23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

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B. Buzzini
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23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#1 Post by B. Buzzini » September 18th, 2019, 9:43 am

Interesting tidbit from reading Tanzer's Lefaive Chevy tasting article that for the last few years the Domaine has been reconditioning all their holdings of GC and Les Pucelles bottles pre 2014 vintage...weeding out bad bottles(wonder how many, as they didn't say), and replacing the cork with Diam.

"Morandière informed us that all of the bottles we’d be tasting had been opened, tasted and recorked in recent years. Indeed, one of Morandière’s first decisions after taking over direction of Domaine Leflaive was to carry out this procedure for all pre-2014 Grand Crus and Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles remaining in the estate’s cellars—23,000 bottles were “reconditioned” over a period of three years. Morandière made it clear that this process was not undertaken to “refresh” older bottles: “Our main objective was to get rid of the traditional corks and replace them with DIAM closures, which we feel more confident about.”

"The process, repeated for each bottle using the Eternam machine, was to remove the cork from each bottle, take a “splash” sample to taste a few milliliters of wine, then add inert gas and a bit of SO2 to eliminate any oxygen, finally bringing the bottle back to its intended level by adding wine from the same year and appellation—in other words, by sacrificing good bottles of each cuvée—and sealing it with a DIAM 30 while introducing only minute amounts of dissolved oxygen."
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#2 Post by c fu » September 18th, 2019, 10:00 am

you think they'll process some refunds for me?
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#3 Post by Eric Lundblad » September 18th, 2019, 10:19 am

Adding SO2 doesn't eliminate oxygen.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#4 Post by Jerry Hey » September 18th, 2019, 12:30 pm

c fu wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 10:00 am
you think they'll process some refunds for me?
+1 - most recently a 2004 and a 2007 Chevalier opened on the same night.

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#5 Post by brigcampbell » September 18th, 2019, 12:44 pm

Eric Lundblad wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 10:19 am
Adding SO2 doesn't eliminate oxygen.
I think that was just a poorly structured sentence. The preface was "then add inert gas and a bit of SO2 to eliminate any oxygen". The inert gas replaces the oxygen, correct?

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#6 Post by Eric Lundblad » September 18th, 2019, 1:17 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 12:44 pm
Eric Lundblad wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 10:19 am
Adding SO2 doesn't eliminate oxygen.
I think that was just a poorly structured sentence. The preface was "then add inert gas and a bit of SO2 to eliminate any oxygen". The inert gas replaces the oxygen, correct?
You're right. I looked up the Eternam machine (link below) and the entire process (removing/replacing the cork, getting a sample to taste, etc) is done inside a 100% inert gas environment...so oxygen never touches the wine during the process (or, that's what I gathered from the link). Certainly a sensible/preferred way to do it.

My comment was mostly a knee jerk 'SO2 isn't an anti-oxidant'...but I was also thinking "they're exposing the wine to O2 when pulling the cork and adding SO2 to make up for it, really?". Which they weren't (and should have been my first clue to look for the link below). But hey, I was grouchy from allergies :)

It'll be interesting to see what the premox rate is for the reconditioned wines...i.e. does premox always show early/subtle markers (that would cause Leflaive to reject) in which case the reconditioned bottles would, in theory, have little/no premox. Doesn't seem implausible. I don't know of any other way of testing the above theory (premox always showing early markers), so I don't think we know this yet (if we do, speak up!)

http://michaelpaetzold.com/en/products/ ... es-eternam
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#7 Post by alan weinberg » September 18th, 2019, 1:30 pm

c fu wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 10:00 am
you think they'll process some refunds for me?
+1. Lots of us in that line.

