TERROIR TALK: Dominique Lafon on Trailblazing the Mâconnais

TERROIR TALK: Dominique Lafon on Trailblazing the Mâconnais

In the midst of this pandemic, yesterday Dominique called us on his way back from checking on the 2019 Macon-Villages with Caroline Gon in Milly-Lamartine; everyone is fine, the wine great, and he even commented that he and Caroline checked quickly (separate vehicles!) on a report of potential frost damage – none so far!

We wanted to share this interview from Dominique’s visit to New York in early March for the 20th La Paulée, when we were able to get a quick video with him at our Flatiron headquarters.

In the video below we dive into the nuances of this under-appreciated Mecca for chiseled Chardonnay and discussed the latest arrivals. This lineup of 2018 Chardonnays from Héritiers du Comte Lafon in the Mâconnais are a feast for the senses.

Dominique was the first Cote d’Or producer to invest in the immense potential hidden in those rolling hills by buying higher altitude, old vine parcels with the intent of letting this beautiful terroir reach its full potential. He started by converting all of the vineyards to biodynamic farming!

Dominique is a mentor to many – including his longtime collaborator in Milly-Lamartine, Caroline Gon, who was appointed in 2006 to Head Winemaker & vineyard guru. Dominique says, “it was easy in 2018.” Maybe, but it’s really because he and Caroline have spent ten years preparing for the 2018 growing season: biodynamic farming and fine-tuning the elevage to keep terroir and place at the center of the wines.

Honestly, the lineup from Les Héritiers has never been better. Ever since Dominique took the leap by founding Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon in 1999, his trailblazing, biodynamic Mâconnais domaine has been on everyone’s radar.

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Villages 2018

Certified biodynamic • 30+ year old vines • Multi-parcel blend • 200m altitude • Deep clay on limestone • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels 

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Prissé 2018

Certified biodynamic • 25+ year old vines • 0.88 ha from the lieu dit Verchère in Prissé • 200m altitude • Clay-limestone soils • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Milly Lamartine 2018

Certified biodynamic • 35+ year old vines • 350m altitude • Steep, east facing slope • Shallow clay over limestone with lots of rocks • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels and 500L demi-muids

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon  Mâcon-Chardonnay ‘Clos de la Crochette’ 2018

Certified biodynamic • 30+ year old vines • 200m altitude • South facing • Clay-limestone soils • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels and 500L demi-muids

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Uchizy ‘Les Maranches’ 2018

Certified biodynamic • From a 1.8 ha vineyard in Uchizy • 200m altitude • 30+ year old vines • Shallow clay soil with white limestone. Very rocky • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Bussières ‘Le Monsard’ 2018

Certified biodynamic • 35+ year old vines • From a 0.74ha parcel in lieu dit En Monsard • 250m altitude • Southwest facing • Very shallow clay over hard limestone. Lots of rocks • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Milly Lamartine ‘Clos du Four’ 2018

Certified biodynamic • 35+ year old vines • Mid-slope, east facing • 250m altitude • Deep soil with more clay and lots of limestone • Indigenous yeast • Aged in larger 500L demi-muids • DEC:93

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Viré-Clessé 2018

Certified biodynamic • 60+ year old vines • 250m altitude • Mid slope, east facing • Clay-limestone soils • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels and 500L demi-muids

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Saint-Véran 2018

Certified biodynamic • 25+ year old vines • 1.15 ha from two parcels in Prissé with southern exposure (En Bergeron, Montchanin) and one parcel with northern exposure in Davayé (En Combes) • 250m altitude • Magical terroir for St-Veran – Clay soil on a bed of hard limestone • Indigenous yeast • Aged in large 45hl barrels and 500L demi-muids