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  • Leflaive white Burg vertical and the issue of premox

    Great piece on Leflaive. Did you happen to have any conversation with Anne-Claude on white Burg premox (from my experience her wines seem not to be "affected," certainly nowhere near that of most other producers)? Nonetheless, the issue immediately springs to mind these days when considering white Burg verticals. Any other producer conversations recently on the topic?
    What is clearly perceived can be clearly expressed. Emile Peynaud

  • #2
    Re: Leflaive white Burg vertical and the issue of premox

    Thanks John. I don't think I did bring up the premox issue with Anne-Claude and if I did the response couldn't have been earth-shattering as I didn't write it down. To be honest, I'm somewhat exhasperated with asking about it now and am at the stage where I simply want to see results, not hear theories. I have seen a few premoxed bottles of Leflaive but clearly this producer is not nearly as bad as others. Personally, I suspect the fault is a result of a combination of juice / wine handling, SO2 additions (timing and amount) and use of corks. The SO2 regime and use of corks are the easiest factors to control, in other words get the SO2 timing right, maintain a relatively high but legal level of additions and be careful of the corks you use and how they're used. So I suspect the tricky part comes down to juice / wine handling. Factors here are many and varied: crush & destem or whole bunch pressing, pneumatic press (pretty much standard now) and how it's used, amount of oxygen to which the juice is exposed allowing susceptable compounds to oxidise early-on (or not), debourbage / relative cleanliness of the juice prior to fermentation, MLF (when it takes place and how long it takes to complete), lees contact / stirring and time on lees, etc. All these factors directly impact the future stability of the wine and susceptability to oxidation. What's even more tricky is that the handling of each factor cannot be done to formula because every vintage is going yield a new wine that has different components (acids, pH, sugars, oxidases, etc) and therefore every vintage has different needs. At the end of the day, what is critical is experience and skill with specific sites over a range of vintages and having the wisdom to handle the new mix of variables each vintage. When a producer has a very sensitive winemaker who has that experience / skill / wisdom, they're probably a lot more likely to produce a reliably stable and age-worthy wine.
    Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW

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    • #3
      Re: Leflaive white Burg vertical and the issue of premox

      Thanks for your thoughts. It does seem that the antioxidant quality of the lees (complicated by débourbage and the pneumatic press) seems to be a prime candidate, but it is likely multifactorial as you note, and probably different key factors according to producer. I rarely get similar answers from different producers, although many seem to be pre-occupied with changing their closure (not screwcaps but switching to untreated and non-silicon coated corks, modifying the bottle shape, or adopting new methods to reduce the amount of oxygen introduced at bottling), which doesn’t seem likely to be a major factor in of itself for premox.

      White Burg enthusiasts are a bit obsessed as well as exasperated about it all since it has a considerably greater impact than TCA on the expensive habit. Would also rather have results than theories, but there aren’t any definite answers or results, thus the obsession.

      Laying down white Burgundy even near-term is becoming a thing of the past, which is unfortunate. Your vertical tasting of Leflaive demonstrates what good white Burgundy can do even with modest cellar time.
      What is clearly perceived can be clearly expressed. Emile Peynaud

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