LE MOINE 2012 by Stephen Tanzer

Two thousand twelve has been a great paradox from the very beginning, said Mounir Saouma before we tasted through his extraordinary collection of wines from this vintage.  « It started with a very warm March followed by sharply colder weather at the end of the month.  We had too much rain during the spring and then a heat wave at the end of June.  The vines had been under pressure of water for months and then the berries were bombarded with sun.  The mildew arrived early but to very well-aerated clusters.  Luckily the vineyards continued to work due to the good water reserves in the soil.  The paradox in 2012 is very low yields with finesse.  We had tiny crop levels but we could practically drink the wines at press.  Thick skins were the key to everything!  The wines have a great sugar/acid balance and outstanding finesse of tannins.  The texture of the vintage is Chambolle-Musigny. »

As is his custom, Saouma was able to prevent the malos from starting until late by putting his purchased barrels of wine in the cold roof of his cellar during the winter and early spring.  The secondary fermentations didn’t start until the end of June and mostly finished at the end of August.  He’s of the opinion that many wines in other cellars that finished their malos early will be heavy at bottling–and will need to be bottled early.  « They may be delicious and accessible on release but won’t age, » he maintained.  Nothing had yet been racked at the time of my November tasting here.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Clos de Verger
(a premier cru from vines at the same altitude as Rugiens but facing south/southeast):  Good medium red.  Deep raspberry aroma shows a slightly exotic quality.  Offers moderate flesh and sweetness for a Lucien Le Moine wine.  Finishes spicy and firmly tannic.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Chanieres
(a high-altitude site in the combe):  Medium red.  Fresh, rocky aromas of raspberry and spices.  Very chalky and precise on the palate, with lovely intensity and lift to the raspberry and salty mineral flavors.  Finishes with serious spine and length.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Clos Micot
(this is the only premier cru in Pommard that’s located below the route nationalethat cuts through the village):  Bright red.  Aromas of smoky redcurrant and raspberry; a bit less pristine than the Chanieres.  Dense, savory and concentrated, with an almost medicinal quality to its black cherry flavor.  Deep but not yet expressive, finishing with substantial tannins and a hint of youthful dryness.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Rugiens
Good bright red.  Very pure aromas and flavors of redcurrant, iron and flowers.  Suave, silky and fine-grained; conveys an impression of full ripeness but the wine’s energy and complex soil tones give it a light touch and extend the finish.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Epenots
Good medium red.  Musky redcurrant and spices on the nose, complicated by earth and underbrush.  Saline and concentrated, with redcurrant and spice flavors showing a bit less verve than the Rugiens.  The tannins betray a slight youthful toughness but the finish displays excellent length.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Grands Epenots
Moderately saturated medium red.  More airy, higher-pitched aromas of red berries, spices and flowers.  Smooth, sappy and minerally; at once powerful and refined, with an intense spice character to its chewy red fruit flavors.  The long, building finish shows good weight leavened by fresh flowers and minerals.  This is very promising.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Beaune Clos des Mouches
Palish red.  Musky nose hints at dark fruits and a touch of raisin. Then suave in texture and juicy on the palate, with the fruit component currently in the background.  Finishes very smooth and long, with building tannins and a firm mineral touch.  With its suggestion of dried fruits on the nose, this may be passing through an awkward stage.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Brouillards
Deep, bright red.  Redcurrant, coffee and underbrush on the nose, lifted by a light floral nuance.  Supple, silky and saline, with brisk red fruit and crushed stone flavors accented by a peppery note.  Finishes with slightly edgy tannins but good lift, the crushed stone quality joined by a hint of licorice.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Les Chanlins
(an « uphill » wine):  Full, bright red.  Raspberry and chalk aromas show a sexy reductive quality.  Sweet, sexy and suave, with terrific stony complexity to the redcurrant and smoked meat flavors.  Offers a terrific combination of density and energy, finishing with excellent, nicely buffered tannins and noteworthy lift.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Santenots
