LE MOINE WHITE 2018 BY BURGHOUND
- 2018 Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru white (90-93)
- 2018 Chablis – Les Preuses Grand Cru white (89-92)
- 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “Caillerets” 1er white (89-91)
- 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “Embrazées” 1er white (89-92)
- 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “La Grande Montagne” 1er white (87-90)
- 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “Grandes Ruchottes” 1er white (88-90)
- 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “En Remilly” 1er white (87-89)
- 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “La Romanée” 1er white (90-92)
- 2018 Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru white (89-92)
- 2018 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru white (89-92)
- 2018 Corton Blanc Grand Cru white (90-92)
- 2018 Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru white (89-92)
- 2018 Meursault “Bouchères” 1er white (89-92)
- 2018 Meursault “Charmes” 1er white (90-92)
- 2018 Meursault “Genevrières” 1er white (89-91)
- 2018 Meursault “Goutte d'Or” 1er white (89-92)
- 2018 Meursault “Perrières” 1er white (90-93)
- 2018 Montrachet Grand Cru white (89-92)
- 2018 Puligny-Montrachet "Champ Gains" 1er white (90-92)
- 2018 Puligny-Montrachet “Les Chalumeaux” 1er white (90-92)
- 2018 Puligny-Montrachet “Folatières” 1er white (87-89)
- 2018 St. Aubin "Les Murgers des Dents de Chien" 1er white (89-91)
For more detail on Mounir and Rotem Saouma’s general views of the 2018 vintage, please see Issue 78 or the Burghound database. As to their whites, they noted that none of the whites had been racked or sulfured. Moreover, they will not be bottled until November, or a full 27 months after the harvest which is very unusual in modern Burgundy. This is not mere whimsey as their view is that a long élevage with no added protection allows anything that can oxidize to do so and thus fall out of the wines naturally rather than being filtered or fined out (or more concerning, to actually oxidize in the bottle).
As a result, they note that the colors of their whites are always deeper yellow than would be considered typical, at least outside of peculiar vintages such as 2003. They explain that because their wines are expressly built to age and are always bottled with elevated CO2 levels (~1000 mm) that they should be decanted. Moreover, they argue that their whites need a minimum of 10 years of bottle age before they’re ready so that if you want to try one before that to decant it. They further advise that between trying a bottle young or in middle age, younger is better.
One other key aspect of the Le Moine whites bears mentioning in this discussion is the current divide in the wine world today between what are referred to as reductive and oxidative styles of winemaking.The vast majority of Burgundians are in the former camp but the Le Moine wines are in the latter.
Note carefully that oxidative winemaking in this case is a bit of a misnomer because it does not mean that the process results in oxidative wines, only that the winemaking encourages oxidizable elements in the wine to oxidize and precipitate out and hence the name. This can occur during and/or just after the pressing or it can occur during the élevage, or in a few cases both.
Mounir Saouma argues that premox could be prevented altogether if you take away the wine’s ability to oxidize and that is what he is attempting to do with his totally noninterventionist approach. This is entirely laudable, and logical, so far as it goes.
As long-time readers have seen me remark many times over the years, there is no free lunch in winemaking, meaning that every action, or inaction, has a consequence and that most wines are the way that they are based on a series of winemaking compromises. Well, the compromise in this case is that the style of the Le Moine whites definitely appears oxidative yet the wines are stable.
The important point for you as informed Burgundy consumers is to decide whether you like the Le Moine style as it is indisputably particular and as a natural consequence, controversial. But particular does not necessarily mean flawed or uninteresting, only that you may or may not like it. If you have never tried a bottle of the Le Moine whites, then I strongly suggest that you do. I all but guarantee that you will find the wines to be of high quality but that you may or may not be attracted to the style because the wines often have aromas that speak of cider and aged yellow orchard fruit. Some love those characters, and some do not, and this is part of what makes individual domaine styles so interesting. While not quite an exact comparison, if your taste in Champagne runs to the Selosses style, then you may well enjoy the Le Moine whites. I would also add that because none of the wines had been racked after completion of the malos, many thus exhibited lactic aromas and were full of gas. This of course complicates their evaluation and thus in some cases my projected ranges should be viewed as preliminary. However, in all cases that are not specifically excepted, my ranges assume that any odd aromas will dissipate before the wines are bottled.
