Situated in Nuits St. Georges, this impressive domaine extends over 10 hectares of vines across 18 different appellations with some considerable holdings in Premier Cru vineyards, including Les Pruliers and Les Damodes. Purchased in the 1960s, Fernand Lécheneaut worked for a négociant house and sold fruit from his own three hectares. Over the years, the family added to their holdings and Fernand’s sons, Vincent and Philippe, then set themselves up as a fully-fledged domaine in the 1980s. Given glowing reviews, significant holdings and evident winemaking talent, it is surprising that this domaine has remained off the radar for so long.
The brothers have accomplished much in the last 30 years and are subsequently very highly-regarded by fellow growers. It was, in fact, a personal recommendation from one such grower that led to our initial interest. Their philosophy includes organic and biodynamic principles which often underlines the qualities of an attentive grower. The quality of the fruit is key to their success and each vintage we have assessed has demonstrated stunning purity. These are deceptively long-lived wines, although the structure is underlying and it is the fruit expression that comes to the fore. During a recent tasting of wines from perhaps more notable growers, the Lécheneaut examples shone; both the 2005 Pruliers and 2006 Chouillets were considerably more youthful and hint at the great things to come from our recent purchases. High class Burgundy, indeed.
Domaine Lécheneaut, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 2014
This wine is taken from the family’s single hectare of vines, situated on well-exposed stony soils at just over 300 metres in altitude. This altitude tends to give an elegant wine with ‘tension’ as described by Vincent. The 2014 is typically medium-bodied and is a slightly earlier-drinking introduction to the Domaine Lécheneaut range with its attractive, supple cherry and raspberry fruit character. The palate is fresh and elegant with good intensity of red berry and spice. Although it may be considered an ‘entry-level’ wine, it has plenty of finesse and flavour given its relatively humble price. Drink 2016-2019.
£140 per twelve bottles in bond
Domaine Lécheneaut, Morey-St. Denis, 2014
The domaine has a particularly good Morey-St Denis, much of which comes from vines that lie next to the famed Grand Cru of Clos des Lambrays. The limestone soils give freshness while the clay component provides the richness of fruit and assertive tannic frame. The 2014 shows both finesse of texture and flavour allied to a striking purity of fruit. Like the 2013, it has black berry fragrance and the typical spiciness of benchmark Morey-St Denis. Yet there is a noticeably fresh blackcurrant quality to this vintage and a sprightliness to the palate that will allow the wine to be broached in youth. A touch of wood smoke is followed by intense herb and black fruits which linger long into the finish. Drink 2017-2025.
£130 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Lécheneaut, Gevrey-Chambertin 2014
The Lécheneaut family have approximately half a hectare of Gevrey-Chambertin Villages, where the vines are approximately fifty years of age. Their holding is spread across two parcels of vines to the north and south of the appellation. The wine always seems to be particularly powerful given its Villages status and the 2014 is no exception. It has bright, red fruit aromas with a redcurrant and raspberry-scented palate giving way to a deeper, fuller core. All of this is ably supported by firm tannins and sheer intensity of flavour. Cherry-red fruits last well on the finish, which gives way to gentle spice and hazelnut from barrel-ageing. This is a versatile wine that will drink well in youth and in the mid to long-term. An impressive showing for a wine of this level. Drink 2017-2025
£140 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Lécheneaut, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Les Chouillets, Vieilles Vignes 2014
The Lécheneaut family’s Les Chouillets exemplifies the potential of old vines in Nuits-Saint-Georges. With 60 years of age, the vines on this stony and clay based vineyard seem to confer extra intensity and depth. The Lécheneauts have singled out this plot as being particularly high in quality given its location to the north of Nuits-Saint-Georges, close to Vosne-Romanée. The palate is always slightly fuller than the Gevrey-Chambertin although no less powerful. The 2014 has a distinctive spice and black pepper character on the nose, followed by a generous core of dark fruits. This will need some time in bottle for the components to fully mesh and for the firm, yet fine tannins to mellow. Drink 2018- 2026
£150 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Lécheneaut, Chambolle-Musigny, 1er Cru 2014*
On account of the small holdings, the Lécheneaut family blend two parcels of Premier Cru together, ‘Les Borniques’ and ‘Les Plantes’ to make their superb Chambolle-Musigny. ‘Les Borniques’ is a continuation of Musigny Grand Cru and, as might be expected, the wine displays appropriately dark colour and powerful cherry fruit characters. The tannins are sleek and fine, thereby allowing the wine to age exceptionally well. For the 2014, the aromas of cherry and spice are followed by a full but finely-textured palate brimming with cassis, cherry, strawberry and wild herbs. There is a fine elegant expression to this wine and a stunning generosity. Drink 2018-2027
£230 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Lécheneaut, Nuits-Saint-Georges, 1er Cru, Les Damodes 2014
The 8.5 hectare Premier Cru Les Damodes sits right on the border with Vosne-Romanée and is often as associated with the character traits of Vosne, namely finesse, spicy aromatics, as well as richness of red and black fruits. The 2014 from Domaine Lécheneaut is deep red and purple in colour with lifted aromas of spice, plum fruit and cassis. More opulent in nature than the 2013, this has a natural exuberance of dark fruits, with full body and ripe tannin that will support the wine well over the next ten years or so. A silky-textured example that marries grace and power. Drink 2019-2027.
£230 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Lécheneaut, Nuits-Saint-Georges, 1er Cru, Les Pruliers 2014*
The Premier Cru vineyard of Les Pruliers lies towards the southern-most part of Nuits-Saint-Georges and is perhaps more recognisably Nuits, with its very dense tannin and pronounced fruit intensity. The 2014 was aged in a greater proportion of new oak barrels (60%) than the Damodes and accordingly has a toast and mocha complexity of flavour in addition to its powerful black fruit. It remains a densely-packed, firm wine that will need time to mellow and develop secondary notes of game and truffle. For now, the aromas show fine notes of herb and spice with berry fruits on the palate along with an intriguing hint of clove that accompanies the cherry and cassis-laden finish. A wine for the long-term, that is slow to unfurl but rewards patience. Drink 2019-2028.
£230 per six bottles in bond
Domaine Lécheneaut, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2014*
Just two barrels of the 2014 were made from the brothers’ Grand Cru Clos de la Roche holding. There is fine aromas of lavender, plum and spice are evident in this vintage. It can be approached a year or so earlier than usual although promises considerable development for those with patience. The wine is deep red in colour and has considerable generosity of fruit on the palate, with raspberries, violet, cassis and spice lasting well on the finish. This vintage of Clos de la Roche is a resounding success for Domaine Lécheneaut – pure, defined; a terrific expression of this Grand Cru. Drink 2019-2031.
£585 per six bottles in bond