Robert Parker 93-95
The 2014 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru was showing a little more reduction than the other Grand Crus this year, the shopfront closed. The palate is more expressive with supple tannin, a touch of white pepper on the entry, very cohesive but linear for a Clos de la Roche that keeps a tight control on the finish. But the aftertaste is extraordinarily long, leaving the mouth tingling a minute after the wine has departed. One comes away with the impression that this is keeping something up its sleeve after bottling. The dogs were yapping away when I rang the doorbell chez Leroy in Vosne. I think they recognize me now, know my smell. Stranger danger? No, it’s just Neal. And behind them came their owner, Lalou-Bize-Leroy, still as fit as a fiddle and full of energy, flanked by her loyal assistant Frédéric. Pleasantries done, we made our now ritualistic descent in the lift, dogs in tow, down into the caves to taste through her 2014s. Instantly I saw that they cellar was occupied by a few more barrels than last year, the yields a tad higher at a still very modest 21 hectoliters per hectare. Lalou told me that July and August was rather poor in terms of the weather, but matters improved after August 15 and that she ended up picking from September 17. “I like the 2014s a lot. They are very ‘jolie’,” she tells me, flitting between barrels, making sure that each is not too reduced before giving the nod to pour into my glass. “But the 2014s are different to the 2013s. They were more ‘gentile.’ I find these a little more tannic than the 2013s, with very good acidity levels. The pH was around 3.30. I find the very precise with lovely fruit.” Lalou traditionally bottles earlier than her peers and she told me that she intends to bottle in December. Though there was some reduction to overcome, it is clear that the 2014s represent a very fine vintage for the domaine and I found the wines as Lalou described, full of energy and nervousness, precise and mineral-driven, not overtly powerful wines but with what you might call “streamlined intensity” — and often deliriously silky-smooth textures. No doubt there will be difficultly to find and warrant a second mortgage, but these are seriously fine expressions of the vintage crafted by a one-off who truly deserves the title of ‘legend.’ As you expect, these are wines that, like Lalou, are full of energy despite the reduction that one inevitably encounters out of barrel. They are very terroir-specific, perhaps not abiding by the Burgundy hierarchy as much as other vintages; that is to say, some of the premier crus I thoughts ranked equal to the grand crus and vice versa. The grands crus are exceptional, especially the Richebourg, which ranks as one of the finest 2014s that I tasted. This is closely followed by the Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Musigny and Chambertin, incidentally the latter augmented by a new acquisition that the domaine are currently converting to biodynamic viticulture. Some of the village crus are truly wonderfu
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038
Veins of bracing acidity, tannin and chalkiness give the 2014 Clos de la Roche much of its taut, driving energy. Persistent and lifted throughout, the Clos de la Roche is another wine that possesses striking balance and exceptional purity. Blood orange, white pepper, chalk and sweet floral notes add the closing shades of nuance. The Clos de la Roche will appeal most to readers who enjoy brisk, precise Burgundies.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2044