Mounir Saouma pointed that “there was a big surprise in the way we were originally talking about a full-bodied vintage in 2016 but then ended up with a more classical style.” He noted that in 2017, “there’s a disconnect in the numbers: pHs are low, acidity is low, alcohol is low. The white wines were easy to make but some of the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation finished much too early.” Two thousand sixteen, he went on, is more consistent, “and the wines have become civilized and crisp and fruity and clean. The Pulignys are evolving very slowly and they are not together yet. But the Chassagnes are there now. »

At the time of my early-June visit, Saouma had not racked or sulfured his 2016 whites and he expected to bottle them before the 2018 harvest. But he apparently changed his mind since then and now plans to bottle the wines in October and November.

From 2016 White Burgundy: Excellent, But Complicated (Sep 2018) by Stephen Tanzer

2016 Lucien Le Moine 

  • Montrachet Grand Cru   (95-98)
  • Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru  (95-98)
  • Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru (94-96)
  • Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (93-95)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet Caillerets 1er Cru (93-95)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée 1er Cru (93-95)
  • Meursault Perrières 1er Cru (92-95)
  • Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru (92-95)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet Grandes Ruchottes 1er Cru (92-95)
  • Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru (92-94)
  • Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru (92-94)
  • Meursault Charmes 1er Cru (92-94)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet La Grande Montagne 1er Cru (92-94)
  • Chablis Montmains 1er Cru  (92-94)
  • Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru (91-94)
  • Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain 1er Cru (91-94)
  • Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne 1er Cru   (91-94)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embrazées 1er Cru (91-94)
  • Corton Grandes Lolières Grand Cru (91-93)
  • Meursault Les Gouttes d’Or 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes 1er Cru (91-93)
  • Puligny-Montrachet Champs-Canet 1er Cru (90-93)
  • Meursault Porusot 1er Cru  (90-93)
  • Puligny-Montrachet Les Chalumeaux 1er Cru (89-92)
  • Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Terres Blanches 1er Cru (89-91)

Montrachet Grand Cru   (95-98) Bright yellow. Very shy aromas of pear, crushed rock and iodine; conveys an almost 2015-like ripeness without any loss of its Montrachet character. This brooding, thick, sappy wine began a bit shy but gained in vibrancy and definition with oxygen, conveying increasing purity. Dominated today by crushed-stone minerality and medicinal herbs, this reserved, utterly seamless wine is barely at the beginning of its evolution. Finishes with remarkable unflagging length. When I remarked to Mounir Saouma that there was something almost obvious and deceptively tastable about this wine, he responded that he still wanted it to develop a bit more volatile acidity before he racks the wine prior to the ’18 harvest and then returns it to barrel for another couple months before bottling it.
 — Stephen Tanzer

Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru  (95-98)
Bright lemon-yellow. Bright, pure, reticent aromas of citrus zest, flowers and crushed rock. Pristine and penetrating on the palate, with a sexy touch of sweetness countered by pungent minerality. Conveys an impression of extract-rich solidity with great energy and definition. The almost painful whiplash of a finish boasts razor-sharp focus and great sappy lift. A real essence of Chevalier-Montrachet–and one of the longest 2016s I tried on my late-spring visit.
— Stephen Tanzer
Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru (94-96)
Extremely reduced on the nose, which Saouma takes as a positive sign for this cuvée. Wild, rocky and powerful, with very sweet (actually three grams per liter) flavors of pear oil and clove complemented by smoky minerality and framed by surprising lemony acidity (Saouma told me that this wine was stinky a few months ago, smelling like firecrackers). This Bâtard has the palate presence and tannic support of a red wine, finishing with extraordinary thickness and length. Today it’s hard to scrape this off the palate. These vines are planted on humid, clay-rich soil. (14% alcohol)
— Stephen Tanzer