2018 St. Aubin “Les Murgers des Dents de Chien”: Pungent aromas consist mostly of apple cider, petrol and resin. There is very good vibrancy to the mineral-driven and intense middle weight flavors that conclude in a lingering finish where the only nit is a hint of warmth. This isn’t elegant but it is old school frank and direct. (89-91)/2023+
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “En Remilly”: A leesy nose blocks everything except a cider character that also appears on the palate of the vibrant, minerally and citrusy flavors that offer reasonable depth and length. I suspect that most people will find this somewhat particular as it will not be for everyone. (87-89)/2024+
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “La Grande Montagne”: Here too there is plenty of cider character along with citrus confit elements. There is slightly better freshness to the palate of the caressing middle weight flavors that culminate in a clean and dry finale. This too is somewhat particular. (87-90)/2024+
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “Grandes Ruchottes”: Deep yellow. Once again there is plenty of cider character to the slightly fresher nose. There is a bit more volume to the attractively textured and stony flavors that exhibit fine delineation on the clean and agreeably dry finale. This too is somewhat particular but it’s a bit less pronounced. (88-90)/2025+
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “Embrazées”: Pungent aromas of mostly cider and lemon rind lead to acceptably dense but refined and stony middle weight flavors that possess excellent depth and persistence. Again, the nose may strike some as “too much” at present though with age it should gradually evolve. With that said, it’s hard to predict exactly how. (89-92)/2025+
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “La Romanée”: Here the cider character is more of a background element to the vaguely exotic aromas of white peach and lychee. The succulent and round medium-bodied flavors are deceptively powerful with fine length on the moderately firm finale where a hint of warmth gradually emerges. (90-92)/2026+
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet “Caillerets”: A very pungent nose combines leesy notes with those of citrus and apple cider. There is better freshness to the mineral-inflected and vibrant medium weight flavors that flash reasonably good length on the bone-dry and youthfully austere finale. This is sufficiently particular to make it tough to opine as to how it will evolve and over what time frame. As such, my projected range and suggested drinking window are rough indications. (89-91)/2025+
2018 Puligny-Montrachet “Les Chalumeaux”: This is the first wine to display anything more than an ancillary whiff of wood on the slightly riper aromas of various white orchard fruit scents, lemon rind and more subtle cider hints. There is fine volume to the caressing medium-bodied flavors that exude a lovely minerality on the attractively textured finale. (90-92)/2026+
2018 Puligny-Montrachet "Champ Gains": (from a parcel that is closer to the St. Aubin side). This is actually quite similar to the nose of the Chalumeaux but with slightly riper fruit character. There is fine richness to the round, delicious and nicely vibrant flavors that also exude a subtle minerality on the nicely harmonious, clean and dry finale. (90-92)/2026+
2018 Puligny-Montrachet "Folatières": (from vines of approximately 100 years of age). Here the cider character is dominant and if it remains that way it the aromatic profile may not be to everyone’s liking. Moreover, it extends to the palate and while there is very good vibrancy and detail, along with reasonably good depth, this is quite particular. (87-89)/2024+
2018 Meursault “Charmes”: Discreet wood treatment sets off ever-so-mildly exotic aromas of white peach, melon and pretty acacia blossom wisps. The succulent, round and caressing medium weight flavors possess a borderline creamy mid-palate texture before terminating in a lingering and balanced finish. This is much less particular. (90-92)/2026+
2018 Meursault “Bouchères”: Once again there is a subtle whiff of cider suffusing the aromas of white flowers, citrus zest and almost imperceptible wood toast. The delicate yet punchy flavors exude a lovely minerality that seems to build on the clean, dry and attractively textured finish. (89-92)/2026+
