We tasted through all the Meursault and Mâcon wines with Dominique Lafon which made for quite a big tasting! He said that 2017 saw a fairly big crop, bigger than 2018, but it would compensate for previous poor yielding years. He doubted whether such a plentiful harvest could have produced such lovely ripe grapes in the past without the organic methods they employ now. Dominique was keen not to leave the harvest too late so they started harvesting on 28th August and picked up until the 8th September. “It’s more complete than 2014,” says Dominique, “and it’s a classical vintage with everything there.”
Whilst Dominique Lafon does some consulting in Oregon, his own expansion plans have only taken him as far as the Mâconnais, an hour or so down the autoroute from his base in Meursault. One suspects that his perfectionist attitude to growing grapes and also his employment of riskier biodynamic methods meant that being nearby was an overriding priority. It was back in 1999 that we were among the very first visitors to his then just-purchased winery at Milly-Lamartine, and since then have spent half a day with Dominique in his Landcruiser travelling up hill and down dale to explore his burgeoning Mâconnais vineyard holdings. They now stand at 26 ha. The original estate brought with it 7 ha of vines on the slope behind the winery in Milly-Lamartine, with a warm mid-slope patch of vines being singled out for bottling as ‘Clos du Four’, as well as one more elevated hectare just over the hill in Bussières called ‘Le Monsard’. In 2003, six further hectares were added but these are some way from the winery, in the villages of Chardonnay and Uchizy to the north. The Mâcon-Uchizy ‘Les Maranches’ is from a scrubby hill that is easily visible for keen-eyed travellers on the A6 autoroute. It used to be rather dominated by an intriguing Muscat-like nose from a proportion of Chardonnay musqué vines, but this has been greatly reduced recently. In style the Mâcon-Chardonnay ‘Clos de la Crochette’ combines magnificently the cool citrus style of the ‘Bussières’ with the warm tropical nature of the ‘Uchizy’. To this range has been added a Viré-Clessé, and from the 2015 vintage, 2.5 ha in Mâcon-Prissé, Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé. These complete an attractively priced range that gives more people the opportunity to experience a little of the magic of the rare and fabled Meursaults of Domaine des Comtes Lafon.