Tasted in Vosne-Romanée on a very wet day with Charles Lachaux, 04 April, 2018. Above, in front of his Latricières – we didn’t get out of the car!
3, Route Nationale 74
Tel: +33 3 80 61 08 41
Link to Latricières-Chambertin profile
The 0.53 hecatres of Latricières-Chambertin vines of Arnoux-Lachaux sit above those of Domaines Camus and Trapet – almost as a satellite to the rest of the Latricières vineyard – like a Clos.
Their vines are bordered on two side by trees – to the west (above) and to the north. To the south is 4-5 metre band of scrubland, which has been cleared this year, and a vineyard road before the vines of Clos de la Roche. The domaine’s vines have two plantation dates, roughly in equal parts, of 70 years and 20 years-old. Charles Lachaux notes that “It’s really rocky here, so much so that it’s hard to replace vines as there’s so little soil – and then there’s the wind! It’s always a little windy here. Latricières, together the domaine’s Chambolle-Musigny are always our last harvests.” Given that the vines are so much enclosed by the trees I asked Charles if he has to compete with the local wildlife for his grapes “Actually, it’s a tip from Bruno Clavelier, to leave some sheep wool every third row – the potentially competing animals avoid it – so-far it seems to work!”
The domaine has these vines since 2008. It was previously Domaine Guy Castagnier who made the wine, but they were metayeurs of Christopher Newman (of Beaune) who eventually decided to sell the vines as he never thought the wine particularly good. After Arnoux-Lachaux made their first vintage he was so impressed that he asked if he could buy the vines back! It’s a complicated history for these vines, as indicated by the writing of Jean-François Bazin (my translation): “A part of Latricières was bought by an american friend of Alexis Lichine, Robert ‘Bob’ Newman, not long after the Liberation (of France from the war). Newman, of Austrian origin, shared his time between Kitzbühel and New Orleans. The vines were entrusted to the winemakers; Dakowski, then Perrot, then Castagnier-Vadey. On the death of Robert Newman, ownership went to his son, Christopher Newman.”
Charles thinks that recent vintages are a little riper, “I think that maybe this has aided the new renown of the vines. But the soil and the freshness of the parcel are very special attributes.” Charles is also using a higher, 1.70m, trellising, saying that there’s never much juice but more pulp – he finds the result naturally more concentrated but not ‘extracted’ – “I find more precision. We changed our work in 2012 and it has taken about 3 years to really show the impact in the clarity of the wines.”
Honestly, if I could pick only one producer, I would be buying these wines!
Since 2010 all the corks for this cru are 54 mm.
In bottle just two months. ‘I like very much the elegance of the 2016s… ‘ This is all whole-cluster. We lost 70% of harvest 15 hl/ha due to the frost – ‘It’s the place!’
A freshness of perfume and a depth of fruit – not fully open but more than just inviting. Supple, round, with beautiful purity and growing intensity – but still a roundness of intensity. The finish is a great thing – some herbs and some very faint oak, but a fabulous thing – rounder because of the rendement I think, but great wine.
Today this has a little more focus – high tones and a width of ripe fruit below. Wow! Fresh, wide, mouth-watering, mineral, focused, complex – great wine. The clarity is special here. Good as the last was, and maybe because that 2016 is not long bottled, but this punches higher today. I’m tempted to take a real drink, but I don’t want to seem unprofessional!
‘If I remember correctly this was the first vintage with 100% whole clusters.’
Seemingly a very different style of nose – move open and with more impact – a good top note of aroma but less class than the previous two wines. More direct, a little tannin showing, still with fine concentration and a sucrosity of fruit. Super wine that I would happily drink any day but I’ve been spoiled by the first two. The finish has a little finishing bitters.
A finer nose, floral, and very attractive – almost back to the level of the first two wines. Ooh – clarty – open, layered, beautiful – grand vin again. A little accent of tannin. But bravo wine – a vibration of flavour in the middle. Absolute class. I’d drink the 2015 before today – but not by much.
Charles first vintage – like the last (2013) with 50% whole clusters.
A more modest nose, but with a fine base of fresh fruit. Good freshness and line to this flavour. Mouth-watering flavour. Extra floral dimension of flavour in the first instance whereas the clusters are more visible in the finish, but as perfume, not herby. Soooo good!
The first wine that’s starting with a little extra age-related complexity – lots of freshness and interest. Ooh – wow – that is fresh and open – a wine that grows in flavour complexity and also mouth-filling volume. Delicate, a wine of finishing complexity but finesse too – excellent. Still relatively young – but so good!
The domaine’s first vintage
A little cooked fruit impression below but a beautiful top note of freshness too. Direct, melting, silky, fine, perfumed and really entering a phase of drinkability. Long small ripples of finishing flavour – oh yes! Delicious!