2012 Red Wine

Tastings at Lucien Le Moine seem to be getting longer and longer. This year it took two sessions to go through all the wines! As always, the selection of 1er and Grand Crus in these small, cramped cellars is striking. In a year in which yields are down so sharply, with one or two exceptions proprietors Mounir Saouma and Rotem Brakin were able to source pretty much the same number of barrels of wine as they do most years, which speaks to the quality of their relationships. Saouma and Brakin use a cold cellar and minimal intervention during elevage to give their wines as much time as possible on the lees.

Long, protracted malos are the norm. Most of the 2012 reds showed well during my most recent visit, with the exception of the Clos des Mouches and Musigny, which were too reduced to get a clear read on. Overall, the 2012 reds here are quite strong, if not quite as exceptional across the board as the 2010s. There are a number of fabulous selections in this range, but also a few wines that don’t reach their customary heights.

Lucien Le Moine fans will also note a handful of additions to the range. The Lucien Le Moine whites and reds remain some of the most compelling wines being made in Burgundy. If opened young, they need quite a bit of air to show at their best.

Pommard Clos Verger 1er Cru
Dark red stone fruits, iron, dried flowers and tobacco are some of the many notes that take shape in the 2012 Pommard Clos Verger. This is a decidedly massive, structured Pommard that is going to need at least a few years to come together. Today the fruit and minerality are equally intense in the glass. There is a lot to look forward to. (92-94)

Pommard Les Chaponnieres 1er Cru
The 2012 Pommard Les Chaponnieres is above all else a wine of tension and pure minerality. Slate, crushed rocks, chalk and bright red berries are all layered into the vibrant finish. Readers who like driven, focused reds will adore the Chaponnieres.(91-93)

Pommard Clos Micot 1er Cu
Next to some of the other wines in this range, the Pommard Clos Micot is round, voluptuous and resonant. Here the fruit shows dark red and black overtones. Cola, spices and licorice all add complexity on the supple, totally inviting finish. My impression is that the Clos Micot will drink well pretty much right out of the gate.(91-93)

Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru
There is no shortage of personality in the 2012 Pommard Les Epenots. Powerful, rich and sauvage to the core, the 2012 hits the palate with a melange of dark fruit, iron, savory herbs and wild flowers, all supported by firm, insistent tannins. There isn’t a lot of Pommard sexiness here. Instead, readers will find an intense Pommard in need of cellaring. (90-92)

Pommard Les Grands Epenots 1er Cru
The 2012 Pommard Les Grands Epenots is one of the more delicate, lifted wines in this dazzling range of six Pommards. Dried flowers, crushed red berries and sweet herbs are woven into a nicely textured, feminine finish. (91-93)

Pommard Les Rugiens 1er Cru
The 2012 Pommard Les Rugiens is the most complex and multi-dimensional of the wines in this first flight. Dried rose petals, red stone fruits, mint, tobacco and spices are all woven together in a wine of contrasts. At times powerful, while at others more delicate, the 2012 impresses for the way it constantly changes in the glass. This is a fabulous showing from Mounir Saouma and Rotem Brakin. (92-94)

Volnay Chanlin 1er Cru
The 2012 Volnay Chanlin is a real knockout. Rich, powerful and explosive to the core, the 2012 captivates all of the senses with its fabulous balance and thrilling intensity. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, red cherry and spice notes burst from the glass in a medium to full-bodied, dazzling Volnay. The 2012 was done with 100% whole clusters, all of which are totally integrated. The 2012 is the first vintage for the Chanlin at Lucien Le Moine; I hope it won’t be the last. (92-95)

Volnay Les Brouillards 1er Cru
Dark red cherry, plums, smoke, licorice, leather and graphite are some of the notes that inform the 2012 Volnay Les Brouillards. Massive and structured today, the 2012 needs time to fully come together. This is a superb Volnay with tons of potential, but patience is key. (93-95)

Volnay Santenots 1er Cru
Lifted and intensely aromatic, the 2012 Volnay Santenots presents a high-toned array of bright red stone fruits, flowers, mint and sweet spices. The 2012 is delicate and understated throughout. (91-93)

