Olivier Leflaive 2021 Vintage En Primeur
Super wines, both in white and red
– desperately slim volumes
The Style of the 2021 Wines
We were struck by the beautiful balance of these wines. Fruit intensity is remarkable, with fine harmony between medium-weight body and lively, natural acidity. After several years when dry, hot summers have produced unusually powerful whites, this 2021 vintage is a return to classically-styled white Burgundy, for drinking when youthful, and also – for some examples – for bottle-ageing.
Colour intensity is not as deep as the three previous vintages – 2020, 2019 and 2018 – but vibrant fruitiness on nose and palate are remarkable. In structure, these wines are medium-bodied, showing ample, plump fruit, with acidity and tannins in fine balance.
The 2021 Growing Season
After a cold, frequently wet winter, spring came early. Warm temperatures in late March and early April encouraged bud-burst, and for green shoots to spurt, but devastating cold air was sweeping in from Siberia. During the night of 6th/7th April temperatures dropped to between -6°C and -9°C, which frosted the young buds. The most affected villages were Puligny, Meursault and Chassagne, along with many villages further south, on the Côte Chalonnaise. Efforts to protect the vines by lighting candles between the rows were broadly ineffective. Between 60% and 80% of the harvest had been lost.
Fortunately, good weather arrived from 20th May. The vitally-important flowering period was 12th-20th June, going through speedily, in warm weather. This is always a crucial herald of fine quality: a successful flowering allows all the grapes in a given bunch to come to full ripeness together. Sunshine alternated with rains during June, July and early August. Pinot Noir vineyards had been less affected by the frost than the Chardonnays, but both needed careful, preventive treatments against mildew, to preserve sugar-creating leaves and young bunches. From mid-August, beautiful weather – though never very hot – allowed grapes to come to ripeness, for harvesting in excellent conditions towards the end of September.
Winemaking at Olivier Leflaive
We have been a client uninterruptedly for Olivier Leflaive’s outstanding wines ever since he started the business, with his brother Patrick, in 1984. Many wines come from their own domaine, and an increasing number from vineyards which they manage throughout the year, including the picking. Winemaker Franck Grux, with his right-hand man Philippe Grillet and their teams, are tightly focussed on the identities of each village and plot. They are severe in side-lining not only less-than-perfect grapes on the sorting tables, but also any barrels which do not merit inclusion in their finest selections. Thanks to our long-term links with this family business we have privileged, early access to many of its rarest, best-value and finest wines – several being exclusively reserved for HH&C.
Buying 2021 Olivier Leflaive En Primeur
This is an early opportunity to buy wines lying in barrel and we are rewarded by being able to select our favourite cuvées at pre-release prices. In turn, we offer you the chance to reap these same benefits. Quantities this year are seriously down on what is usual, so we urge you to let us know your wishes as soon as possible. The wines are offered in bond, excluding duty and VAT, these last being payable on shipment at the end of this year (for the earlier drinking wines), or in 2023.
Ways to Order
Please contact one of our offices or purchase online.
Prices in this offer are quoted £ per case (as indicated) in bond UK.