Tasted in Beaune, 7 Jan, 2014 with Boris Champy, Bruno Pepin, and pictured, winemaker Jean-Charles Thomas.
Maison Louis Latour
18 Rue des Tonneliers
Tel: +33 3 80 24 81 00
Of course, a very old name from Beaune, founded in 1797, though their nameplate location and wines came a little later: “On July 7, 1891, in the midst of the phylloxera crisis, Château Corton Grancey and the adjoining estate were put up for auction. The construction of the Corton Grancey Cuverie in Aloxe-Corton was started by the Marquis of Cordoue in 1830. The site, close to the ‘Corton-Perrieres’ vineyard had previously been used for storing the harvest and was named ‘vendangeoir.’ The Cuverie was completed by the Marquis’ son-in-law around 1834. The adjoining estate included 35.89 ha of vines of which half were already uprooted. Louis Latour decided to buy this property. Restructuring this estate was the work of several generations, and over several decades. Louis Latour decided to replant the top of the estate with Chardonnay, where previously it was planted with Aligote and ‘vieux’ Gamay, thus creating the plots of today’s Corton-Charlemagne. This purchase also installed Maison Louis Latour as the largest owner of Grand Cru in Côte d´Or!”
On prices: The prices will rise, but by not much more than 10% for their estate wines. Because the volume is so much lower, they will be augmenting sales by releasing some older vintages too. For purchased grapes, they will have to pass on these cost increases.
2012 Beaune 1er Vignes Franches
Here’s a lovely aromatic mix of fruits – red and black. The palate is lithe with lovely freshness and intensity, and there’s an extra dimension of dark fruit in the mid-palate. Simply lovely.
2012 Aloxe-Corton 1er Les Chaillots
Here the aromas are redder – but still quite dark red. In the mouth this is also red-fruited and sterner/harder faced than the Beaune – mainly due to a higher level of minerality – this flavour is lovely!
From purchased fruit, but with only one-third the normal yield.
Deeper colour. The nose has much darker coloured and deeper fruit aromas than the Aloxe – hints of flowers too. The palate is like biting into a big, black, juicy cherry. Soft tannin, plenty of flavour dimension – just a beautiful wine.
2012 Pommard 1er Les Epenots
This cuvée is a blend of both domaine and purchased fruit.
Again, the nose showcases very dark and pretty fruits, in this case it is faintly softened with a trace of creamy oak. (50% new barrels) There’s more tannin but the cherry fruit is vivacious and black coloured. Certainly a bit less silky than the Volnay, but very good wine indeed.
2012 Corton Perrières
The nose is a little tighter than the last wines, the fruit a little redder coloured too. In the mouth this is a little more strict, but clearly with more intensity too. The narrow entry flavour, grows wider and wider as you head for the finish. Pretty fruited, but rather shy today.
2012 Corton Clos du Roi
Here there’s more aromatic depth and width – the fruit is pretty and is augmented with floral references. A little CO2 spoils appraisal of the wine’s texture, but this seems concentrated yet rather friendly.
A large part of this cuvée is from Bressandes, augmented with grapes from Clos du Roi, Grèves and Perrières.
The colour is a little deeper. The nose has more impact than the previous two Cortons – but today it is a rather monolithic whole after the last wines. In the mouth, however, this is much more exciting; with many dimensions of flavour, growing intensity and a real energy about it – this, I like very, very much!
2012 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Beaumonts
The nose is wide, showcasing ripe but very pretty dark red fruits. If there’s any extra dimension, following the wines of the Côte de Beaune, it comes in the mid-palate, with a spicy impression (I don’t see spicy on the nose). There’s plenty of fine, soft tannin and a finishing note that really holds very well. Tasty!
2012 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Monts
The aromas are more mineral; less effusive but more complex. There’s a little more initial grain to the tannin, but on second thoughts I think there’s some CO2 here. Otherwise a silky wine that has width, concentration and a beautiful mineral finish. Really yum!
Again, very pretty fruit aromas – this time it seems, with a little white pepper too. Fuller, more concentrated yet with plenty of freshness. interestingly this seems more impressive despite seeming less dynamic than the Petits Monts. A more conteMplative wine.
From 5 different lieu-dits within the Grand Cru.
The nose is understated yet confident, wide and concentrated. The palate is likewise concentrated, with decently fine tannin that has just a little drag across the tongue. From a narrow start the flavour reaches a very impressive crescendo in the finish. Very, very impressive.
2012 Romanée St-Vivant Les Quatre Journeaux
The aromas are modest, indeed rather shy, but there’s a fine black cherry note. The tannic structure has a bit more stickiness but no real grain. The mid-palate flavour is very wide, and it keeps this same shape right into the finish – maybe there’s a little licorice and faint oak texture here too – of-course that texture will already be gone by the time you have chance to open a bottle…
Apart from the Puligny and Bâtard, all these wines had been racked for their bottling. Only the Pernand and the Corton-Charlemagne are domaine wines, yet 15-20 hl/ha seems about average regardless of source…
2012 Pernand-Vergelesses En Caradeux
The nose has some sweetness and bread notes – perhaps a little CO2 too. The palate seems sweet and savoury at the same time. Whilst there’s no denying the concentration here, it seems to be lacking a bit of energy today – the racking? – good flavour though.
This nose is less forward but fresher and wider. In the mouth we have a lovely, growing, intensity of flavour – very impressive. Lovely intensity, yet balance. Super.
2012 Meursault 1er Les Charmes
Wide and fresh, this is an interesting and inviting nose. I love the intensity here, and despite a little distracting vanilla this has a gorgeous intensity of fresh fruit as its main motif. Simply lovely.
2012 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Referts
Toasty new oak (100% new…) and a little reduction too (still in barrel) – fortunately these notes lift from the glass rather quickly, leaving a sweeter and more interesting aroma. Silky but concentrated, with a quickly building intensity into the mid-palate. Plenty of extract here – I’d dare to suggest you should leave it in the cellar for about 5 years…
2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeots
Here is a fine, high-toned, pretty nose that holds a tight core of riper yellow fruit, currently at bay. There’s a bit too much CO2 to say anything about the texture, but I like the flavour very much.
2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Grand Montagne
Focused, ripe yellow-fruit aromas, yet this has very good freshness. Again there’s a bit too much CO2, but it can’t hide a lovely citrus-infused acidity that also impresses itself on the finish. I like this a lot!
The nose is dense and intense and ripe, yet finely fresh. Again too much CO2, but whilst the acidity remains rather understated, the intensity of this wine is carried very well. Not that dynamic today, more contemplative but there’s really impressive dry extract.