Wine Monopole

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Burgundy, France

Lafarge, Leflaive, Lefon, Leroy – what do these domaines have in common?

That’s right! Their initials begin with “L” and they are all considered crème de la crème in Burgundy.

One more thing, they all practice biodynamic viticulture.

Somewhat similar to organic viticulture, which essentially bans the use of synthetic chemical treatments like weedkillers, fertilisers, fungicides and insecticides, biodynamic viticulture goes several steps further. Firstly introduced by Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), biodynamic philosophy sees land as a living ecosystem whose forces need to be in balance. In practice, vine
growers take some really unusual steps to their farmland:

  1. Use numerous type of natural plants (e.g. horsetail, dandelion, nettles and achille/milfoil) which help boost the vines’ resistance to diseases (kinda remind me of Chinese medicine)
  2. Apply cow dung every October to develop the soil’s micro-organisms
  3. Bury in the ground cow dung fermented in horns around Spring time to add minerals in soil [that’s the “scary” looking picture above]
  4. Spray ground-up quartz mixed with rain water to the vine leaves two to three times a year to increase efficacy the above treatments

In additional, the growers plan their activities and treatment day according to the lunar and cosmic calendar. Are they just being superstitious? Not really as they believe that the position of moon and the planets would impact the plant (just like plants would naturally face towards light source). This gives rise to the “root days”, “flower days”, leaf days”, and “fruit days” at which time the vines would require additional care.

However, biodynamic viticulture takes courage and more so, financial strength. In difficult years (e.g. 2007 and 2008 in Burgundy), yield can be significantly lower. Nonetheless, believers consider occasional low yield a small price to pay for the long term health of the vines, and superior quality of the wines.

From this week’s selection, we have chosen Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Desiree 1999 as an example of a wine made by a star-producer and a firm believer of biodynamic viticulture.

Take your time to browse through this week’s carefully selected Burgundies. I am sure you will discover a bottle or two that you will fall in love with.



Tasting note: Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Desiree 1999

Written by Wine Monopole — September 28, 2012


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