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#8 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » September 18th, 2019, 2:15 pm

Gosh - so it will be worth buying again, except of course that the Chevalier is now north of $1000 ;)!!!
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#9 Post by brigcampbell » September 18th, 2019, 3:31 pm

Eric Lundblad wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 1:17 pm


It'll be interesting to see what the premox rate is for the reconditioned wines...i.e. does premox always show early/subtle markers (that would cause Leflaive to reject) in which case the reconditioned bottles would, in theory, have little/no premox. Doesn't seem implausible. I don't know of any other way of testing the above theory (premox always showing early markers), so I don't think we know this yet (if we do, speak up!)

http://michaelpaetzold.com/en/products/ ... es-eternam
Good point, how many failed and why. What was the criteria? It just didn't taste right?


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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#10 Post by Ed Gonzales » September 18th, 2019, 3:46 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 1:30 pm
c fu wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 10:00 am
you think they'll process some refunds for me?
+1. Lots of us in that line.
yes. please make it happen. '04-'08
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#11 Post by R. Frankel » September 18th, 2019, 4:16 pm

I’m curious how they did all this tasting. A couple of milliliters times 23000 bottles is about 61 bottles. Palate fatigue? Hah a job that many here would apply for ;).
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#12 Post by Eric Lundblad » September 18th, 2019, 4:21 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 3:31 pm
Eric Lundblad wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 1:17 pm


It'll be interesting to see what the premox rate is for the reconditioned wines...i.e. does premox always show early/subtle markers (that would cause Leflaive to reject) in which case the reconditioned bottles would, in theory, have little/no premox. Doesn't seem implausible. I don't know of any other way of testing the above theory (premox always showing early markers), so I don't think we know this yet (if we do, speak up!)

http://michaelpaetzold.com/en/products/ ... es-eternam
Good point, how many failed and why. What was the criteria? It just didn't taste right?
Oh, I missed the video, and just read the marketing blurb...obviously it's not under inert gas the entire time after all, which is disappointing from a premox perspective.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#13 Post by Robert M yers » September 18th, 2019, 6:05 pm

Imagine the upcoming costs if/when released. if someone pays the price now with a % failure rate will they pay x% more for a reconditioned bottle? Certainly there will still be no guarantee.

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#14 Post by Jeff Cassetta » September 18th, 2019, 6:36 pm

Interesting...long time buyer of all the Domaine Leflaive PC's...sparingly the GC. Last vintage was 2005. Never had a bad bottle. Just had my last '96 Pucelles a couple of weeks ago. It was spectacular!!! I've never had a better white burg...minerality and depth...you'd think that it was 10 years old, or less, rather than 23...why did Burgundy f'up such a good thing?

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#15 Post by Tom Reddick » September 18th, 2019, 10:20 pm

The premox phenomenon is such a broad and unpredictable thing that I have generally found it difficult to fault producers for being reticent in the early days about discussing it until there was more clarity on the extent of the matter and how the market was going to respond.

And so maybe I am being unfair, but given how Leflaive avoided premox for so long, took merciless advantage of the opportunity to raise their prices on that reputation to astonishing levels, and then to see how violently- physically sometimes- Anne Claude Leflaive refused to acknowledge the very sudden and serious onslaught of premox in her wines- left me with a very negative feeling about Domaine Leflaive, and unfortunately Madame Leflaive herself who was in many respects a truly remarkable human being.

There is no forgiveness in me there- and I not only no longer own any of the wines, but I avoid tasting them at events unless I absolutely must to avoid insulting whoever brought the bottle.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#16 Post by alan weinberg » September 19th, 2019, 12:08 am

Tom Reddick wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 10:20 pm
And so maybe I am being unfair, but given how Leflaive avoided premox for so long, took merciless advantage of the opportunity to raise their prices on that reputation to astonishing levels, and then to see how violently- physically sometimes- Anne Claude Leflaive refused to acknowledge the very sudden and serious onslaught of premox in her wines
the same woman who wouldn’t allow bar code labels on her bottles as it would upset the molecular vibration of the wine, or some such nonsense as that.

