Burgundy is renowned for producing among the best wines in the world, and Olivier Laflaive is a name that has become synonymous with both quality wine and fine dining. The Laflaive family has been producing wine in Burgundy since the 18th century, and today, Olivier Laflaive continues the family tradition with his eponymous winery and restaurant in the heart of the region.
The family’s history of producing wine dates back to the late 18th century when Olivier’s grandfather, Joseph LeFlaive, started acquiring vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet. Over the years, the LeFlaive family continued to expand its holdings, gaining a reputation for producing high-quality wines that reflected the unique terroir of Burgundy.
In 1984 after co-managing Domaine LeFlaive with his Uncle and cousin, Olivier decided to pursue his own winemaking venture and established his own winery, Olivier LeFlaive, with a vision to produce wines that are true expressions of their terroir and crafted with the utmost respect for nature.
One of the key pillars of Olivier LeFlaive’s winemaking philosophy is biodynamic farming, a holistic approach to agriculture that goes beyond organic farming by considering the vineyard as a living ecosystem. The winery follows biodynamic principles in all aspects of their viticulture, from soil health to biodiversity, and uses natural preparations made from plants, minerals, and animal manure to nourish the soil and vines. This approach aims to create a harmonious balance between the vineyard and its environment, resulting in wines that are not only of exceptional quality but also express the unique terroir of Burgundy.
In the vineyard, Olivier LeFlaive practices meticulous vineyard management techniques to ensure that the grapes reach their full potential. This includes hand-harvesting, careful pruning, and rigorous sorting of the grapes to ensure that only the best fruit is used in the winemaking process. The winery also practices sustainable viticulture, avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides, and instead focusing on natural methods to maintain soil health and biodiversity.
One of the unique aspects of Olivier LeFlaive is their approach to sourcing fruit. While they own over 40 acres in some of Burgundy’s most revered appellations such as Corton-Charlemagne, Chevalier Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet “Les Pucelles”, the winery also works closely with a select group of growers who share their commitment to quality and biodynamic farming. These growers follow the same strict guidelines as Olivier LeFlaive, and the winery works closely with them to ensure that the grapes are grown to their exacting standards.
This allows Olivier LeFlaive to produce a wide range of wines that reflect the diversity of Burgundy’s terroir, from village-level wines to premier cru and grand cru wines.
In the winery, Olivier LeFlaive practices a minimal intervention winemaking approach, allowing the natural characteristics of the grapes and the terroir to shine through in the final wines. The winery uses traditional winemaking techniques, such as fermentation in oak barrels and aging on lees, to create wines that are complex, elegant, and expressive. The winery is also known for its white wines, particularly its Chardonnays, which are characterized by their purity, freshness, and mineral-driven profiles.
Apart from their winery, Olivier Laflaive also has a hotel with two gourmet restaurants in a charming 17th century building that offer a fine dining experience in a beautiful setting. Bistro d’Olivier is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and offers a 3-course menu paired with Olivier LeFlaive wines, while Klima Restaurant is open on the same days for dinner offering a seasonal chef’s tasting menu.
The menus at both are inspired by the region’s rich culinary heritage and feature dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant is also known for its extensive wine list, which includes a selection of wines from the Olivier Laflaive winery as well as other Burgundy wines.
We opted for a lunch at Bistro d’Olivier and based on that experience alone (plus a peek at the dinner menu), we would have absolutely returned for dinner at Klima had time allowed. Olivier himself now focuses on the restaurants and hotel and is there almost daily.
The consummate host, we watched him personally stopping at each table to ensure every single guest was enjoying a world-class experience. He couldn’t have been more charming or gracious, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend both the meal to anyone visiting the region, along with the lineup of wines to anyone who finds them at their local bottle shop.
2018 Olivier Leflaive Auxey – Duresses
The 2018 Auxey–Duresses has a lovely floral perfume. On the palate there is medium body with medium+ acidity. Flavours of grapefruit and citrus take the centre of the stage while wet stones and green apple provide added complexity. A surprisingly cool take on a hot vintage. This will really charm palates in search of freshness.
2018 Olivier Leflaive Mersault Les Caillerets 1er Cru
This beautiful wine shows intense flavours of golden delicious apple, pear and hints of almonds. Quite full, almost decadently textured, this retains enough freshness to carry its weight with poise and balance. We pick up hints of ripe, slightly bruised fruit with some swirling. The finish is long and minerally.
2018 Olivier Leflaive Chassagne Montrachet Les Pierres
A very classic Chassagne showing the rounder, fuller side of Montrachet as well as the power of the 2018 vintage. Les Pierres has quite a bit of clay in its soil but this wine shows a solid mineral streak which serves as a wonderful counterpart to the richness of the wine and brings the balance nicely into focus.
2018 Olivier Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Enseigneres
Racy and fresh, this formed quite a contrast to the Mersault that preceded it. Powerful and intense, this vineyard sits just below Batard Montrachet and Bienvenue Batard Montrachet and clearly shows the pedigree of its address. Fresh green apple infuses the palate which is beautifully framed by the mineral streak that provides a mouth-watering freshness. The finish goes on and on. A very classy Montrachet, that at age 5 shows it is still in its infancy.