Benjamin Leroux 2018

On reflection, the 2018 Burgundies exceeded my estimate. Talk of excessively high alcohol levels proved largely unfounded…The 2018s are generally more energetic and, banal as it sounds, “fun” wines that are destined to give a lot of pleasure, and certainly less austere and reserved compared to their 2017 counterparts…The real surprise is the quality of the whites. NEAL MARTIN, Vinous

[On the 2018 Vintage] Quality is outstanding. The wines show both depth and vivacity as well as focus and precision, and are expected to age well.” ANDREW JEFFORD, Wine Scholar Guild

You may remember that when I asked Allen Meadows, aka Burghound, on this video who he thought might be a natural heir to the late great Henri Jayer of Burgundy, one of the two people he cited was young Benjamin Leroux of Domaine Comte Armand. JANCIS ROBINSON MW

Leroux’s passion, ambition and sheer talent have already resulted in a number of stunning, beautiful wines THE WINE ADVOCATE

I have had the pleasure of drinking and selling Ben’s wines for a number of years and although I am well familiar with his back story, it still strikes me as incredible that he started his forays into wine at such a young age. Imagine first studying at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune at just 13 years of age and then taking the reins at Domaine Comte Armand at just 26 years old. It is now some 13 years since Leroux launched his own label and while he often gets labelled a ‘young gun’ and ‘rising star’ his depth of knowledge and experience places him in a far more esteemed position.

It is that depth of knowledge and experience too that is invaluable in a modern vintage like 2018. Overall, this was a strong vintage with exceptional wines being made, but as global warming becomes the norm in Burgundy it takes an astute winemaker to find that perfect balance between wonderful ripe fruit, aromatics and tension all keeping the wines terroir-focused at their core. Leroux understands this juggling act all too well and can draw on his decades of experience and an encyclopedia knowledge of the region to craft deep, expressive wines from across the Cote d’Dor.

In regards to the vintage, the consensus seems to show the hardy Chardonnay grape has handled the season well with astute winemakers crafting wines of tension and freshness, even in the slightly warmer conditions. The delicate Pinot Noir grape, as is its nature, course provided more challenges but winemakers who got the picking right made exuberant wines perhaps most aligned with ‘15, with immediate appeal and the best examples still expressing the true character of their sites. The reviews and musings across Leroux’s wines seem to echo these points and buyers will be rewarded with some excellent offerings from across the range.