Mounir Saouma disagrees with what he calls “the standard vintage talk” about 2015, which is hardly the first time this iconoclast has taken a contrarian view of a new crop of wines. His describes 2015 as “a fragile jewel: it’s too easy to lose the aromatic complexity of the wines.” Too many of his colleagues, he told me at the beginning of June, racked their wines six months to a year after the harvest. But his ’15s were still on their lees, most of them unracked, at the beginning of June [and not a single wine was in bottle as of September 12]; the malolactic fermentations mostly took place between July and September of 2016. (Several wines had recently been moved and thus their colors were quite cloudy and they showed some aggressive CO2.) Saouma believes that his 2015 whites “are becoming less and less the idea we had about these wines at the beginning. They are gaining in freshness and tension, becoming less fat and stupid.” He reported that he had moved the lees softly in December of 2016 before going away on his winter family vacation, and again in mid-January and in mid-February. “By the end of February the wines were much fresher; they had passed through the tunnel of warm-vintage character. Now we’re getting everything that we normally don’t expect from a warm vintage.” He has managed to retain the treble tones of this very ripe vintage—not just spices and flowers but some noble green notes as well.

Saouma noted that the 2015 vintage “was not built to be fresh » and that he virtually committed violence against the wines in leaving them on their lees for up to two years. He’s convinced that they will shut down after two or three years and then sleep for another ten. “They have spent 21 months in barrels with no sulfur,” he told me. “If they wanted to die, they’d be dead today.” From 2016 & 2015 White Burgundy (Sep 2017) by Stephen Tanzer

 2015 Lucien Le Moine   Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru
(racked): Pure aromas of apple, crushed lime, spices and powdered stone are given additional punch by piercing minerality. Classy and very pure but reserved today, conveying a strong impression of energy to its subtle flavors of lavender, cinnamon, stone and minerals. Youthfully imploded but the wine’s aristocratic weightlessness is already apparent. Offers outstanding inner-mouth tension but comes across as very reserved following the Bâtard. A wine of great nobility and energy, not to mention impeccable purity, this utterly palate-staining grand cru will need time in bottle to expand.
— Stephen Tanzer  (95-98)  Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Montrachet Grand Cru
(tasted from a single 350-liter barrel): Flamboyant nose offers hints of petrol, Islay scotch and vineyard peach, plus a high-toned whiff of banana. Large-scaled, thick, salty and dry; if the Chevalier is like spring water, this one is like a river rock in your mouth. But utterly smooth and seamless, not heavy, offering noteworthy lift to its flavors of pear and magnolia. Not particularly closed today but I can easily imagine it shutting down in bottle for many years. Only time will tell if this wine will develop the class and palate-staining length of the Chevalier.
— Stephen Tanzer  (94-97) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(in barrel; 13.8% alcohol): Cloudy appearance. Very ripe scents of orange peel, lemon, pear drop and crushed rock; smells solid! Tactile and thick but with integrated lemony acidity leavening the wine’s touch of creamy sweetness and accentuating its dusty rocky texture. Soil-driven, concentrated Bâtard but a bit less wild than usual for this cuvée. One feels the humidity of the soil here. A very classy, penetrating, fine-grained grand cru with a superb acid balance (actually 4.2 grams per liter) and outstanding rising length. An outstanding white Burgundy in the making.
— Stephen Tanzer  (93-96) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Chablis Preuses Grand Cru
(still in barrel): Cloudy yellow. Knockout aromas of lemon, licorice, menthol, white pepper and crushed rock. Powerful, bracing flavors of lemon, ginger and spices boast terrific energy and sappy penetration. This grand cru displays atypical density of material for Chablis–and even for vintage 2015–but I’m not complaining. The ginger, quinine and licorice flavors are joined by herbs and citrus oil on the very long, spectacularly perfumed finish. Mounir Saouma will not bottle this beauty until later this year, but note that the 2013 version got nearly three years of élevage and is solid as a rock and built for a glorious evolution in bottle.
— Stephen Tanzer  (94-96)  Aug 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Meursault Perrières 1er Cru
(racked; 13.8% alcohol): Classic Perrières scents of pineapple and crushed rock, plus a citrus zest lift from the active limestone soil. Powerful, dense and sweet if not nearly as explosive today as the Genevrières. A pure expression of rocks, offering a rare balance of fully ripe fruit and freshness. Finishes tactile and solid, with the huge dry extract to leaven its sweetness. The uncanny energy here comes as much from minerality as from actual acidity, in classic Perrières style. Saouma has one standard barrique and one 350-liter barrel of this juice, which represents a good-sized cuvée for him.
