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One Brilliant Bottle

organic/biodynamic/natural wines in Vinland

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine

France (Burgundy/Mâcon)


[no website]

The British I hear are starting to make some very good wines, but I haven’t tasted any as yet (organic or otherwise) so to celebrate Kate & Wills I go instead back to a wine I first drank in London (at Artisan & Vine, which today is having a grand party I understand…wish I could be there!), the one with a crown on its gold-coloured label.

Drink a bottle of Lafon’s Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine and feel a little regal. Perhaps not as regal as if it were the Meursault for which Dominique Lafon is most famous, but rather royally charming nonetheless. Lafon was the first Côte d’Or superstar to turn his eye to the neighbouring vineyards of the Mâconnais. He very much liked what he saw. Between 1999 and 2003 he purchased approximately 20 hectares and Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon was born.

Seven wines are made here. Three are regular cuvées (of which the wine in our glass is one) and three single vineyard offerings. All caused wine drinkers to stand up and take notice, dispelling the notion that the Mâconnais is nothing more than a region of unremarkable cooperatives. Soon other committed independent vignerons (such as the Bret brothers…see the June 4, 2010 posting) followed, until today the region is known as one where top quality wines can be had for a fraction of the price of the prestigious domaines to the north.

Says Lafon, “At first, people thought I would make Mâcon like Meursault. I said, ‘I’m not going down to Mâcon to make little Meursault. I’m going to make great Mâcon. After all, it’s Mâcon and not Meursault.'”

Today’s wine is from a parcel in the village of Milly-Lamartine. The east facing vines average about 25 years old. Harvesting is by hand, and the wine sees a combination of stainless steel and large barrels. It undergoes light filtration before bottling. It is not radical winemaking, but it is a classic example of what can be accomplished when promising terroir meets an accomplished, instinctive vigneron… i.e. something very good indeed.

Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine 2008

The first three words to come to mind- clean, crisp and flavourful. White stone fruit accented by a lively minerality. Good, clear acidic grip that coupled very well with the shellfish adorning the table at Artisan & Vine the first time the wine was poured.  It’s a wine from an estate that obviously knows what it’s about. The straw-coloured liquid makes one want to raise a glass and exclaim ‘Jolly good, Kate and Wills!’  $

I wonder if it would taste as good in a bone china teacup?


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