Can wines made to be approachable soon after release actually reward extended cellaring, or is this simply a case of trying to have it all?
This was the subject of a recent winemaker roundtable discussion on Stephen Tankzer’s blog, Winophilia.com. Several different winemakers, ranging from Rupert Symington to Olivier Humbrecht, weighted in on the debate. Here is Lucien Le Moine’s take on the subject:
“I feel that there are two categories of consumers today: people who want everything NOW and people who would like to play the game and wait.
After 20 years of winemaking and 11 years of making the Lucien Le Moine wines, I can say that Burgundy and specifically our style here at Le Moine is enjoyable in the first two years in bottle and then the wines need five or six years of rest before we can enjoy them again. In other words, the wines provide two different experiences—fresh and fruity early, more soft and spicy later.
I am against making wine to satisfy a certain category of wine drinker. We do it our own way and with our own convictions, and then we help people to understand these crus of Burgundy that are made in this way. We know that we can never satisfy everyone; that’s why we make 30,000 bottles a year and not more.
Normally Burgundy is a place where great wines are great from the beginning. I never buy a Burgundy that’s not enjoyable during the two years after the bottling. Ageability is another matter. If we let our wines deal with oxygen early on, and during long barrel aging, they will be more fine and elegant and they will age better. I don’t believe that tannic wines age better than elegant wines. To us, classic Burgundy means light extraction, fine vinification, and more than 18 months of aging on the lees, with a late malolactic fermentation, no early sulfuring and gentle bottling without fining or filtration. All of these techniques produce wines that can be very sexy young and will sometimes age forever. Our 2002, 2006 and now the 2009 vintage are perfect examples of this style.”
Read the rest of the roundtable discussion here