2010 by Stephen Tanzer

The 2010s(!) had been moved to tank barely ten days before my visit, where they will remain with their lees for the next two months.  At that point, winemaker Mounir Saouma planned to bottle them in two flights.  Saouma describes 2010 as an exceptional year i »n terms of providing the ideal climatic conditions to make long-aging wines. »  Acidity levels in the post-malo wines are in the healthy 4 to 4.5 grams-per-liter range, including those with highish pHs.  « The numbers don’t reflect the strength of the acidity, » Saouma explained.  « The crop levels in 2010 were very low and we decided to make the fermentations suffer, » he went on.  « We put the barrels in our cellar at 7 to 10 degrees Centigrade from November through July, and even as of December of 2011 none of the malos had started yet.  At the same period we still had 8 wines with between 5 and 15 grams of residual sugar.  We then moved the wines to the middle level of our cellar and set the temperature at 15 degrees.  Nothing happened until the middle of March, when all the wines started moving.  All the fermentations finished within the next three weeks.  And we didn’t add any sulfur until last month. The 2010 whites came through many dangerous stages, and they will live forever, » he concluded.  Incidentally, Saouma told me he begins with anywhere between 7 and 10 liters of lees per barrel and ends up with 3 liters 20 months later, with the wines absorbing the rest.  This is obviously one of the keys to the vibrancy and density of the Lucien Le Moine whites.  The 2010s here should be extraordinary.

2010 Lucien Le Moine Saint-Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien
White flowers, licorice and sexy lees on the nose.  Supple but not at all unctuous, with crisp acidity framing the flavors of herbal tea, crushed stone, peat and charred oak.  Hints at a malt-like warmth.  Not a fleshy wine but nicely perfumed. 87-89

2010 Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet Garenne
(14.4% alcohol):  Cyanic peach pit on the nose.  Sweeter and richer in the mouth than the Saint-Aubin, with a distinctly glyceral texture to the stone fruit and saline flavors.  Lively acidity gives a firm edge to the long, tactile finish.  The fermentation here was very long and smooth, noted Saouma. 91-93

2010 Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres
(these grapes were almost golden at the time of harvest, according to Saouma):  White flowers and smoky minerality on the nose.  Broad, fat and large-scaled, but utterly silky for all its thickness.  Not conveying the detail today of the Garenne but this is even richer.  Most impressive on the very long, minerally finish, which is like chewing on stone.  I may be underrating this. 91-93

2010 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot
Pale yellow.  Very ripe pear and warm stone on the nose.  Broad and ripe but juicy too, with pear and spicy oak flavors currently a bit muted.  Finishes stony and persistent, but some SO gives the wine a faint dry edge. 90-92

2010 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet La Grande Montagne
(14+% alcohol; this fermented its sugars until March of this year):  Exuberant nose combines ripe yellow peach, pineapple, wet rock and brown spices.  Dense and sweet in the mouth, with peach and vanilla ice cream flavors lifted by minerals and flowers and energized by superb acidity.  Builds impressively on the back end, perfuming the mouth and titillating the taste buds.  A beauty. 92-95

2010 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embrazees
Aromas of lime, fennel and herbal tea.  Rich and powerful on the palate, showing a more exotic sweetness than the Grand Montagne but also a slightly aggressive character.  Plenty of vinosity but seriously dry, even tannic, today.  Ultimately a very masculine style of Chassagne, with impressive body and a finishing note of quince. 91-93

2010 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet Grands Ruchottes
Fresh greenish-yellow color.  Perfumed aromas of lime and powdered stone (Saouma calls this a « quarry wine, from mother rock »).  Sexy white peach and lime flavors are intensified by a chewy rocky quality while remaining fine-grained and harmonious.  Superbly detailed and tactile; even nobler than the Grand Montagne.  Best today on the extremely long, perfumed finish, which throws off notes of white fruits, wild herbs and every possible kind of rock.  An extraordinary premier cru in the making. 93-96

2010 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanee
(from grapes picked with 14.8% potential alcohol; this had 15 grams per liter of residual sugar in December of 2011 and still has 3.5):  Lemon, licorice, crushed rock and a whiff of creme brulee on the nose.  Large-scaled, thick and sweet but still unfinished, with superripe flavors of pineapple and salty stone lifted by citrus zest.  Not showy today but possesses superb energy and finishes with uncanny palate-caressing texture.  It’s not quite possible to imagine the bottled wine today. 91-94?