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (93-95)
Green-tinged yellow. Very ripe aromas of apple, orange peel soaked in sugar, and spices, enlivened by white pepper and a positive vegetal nuance (« one smells the humidity of the west side of the hill but also feels the grape skins, » notes Saouma). At once sappy and weightless, with its seamless soft citrus and complex spice flavors energized by active limestone. Really splendid focus and inner-mouth tension here. The rising, unflagging finish is utterly pristine, with the energy of the underlying limestone giving razor-sharp clarity to the exotic spice and orange notes. This sappy yet weightless Corton-Charlemagne boasts great finesse and purity: one can feel the freshness of the mother rock.
 — Stephen Tanzer 
Chassagne-Montrachet Caillerets 1er Cru (93-95)
Aromas of apple, spices, marzipan and iodine convey a distinctly flinty minerality. Dense, thick and backward, with its lovely sucrosité buffered by sheer thickness of material. The wine’s mouthfilling opulence is given shape and lift by crushed stone and noble herbs, but today this massive, rather Montrachet-like Caillerets comes across as lower-pitched than the La Romanée. Really clings to the palate on the chewy, rising aftertaste. This is a bit inscrutable today but will probably equal the La Romanée in quality. (13.8% alcohol, among the highest of these 2016s)
— Stephen Tanzer 
Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée 1er Cru (93-95)
Bright yellow. Aromas of spices, coconut and crème brûlée au citron put me in mind of a mini-Chevalier-Montrachet. At once creamy and zesty on the palate, delivering a subtle earthy complexity lifted by lime blossom. The wine’s compelling density and almost syrupy thickness are countered by pungent treble notes. Finishes very dry and classic, with shocking freshness and floral lift. This is utterly captivating today but should enjoy a graceful evolution in bottle.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Meursault Perrières 1er Cru (92-95)
Restrained scents of sweet pear, spices and smoky stone. Silky, pure, rocky wine with uncommon inner-mouth tension for such thickness of texture. A very smooth, very dry, mineral-driven Perrières that conveys a penetrating spicy character and an impression of weightlessness. The very broad, mounting whiplash of a finish dusts the palate with stone and menthol and leaves the taste buds quivering.
 — Stephen Tanzer 

Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru (92-95)
(this wine is unlikely to be bottled until the fall of 2019!; still five grams of sugar remaining–and full of gas; Saouma has a 500-liter demi-muid of this wine): Musky scents of citrus fruits, gardenia, white rose, anise, smoke, fresh herbs and earth. Very dry, rich and thick, but with a remarkably sappy, penetrating quality to its citrus and floral flavors. The extremely slow-building, edge-free finish stains the palate with licorice and menthol. Utterly distinctive grand cru Chablis–but then this bottling has been consistently stunning since its inaugural 2012 vintage.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Chassagne-Montrachet Grandes Ruchottes 1er Cru (92-95)
Bright lemon-yellow color. At once spicier and more closed than the Grand Montagne, with the nose conveying complex minerality, mint oil and toast. Then wonderfully fat and silky on the palate, with a compelling touch of sweetness that carries through the mineral-driven finish. I love the combination of cream and stone here. (Saouma notes that Grandes Ruchottes can easily be confused with a grand cru for its richness and class.) In a distinctly thick style and still evolving, this beauty finishes with a slowly building whiplash of flavor that leaves the palate vibrating. The wine’s hint of toasted bread contributes to the impression of sweetness.
— Stephen Tanzer

Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru (92-94)
Musky, sulfidey aromas of peaty Islay Scotch and smoky minerality. Fat, large-scaled, pliant and mouthfilling, with the peaty quality carrying through on the palate. As big as this wine is, it still manages to open out further and gain in thickness on the back end. The finish is plush, satisfying and very long, with just a touch of warmth. Mounir Saouma noted that this classic Montrachet-like Chassagne-side grand cru needs to be fully ripe to approach the other hyphenated Montrachet grand crus in quality. It’s certainly plenty ripe here, but I’d still like to have seen a bit more energy.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er Cru (92-94)
Still a bit cloudy. A syrup of yellow fruits on the reticent nose (Saouma referred to Folatières as « the Condrieu of Burgundy »). At once thick, pure and dry, with strong mineral thrust giving precision to the middle palate. There’s a stony spring water note here from the mother rock. This very dry, serious Folatières finishes wonderfully stony and salty, with strong dry extract and outstanding floral lift–almost austere on the end following the syrupy nose. Not at all an outsized wine but this is still expanding. I have little doubt that it will turn out to be a more serious wine than many early-bottled 2016s from this vineyard.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Meursault Charmes 1er Cru (92-94)
(Saouma blended two barrels of this wine, one from Charmes du Haut and one from Charmes du Bas, but he noted that the grower produces very low yields and strong ripeness, the opposite of what he prefers): Bright lemon-yellow color. Lovely fruit-driven aromas and flavors of apple, lemon, white peach and spices. Wonderfully rich and dense, conveying an impression of dusty dry extract and full ripeness. But penetrating acidity gives lift to this very chewy wine. The thick finish saturates the palate and builds inexorably, making it hard to tell when you’ve spit the wine. A bit of an outlier in this collection but a very unevolved wine with outstanding potential.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Chassagne-Montrachet La Grande Montagne 1er Cru (92-94)
Pristine, welcoming aromas of citrus zest, white flowers, crushed rock and dusty herbs (« welcome to Chassagne, » says Saouma): A distinctly airy style owing to its energy and wild herb character but saline, sappy and thick as well, gaining in breadth on the back half. This utterly seamless wine finishes with compelling length and brisk citrussy acidity (4.1 grams per liter, vs. 3.6 for the Embrazées). I found this beauty hard to scrape off my palate.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Chablis Montmains 1er Cru  (92-94)
(Saouma has one 500-liter barrel and one barrique of this juice): Pungent herbs, lemon zest and marzipan on the nose. Superb intensity and inner-mouth lift to the flavors of green apple, green flowers and green melon. Juicy, concentrated, sappy and very long, with a rising, echoing back end. Leaves behind a taste of oystery sea water. Excellent material here but not particularly high in acidity.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru (91-94)
Slightly cloudy appearance. Classic, pure Genevrières scents of lemon, lime, tangerine and ginger. At once large-scaled and sharply focused, with its dusty citrus zest, spice and anise flavors communicating a strong impression of soil. For all its inner-mouth tension, this fruit was not harvested particularly early, according to Saouma. Finishes spicy, youthful and long.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain 1er Cru (91-94)
Bright yellow. Fascinating aromas of vineyard peach, fresh apricot and Chartreuse-like herbal infusion, plus a hint of kerosene. Very rich and fine-grained, with a captivating orange zest coolness accented by white pepper. There’s something Riesling-like about this wine’s impression of sucrosité without actual sugar. Almost oily on the aftertaste but enlivened by emerging minerality. Rich in dry extract and very long, but not quite as palate-staining as the best Chassagne-Montrachets at this address.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne 1er Cru   (91-94)
Pale, bright lemon-yellow. Lovely purity to the aromas of citrus fruits and stone. Then surprisingly pliant and silky in the mouth, conveying a captivating impression of sweetness buffered by firm acidity and supporting minerality. Offers terrific penetration but this wine is also more harmonious–and closer to being finished–than the foregoing Puligny samples. Impeccably balanced, edge-free wine with terrific length and a complicating element of salinity. I’d almost describe this wine as easygoing.
— Stephen Tanzer
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embrazées 1er Cru (91-94)
(fairly late malo here): Aromas of pear, green apple, menthol, mint leaf and rosemary, complicated by warm southern herbs. Very rich, even opulent wine with noteworthy sucrosité and lowish acidity. This very tactile, smooth wine boasts excellent breadth without any rough edges. Finishes quite dry and rich, with palate-staining length and an emerging impression of lemon drop acidity.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Corton Grandes Lolières Grand Cru (91-93)
(from the east side of the hill): Ginger-spiced apple and wet rock on the nose; one feels the cool quality of the mother rock as well as a sunny element. Very fresh and penetrating but harmonious from the start, with a subtle sweetness and complex minerality to its flavors of apple, spices and fresh herbs. Not yet showing huge dimension but this wine tastes more finished than many of the top 2016s here. This long, tactile grand cru should give relatively early pleasure but its dusty extract suggests that it will evolve gracefully.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Meursault Les Gouttes d’Or 1er Cru (91-93)
Bright light yellow. Aromas of peach, fresh apricot and medicinal herbs show a sweet-sour quality that reminded me of some Chinese dishes. Very pure, juicy and penetrating; doesn’t show the body, density or ripeness of the Charmes but this is a compellingly energetic, intense Gouttes d’Or with sneaky power. Finishes very long and suave, with an impression of firm structure and an element of sweetness perfectly balanced by lemon-limey energy.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru (91-93)
Bright, light yellow. Ripe yet wonderfully detailed scents of lichee, bitter nuts and volcanic rock. A rather powerful, masculine style with a chewy texture, excellent breadth and strong underlying structure. This is actually quite closed and penetrating today, finishing with an element of crushed-stone austerity and the tannic structure of a red wine. I suspect that this premier cru will require at least five years of cellaring.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes 1er Cru (91-93)
Pale, bright yellow. Pungent lift to the aromas of crushed stone, anise and medicinal herbs. In a distinctly northern style, dominated by white pepper, ginger and stone. There’s no shortage of material here but the dominant impression is one of energy. Finishes tactile, salty and long, with an element of creaminess in the aftertaste that’s nicely leavened by lemony citricity.
 — Stephen Tanzer  