Volnay Les Caillerets 1er Cru
Pure, unbridled tension and minerality are at the heart of the 2012 Volnay Les Caillerets. The 2012 is also much more expressive and open at this stage than is often the case. One of the many standouts in this range, the Caillerets is super-impressive today. (91-93+)

Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot
One of the real surprises in this range, the 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot bursts from the glass with a heady melange of aromas and flavors. Dark cherries, plums, spices, menthol and a host of balsamic fill out the wine’s big, broad-shouldered frame with total class and pure power. The 2012 is dazzling from start to finish. More importantly, though, it is an eye-opening wine, as most of the Pinot was torn up in favor of Chardonnay. (93-95)

Corton Bressandes Grand Cru
The 2012 Corton Bressandes is a wine of extraordinary finesse. Sweet, perfumed aromatics, nuanced fruit and veins of underlying minerality all come together in a wonderfully complete Burgundy. Dazzling from the very first taste, the Corton-Bressandes captures all of the contrasts and shades of dimension Pinot Noir is capable of. The bracing salinity and pure tension here are incredibly appealing. (94-96)

Corton Les Perrieres Grand Cru
A deep, powerful wine, the 2012 Corton Les Perrieres possesses tons of intensity and breadth, but it is also obvious and a bit one-dimensional in this context. Today, the Perrieres comes across as a bit raw and in need of more time in bottle. There is plenty of stuffing, but the elements don’t seem to fully come together in the glass. (89-92)

Corton Renardes Grand Cru
Another great example of site, the Corton-Renardes is classic Renardes. Undeniably beautiful yet rustic, powerful but at times also totally polished, the 2012 captures the truest essence of Renardes – the seeming contradictions that can and do co-exist in the glass. The flavors are alive and pulsating in a wine with huge potential. Patience is going to be the key here. (92-94)

Nuits St. Georges Clos Des Argilliers 1er Cru
Red stone fruits, plums, smoke, fennel, tobacco and licorice all take shape in the 2012 Nuits St.-Georges Clos des Argilliers. Round, supple and expressive, the 2012 should drink well relatively early, even with its considerable tension. The balance of intense yet supple fruit and powerful structure makes for a beautiful and complete wine. (90-92)

Nuits St. Georges Les Cailles 1er Cru
Raspberry jam, spices, licorice and new leather all meld together in the 2012 Nuits St.-Georges Les Cailles. Soft, supple and beautifully expressive, the Cailles is another wine that should drink nicely with minimum cellaring. Sweet, silky tannins support the finish. (91-93)

Nuits St. Georges Les St. Georges 1er Cru
The 2012 Nuits St.-Georges Les St. Georges is a pretty wine laced with sweet red berries, flowers and mint, all of which take shape nicely in the glass. A relatively short maceration is one of several choices that results in a St. Georges that is brighter and more floral than most versions, both in terms of the overall flavor profile and the wine’s mid-weight structure. Although a pretty wine, this does not fit my idea – or probably most readers’ idea – of what St. Georges is. (89-92)

Nuits St. Georges Les Vaucrains 1er Cru
A beautifully layered wine, the 2012 Nuits St.-Georges Les Vaucrains flows across the palate with layers of expressive, nuanced fruit. In 2012, the Vaucrains is totally racy, supple and stunning in its beauty. The sweet, perfumed finish makes it impossible to resist a second taste. This is pure class. (93-95)

Morey Saint Denis Clos Des Ormes 1er Cru
Veins of underlying minerality give the Morey Saint Denis Clos des Ormes much of its energy and pure drive. Dark red stone fruits, licorice, new leather and spices inform the powerful, intense 2012, a wine that is going to need a good few years in bottle to fully come together. It is impressive, even at this embryonic state. (92-94)