2010 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet Caillerets
Pure but subdued nose hints at sexy brown spices and charred oak.  Extremely backward today and almost bitter-edged, with citrus zest and oil flavors given knife-like cut by powerful minerality and brisk acidity.  Boasts compelling density of texture and outstanding saline, spicy, floral persistence, but today this wine is a bit fiery and disjointed for all its solidity.  Conveys a powerful impression of Chassagne terroir. 92-95

2010 Lucien Le Moine Meursault Charmes
Less minerally and more fruity than the Chassagne samples that preceded it, showing charming aromas of peach, fresh apricot, white flowers and vanilla.  Sweet, fresh, well-delineated flavors of stone fruits, smoke, salted butter and white chocolate lead to a classically dry, spicy, firm-edged finish.  Very nicely balanced Meursault. 91-93

2010 Lucien Le Moine Meursault Les Poruzots
Bright, pale, green-tinged yellow.  Lovely limey lift to the expressive aromas of linden tea, white flowers and honey.  Not a huge wine but very well delineated and accessible, showing a felicitous balance of sweetness and acidity.  Finishes classically dry, with very good lift.  This very friendly Meursault should make a perfect aperitif. 91-93

2010 Lucien Le Moine Meursault Genevrieres
Serious, deep, estery nose combines citrus fruits, menthol, white pepper, almond and marzipan; smells like a walk in the vineyard.  Dense and energetic, with outstanding cut to the flavors of lime, mint and noble herbs.  This extremely intense wine really resounds on the classically dry, very long, palate-saturating finish, which conveys an impression of dusty stone and high dry extract. 92-95

2010 Lucien Le Moine Meursault Perrieres
Orange blossom and almond flower on the inviting nose.  Large-scaled, plush and sweet, with an almost exotic quality to its soft citrus fruits.  Really clamps down on the palate on the back half, with penetrating rocky, iodiney minerality providing great detail and class.  A palate-saturating wine of great solidity, finishing firm-edged with a suggestion of baked bread.  This shut down dramatically in the glass. 92-95

2010 Lucien Le Moine Corton Blanc
Vineyard peach, green tea and menthol on the nose, with some superripe notes in the background.  Juicy, stony and high-pitched, with brisk acidity giving cut to the lemon and lime fruit flavors.  Very young wine but balanced from the start.  The very dry finish features strong lemony cut.  Like chewing on rock today and not yet showing its inherent complexity. 92-94

2010 Lucien Le Moine Corton-Charlemagne
(from a colder site on the Pernand side of the hill; this fruit is ripe at 13% potential alcohol, while the Corton Blanc generally needs to reach 14%, notes Saouma):  Pale green-yellow.  Pure, high-pitched, estery aromas of lime leaf, lemon and mint oil, plus a whiff of orange skin; downright steely today.  Extremely tight but impressively deep, with outstanding calcaire energy and cut currently hiding the wine’s body.  Like a wine from the shadows:  there’s little sign of sunshine here but this is an extraordinary example of the green side of Corton-Charlemagne.  I’d like to see this again in 15 years. 93-96

2010 Lucien Le Moine Criots-Batard-Montrachet
Pale yellow.  Fresh peach and Islay scotch on the creamy nose.  Fat, rich and chewy; can’t match the Corton-Charlemagne for energy but dense, solid and strong.  This rather brutal, edgy grand cru will need time to expand and lose some of its baby fat.  91-93

2010 Lucien Le Moine Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet
Sweet, fruit-driven aromas of fresh peach and pear.  Very Puligny in its energy, focus and floral lift.  Slightly bitter in a positive way, conveying an impression of salty acidity that left my taste buds salivating.  Very light on its feet, with an electric finish that’s almost painful.  Saouma says this only has four grams per liter of acidity. 92-95

2010 Lucien Le Moine Batard-Montrachet
(finished its alcoholic and malolactic fermentations in March of this year):  Ripe peach, lime leaf, botanical herbs and salty soil tones on the nose.  Broad-shouldered and hugely concentrated, with an almost solid impression of dry extract.  Classic chewy, tactile, soil-driven wine framed by sound acidity.  The dry, deep, slightly tannic finishing flavors are hard to scape off the palate.  This endless wine should easily evolve for two decades or more in bottle. 94-97

2010 Lucien Le Moine Chevalier-Montrachet
Aromas and flavors of passion fruit, coconut and white chocolate lifted by mineral, rose petal and lavender high notes.  At once utterly silky in texture and penetrating in its crushed-rock minerality, boasting great energy and intensity and conveying a powerful impression of dry extract.  Combines outstanding finesse and pure soil expression.  A grand cru of extraordinary length, this was as palpable on my palate after I spit. 96-98

2010 Lucien Le Moine Montrachet
(I tasted a blend of both barrels of this juice, one from Puligny and the other from Chassagne; Mounir Saouma bottled these two components separately in the 2009 and 2007 vintages, labeling them P and C):  Extraordinarily complex, refined aromas of lime, botanical herbs, almond flower, iodine, crushed rock, bergamot, garrigue and pear poached in alcohol.  Utterly electric on entry, then painful with extract in the mid-palate, displaying great citrus lift to the flavors of wet rock, herbs, flowers and salty minerality.  The piquant whiplash of a finish stains the palate and refuses to flag.  An incredible « blend » with a density of material that transcends chardonnay. 96-99