2018 Meursault “Goutte d'Or”: Layered aromas include those of exotic white-fleshed fruit, floral and apple cider. There is fine energy to the seductively textured medium weight flavors that, like the Charmes, possess a borderline creamy mid-palate, that contrasts somewhat with the youthfully austere and notably dry finale. (89-92)/2026+
2018 Meursault “Genevrières”: Notes of exotic tea, pronounced apple cider and citrus whiffs give way to succulent, delicious and attractively vibrant flavors that aren’t quite as rich though they are finer while exuding a subtle minerality on the clean, dry and classy finish. While refined on the palate, the nose at presently constituted won’t be for everyone. (89-91)/2026+
2018 Meursault “Perrières”: Cool and restrained aromas feature those of mineral reduction, acacia and a background whiff of apple cider. The racy, intense and delicious middle weight flavors flash excellent delineation while the mouthfeel is like rolling small pebbles around the palate, all wrapped in a bone-dry but not really austere finale. While the nose does have a touch of the cider character common to all of the wines in the range, here it is quite subtle. (90-93)/2028+
2018 Chablis – Les Preuses: A broad-ranging nose combines leesy notes with those of cider, petrol and oyster shell. The creamy, round and delicious middle weight flavors are not especially dense, but they do possess a relatively sophisticated texture along with evident minerality and sneaky good length. In sum, this is particular but interesting. (89-92)/2026+
2018 Corton Blanc: Here the cider character is all but imperceptible on the aromas of petrol, straw and various white orchard fruit scents. The full-bodied, rich and muscular flavors possess obvious power that carries over to the long and serious finish that is borderline chewy and rustic. There is a touch of warmth but overall, this is very Corton in character. (90-92)/2026+
2018 Corton-Charlemagne: (from vines in Pernand). Prominent, but not dominant, cider character is present on the notably floral nose of mostly citrus and green apple. The super-sleek, intense and mineral-driven broad-shouldered flavors are notably finer than those of the Corton Blanc, all wrapped in a firm austere and very serious finish. This racy but compact effort is definitely going to require at least some patience as it’s very tightly wound. (89-92)/2028+
2018 Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet: Here too prominent, but not dominant cider character can be found on the mildly exotic aromas of white peach, lychee, and apricot along with a top note of mint. The creamy, round and opulent medium weight flavors also possess a creamy mid-palate texture where abundant dry extract coats the palate on the long if slightly warm finale. This too is somewhat particular though it is not without interest. (89-92)/2025+
2018 Bâtard-Montrachet: (from Chassagne vines). A slightly fresher and less obviously exotic nose offers up notes of very subtle apple cider influence on the much more floral suffused aromas. The heightened freshness also extends to the palate of the delicious and relatively refined if not particularly dense middle weight flavors that possess a beguiling vibrancy, all wrapped in a very dry, tightly wound and sneaky long finish. This isn’t exactly classic Bâtard, but it is certainly original. (90-93)/2030+
2018 Chevalier-Montrachet: Very strong cider elements all but dominate the floral, citrus rind and lemon grass scents. The super-sleek and wonderfully refined middle weight plus flavors possess both abundance minerality and cuts-like-a-knife delineation while delivering fine length on the chiseled, bone-dry and linear finale. This is also going to need time to harmonize as it’s a bit awkward at present, not to mention that the nose is definitely particular. (89-92)/2030+
2018 Montrachet: (from both the Chassagne and Puligny sides). This is aromatically similar to the Chevalier with perhaps just a bit more floral influence. On the palate this more resembles the Bâtard in that the medium weight flavors are not especially dense though I like the crunchy citrus-tinged acidity shaping the bone-dry, youthfully austere and impressively long finish. There is potentially much to like here though it’s not clear how the nose is going to evolve over the longer-term. (89-92)/2030