— Stephen Tanzer  (93-96) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
(racked; 13.8% alcohol): Pungently fresh scents of green apple, crushed lime skin, medicinal herbs, white pepper, ginger and mint; smells a bit like a Moscow Mule. Wonderfully bracing yet magically smooth wine with penetrating crushed-stone minerality and minty lift to its citrus, quinine and ginger flavors. Conveys a subtle sweetness but the palate-staining, utterly unflagging finish cuts like a knife. This wine is carrying a solid but unexceptional four grams of acidity but has the cut and brilliance of a top 2014.
— Stephen Tanzer  (93-95) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru
(racked): Cloudy appearance. Fascinating aromas of apple, strawberry, redcurrant, juniper, mint, quinine and anise, plus a malty suggestion of Islay scotch. Wonderfully silky and sweet but with outstanding acidity and verve to its flavors of lemon, flowers and medicinal herbs (this struck me as like a more lemony version of Adi Badenhorst’s Caperitif). Very rich and thick but dry, finishing with outstanding energy and palate-staining persistence. Another utterly singular Meursault.
— Stephen Tanzer  (93-95) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Chassagne-Montrachet Caillerets 1er Cru
(racked): Very cloudy appearance. Aromas of lemon, green algae, sea salt, limestone and lavender; Mounir Saouma, who originally learned how to make wine at a Trappist monastery in Israel, says this is what the Dead Sea smells like and I’ll take his word for it. Wonderfully refined and utterly seamless but with terrific palate-staining intensity and penetration to its flavors of lemon, lime, stone, herbs and saline minerals. This wine is carrying 14.6% alcohol and displays the thickness of the year but I might have guessed 2014. Pure crushed stone on the aftertaste, which shows grand cru length. Really extraordinary minerality for Caillerets in a hot year.
— Stephen Tanzer  (93-95) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée 1er Cru
(in barrel): Aromas of pear drop, lime, menthol and crushed rock, plus a sweeter suggestion of crème brûlée. Quite tight, brisk and backward, with penetrating acidity cutting through the sappy fruit. This wine boasts an exhilarating balance of sweetness and acidity. Finishes with an almost solid impression of dry extract and outstanding energy and persistence. But this very youthful wine is more aggressive today than the Caillerets and still needs more élevage.
— Stephen Tanzer  (93-95) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Meursault Gouttes d’Or 1er Cru
(racked; 13.8% alcohol with close to 5 grams per liter of acidity and 2 grams of residual sugar; both the alcohol and malolactic fermentation went very slowly, according to Saouma): Cloudy appearance. Exotic orange and honey aromas are freshened by rose petal and menthol on the slightly high-toned nose. At once thick and bracing, with bitter citrus zest flavors complemented by a whiplash of saline minerality; offers outstanding palate presence. Gained in vibrancy and harmoniousness with aeration, taking on a chlorophyll note and finishing with outstanding length. This distinctly offbeat wine should enjoy a long life in bottle.
— Stephen Tanzer  (92-95) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(from barrel; this wine only finished its malolactic fermentation about a month before my visit): Very reserved on the nose, as is typical for this wine in this cellar. Captivating lemon and brown spice aromas are lifted by a lavender topnote. Intensely flavored and youthfully tight, with penetrating acidity giving a light touch and perfumed lift to the very dense flavors of citrus fruits, spices and flowers. This very backward, youthfully clenched wine is almost oily on the back end yet finishes with an impression of weightlessness.
— Stephen Tanzer  (92-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Corton Blanc Grand Cru
(racked; from three plots on the east side of the cru): Pear, wild herbs, cinnamon and powdered rock on the vibrant, slightly medicinal nose. A distinctly rocky, powerful style with a strong limestone salinity and penetrating spiciness. Suave, seamless and light on its feet but youthfully imploded today. Best today on the extremely long, vibrant, virtually weightless finish. Saouma noted that this fruit was overripe in 2009 but not in 2015.
— Stephen Tanzer  (92-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embrazées 1er Cru

(from barrel): Bright yellow. Aromas of pear, menthol and clove complicated by powerful saline crushed-rock minerality. Not as powerful as the Grande Montagne (this one is only 13.7% alcohol with four grams of acidity) but unusually expressive early, not to mention precise and energetic and not at all heavy. Penetrating lemon acidity gives the rising, slightly phenolic finish a light touch without any sharpness. A rather powerful Chassagne with an earthy nuance and a touch of wildness.
