Mounir Saouma, 38, and his partner, Rotem Brakin, 29, started their négociant operation, Lucien Le Moine, in 1999. They will have 31 bottlings in the 2003 vintage. As négociants, the pair buys wines after pressing, the red as finished wine and the whites as juice, then oversees the maturation in barrel at their small 18th century cellar in Beaune.

Torrid weather meant that both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes had little natural acid this vintage. That concerned Saouma, who feared that wines in barrel might evolve too quickly. But unlike many Burgundians- who chose to acidify, block malolactic fermentation or use added closes of the preservative sulfur dioxide- Saouma aimed to maintain freshness in barrel with a 10 to 15 second burst of carbon dioxide twice a month, to impede oxidation.

About 20 of their barrel samples show outstanding potential, and four stand out of potentially classic (95-100): The multidimensional Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses offers plenty of mineral and red fruits, elegance and a long finish; Mazis Chambertin is a power house, more animal and smoky in character; Bonnes Mares shows density and is packed with cassis and spice notes, but is very backward at this stage; and Chambertin Clos de Bèze, picked Aug. 18, has great persistence, with layers of red and black fruits, adding elegance to the Mazis power.