Historical

The domaine dates back to the building of the house and cellar at Clos de la Barre by the Boch family in 1869. However, the real creator of the estate was Comte Jules Lafon who married Mlle Marie Boch on St Vincent’s day 1894. He was shrewd enough to buy exceptionally well-sited plots in the best vineyards of Meursault and Volnay, as well as a treasured piece of Le Montrachet, acquired in 1919, thought he first vintage bottled at the domaine was not until 1935.

Comte Jules Lafon was succeeded by his sons Pierre and henri, then the former’s son René Lafon who took over the domaine in 1956. During this period the vines were looked after by sharecroppers. René Lafon (1927-2019) retired after the 1982 vintage.

Dominique Lafon has been in charge since 1985, taking over a domaine which already had a reputation for outstanding, if irregular, whites and potentially good reds. He officially retired in December 2021, handing over to his daughter Léa and his nephew Pierre, so the family future at the domaine is assured.

In September 1999 the Lafons bought a domaine in the Mâconnais at Milly-Lamartine; its wines are sold under the label of Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon. Dominique Lafon also produces some wines under his own label (see separate entry), though these are made at separate premises.

Viticulture & Vinification

Not only are the Lafons’ holdings in the best vineyards of Meursault and Volnay, but they are mostly very well placed within the vineyards. While remaining faithful to its Meursault roots, Domaine des Comtes Lafon has grown through the acquisition (shared with Domaine Roulot) of the former Domaine René Manuel, bringing two new premiers crus, Poruzots and Bouchères, from 2011, and completing the set of all six premiers crus in the central grouping, from Perrières and Charmes through to Les Gouttes d’Or.

The domaine was one of the first to be converted to biodynamic farming principles during the 1990s.

Dominique’s approach to white wine making has at times been controversial and the domaine has had its share of premature oxidation, though the issue appears now to be sorted here. Among the remedies has been the use of DIAM closures from the 2013 vintage onwards. Dominique Lafon is aiming for purity in his whites, with the most improved in that sense, since the introduction of biodynamic farming, being the Meursault Charmes: previously a very opulent version from the domaine’s beautifully situated plots just below Perrières, now a wine of considerably more tension without losing the intensity.

The white wines are whole-bunch pressed, then settled in tank for 24 hours. In recent vintages the fermentation has been started in tank before sending the wine to barrel. No new oak is used for the village wines; up to 70 per cent for Charmes and Perrières; less for Genevrières and 100 per cent for Le Montrachet, though these are subsequently racked into older wood. The wines spend a second winter in barrel, for bottling the following spring or early summer.

The red grapes are wholly destemmed and vinified in stainless- steel vats. Across the last three decades Dominique has refined extraction levels – today the red wines retain an exceptional intensity of fruit along with impeccable structure. Though they can be attractive young, their ageing potential is superb.

Vineyards

White Wines

Le Montrachet Grand Cru 0.32
Meursault 1er Cru Perrières 0.91
Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières 0.55
Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 1.90
Meursault 1er Cru Goutte d’Or 0.39
Meursault 1er Cru Porusots 0.96
Meursault 1er Cru Bouchères 0.30
Meursault Clos de la Barre 2.12
Meursault Desirée 0.43
Meursault 2.55

 

Le Montrachet

Comte Jules Lafon bought plot 37, just under a third of a hectare (0.3182) in the south-east corner of the vineyard, in 1919 – though the first wine to be bottled at the domaine was not produced until 1935. Dominique Lafon took over the farming from Pierre Morey, who had been sharecropper for the family, in 1991. Having introduced biodynamic farming principles, he was able to revitalise the somewhat degenerate old vines in his holding of Le Montrachet. His Montrachet today is matured in new oak for the first year, then in older wood for the following winter and spring, before bottling after 18 to 21 months’ total élevage. René Lafon would often keep the wines for much longer in barrel, however.

 

Clos de la Barre

Effectively, the Lafon’s back garden and a Monopole of the domaine.

Red Wines

Volnay 1er Cru Santenots-Milieu 3.78
Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes 0.38
Volnay 1er Cru Champans 0.52
Monthélie 1er Cru Les Duresses 1.06

The pick of the reds would have to be the Volnay 1er Cru Santenots du Milieu. Only the older vines go into this cuvée. The younger plantings are now offered as a straight Volnay. The Volnay 1er Cru Champans is very fine too: Two-thirds comes from vines planted in 1922; the remainder was replanted in 1989 – finishing just a few hours before Dominique Lafon’s daughter Léa was born. The old vines provide a structured backbone, while the early-ripening nature of the site offers some dense black-fruit flavours.

Click here to view all wines from Domaine des Comtes Lafon

Dedicated Tastings from Domaine des Comtes Lafon

  • An Undervalued Masterpiece: Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru, Domaine des Comtes Lafon
    April 13th, 2022
    A recent masterclass in Hong Kong, based around the Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Genevrières yielded several fascinating insights, partially to do with the progress or otherwise of premature oxidation, and partly to do with the relationship between Genevrières and Perrières. In all we tasted 9 Lafon Meursault Genevrières from...
    Read More
  • Mature Volnay
    April 13th, 2022
    The tasting, held on 13th October 2017, accompanied by an excellent dinner at Amuse Bouche restaurant in Hong Kong, was designed to compare three classical Volnay producers across various more or less mature vintages, notably the fascinating trio of 1991-1990-1989. The wines were not tasted blind.
    Read More
  • Domaine des Comtes Lafon: Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu
    April 13th, 2022
    The Domaine des Comtes Lafon owns 3.78 hectares located in the heart of Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu, their flagship red wine vineyard. Parts of the vineyard have been replanted at regular intervals: 1944, ‘62, ‘65, ‘78, ‘96 and 2002, though the younger vines have been declassified into a village Volnay since 1999....
    Read More
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