Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet is a special vineyard producing an intriguing wine that on occasion can give Batard-Montrachet a run for its money. Yet often it frustrates your expectations, and you would have preferred a bottle of Chevalier-Montrachet or a more predictable Batard.
So what is it with Bienvenues-Batard? Let’s find out.
The nature of Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet
Bienvenues is a complex wine that rarely exceeds – or even meets – the expectations we have for it.
Tasting Bienvenues from cask gives you hope and high expectations: a Batard with a more refined and female touch, a Pucelles with more intensity and power, but still the delicate refinement that only Pucelles can deliver.
These are the expectations raised, yet in the end they are frequently frustrated by Bienvenues in the bottle, which often fails to impress.
The logic behind these expectations is clear however, as Bienvenues is wedged between Batard and Pucelles, leading to the hope it will bridge the gap between these two vineyards and deliver the best of each.
That said, the fact is that this is an unbridgeable gap. The feminine touch of a great Pucelles could not come from Batard; a powerful Pucelles is more likely to be soulmate to a Chevalier-Montrachet, with its vinous style and refined intensity.
In the end, Bievenues is best when approached without expectations and drunk with an open mind (as one always should, but rarely does). It will never be able to fill the gap among Pucelles, Batard and Chevalier – but it will give you something different.
Perhaps it’s a big and complex Enseigneres with a fine mid-slope balance – grand cru of course!
Maybe in the end one shouldn’t seek too hard to explain or understand Bienvenues. Nonethelss, I have always tried when it is in my glass, and always with its financial status in the back of my mind.
The Domaine Leflaive plots of Bienevenues-Batard-Montachet
Domaine Leflaive is – surprise – the largest owner of Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet, with a 1.158-ha section located in the core of the vineyard. The domaine owns roughly 31% of the appellation.
All the Leflaive plots are contiguous in one large section: cadastre plots 111, 110, 141, 140, 139 and 108 seen from the south.
The vines are more than 60 years old, planted in 1958 and 1959.
The best Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet I have had is the 2013, tasted from cask back in 2014.
Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet 2013
The 2013 Bienvenues is a very expressive, energetic wine bursting with minerality. The bouquet is quite broad, with hints of tropical fruit, citrus, and a powerful, crunchy minerality. On the palate, it is a step up in concentation and power from Les Pucelles, although while the mineral backbone is very strong, it is perhaps not as refined as in the Pucelles. That said, I really like its outgoing minerality and crisp acidity; it has the extra intensity expected from a grand cru. Perhaps it lacks a bit of the effortless delicacy found in Les Pucelles, but it is nevertheless a lovely, energetic, grand cru.
(Drink from 2025) – Very Fine – (93-94p) – Tasted 03/11/2014
This example sort of illustrated the dilemma with Bienvenues-Batard: It’s not Pucelles, and it’s not Batard. I did enjoy the 2013 though.