Good medium red.  Very ripe, highly nuanced aromas of red cherry, violet and vineyard peach.  Densely packed but light on its feet, with the cherry flavor lifted by notes of lime and white flowers.  The very long, mounting finish is wonderfully juicy and vibrant.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Caillerets
Medium red.  Very closed nose hints at redcurrant, leather and earth, with herb and spice nuances.  Fresh red berry and cherry flavors show a salty character and convey an impression of strong dry extract.  Plenty of power here but still youthfully unevolved.  « From active limestone, » according to Mounir Saouma, which explains the wine’s tactile, saline, vibrant quality.  Very long on the aftertaste.  I may be underrating this wine today.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot
Bright medium red.  Musky redcurrant and purple fruit aromas lifted by spices.  Rich, silky and sappy, with cherry liqueur, blueberry and cassis flavors spreading out to saturate the palate.  This fruit bomb boasts terrific energy.  Compellingly rich and strong for Chassagne rouge.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Corton Bressandes
Palish red.  Deep, complex aromas and flavors of red berries, smoke, coffee, rose petal and minerals.  Very rich and classically dry, with a piquant hint of grapefruit peel giving the finish a light touch.  Finishes with refined tannins and superb length.  Wonderfully understated, classy Corton.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Corton Renardes
Bright, dark red.  Musky raspberry and underbrush aromas lifted by a floral topnote.  Spicy and energetic on the palate, showing a wilder character to its flavors than the Bressandes.  Finishes with firm, dusty tannins and terrific lift.  According to Saouma, this wine finished fermenting its sugars after the end of its malolactic fermentation.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Corton Perrieres
Deep red.  Wild aromas of red berries, rust, smoke, chalk and rosemary, with a distinctly animal element of reduction.  At once silky and weightless on the palate, with a strong impression of limestone energy lifting and extending the flavors.  Finishes saline and long, with serious, slightly drying tannins.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Ormes
Medium red.  Redcurrant, brown spices and a suggestion of rust on the nose, with some darker fruit and licorice nuances that I associate more with Gevrey.  Sweet fruit shows an almost exotic cast, but elements of licorice, pepper and iron give grip and energy to this very distinctive wine.  Finishes with dusty tannins and subtle lingering red fruit and spice perfume.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Morey-Saint-Denis Les Genavrieres
(these vines are located just above Clos de la Roche):  Good medium red.  Pungent aromas of raspberry, rose petal and minerals, complicated by Asian spices and medicinal herbs.  Juicy, spicy and light on its feet, with terrific savory lift to its red berry and leather flavors.  Finishes with firm, fine tannins and terrific cut and verve.  I find this more Clos Saint-Denis than Clos de la Roche in character.  High sites like this have benefited tremendously from global warming.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Argillieres
Good bright red.  Redcurrant, leather and earth on the nose.  Quite ripe and creamy on the palate, with lovely fleshiness to the sappy flavors of redcurrant, cherry and spices.  Finishes with enticing saline minerality and excellent subtle length.  Soft and approachable for Nuits-Saint-Georges.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles
(vinified with at least 50% whole clusters):  Deep red.  Very fresh aromas of dark raspberry, cassis and stone.  Juicy, intense and precise, with the dark fruit flavors framed and lifted by saline, chalky minerality and a strong impression of dry extract.  Finishes brisk and very long, with refined tannins.  This should age gracefully.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges
Bright red.  Very pure aromas of red fruits, rocky limestone and musky underbrush.  Urgent and sharply delineated but utterly seamless too, with great mineral pungency to the intense flavors of crushed cherry, raspberry and pomegranate.  The vibrant finishing flavors of purple fruits and minerals go on and on on the aftertaste, which features noble, rich tannins.  This stunning wine has the texture and length of a grand cru.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains
(Mounir Saouma has eight barrels of this wine, vs. a normal one or two):  Good deep red.  Deep but reserved aromas of crushed cherry, almond and minerals.  Offers great density to its urgent, liqueur-like cherry flavor, conveying an impression of power and energy.  The firmly tannic finish displays darker cherry and violet notes and outstanding thrust and length.  Another stunning Nuits-Saint-Georges wine in the making.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Clos de la Roche