— Stephen Tanzer  (92-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru
(racked): Pale color. Inviting, soil-driven aromas of lemon, orange, apricot, vineyard peach, lichee and flowers, lifted by a note of coriander and complicated by a smoky nuance; there’s something a bit Condrieu-like here. Voluminous and utterly seamless but with superb energy to its flavors of soft citrus fruits and lemon grass. Very suave, intense wine with a harmonious, sappy finish displaying terrific sweetness and verve. Still a bit youthfully imploded in a positive way.
— Stephen Tanzer  (92-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Chassagne-Montrachet Grandes Ruchottes 1er Cru
(racked; 14.3% alcohol with 4.3 grams per liter acidity): Hazy light yellow. Restrained aromas of pineapple, lemon oil, lavender and caraway seed convey a Chevalier-Montrachet-like early charm as well as serious verve. The penetrating palate comes almost as a shock, as very firm acidity and a strong salty character give tension and freshness to the flavors of orange oil and minerals. Finishes salty and very long, with sexy brown-spice lift. This wine has the thickness to support its rather powerful spine.
— Stephen Tanzer  (92-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Chassagne-Montrachet La Grande Montagne 1er Cru
(14% alcohol; tasted from barrel; from a sunny, rocky, limestone-rich site at higher altitude): Ripe pear lifted by a pungent rocky character on the nose. Slightly high-toned and racy in the mouth, with excellent acid cut (reportedly almost five grams per liter) to its flavors of lemon and dried orange peel (Curaçao?). Seamless, fascinating and a bit extreme but I love it. In spite of its thickness of texture, this wine is almost painful on the very long, rising finish.
— Stephen Tanzer  (91-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Meursault Porusot 1er Cru
(still in barrel): Stone fruits, hazelnut, crushed rock and fresh herbs on the nose, plus a spiced-meat suggestion of carpaccio. Lovely supple, spicy wine with sneaky lemony acidity and a light touch to its flavors of soft citrus fruits, mango and flowers. Lower in acidity than most of the Lucien Le Moine premier crus from Puligny and Chassagne but there’s nothing heavy about this wine. Finishes fresh and firm, with palate-staining notes of spices, minerals and flowers. A superb and complete Meursault in the making.
— Stephen Tanzer  (91-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Meursault Charmes 1er Cru
(in barrel but still « moving, » according to Saouma): Slightly cloudy appearance. Knockout nose combines aromas of candied lemon peel, redcurrant, fresh herbs, humid fern, camomile and cinnamon cookies. Densely packed and solid as a rock, if not showing quite as much personality in the mouth as on the nose. Wonderfully sweet, though, with captivating floral lift to its citrus and red berry flavors. Finishes surprisingly dry, with a touch of bitter citrus zest character and salty minerality. Saouma, who makes his Charmes from a high and low parcel, told me he normally finds this premier cru a bit anonymous as it’s frequently picked too late and ripe, but this wine is utterly distinctive.
— Stephen Tanzer  (91-94) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne 1er Cru
(14.5% alcohol; racked): A bit exotic and extreme on the nose for Puligny, showing a high-toned gingery character. Large-scaled and thick but with penetrating, almost Riesling-like acidity giving shape to its lemon zest and exotic fruit flavors and leavening its late-harvest sweetness (2.5 grams per liter, according to Saouma). This very rich if somewhat disjointed wine will need time to harmonize in the bottle. For his part, Saouma believes that too many growers make Garenne too polite and correct; he likes a bit of late-harvest botrytis character.
— Stephen Tanzer  (91-93) Sep 2017
2015 Lucien Le Moine  Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru

(still in barrel): Bright medium yellow. Stony aromas of lemon, grilled nuts and menthol, plus a whiff of lichee. Juicy and very pure, with a fine-grained texture and nicely integrated acidity. This penetrating, intense wine turns distinctly rocky on the back half, finishing with resounding lemon and mineral notes.
— Stephen Tanzer  (90-93) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
(still in barrel): Aromas of menthol, peat, wild herbs and oatmeal, plus an element of spicy oak; very little fruit showing today. Supple and broad but extremely dry; in a rather medicinal metallic style, with its fruit in the deep background today. This very backward wine finishes dry and aggressive. Not my style: I wanted more texture and sweetness of fruit. Mounir Saouma describes Criots-Bâtard as « the least of the Montrachets except when it benefits from the maturity of the Chassagne-Montrachet side, as in 2015. » But I’m not yet convinced about this wine.
— Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Corton Grandes Lolières Grand Cru
(in barrel): Red berries, rose petal and dusty stone on the vibrant nose. A bit aggressive and edgy on the palate, with its citrus and spice flavors offering a light touch. On the lean side but still youthfully clenched, even imploded. Finishes spicy, tight and dry, with notes of metallic minerality, cinnamon, nutmeg and menthol.
 — Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Meursault Bouchères 1er Cru
(still in barrel; this fruit was picked at the end of August): Pale, bright yellow with a green tinge. Lemony, spicy lift to its saline aromas of flint, chalk and warm stones, plus a sexy peppery greenness. Juicy and spicy but quite dry and uncompromising, showing menthol and stone notes; the peppery quality carries through on the palate. Tight and lively on the persistent aftertaste, conveying a strong impression of dry extract and a tactile, almost tannic impression. A leaner wine in the context of this collection. Owners of Meursault Bouchères say that this cru must be harvested early, before the fruit goes honeyed and acidity levels plunge, but these grapes may not have reached full skin ripeness.
— Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain 1er Cru
(tasted from barrel; 13.5% alcohol): Very tight, subdued aromas of citrus fruits, anise and mint. Offers a subtle viscosity that’s nicely leavened by the wine’s high-altitude freshness, with its pure citrus and mineral flavors displaying a penetrating quality. Finishes quite dry and uncompromising, with a whiplash of minerality and a distinctly tannic tea-like note.
— Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Terres Blanches 1er Cru
(still in barrel; 100% Chardonnay from a cold site with active limestone soil): Bright light-medium yellow. Aromas of peach, apricot and lichee, plus a note of iodiney sea spray; one feels the humidity of the mother rock. Ripe, sweet and seamless but with captivating mineral lift and nutmeg-and-mace character to its orchard fruit flavors. Conveys terrific energy and a strong impression of dry extract. Perhaps a bit more solid than usual for this typically airy limestone wine but the rich finish displays excellent length.
— Stephen Tanzer  (90-92) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Chassagne-Montrachet Abbaye de Morgeot 1er Cru
(from barrel; 14.5% alcohol, from vines picked on September 12): Bright, light yellow. Aromas of pear, white peach, spices and crushed rock are complicated by notes of pineapple, lemon cream and smoke. Sweet and fine-grained if a bit more aggressive today than the Morgeot, showing more fat and an exotic touch of lichee. In a powerful, full, almost late-harvest style; reminded me a bit of an Alsace Riesling. This is almost too much of a good thing; it will need to lose some of its baby fat.
 — Stephen Tanzer  (89-92) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet en Remilly 1er Cru
(tasted from barrel; 13.8% alcohol with 4.2 g/l acidity, from vines picked at the end of August): Pure but very subdued on the nose. Comparatively gentle and easygoing after the Cailleret and La Romanée, offering pliant flavors of lime, lemon, tangerine zest and minerals. Offers a sexy sweetness if not the sheer cut of the last couple of wines. Mounir Saouma believes that this wine still needs more time in barrel as it’s a bit youthfully clenched on the finish. A rather Puligny-like style of Chassagne.
— Stephen Tanzer  (89-92) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Puligny-Montrachet Champs-Canet 1er Cru
(racked; in a 350-liter barrel): Pure aromas of tangerine, ginger, white pepper and smoky oak on the slightly reduced nose. Boasts a thick, almost syrupy pear texture but comes across as quite dry and laid-back. With very good but not outstanding depth, this wine finishes with a slight burn even though the alcohol is a moderate 13.5%. Saouma noted that Puligny-Montrachet doesn’t need high alcohol as it’s « born with glycerol. » But Chassagne-Montrachet needs the additional body that comes from high octane, he adds.
— Stephen Tanzer  (89-91) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine Saint-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er Cru
Aromas of white peach and ripe apple are complicated by smoky minerality; combines a cooler, higher-altitude character with the warmth of a Montrachet. Supple, ripe and sweet, but with enough underlying stony minerality to give shape and lift to its gentle apricot and vineyard peach flavors. This rich, round, deep wine finishes with surprising detail and lingering fruit sweetness.
— Stephen Tanzer  (89-91) Sep 2017

2015 Lucien Le Moine  Pernand-Vergelesses Sous Frétille 1er Cru
(this wine was racked two days before my visit but still had its lees): Hazy pale yellow. Very fresh, spicy scents of citrus fruits, apple and white flowers. At once juicy and generous, showing a faint alcoholic warmth but enlivened by harmonious acidity. Finishes slightly warm and bitter-edged, with an impression of power. Good spicy wine with tension and minerality.
 — Stephen Tanzer  (87-89) Sep 2017