Morey Saint Denis Les Genevrieres 1er Cru
Layers of blue/blackish fruit, menthol, tar, licorice and spices take shape in the 2012 Morey Saint Denis Les Genevrieres. With a little time in the glass, the 2012 fills out in all directions; floral notes add a gorgeous upper register, while at the same time persistent, graphite-inflected mineral notes anchor the bottom. A wine of gorgeous textural elegance and total finesse, the Genevrieres should develop beautifully in bottle with time. There is so much to like here. (93-95)

Chambolle Musigny Les Feusselottes 1er Cru
The 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Les Feusselottes is a very pretty wine that should start drinking well relatively early. Already quite open and expressive, the Feusselottes graces the palate with silky red berries, crushed flowers and mint. (90-92)

Chambolle Musigny Les Groseilles 1er Cru
A darker, more powerful style of Chambolle emerges from the 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Les Groseilles. Layers of dark red and blackish fruit, spices and violets all take shape in the glass, but it is the wine’s big tannins and overall structure that are most distinctive. Readers will have to give the 2012 at least a few years in bottle, but the style will always be more about power than finesse. (91-93)

Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru
The 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes is beautiful and complete from start to finish. An open, expressive bouquet melds into dark red and black fruit, dark spices and flowers. The flavors are vibrant, nuanced and layered throughout. There is plenty of upside potential here, but the 2012 should also drink great with minimal cellaring. (92-94)

Chambolle Musigny Les Hautes Doix 1er Cru
Simply haunting in its beauty, the 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Les Hautes Doix is a model of elegance and pure class. All the elements are simply in the right place. Striking aromatics meld into silky, expressive fruit laced with sweet, perfumed notes that are woven throughout. The 2012 remains round and caressing through to the finish, showing exceptional balance and harmony. I imagine the Hautes Doix will provide a wide window of superb drinking. Today, it is stunning, to say the least. (93-95)

Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru
The 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses is simply celestial. Intensely floral and lifted at first, the Amoureuses fleshes out beautifully with layer after layer of pure flavor. Sweet, succulent dark cherries, flowers, mint and white pepper take on attractive, saline-inflected dimensions of brightness. The tannins are present, but they are silky and suave throughout. in 2012, the Amoureuses is simply a model of restrained elegance. (94-96)

Gevrey Chambertin Lavaut Saint Jacques 1er Cru
One of the wilder, more powerful wines in this range, the Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaut Saint Jacques is also going to need a number of years in bottle to show all of its cards. Iron, dark cherries, game, wild flowers and chalk come through beautifully in the glass. The 2012 is intense and also at times a bit unrestrained, but that is all part of its considerable appeal. (92-94)

Gevrey Chambertin Estournelles Saint Jacques 1er Cru
Pine, menthol, cloves, licorice and smoke all flesh out in the 2012 Gevrey-Chambertin Estournelles Saint Jacques, adding considerable nuance to the deeply spiced blue and black fruit. The 2012 is rich, explosive and voluptuous to the core, with fabulous depth and pure resonance. There is a lot to look forward to. (94-96)

Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru
A deep, exotic beauty, the 2012 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers simply dazzles from the very first taste. Violets, blood orange, blueberries, wild flowers and lavender are just some of the many notes that captivate the senses in this vivid, strikingly beautiful Burgundy. All of the flavors are beautifully nuanced in the glass, while the texture speaks of total finesse. In a word; breathtaking. (95-97)

Vosne Romanee Les Suchots 1er Cru
Round, supple and expressive, the 2012 Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots stands out for its voluptuous texture and open, resonant personality. There is an attractive silkiness to the 2012, even if it is pretty clear all of the elements need time to fully meld together. (91-94)

Vosne Romanee Aux Malconsorts 1er Cru
The 2012 Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts is all about explosiveness, structure and tannin. The flavors aren’t even developed here at all. Instead, it is the wine’s pure energy, intensity and focus that thrill. I hope to be able to taste the Malconsorts at some point in the future. Today, it is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty and also full of potential. (94-96)

Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru
A wine of total refinement, the 2012 Clos Saint Denis is aromatically pure, lifted and precise. Dark blue and purple-hued fruit, mint, violets and sweet spices unfold in the glass as the 2012 shows off its magnificent elegance and total sense of balance. Sweet floral and spice notes are woven throughout in a striking, totally finessed Clos Saint Denis long on class and pedigree. (95-97)