Puligny-Montrachet Champs-Canet 1er Cru (90-93)
(this wine finished its primary and secondary fermentations earlier than the Chalumeaux): More expressive on the nose than the Chalumeaux, with a note of lemon drop suggesting good fruit sweetness. Then a bit syrupy on the palate, but with lovely focus and definition to its flavors of white peach, crushed stone, white pepper and spices. This wine delivers more inner-mouth tension than the Chalumeaux and Hameau de Blagny and finishes with excellent mineral-driven length.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Meursault Porusot 1er Cru  (90-93)
(almost finished with its sugar fermentation; Saouma told me that this wine still had 15 grams of residual sugar during the 2017 harvest): Bright but slightly cloudy yellow. Slightly oxidative on the nose, as it’s still working. Then shockingly ripe and fresh on the palate, with a touch of sweetness virtually neutralized by penetrating appley acidity. Wonderfully broad but still youthfully disjointed; this tastes like a nine-month-old wine. Not at all a tropical style of Porusot, due in part to its strong acidity. It’s hard to scrape this very long wine off the palate.
— Stephen Tanzer
Puligny-Montrachet Les Chalumeaux 1er Cru (89-92)
(2016 is the first time Saouma has been able to offer this wine–« because so many growers had one barrel of it in 2016 and didn’t know what to do with it »): Quite subdued–even stunted–on the nose, with a trace of lactic acidity from the late malo. Still, this is more suave and sweet than the Lucien Le Moine Hameau de Blagny, which was extremely unevolved and a bit dry, and showing little sign of flavor development. This wine, too, will need more élevage–and time in bottle–to reveal its personality.
— Stephen Tanzer 
Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Terres Blanches 1er Cru (89-91)
(this wine had only recently finished its sugar fermentation): Bright, light yellow. Pungent aromas of lemon drop, crushed rock and Chartreuse herbs. Moderately dense but quite energetic, conveying an impression of firm acidity and pronounced minerality (« this very cool, humid plot in the highest section of the cru features a distinctive kind of calcaire, with white stones and almost no clay, » says Mounir Saouma, adding that « a lot of people ask if this wine has some Pinot Blanc »). Finishes pure, salty and long, with an unexpected touch of sweetness leavened by citric lift.
— Stephen Tanzer