Good medium red.  Musky raspberry, brown spices, crushed stone and smoky minerality on the nose; an essence of Morey-Saint-Denis.  Sappy, saline and highly concentrated, with an urgent crushed raspberry flavor complicated by minerals, spices and underbrush.  The spicy character builds on the very long, slowly mounting aftertaste, with ripe tannins covered by fruit.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Clos Saint-Denis
(some whole clusters here; from vines on warm, sandy soil that were harvested late in 2012 with a relatively high pH):  Good medium red.  Slight meaty reduction to the restrained red fruit and smoke aromas.  The palate offers greateclat, with tart red berry flavors complicated by iron and smoky soil tones.  Best today on the bright, very long, lightly metallic finish, where the floral red fruit and salty mineral flavors are joined by balsamic and exotic spice notes.  This very gently extracted wine shows strong terroir character.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux Saint-Jacques
Medium red.  Wild aromas of black plum and andouillette are perked up by a peppery nuance.  Densely packed, with strong acidity giving shape and lift to the crushed stone and dark fruit flavors.  Finishes with a slowly building whiplash of fruit and a lingering peppery quality.  This somewhat rustic wine is not for the fainthearted but conveys a powerful impression of soil.  I look forward to tasting it in finished form.  From vines on cold clay soil that ripened very slowly, according to Saouma.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey-Chambertin Estournelles Saint-Jacques
Medium red.  Pungent, explosive aromas of red fruits, smoky minerals, gibierand underbrush.  Then juicy and youthfully imploded on the palate, with superb precision to the penetrating flavors of cranberry, pomegranate and minerals.  Finishes with outstanding length and lift and building perfume

2012 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey-Chambertin Cazetiers
(from fruit that was destemmed but not crushed):  Deep red-ruby.  Medicinal black cherry, minerals and smoke; very black-fruit for Cazetiers.  Large-scaled and creamy-sweet, but with penetrating acidity giving definition to the flavors of cassis, plum, violet and mocha.  Tannins are firm yet generous.  A real essence of Burgundy on the aftertaste, leaving behind pungent, very pure raspberry, floral and mineral flavors.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Charmes-Chambertin
(a blend of Charmes and Mazoyeres):  Good bright red.  Musky reduction to the wild aromas of raspberry, leather and game.  Youthfully imploded on the palate and far less accessible today than the Cazetiers and Estournelles Saint-Jacques, but with a distinct sappiness to the flavors of red berries, brown spices and salty minerality.  The superb mounting finish suggests that all this needs is time.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Griottes-Chambertin
Palish bright red.  Chambolle-like perfume of raspberry, cherry, coffee and rose petal, lifted by notes of limestone and blood orange.  Great pristine definition to the flavors of raspberry, crushed rocks and orange peel, with a suggestion of mountain stream water.  Not at all a fleshy style of Burgundy but conveys outstanding purity and a light touch.  This may be a love-it-or-leave-it wine:  I loved it but I never would have guessed Gevrey–or 2012.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Mazis-Chambertin
Palish red.  A wild essence of Burgundy on the nose, offering intense scents of raspberry, smoked meat, minerals, clove and mocha.  The palate combines pungent saline minerality with great lush, sappy sweetness of strawberry and raspberry fruit.  Outstanding depth of texture and finesse; conveys an impression of soft power.  Finishes with utterly suave, noble tannins and remarkable persistence.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Chambertin-Clos de Beze
Good medium red.  Vital, pungent nose combines raspberry, crushed redcurrant, cranberry, pomegranate and rose petal, accented by fresh herbs and white pepper.  Juicy, sappy and pristine, with uncanny detail to the tart berry, exotic passion fruit, mineral and pepper flavors.  Still a bit folded in on itself but the youthfully tight finish shows outstanding precision and floral persistence.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle-Musigny Les Feusselottes
Medium red.  Stony aromas of strawberry, grenadine, paprika and sweet red spices.  Supple on entry, then sharply delineated in the middle, with a sappy quality and terrific lift to the flavors of red fruits, citrus peel and blood orange.  Not a fleshy wine but boasts uncommon energy and cut, finishing with a rather powerful tannic spine.  Yes, Mounir Saouma bravely went on to his Chambolle premier crus after showing me his grand crus from Gevrey.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle-Musigny Les Groseilles
