claim to fame. In essence only his neighbors Jean-Marc Roulot and Jean-François Coche are in the same league when it comes to white Burgundy. They are the holy trinity of Chardonnay, and their wines fetch prices accordingly! But Dominique is not one to rest on his laurels, or his estate’s three- and four-figure wines. In the late 1990s, he headed south to the Mâcon to establish a sister estate, and then in 2008 he began bottling wine under his own label as a parallel project, side by side with the domaine.

The wines under the “Dominique Lafon” label, or “DL” are often mistakenly referred to as “négociant,” but they are not. Dominique owns outright all the vineyards (he is the sole proprietor, as opposed to a shareholder in his family’s domaine), and he and the same team farm them biodynamically exactly as they do the estate parcels. However, Dominique wanted his own label to have subtle distinctions from those of the estate, so he chose to use a cellar that was not the domaines, one he shares with another winemaker. And so, according to French laws, he cannot call the “DL” wines “estate.” Here’s the important translation: Pure Lafon farming, winemaking, aging, and excellence, at a nice little discount.

The Bourgogne Blanc is always sourced from just two parcels: One third from “Les Grands Coutures” in Meursault, and two thirds from “Les Femelottes” in Puligny-Montrachet. After a meticulous hand harvest, the whole-cluster fruit is pressed and then fermented with native yeasts before being racked once into neutral barriques. It ages for 12 months, with very little or often no stirring of the lees, before being bottled with only a very light filtration. The result is a super-precise, exquisitely balanced wine that has both rich texture and mineral zip. The lack of new oak helps this wine drink well shortly after it is released; however, it is generally at its prime two to five years into aging. If you open it young, just give it a good decant to let any smoky reduction blow off (unless you like that!) and serve in a large Burgundy bowl at a cool 50 degrees. And then get ready for White Burgundy brilliance: Meyer lemons, perfectly ripe apples, pear skin, honeysuckle, raw almonds, lemon curd, and white flowers all dance around a core of mineral laden salinity. The pairing options are endless, from some simple Alpine cheeses and nuts, to pan roasted fish, roast chicken, and even veal cutlets. If you are lucky enough to grab a six-pack or two, you can try them all over the coming months and years, including pairing it with a roast turkey and stuffing. Salut! 

Dominique Lafon, Bourgogne Blanc

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