Domaine Leflaive   Chevalier Montrachet

2005 Chevalier Montrachet

By Domaine Leflaive

2003 Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet from Domaine Leflaive, Burgundy, France

In a year where Burgundy clung to extremes, the 2003 vintage of Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet from the venerable Domaine Leflaive emerges as a testament to the resilience and finesse of skillful viticulture wedded to an unyielding terroir. The summer of 2003 left many vintners grappling with the mercury, as Europe sweltered under an unforgiving sun. Yet, within this crucible, the Chardonnay grapes at Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet transcended adversity.


Exception Granter: A Vintage That Defies Odds

This vintage’s reprieve came from its provenance – a tapestry of Burgundian tenacity drawing from stony limestone and marl. The typically vibrant acidity associated with Domaine Leflaive's whites seemed to dip in tête-à-tête with the heat, allowing for the emergence of a richer, more opulent profile than typical years. The 2003 vintage presents an alluring contradiction: it seduces with sumptuous ripe fruit while maintaining a complex minerality that commands thoughtful appreciation.


Investment Calibre: Time's Favourable Influence

As we two decades' remove from its birth, it is palpable to discern how time has been surprisingly gentle with the 2003 Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. It stands as an analogue for potential investors – rarity fused with stellar reputation positions this vintage in an envious spot amidst collections. This wine unfurls now with mellowed vivacity, revealing honey-drizzled almonds on the nose, a buttery yet not cloying caress upon the palate, and – astonishingly – a retained suggestion of citrus verve propelling to a languidly elegant finish.

One will note that this particular iteration breathes with an autonomy special to its year - possessing a certain gravitas without sacrificing the quintessential poise one anticipates from Domaine Leflaive's masterpieces.

In summation, to possess or gift a bottle of 2003 Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet is to hold more than mere drink – it's an emblem of a vintage that speaks volumes of its origins and the sagacious guardianship of its makers.

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Scores and tasting notes


When you happen upon a pristine bottle of Leflaive's 2005 Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, it's a terrific wine that clearly rans among the white Burgundies of the vintage, and this was just such a bottle. Offering up a stunning bouquet of confit lemons, honeycomb, vine blossom and freshly baked bread, it's full-bodied, ample and multidimensional, with incredible concentration, a firm chassis of structuring dry extract, lively acids and a long finish that still displays considerable youthful drive. This is a muscular, imposing Chevalier that nods to the 1989 vintage in style, though if anything it's better balanced. Today, while it's still a youthful wine, it's beginning to arrive at early maturity, and it's as pleasurable as it is impressive. Sadly, however, I have encountered oxidized bottles of the 2005, and this perfect example only made that more poignant. By the numbers, it possesses 13.7% alcohol with a pH of 3.22.

William Kelley - The Wine Advocate, 31 July 2019

Vintage performance