Spotlight on White Burgundy: Maison Leroy “Champ Canet” Premier Cru Puligny-Montrachet 2007
Leroy is one of the great names of Burgundy. The wines of Domaine Leroy are almost as famous and expensive as DRC. This makes sense given owner Lalou Bize-Leroy was previously a co-manager at DRC and is fanatical about wine quality, with perhaps the most rigorous low-yielding vineyard practices in all of Burgundy, making wines of tremendous extraction. While the Domaine is a relatively new addition to Burgundy, the negocient arm of Leroy (Maison Leroy) has been a big player since 1868 and owns large stocks of old high-end Burgundy. Even the Maison wines are not cheap, but are at least within the realm of the possible compared to the $1000+ wines of the Domaine.
The Distinction of Puligny-Montrachet
White wines from Puligny-Montrachet are some of the greatest in the world. Nearly half of this village is comprised of premier cru vineyards layered with limestone and marl soils. The limestone and marls of Puligny differ, however, from Meursault and some (including Andrew Jefford) believe it is only this difference in geology that accounts for the distinction between the two villages and their vineyards.
Of course, Puligny is home to half of the world famous Montrachet vineyard, which is situated mid-slope, just like the Champ Canet Premier Cru vineyard, from which this wine is made. Champ Canet, however, sits on the northern side of Puligny-Montrachet, on the border with Meursault. In contrast, Puligny shares the Montrachet vineyard with Chassange, over its southern border.
Interestingly, there are very few family grower/producers in Puligny (Domaine Leflaive being the most famous), meaning most of the wines made with Puligny fruit are made and bottled by negocients, like Leroy.
Leroy is known for wines with incredible density and intensity of fruit. This wine, while not from the Domaine itself and thus not grown by Leroy, offers a level of fruit intensity and extraction that is uncommon for white Burgundy. It is extremely powerful, though round and complete. While I would not describe this wine as elegant, I exclude that word not because of any failing but rather because the wine focuses on potency as its main selling point. As such, it is not different in spirit from the great Chardonnays of California and Australia, though the material here is distinctly Burgundian.
The nose is extremely sophisticated, with mushroom, cream and tropical notes.
The palate is serious and intense. The broad, deep flavours make this a very full bodied chardonnay with great density and extreme length. The extraction is very high, which is a remarkable achievement for Chardonnay in Burgundy, and the wine is a marvelous example of what great Puligny-Montrachet can achieve. The 2007 acid acts as backbone, but does not stand out and seek attention. It simply supports all the material and lets the fruit do the talking. This is exceptional Burgundy, and proof that the Leroy pudding lives up to the hype.
$180 at BCLDB
P.S. This paired wonderfully with a roasted game hen and, the next morning, eggs and duck-fat fried potatoes with truffle salt.