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Benjamin Leroux

Benjamin Leroux Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru La Pièce Sous Le Bois 2021

Benjamin Leroux Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru La Pièce Sous Le Bois 2021

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Benjamin Leroux, a name that resonates with passion, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to excellence in winemaking. With a profound understanding of the terroir and an innate ability to coax out the true essence of each grape variety, Leroux has earned his place amongst the most revered winemakers of our time.

Born and raised in the heart of Burgundy, France, Leroux developed an early fascination with the vineyards that surrounded him. He was captivated by the way the land and climate shaped the grapes, imbuing them with a unique character and sense of place. This fascination would ignite a lifelong journey of discovery and mastery. Leroux's winemaking philosophy revolves around respect for nature and a minimal intervention approach. He believes that great wines are born in the vineyard, and his meticulous attention to detail ensures that each grape is nurtured to its fullest potential. From vine to bottle, Leroux's touch is gentle yet transformative, showcasing the pure expression of the fruit and the terroir it hails from. His portfolio is an ode to the diversity of Burgundy, with wines that embody the distinctiveness of each appellation. From the ethereal elegance of Chambolle-Musigny to the bold intensity of Gevrey-Chambertin, Leroux's creations are a symphony of flavors, textures, and aromas that captivate the senses.

What sets Leroux apart is his relentless pursuit of perfection. He is unafraid to challenge conventions, pushing boundaries and reimagining what is possible in winemaking. His innovative techniques, such as whole-cluster fermentation and aging in a mix of new and old oak barrels, result in wines that are both classical and contemporary, a harmonious fusion of tradition and modernity. Leroux's wines possess a beguiling complexity that evolves with time. The domaine, spanning 8 hectares (19.77 acres), serves as the foundation for Ben's winemaking endeavors. Additionally, he purchases grapes from a further 20 hectares (49.42 acres), ensuring a diverse range of high-quality fruit for his creations. In these vineyards, the noble grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Aligoté find their home, each contributing its distinctive character to the final wines. Ben's dedication to sustainable practices is evident in his approach to farming.

The domaine adheres to certified organic and biodynamic methods, allowing the vines to thrive in harmony with nature. For the purchased grapes, Ben follows lutte raisonnée (sustainable farming), organic and biodynamic practices, ensuring the utmost care and respect for the land. When it comes to white winemaking, Ben employs a meticulous process. The uncrushed white grapes undergo whole-cluster pressing, preserving their aromatic potential. Ambient yeast fermentation takes place in tanks barrels or foudres allowing for a natural expression of the grapes. The wines age for 12 to 22 months, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. Notably, Ben refrains from systematic fining and filtration, allowing the wines to retain their intrinsic qualities. Since 2019, the wines are bottled with Diam corks, ensuring their integrity, while a total sulfur content of 50 to 70ppm preserves their freshness. In crafting his red wines, Ben showcases his expertise and intuition. Depending on the vintage and cuvée, up to 30% of the red grapes undergo fermentation with whole clusters, adding complexity and structure. Ambient yeast fermentation, along with carefully timed pumpovers and punch downs, ensures a gentle extraction of flavors. Post fermentation maceration further enhances the wines' depth. Aging takes place in foudres or barrels, with a maximum of 30% new oak, allowing the fruit to shine. Similar to the white wines, Ben rarely fines or filters the reds, trusting in their natural beauty. The wines are sealed with natural cork closures and bottled with approximately 40 to 50ppm sulfur, preserving their character.

Leroux owns two slithers of vines in Meursault’s highest 1er Cru, La Pièce Sous Le Bois in Blagny (on the Meursault side). The first is 0.44 hectares of Chardonnay planted in 1953. The second is planted to Pinot and therefore labelled as Blagny La Pièce Sous Le Bois. This vineyard is biodynamically certified and is perhaps Leroux’s most extreme and rocky terroir. While it lies at high altitude (320-350 metres) and endures bitterly cold winters, the vineyard picks up plenty of sun during the summer. Listening to Leroux talk about Blagny, he’s clearly smitten with the “Saint Aubin-style” terroir. This is simply a fine, classical, mineral example of white Burgundy.

A tiny crop, just 6 barrels from 1.62ha. I saw Benjamin in this vineyard in the very early hours of Wednesday 7th April, with a light covering of snow in the vineyard and freezing temperatures. He had set candles to work, but with little effect. What little wine could be made is good though. Pale green tints to the colour. Quite elegant but a wine on a small scale. More intensity than I expected on the palate, a lightly buttery note from the oak behind, and good length. - Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy, 90-92 points.

The Finer Details
Style - White Wine
Varietal - Chardonnay
Country - France
Region - Burgundy
Vintage - 2021
Bottle Size - 750ml
ABV - 13%

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