[DEFCON] Les Bons Batons is back…and better than ever

[DEFCON] Les Bons Batons is back…and better than ever

Posted on Jan, 28. 2015 by

Categories: Wine

First off, I realize that there are some new faces out there, and they are probably seeing their first [DEFCON] pick from the Guild. Here’s a little explanation: we taste a lot of wine every week. Our few favorites end up in these offers and on the shelves at the Guild HQ. Awhile back, however, we thought, “how do we distinguish the truly amazing wines/deals without just draping the description in gushing hyperbole?” The [DEFCON] label was our answer. Truth be told, in our nearly eight (yes, it’s been that long) years of Guilding, we’ve only used the designation a handful of times, and these wines represent the best of the best – not just in terms of pure greatness, but more in terms of what you’re getting for your dollar. So, you’re not likely to see DRC or Guigal’s LaLa in these emails – ours are a bit more affordable – but just understand that these are the deals that you’d be a fool to pass up. 

Now, on to today’s DEFCON: This is the Philippe Leclerc Bourgogne “les Bons Batons” 2011. This wine is not new to some of you, nor to me. We bought a handful of cases of the 2010 vintage back in late ’13 at Will Richey’s urging, and it quickly turned into a house-favorite Burgundy for a bunch of us. In fact, I’ve somehow had the discipline to hang onto a few bottles and had one not long ago – it is aging like a pro, and still has plenty of life to it. But then we had the opportunity to try the 2011 as soon as it came in last week…and damned if it’s not fighting the 2010 for its spot! 

Philippe is located in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, and that influence is obvious on this entry-level offering. It has muscle, weight and expression that you simply don’t see in Bourgognes at this price anymore. This is what I loved about $18-20 Bourgognes ten years ago, but nowadays, it seems like a lot of them (unless you like spending $30) are wispy haute-cotes-ish husks. This stuff, though: it’s meaty for a Bourgogne, yet still elegant and feminine.

Even on day two, the fruit is ripe and juicy, and a bit candied. It seems, even at this young age, more luxurious than a wine of this level is capable of. Under the initial layer of ruby fruit, you’re first met with garrigue-ey herbs/spices, like sage, thyme and pepper. This persists quite a bit, actually, and is surrounded by some savory aromas, toasty oak, perhaps even a bit of caramel. This nose is broad, and giving, and, well, it just makes you happy to be alive! The palate, much like with the previous vintage, is a gleaming beacon of structure: bright, fresh red fruit up front; the mid-palate has the aforementioned weight and power and savory/herbal notes; the finish/edges of the wine consist of pliable tannins and assertive-but-balanced acidity. It ends on a very long note of fleeting flowers and fruits and spices, and is ultimately a tremendously satisfying and gratifying wine. 

This is drinking wonderfully now, but trust me when I say it has the structure, the backbone of acidity, the power and substance to keep improving for half a decade or more. The fact that the 2010 is still a baby is testament to that. And…the price…I mean, come on. 

So, here’s the point in the DEFCON schtick where I eschew the breathless hyperbole and just drop the mic. Buy this wine. Lots of it. Thank me later. G’night! 

Philippe Leclerc Bourgogne ‘les Bons Batons’ 2011
Member Prices: Grand Cru: $20.71  ||  Premier Cru: $21.65
Typical Retail:

Please CLICK HERE to place your order. 

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