Simon Davies, Head of Marketing at FINE+RARE, shares his musings on Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche following a spectacular lunch hosted by winemaker, Veronique Drouhin.
I went to a magnificent lunch yesterday hosted by Veronique Drouhin where she showed a vertical of Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche.
The vintages shown were as follows:
2009 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Domaine Joseph Drouhin
2008 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Domaine Joseph Drouhin
2007 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Domaine Joseph Drouhin
2006 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Domaine Joseph Drouhin
2004 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Domaine Joseph Drouhin
2001 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Domaine Joseph Drouhin
1990 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Domaine Joseph Drouhin
The Marquis owns the largest percentage of land in Le Montrachet (30%) of all the owners: a massive 2 hectares on the Puligny side sandwiched between Chevallier Montrachet and Batard on the highest part of the (very gentle) slope. The Marquis has owned the land since 1390 (ish) and despite a brief blip in 1789 continues to farm the vineyard to this day. An ancestor of the Marquis was a colonel in the army at the same time as Veronique’s grandfather and in 1947 a deal was struck for Drouhin to make and distribute the wine on an exclusive basis (though NB the Marquis still grows the grapes and farms the land).
To this day, the deal still relies solely on a handshake.
There were significant variations between the different vintages. Some like 2009 leaning more on the rich, fruity, heady liqueur de chardonnay style; whilst others like the 2007 and 2001 veered more towards the leaner, nervy, angular mineral style. The best vintages were 2004, 2006, 1990 and especially 2008, which perfectly combined the two.
Despite the differences in style, my score range spanned only 1.5 points (the lowest scoring 18- and the highest 19.5+). These are remarkably consistent wines.
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|2009 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche || |
|"Pure Liqueur-de-Montrachet. The low acid plump, luxurious style fools one into thinking this is flaccid and lacking punch…it isn’t. A powerful smack of saline refocuses the finish." 18 Points FINE+RARE |
"This is still very primary as only aggressive swirling can liberate the reluctant nose of pear, mango, peach, oak and floral aromas. The big, opulent and ultra-intense broad-based flavors also remain extremely backward and tight yet the palate staining finish is hugely persistent. This border-line massive effort will require the better part of a decade to reach its full apogee but should be well worth the wait as the underlying material is most impressive." 93-96 Points Allen Meadows, Burghound
|2008 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche || |
|"Nervy concentrated greengage fruit sweetened with honey/honeysuckle. Pure tight mineral in the middle but there is no way you could describe this as lean. It has curves in all the right places and really terrific length. Still very young and primal, I suspect that somewhere around 2018+ it will be perfection." 19.5+ Points FINE+RARE |
"A perfumed and simply knock-out nose features highly perfumed notes of honeysuckle, acacia blossom, sandalwood and yellow orchard fruit aromas that give way to powerful, rich and dense full-bodied flavors that possess obvious muscle and simply huge length on the overtly austere, deep and palate staining finish. This is a dazzling effort that will only add to the already immense reputation this wine enjoys but note that patience will be required." 93-96 Points Allen Meadows, Burghound
|2007 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche || |
|"A Haunting, flinty (almost Chablis-like) nose of citrus, honeysuckle and (perhaps) just a whiff of gunpowder. Tighter than a gnats chuff, it will need time for its citric/mineral muscle to relax but very promising. 18+ points is probably a little mean." 18+ Points FINE+RARE |
"In contrast to the relative expressiveness of the majority of the prior wines, here the nose is decidedly restrained, offering up only grudging notes of pain grillé that frame pure aromas of white flower and fresh pear with subtle spice notes that continue onto the balanced, long and gorgeously refined big-bodied flavors that exude a distinct stoniness while building towards a powerful, mouth coating and palate staining finish that delivers striking persistence. A distinguished effort that will age for years because of the excellent underlying material and impeccable balance." 93-96 Points Allen Meadows, Burghound
|2006 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche || |
|"Ah-ha! That perfect balance between rich and lean; mineral and fruit etc. This really is the archetypal Montrachet. I said as much to Veronique and she nodded sagely. That said, it somehow didn’t captivate me as much as the 2008, but is a wonderful wine." 18 Points FINE+RARE |
"As good and refined as several of the foregoing wines are, this is the clear class of the cellar with moderate wood notes framing a fresh, intense and airy nose that sports impressive aromatic breadth while merging into exceptionally rich and intense full-bodied flavors that possess seemingly buckets of dry extract which gives the finish a textured and naturally sweet character. A wine of power yet excellent energy and focus and this too is both quite primary and youthfully austere at present. A potentially great Drouhin Montrachet." 94-96 Points Allen Meadows, Burghound
|2004 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche || |
|"Just the first hint of autumn creeping into the nose. Again that wonderful combination of lean and luxury. Laced with mineral and hugely impressive and yet never haughty. The grand lines of a Hawksmoor church but as welcoming as a village pub. Very very close to perfection." 19+ Points FINE+RARE |
"I was clearly too conservative in assessing the development potential of this wine as it has surpassed my expectations. The pure, cool and classy nose features notes of spice, white flowers and ripe peach and pear and is followed by backward, intense and firm medium full-bodied flavors that are powerful and focused on the hugely long finish. This is still austere though no longer severe and it will require ample additional patience to allow it time to further flesh out and realize the huge potential the underlying material clearly has. A spectacular Montrachet that should age for several more decades if desired." 96 Points Allen Meadows, Burghound
|2001 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche || |
|"Seems unkind to describe this as the runt of the litter, but it definitely relies more on the lean than the rich. That said, the pure firm mineral backbone adds an intellectual quality which allows it to transcend its rather puritanical lines. Definitely one to mediate on." 18- Points FINE+RARE |
"Perfumed aromas of honeysuckle and ripe peach that now have a secondary element as well introduce big, rich and solidly concentrated flavors of limestone, citrus and an attractive nutty quality are underpinned by good and excellent length. This has lost the robust character that it displayed early on and has now matured into a delicious, round and relatively forward effort that is drinking perfectly for my taste though it should easily continue to drink well for up to another decade." 92 Points Allen Meadows, Burghound
|1990 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche || |
|"The whiff of bruised apple on the nose indicates the full maturity, but time has done nothing to weaken the character of this remarkable wine which is still firmly structured, overwhelmingly mineral and focused. The length of this thing is staggering. Reminds me what a terrible shame the curse of premox is: collectors rarely get the chance to drink fully mature great white Burgundy any more." 19 Points FINE+RARE |
"This continues to impress with its classy, pure and altogether lovely nose that reflects obvious minerality that is followed by deep, rich, beautifully defined flavors of considerable size, volume, power and depth plus superb finishing length and complexity. The intensity is nothing short of phenomenal, even for a grand cru at this age and the overall impression is one of grace and power. A great effort that is drinking perfectly now and will for some years to come. Note that I have had generally very consistent results save for one bottle that was still lovely but did not possess the same punch, power and grace and while it still provided a fine drinking experience, it was not exceptional." 94 Points Allen Meadows, Burghound