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#17 Post by ybarselah » September 19th, 2019, 9:52 am

never really bought these wines, but admire the domaine obviously and have been lucky enough to try a few top wines over the years. this boasting of going back and correcting bottles without acknowledging or doing something for the thousands of loyal customers seems very tone-deaf.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#18 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » September 19th, 2019, 12:44 pm

And what a shame that Pierre Morey hasn't been able to replicate the previous quality of Leflaive with his own wines.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#19 Post by Tom Reddick » September 19th, 2019, 9:42 pm

ybarselah wrote:
September 19th, 2019, 9:52 am
never really bought these wines, but admire the domaine obviously and have been lucky enough to try a few top wines over the years. this boasting of going back and correcting bottles without acknowledging or doing something for the thousands of loyal customers seems very tone-deaf.
Very good point. They may think they are sending a good message, but really and truly how can you acknowledge formally that your library stock is problematic to the extent that you are undergoing a very expensive corrective process- but then completely ignore the amount of troublesome stock that you have already sold into the marketplace.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#20 Post by james l moleberg » September 20th, 2019, 5:07 pm

I guess all it took was for the old dame to croak, for the domaine to find some dignity. If she had passed 15 years ago, perhaps many would have been spared a small fortune in bad bottles.

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#21 Post by john stimson » September 20th, 2019, 8:53 pm

If you mean Anne-Claude, the "old dame" died at age 59. Otherwise, i think the sentiments hold true.

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#22 Post by Yao C » September 20th, 2019, 10:04 pm

I might be alone in this, but there is something sad and crass about the idea of opening up all these decades-old bottles and subjecting them to these technological manipulations. There is this loss of authenticity and integrity and connection to the past that is deplorable. I had this same visceral reaction to the library wines at Eyrie, which have undergone similar (if not identical) treatment; to be clear I hated the taste of what was presented to me, as the perfect, sterile, sanitized version of the past, on my tongue. Perhaps I’m just an incurable romantic...
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#23 Post by James Billy » September 20th, 2019, 10:13 pm

Sometimes I'm the opposite and think why do we put up with bad old wine when with a little mixology we could probably make something quite drinkable. Isn't the taste the most important thing?

Other days I think the above thought is crass :D

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#24 Post by Robert Grenley » September 20th, 2019, 11:32 pm

I am still confused. If all pre-2014 GC and Pucelles at the domaine were opened and tasted prior to “reconditioning”, the more recent wines would be at least 6 years old now and I assume that a number of wines in the ? 2000-2013 vintages would be showing signs of premox...which Leflaive had become notorious for in that period. It is unclear whether wines that showed signs of advancement or premox were discarded or were “reconditioned” anyway, which of course should not have had any beneficial effect in reversing the pox (though I don’t know if it might arrest or slow future degradation by changing from the original cork to DIAM), and if they were discarded then it would be interesting to know how many were poured down the sink, as I have done numerous times.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#25 Post by Mike Evans » September 21st, 2019, 5:14 am

Yao C wrote:
September 20th, 2019, 10:04 pm
I might be alone in this, but there is something sad and crass about the idea of opening up all these decades-old bottles and subjecting them to these technological manipulations. There is this loss of authenticity and integrity and connection to the past that is deplorable. I had this same visceral reaction to the library wines at Eyrie, which have undergone similar (if not identical) treatment; to be clear I hated the taste of what was presented to me, as the perfect, sterile, sanitized version of the past, on my tongue. Perhaps I’m just an incurable romantic...
I hope you are alone in this, as some of the Eyrie library wines have been among the most profound wines I’ve had in recent years. If the bottles are topped off with the same wine, then they simply represent authentic versions of the wine that have been screened for flaws. I commend any producer who takes action to ensure that they aren’t releasing flawed bottles from their library, particularly when they know or should know that a significant portion of their library wines are flawed.

