In our on-going AuctioN*0213, we have a strong showing of Burgundy Grand Cru wines. In particular, there are four bottles from Dominique Laurent, either vintage 2000 or 2001. Honestly, vintage 2000 and 2001 were not easy vintage from producer perspective, requiring customers to do extra homework in order to pick out the good wines. Yet, Dominique Laurent's wines would be easy picks! Within just a decade since his first release in 1993, he has already proven his superb winemaking skills.
Dominique Laurent is a negociant-eleveur. Negociant in a sense that he does not own much vineyards - he acquire vines or young wine from other local producers. Eleveur ( "breeder" in English) in a sense that he works closely with the vignerons from day one of planting, and breeds the vines jointly with them. One of the key elements of Dominique's approach is that he only picks old vines (sometimes exceptionally old vines at 80+ years old) for his wines, which help boost the extra layer of depth and complexity in this wines.
He uses 100% new oak barrels for all his grand crus. For some specific wine if he sees fit, he would apply "200%" new oak, his trademark technique where wine is aged first in one new oak barrel, then racked into a second new oak barrel.
Dominique was frustrated with the lack of quality barrels in the market, so he decided to make his own. And he makes the most exceptional oak barrels, referred as the "Magic Casks". Dominique makes thick-staved (40-45mm thick vs. typical ones at 25-30mm) new oak barrels for his wines. He would go into the Troncais forest himself and select the trees (typically 300 years old) and transport them back to his cooperage to ensure perfect provenance. The wood itself would be aged for much longer period of time, usually 27 months, creating extra-smooth tannins. These magical barrels also make their way to few of the very best producers, including DRC and Pingus.
Stephan Tanzer of IWC summed up Dominique Laurent's wines as such: Few eleveurs use extended barrel aging so effectively to fill out the textures and extend the finishes of their wines: the 2000s that I tasted in blind flights against their peers in January and early February were consistently the deepest and longest wines on the table. These wines also held their fruit for days in the recorked bottles.
Guess what Dominique used to do before becoming a winemaker? He was a pastry chef (and he looks like one!) No doubt he is able to apply the detail-oriented approach of making fine pastry to making lovely Burgundian wines.
These are seriously "Don't miss!" wines. If you haven't placed your bids yet at our AuctioN*0213, I would urge you to do so right now!