Wild aroma of acidulated redcurrant.  Densely packed and chewy, showing more texture than the Feusselottes and a lovely berry sweetness, but still a hint of malic acidity following the very late secondary fermentation.  Finishes with dusty tannins.  A second barrel showed equal power and grip and finished with sweeter tannins and more obvious length.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes
Good bright, deep red.  Reserved, very pure aromas of purple fruits and sexy oak spices are lifted by pungent minerality.  Sappy, pristine and stylish, with a youthful reserve to the intense red fruit and spice flavors.  Finishes firmly tannic, sappy and long, with lingering notes of spices and chalk.  Lovely finesse here but this will require at least a few years of patience.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle-Musigny Haut-Doix
Medium red.  Aromas of red raspberry, creme de cassis and smoked meat show an almost syrupy ripeness.  Very fresh and wild, with almost Musigny-like complexity to the vibrant, sharply delineated red fruit, wild herb, spice, crushed rock and mineral flavors.  Finishes with terrific mineral energy.  A great example of this premier cru.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses
Full, bright red.  The aromas of raspberry, crushed stone and white pepper convey an impression of sappy energy.  Urgent, vibrant and explosive on the palate, with high-pitched flavors of raspberry and crushed rock.  The bright acidity and suave tannins are almost invisible here owing to the wine’s sheer intensity but give the fruit outstanding lift and weightlessness.  Finishes with palate-staining perfume.  From very active limestone soil, where the vines’ roots penetrate deep into the mother rock, according to Saouma.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes-Mares
(includes wine from the north and south part of the appellation; in some past vintages, these two components were bottled separately):  Good medium red.  Pure but very closed nose hints at dark fruits and spices.  Powerful and penetrating, conveying an impression of strong dry extract to its cassis, blackberry and white pepper flavors.  Incredibly unevolved and pure, with a muscular, slowly mounting finish featuring savory minerality and sexy Asian spices.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots
Palish red.  Slightly high-toned, liqueur-like aromas of black cherry, licorice and chocolate.  A bit syrupy and high-toned in the mouth, but with lovely mineral lift and a restrained sweetness to the ripe, thick fruit flavors.  This really saturates the entire palate on the long, spicy finish, with broad, serious tannins calling for patience.  Mounir Saouma notes that this relatively humid soil has done very well in recent years.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Vosne-Romanee Les Malconsorts
Medium red.  Wild, musky, reduced nose boasts electric smoky minerality.  Sweet, savory and very deep, with powerful, sappy dark fruit and mineral flavors conveying a chewy impression of dry extract.  Finishes with outstanding verve and length.  But this extremely young, soil-driven wine will need several years in bottle to show itself.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Clos-Vougeot
(Saouma has three barrels, from three sources and three altitudes within the cru):  Medium red.  Musky aromas of warm brown spices, game and earth.  Sweet, saline and soil-driven, with a distinctly musky quality to the redcurrant and animal flavors.  Finishes with fine-grained, building tannins and noteworthy finesse.  Like the Malconsorts, this is more about earth tones than primary fruit; perhaps a bit less deep than that wine but sweeter in the early going.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Echezeaux
(from the lieu-dit en Orveaux):  Medium red.  Captivating perfume of minerals, rose petal and violet, complicated by a meaty nuance and a hint of white peach.  Wonderfully sweet, rich and balanced; not closed but this will need longerelevage to gain in depth and clarity.  « We need to destroy the virginity of these wines, to oxidize their oxidizable aspects, » says Saouma.  Very long and suave on the back end.  Outstanding potential.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Grands-Echezeaux
Medium red.  Very refined aromas of raspberry, flowers and white pepper.  Intensely flavored and savory if a bit youthfully tight in the middle.  Most impressive today on the explosive, saline back end, which shows noble tannins, outstanding fruit perfume and great length and grip.  This beauty should evolve slowly and gracefully in bottle.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Musigny
(vinified with whole clusters; 13.2% natural alcohol):  Medium red.  Superripe aromas of chocolate truffle and exotic spices; I might have guessed Chateauneuf du Pape.  Incredibly concentrated and as dense as a solid, showing a liqueur-like quality and a slight warmth to its mocha, sweet oak and chocolate flavors.  Still a bit leesy today, with some CO2 yet to be absorbed.  A bit too much for my taste but this big boy is really too unevolved to assess with confidence–hence my wide scoring range.