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#26 Post by AlexS » September 21st, 2019, 8:46 am

Mike Evans wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 5:14 am
Yao C wrote:
September 20th, 2019, 10:04 pm
I might be alone in this, but there is something sad and crass about the idea of opening up all these decades-old bottles and subjecting them to these technological manipulations. There is this loss of authenticity and integrity and connection to the past that is deplorable. I had this same visceral reaction to the library wines at Eyrie, which have undergone similar (if not identical) treatment; to be clear I hated the taste of what was presented to me, as the perfect, sterile, sanitized version of the past, on my tongue. Perhaps I’m just an incurable romantic...
I hope you are alone in this, as some of the Eyrie library wines have been among the most profound wines I’ve had in recent years. If the bottles are topped off with the same wine, then they simply represent authentic versions of the wine that have been screened for flaws. I commend any producer who takes action to ensure that they aren’t releasing flawed bottles from their library, particularly when they know or should know that a significant portion of their library wines are flawed.
+1, a reconditioned 1996 Eyrie South Block library release is in my top 10 wines, if not top 5 - was that profound.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#27 Post by James Billy » September 22nd, 2019, 3:56 am

I agree that topping up with the same wine isn't really messing about at all.

My post was questioning if even a bit of 'messing around' is such an issue. When new world wineries are allowed to have a certain leeway when it comes to declared varieties/vintage/region to start with, how 'pure' are most wines from the get go anyway?

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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#28 Post by Stephen Williams » October 15th, 2019, 8:16 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 6:05 pm
Imagine the upcoming costs if/when released. if someone pays the price now with a % failure rate will they pay x% more for a reconditioned bottle? Certainly there will still be no guarantee.
The prices I’ve seen are fair in the context of the current market for non-reconditioned wines. I’d say around 20% below market for ‘pure’ bottles.....
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#29 Post by J. Ashourian » October 15th, 2019, 8:39 pm

A couple thoughts here. How could the Domain process refunds? Would it be like a class action, where every single person who consumed a bottle of Leflaive comes out of the wood work and winds up with $12 each? Hard to prove your loss, is my point.

Secondly, id bet the Domain is going to begin some library releases and this is just a primer in hopes that some people bite.
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#30 Post by John O' » October 16th, 2019, 3:49 am

R. Frankel wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 4:16 pm
I’m curious how they did all this tasting. A couple of milliliters times 23000 bottles is about 61 bottles. Palate fatigue? Hah a job that many here would apply for ;).
23,000 bottles were “reconditioned” over a period of three years. Equivalent to less than 2 bottles per month
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#31 Post by Dale Williams » October 16th, 2019, 5:44 am

John O' wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 3:49 am
R. Frankel wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 4:16 pm
I’m curious how they did all this tasting. A couple of milliliters times 23000 bottles is about 61 bottles. Palate fatigue? Hah a job that many here would apply for ;).
23,000 bottles were “reconditioned” over a period of three years. Equivalent to less than 2 bottles per month
At first I was reading this as 2 bottles reconditioned a month (rather than 600+). Now I see based on quoted post you mean 2 bottles tasted (based on earlier estimate of 2 ml). But not sure how much 2 ml would be useful. Obviously nose is way more important (especially as far as TCA, but would show for premox as well) but if they are going to taste a 1/3 teaspoon is hard to judge from. But I guess if you are doing it 600+ times a month....
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Re: 23,000 Leflaive GC and Pucelles bottles pre 2014 reconditioned at the Domaine...

#32 Post by joz€f p1nxten » October 16th, 2019, 5:55 am

Stephen Williams wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 8:16 pm
Robert M yers wrote:
September 18th, 2019, 6:05 pm
Imagine the upcoming costs if/when released. if someone pays the price now with a % failure rate will they pay x% more for a reconditioned bottle? Certainly there will still be no guarantee.
The prices I’ve seen are fair in the context of the current market for non-reconditioned wines. I’d say around 20% below market for ‘pure’ bottles.....
I saw someone from Singapore commenting that they were being offered at 20% above current market prices?
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