Clos De La Roche Grand Cru
The 2012 Clos de La Roche is attractive, but it’s also a bit monolithic. Menthol, crushed rocks, smoke, spices, anise and earthy notes add complexity to the fruit. There is plenty of energy and power in the glass, but less in the way of elegance or finesse, at least today. (93-95)

Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru
One of the highlights in the range today, the 2012 Charmes-Chambertin is striking in its beauty. The Charmes is a blend of Mazoyerès and true Charmes. Perhaps because of that, it is also wonderfully complete. Savory herbs, licorice, spices and dark red fruit are all very much alive in the glass. The flavors are rich, beautifully layered and voluptuous in a wine that impresses for its balance and class. This is a fabulous showing. (94-97)

Griotte Chambertin Grand Cru
The 2012 Griotte-Chambertin is pretty, but it also comes across as not fully formed yet, as the flavors and textures are a bit disjointed, even within the context of Griotte, which can be by its very nature a bit ethereal and fleeting. Nevertheless, the 2012 is quite pretty, if a touch on the delicate side, especially for the year. (92-95)

Mazis Chambertin Grand Cru
The 2012 Mazis-Chambertin is all poise and finesse. Lifted, floral and delicate, the 2012 wafts from the glass with striking perfume, beautifully nuanced fruit and impeccable balance. Sweet red berries, crushed flowers, mint and sweet spices are all layered into the finely knit finish. (94-96)

Chambertin Clos De Beze Grand Cru
Hard candy, red fruit, flowers, spices, violets, mint and rose petals are some of the many notes that emerge from the 2012 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. The 2012 is a pretty wine, although I can’t say it is especially typical of Bèze, as the flavors are uncharacteristically bright and I don’t see the imposing structure that is so typical of this site. Still, if taken on its own, the 2012 is an attractive wine that should drink well with minimum cellaring. (92-94)

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
A bevy of exotic floral and spice notes meld into dark fruit as the 2012 Bonnes-Mares shows off its pedigree and pure class. Statuesque tannins and a deep underlying sense of structure underpin the 2012, an utterly magnificent wine built for the cellar. Rose petals, violets, star anise and spices are among the notes that appear on the pulsating, tannic finish. (94-96)

Clos De Vougeot Grand Cru
The 2012 Clos de Vougeot is superb and sensual, its contours softened by the rich, naturally low-yielding vintage, which gives a level of pliancy and suppleness that is highly unusual for this wine. Sweet red berries, crushed rocks and high-toned floral nuances meld together beautifully. The expressive, layered finish is simply striking. Proprietor Mounir Saouma blends three barrels from different sources within the Clos for this wine. (93-95)

Echezeaux Grand Cru
Explosive and deeply mineral, the 2012 Echezeaux (from En Orveau) graces the palate with massive dark fruit, smoke, tar, licorice, spices and menthol. The 2012 is almost unbelievably rich and intense, with stunning depth and intensity, all supported by vibrant minerality that gives the wine its pulsating energy and tension. Quite simply, the 2012 is superb. (94-96)
2022 – 2042

Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru
The 2012 Grands Échezeaux is high-toned, focused and totally crystalline in its aromas and flavors. Bright red fruit, crushed rocks, mint and spices are all very much alive in the glass. Explosiveness and total finesse come together in a vibrant, chiseled Burgundy long on class. What a gorgeous wine this is. (94-96+)

Vosne Romanee Les Gaudichots 1er Cru
The 2012 Vosne-Romanée Les Gaudichots is dizzying for its sheer beauty. Intensely aromatic and layered, yet weightless and elusive, the Gaudichots is the stuff dreams are made of. The 2012 is deeply perfumed, sculpted and saline to the core, not to mention a total thrill to taste. Proprietor Mounir Saouma told me he was not sure the Gaudichots would be commercially released. Suffice it to say – if you see it, buy it. It’s as simple as that. (95-97+)

By Antonio GALLONI