Ratings from 95 to 100 points. From the vintner: THE 2005 VINTAGE The 2004-5 winter was mild yet drawn out, with small snowfalls until mid March. Fine, warm, sunny conditions then set in within a month. By the end of April, early foliage was even throughout. Temperatures were relatively cold in mid May but there was no frost damage. Conditions were dry until 21st May when 70mm of rain fell in two days. Budbreak was good but significantly reduced in size compared with the 2004 vintage. Flowering started on 9th June in mild conditions, resulting in instances of coulure and millerandage (20-30% of grapes were affected). Hot, sunny weather (35ºC) carried through until the end of June, fresher conditions then returned at the beginning of July. Storms threatened the vines in mid July, and on the 17th isolated hailstorms affected the vineyards of Santenay and Chassagne. In certain areas losses of grapes were 60%. From that date onwards the sun shone throughout the region, often accompanied by an easterly wind. Rain stayed away, so failed to upset the ripening season. Certain parcels suffered from a lack of water, but nothing comparable to the summer of 2003. As in 2004, September brought exceptionally bright, sunny weather. Harvesting took place in fine, warm conditions from 12th September. Official harvest date in the Côte de Beaune: 12th September Start of harvest for Olivier Leflaive in the Côte de Beaune: 15th September Start of harvest for Olivier Leflaive in Chablis: 22nd September THE QUALITY OF THE 2005 VINTAGE Pinot Noir in the Côte de Beaune The volume of grapes was greater than expected. Fruit set was better than in the Chardonnay vines, with less millerandage. Throughout the region the ripeness of the Pinot Noir grapes was good but uneven. Certain sections benefited from being left for a couple of extra days prior to harvesting. The acidity levels approached the levels of the 2000 vintage and grapes were healthy throughout. Following alcoholic fermentation, the colour was dense and deep, the fruit character clearly present. Depth was good, but some tannins still harsh. Maturation on lees will be essential. Chardonnay in the Côte de Beaune The standard is excellent everywhere in the region. Thanks to reasonable yields, the technical and phenolic maturities were almost perfect, the level of ripeness being good throughout. Natural sugar levels ensured that chaptalisation was not required in most instances. Acidity levels neared 2000, but after fermentation the wines were both supple and rich. A certain positive austerity is evident in the greater wines, as was the case with the 1990s. Chardonnay in Chablis Chablis experienced more rain than the Côte de Beaune in July and August. This resulted in ripeness being gained at an earlier date in certain better-situated parcels. Throughout, the wines are naturally rich (12-13.5% alcohol). Yields were markedly down on previous years (40-50 hl/ha). 80% of our supplies came as grapes, the rest as must. 2005 is anticipated with great excitement. It is without question that a top class vintage is lying in the Olivier Leflaive cellars. The quality of regional appelations is exceptional, and a long maturation will be necessary for a good number of cuvées.