Joining his family’s 17th-century estate in 1986, Gilles Lafouge urged his father to give Auxey-Duresses’ underappreciated vineyards equal billing with Burgundy’s more hallowed appellations by bottling single-site expressions of the domaine’s old vine plots.
Taking the reins in 1990, Gilles now tends 10ha of exemplary vineyards in Auxey-Duresses, including 1er Crus ‘Climat du Val’, ‘La Chapelle’, and ‘Les Duresses’, as well as sites in Meursault and Pommard.
Top-quality fruit is handpicked and fermented with indigenous yeasts in old barrels and a touch of new oak. The result is richly flavoured Chardonnays with smoky minerality and fragrant, spicy Pinot Noirs layered with summer berry fruit.
From vines neighbouring Meursault, 2016 ‘Les Boutonniers’ is rounded and generous, showing notes of ripe pear and crushed stones. 2014 ‘Les Ecusseaux’ – from a vineyard bordering Monthélie – offers savoury-edged strawberries and earthy minerality. The most long-lived of Lafouge’s reds, 2014 ‘Climat du Val’ is richly perfumed with griotte cherry alongside complex sous bois nuances.
With Gilles’ enterprising young son Maxime poised to take over and a string of critics expressing huge excitement for the domaine and the appellation, mature parcels like this will soon be hard to come by.
Auxey-Duresses ‘Les Boutonniers’ Blanc 2016 (£42) Sold out
Broad orchard fruit and white flowers – like old-school Meursault
Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru ‘Les Ecusseaux’ Rouge 2014 (£42) Sold out
Fragrant and delicate: wild strawberry, black tea, tobacco, and earth
Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru ‘Climat du Val’ Rouge 2014 (£45) Sold out
Deep and spicy, its woodsy fruit lifted by herbal aromatics
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