A Château Lafleur dinner at St. James's

A Château Lafleur dinner at St. James's

Thursday 2nd March 2017
by Chadwick Delaney

What an extraordinary week!  Just two days after we welcomed Jacques Thienpont, who’d kindly flown over to dine with our Le Pin customers in Justerini & Brooks’ private dining room, we welcomed back our close friends Baptiste and Julie Guinaudeau of Château Lafleur to do the same. 

It is always such a delight to have them over for these dinners in St. James’s.  Our customers love their illuminating and engaging insights on the fascinating wines of Lafleur.

We began the evening with a chilled glass of Dom Perignon 2004 before moving upstairs to our dining room.  The first wine of the evening, once sat down, was the Guinaudeau’s quite delicious white – Les Champs Libres 2014.  It’s a beautiful wine which matched our chef’s slightly spicy crab gratin perfectly. 100% Sauvignon Blanc, barrel-fermented, and from Sancerre clones - the warmer Bordeaux weather gives the wine a little extra intensity on the palate.  But still with that linear Sauvignon feel and a fresh, high-toned nose.  Unquestionably a wine that keeps pulling you back for another sip.

We then moved to the first of the reds – Les Penseés de Lafleur 2005.  This was showing so well.  It was gorgeously rich, with dark fruit characters on the palate and a swirling aromatic nose.  But straight away there was that unmistakable characteristic refinement, and the lingering flavours that is the core signature of this estate.

We then tasted what for me was the wine of the night – Château Lafleur 1995.  The glass was so filled with stunning, constantly changing aromas you could actually smell it before you even fully got your nose into the glass.  It was an utterly exceptional Lafleur.  A wine that kept evolving and revealing something new throughout the evening.  This is an estate that makes some of the most complex wines in the world, and the 1995 showed Lafleur at its quintessential best.

Baptise Guinaudeau of Château Lafleur, at Justerinis' Bordeaux tasting. 

A homemade duck terrine with some warm sourdough toast was served as we moved to the Château Lafleur 1988.  For Julie Guinaudeau it was her personal favourite of the evening.  A Bordeaux vintage that can at some estates be a little mean, the Lafleur was generously aromatic on the nose and full of nuanced red fruited charm on the palate.  Again, something extra was revealed each time we came back for a moreish sip.

As we moved to the roast guinea fowl, the Château Lafleur 1989 was poured to accompany it.  What an explosion of flavours!  Immediately a more hedonistic version of the 1988, it worked perfectly with the roasted meats and balsamic mayonnaise.  There was a long debate about terroir and how the unique topography of the estate is the reason these wines always have that extra dimension.  There is a beguiling, almost ethereal layering of flavours within Château Lafleur which is the reason our customers so covert these wines.    

Les Champs Libres 2014, shown at Justerinis' Bordeaux tasting and enjoyed by guests at St James's. 

We ended a very special evening indeed with a glass of 2003 Château Lafleur and a specially-picked selection of cheeses. Lafleur 2003, as it ages, seems to be showing the vintage less and less and the estate more and more.  It’s certainly one of the greatest wines made in that vintage.  The famous Lafleur old-vine Cabernet Franc adding elegance to the vintage style. 

Lafleur is a wine that makes you think.  Almost like no other.  It’s a perfect wine for memories.

Chadwick Delaney