It's always exciting to follow the evolution of the wines from Burgundy's younger generation. So much of the success of this contemporary group comes from a deep understanding and passion about the families that preceded them. The steep history of the place they're so fortunate to express each day through their work is never lost on them. Although still a young man, Benjamin Leroux has more experience than any winemaker his age. His recent release of 2014's was nothing short of a revelation for me, as the purity, balance, and texture of the entire lineup was utterly sensational.Leroux's wines are now clearly in very select company with the likes of Lafon, Roulot, and Colin-Morey. With average production less than 200 cases per wine the only challenge is securing enough for the demand of this star who's now in the crosshairs of collectors.
Finding a balance in white Burgundy where silky, gossamer texture doesn't come at the expense of tension and salinity is the ultimate high-wire act. And this is where Leroux excels like no other - In tastings among other terrific producers Benjamin's wines jump out for this quality. They're featherweight on the palate with a deep saturation of fruit, minerals, and finish long and incisive with a haunting salinity that has you reach for another sip immediately. Each cuvée is distinct and carries incredible clarity of place. The sense of luxury in these wines is vivid, but terroir is highlighted above all else.
Leroux began studying at Beaune's wine school at age 13. After working in Bordeaux, Oregon, and New Zealand he became winemaker at the revered Comte Armand estate in Pommard. After 30 years in the industry he has now began to focus nearly exclusively on his own label, still consulting for a bit for Comte Armand.
His Saint Romain Sous le Chateau is a disciplined wine full of tension and rocky minerality perfectly buffered by its texture. His Puligny Montrachet shows the more opulent and deeply layered composition of the heralded village. His Premier Cru Champ Gain is a model on finely woven, intricate detail. And the Premier Cru Aux Etelois is one of those secret sites sitting below Grand Cru Griotte-Chambertin that's as sensual and sweetly spiced as any wine of the village, with gloss that still showcases the dark earth elements that Gevrey is so famous for.
2012 Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Blanc
$38 per bottle
2014 Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Blanc
$36 per bottle.
From vines planted as far back as 1935 in parcels within Meursault and Puligny Montrachet! Aged in 10% new oak.
2014 Benjamin Leroux Saint Romain Sous le Château
$46 per bottle.
From vines planted as far back as 1930. Personifies the heights capable of this extremely brisk and high altitude village. One of the greatest value white Burgundies to be found. 90% aged in large, neutral barrel. 10% in stainless steel.
2014 Benjamin Leroux Puligny Montrachet
$83 per bottle.
From three lieu dit parcels. Aged in 300-liter barrels, 15% new, with no bâttonage. Quintessential Puligny with an unrivaled lacy texture.
2014 Benjamin Leroux Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Gain
$128 per bottle.
From a tiny parcel of .02 hectares. 52-year old vines in this higher altitude 1er Cru vineyarde known for it's rocky limestone soil and excellent exposure for ripening. Aged in 1-year old barrels. Weightless and regal like only top sites in Puligny can show.
2014 Benjamin Leroux Gevrey Chambertin Aux Etelois
$79 per bottle.
From the base of Grand Cru Griotte-Chambertin. 20% whole cluster fermentation, and sees 20% new oak. One of the great, secret values in all of the Côte de Nuits!