When Gilles offered to fetch tank samples of the ’18s that will soon be bottled, I unhesitatingly said “YES!”….I was quite surprised to find the wine still on a red fruited register, although slightly darker in tone than the ’17. The ’18 has all of the same hallmarks/architecture as the ’17 but with a bit more power in both its concentration and grip, perhaps a wine that will outlive the ’17. Somewhat remarkably for the very irregular 2018 vintage, it possesses a gorgeous sense of finesse and prettiness that I have to attribute to Gilles attentive care and house style. Again, this is gorgeous and dynamic red Burgundy by any definition possible….I immediately asked if it is possible to have this bottled in Magnums (something that I only do when the sh!t is gooood!), and Gilles told me that he would gladly oblige so long as I tell him in time for bottling at the end of December. Soooo, it is up to you guys…! Get it while the gettin’ is good, as red Burgundy doesn’t get better than this for the money…..another little * awarded here.
There are only two proprietors of this little known SE facing, upper hillside site of pale marne (decomposed limestoney clay), with the Lafouge vines aged some 60-70 years old for 2/3 of their parcel. The aromatics alone had me in fits, just plain stunningly complete in its little red fruits, florals, and spice. In the mouth, the same flavors are echoed, but with even more of a sense of buffering dry extract/minerality to make it even more dynamic and complex. This has class and finesse written all over it, in a painfully pretty style. “What else could one ask for?,” I wrote in my notes. I positively adore this wine, and encourage you to go big if this sounds like your cup of tea! To my personal rock head leanings, I prefer this to the Duresses, beautiful as it is in its own right. A big time * awarded here.
“The finest of Lafouge’s reds this year is the 2017 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru La Chapelle, a lovely rendition of this emblematic bottling that wafts from the glass with aromas of smoky cassis, plums, cocoa nib, rose petals and candied peel. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, supple and layered, with good concentration at the deep and layered core, velvety structuring tannins and ripe acids. Combining the elegance of Lafouge’s Duresses with the structure of his Climat du Val, the La Chapelle is the more serious and complete wine in the cellar.” 93+ William Kelley
“The 2017 la Chapelle from Domaine Lafouge is an outstanding wine. The bouquet is pure and sappy on the nose, jumping from the glass in a mix of red and black cherries, pomegranate, violets, raw cocoa, complex soil tones, woodsmoke, gamebird and a discreet touch of cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and sappy, with lovely soil signature, a very refined personality, fine-grained tannins and a long, tangy and transparent finish. Great juice. 2025-2065. 93+.” John Gilman