Ici commence Latricières-Chambertin!
To the left, unploughed Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Aux Combottes and above the Combottes is Clos de la Roche. To the right, the ploughed Latricières-Chambertin of Camus, above it, bordered by trees is the unploughed Latricières of Arnoux-Lachaux.
1Climats et Lieux-Dits des Grands Vignobles de Bourgogne, Marie-Hélène Landrieu-Lussigny and Sylvain Pitiot
2BIVB – Service Economie, 11.05.2017
A little history…
Various references point to the first use of the word ‘Latricières’ dating to 1507-1508. A document from just after the revolution (1794) shows an alternative name – Aux Attricières. The climat was supposedly called the ‘Petite Merveille’ – the Little Wonder – in the Middle Ages, most people pointing to the current name being derived from ‘La Tricière’, or ‘poor earth.’ Laurent Ponsot, whose family domaine exploited the northern-most 0.75 hectares between 1960 and the mid 1990s disagrees; “Don’t believe those old tales. The word comes from an old Celtic word that referenced the large oak tree that sat on the border between Latricières and Chambertin. There was one planted there for hundreds of years – when it died, they would replant a new one.”
The standard old text of Lavalle (1855) Lists Latricières as a deuxième cuvee – a wine of the third rank – with just three owners noted; Gournot, Ouvrard and Marion. Danguy et Aubertin (1892), likewise, lists Latricières as a deuxième cuvee but at that time this designation also applied to today’s Chapelle-Chambertin, the bottom of Mazis-Chambertin, Ruchottes-Chambertin and Charmes-Chambertin – et-cetera. Six owners were now listed; Gauthey, Gillot, Guichard-Potheret, Morot de Grésigny, Riembaud and Savot.
Riembault (Riembaud) and Savot were the major owners in the post-revolution time. The sourthern part of Latricières belonging to the Savots, and the northern part to the Riembaults. It was the Riembaults who by marriage became the Remy family. The vines of Savot passed, in 1904, to the Camus and Trapet families where they still rest, though the Trapet vines are now divided to include Domaine Rossignol-Trapet. The vines of the the Remy family have been divided in the family and sold in multiple lots. The domaine of Chantal Remy in Morey St.Denis is the last part of the family with some ownership – a 0.28 hectare slice of the vineyard – but all the rest has been sold in multiple lots by 3 parts of the family, transactions that spawned the ownerships of Leroy, François Feuillet (David Duband), Duroché and Launay-Horiot.
Move forward to 1928 – still 10 years before the vineyards received their AOCs – and Morton Shand lists only two Tête de Cuvée wines in Gevrey – Chambertin and Clos de Bèze – but now lists Latricières as a Première Cuvée, together with (sic) Saint-Jacques, Charmes, Chapelle, Ruchottes, Les Varoilles and Mazy. Frank Schoonmaker, writing in 1964, decreed it “After Chambertin and Clos de Bèze, one of the best of this extraordinary little district.” But Clive Coates remained unimpressed:
“Latricières is a sturdy wine, robust in its youth, and spicy and gamey in its maturity, and it lacks both the distinction of Chambertin and Clos de Bèze and the finesse of Mazis and Ruchottes. In good hands though (Leroy and Faiveley, for example) we can find a thoroughly satisfactory, warm-hearted bottle. But a Latricières is a second-division grand cru nonetheless.”
Whilst the above quote, ostensibly comes from 2008 and Clive’s book, The Wines of Burgundy, the text is actually unchanged from his 1997 book, Côte d’Or.
Of-course the Leroy is a great wine – but then so are Lalou’s Savignys! But Clive’s inclusion of Faiveley was clearly personal, as the house style under François Faiveley was not for the faint-hearted, producing wines that were rarely interesting before their 20th birthdays. Jasper Morris, who published in 2010 seemed more of a Latricières fan “A young Latricières shows rich and pure fruit, less tannic than many of the Chambertin family but should develop notes of earth, truffle and humus with age…” Jasper simply noting that Latricières is ‘Grand Cru.‘
And my thoughts after this exercise?
I consider Latricières one of the most Chambertin-like wines of the Gevrey grand crus – in terms of its fine structure and open, accessible, complexity. Latricières lacks the impact and deep bass notes that you will find in Chambertin – and even Chapelle-Chambertin – but that’s all it lacks. I also tend to agree with Charles Lachaux when he suggests that with the warming of the climate over the last 20 years, that Latricières is coming more into the spotlight of great grands crus than we have seen from the last few generations of producers.
The vines of Latricières-Chambertin…
Covering 7.35 hectares. Latricières is the most southerly of the grand crus of Gevrey-Chambertin but don’t assume that to be a negative, as Latricières abuts the Morey St.Denis grand cru of Clos de la Roche and is sandwiched between the Gevrey 1er of Aux Combottes to the south and the king of Gevrey – Chambertin – to the north. To the west there are only trees, and to the east, Mazoyères-Chambertin grand cru.
It is said that this wine was long ‘confused’ with its neighbor Chambertin and was sold as such until the middle of the 19th century. Yes, I’m sure that it was only accidentally sold as Chambertin(!) but it is at-least a continuation of the Chambertin climat. There is a modest slope from south to north as you head towards Chambertin, and there is another modest slope from east to west, with the vines of Latricières gently sloping towards the Route des Grands Crus.
The Combe de Grisard extends in perpendicular fashion to the west, roughly in the mid-point of the vineyard – though you would be hard-pressed to see it, as it is obscured by the trees – but the effect of the combe is far from obscure: Latricières is the coolest of Gevrey’s grand crus due to the cool wind that funnels down the combe – the wind travelling over the vines of Latricières and onwards through the vines of Chambertin – which also cooler than most of the other grand crus. The majority of the producers of Latricières all noting that the harvest comes much later in this location:
“If I was to harvest late every vintage here, then 9 times out of 10, it would be the right decision!”
Jerôme Flous, Domaine Faiveley.
There number of owner/exploiters is still relatively few – amongst Gevrey’s grand crus, only Griotte-Chambertin has fewer:
|Domaine Camus (Gevrey)||1.51|
|Domaine Faiveley (Nuits)||1.21|
|Domaine Trapet (Gevrey)||0.75|
|Domaine Rossignol-Trapet (Gevrey)||0.73|
|Domaine Drouhin-Laroze (Gevrey)||0.67|
|Domaine Leroy (Vosne)*||0.57|
|Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux (Vosne)||0.53|
|Domaine Simon Bize (Savigny)||0.33|
|Domaine François Feuillet/David Duband (Chevannes)||0.31|
|Domaine Chantal Remy (Morey)||0.28|
|Domaine Duroché (Gevrey)||0.25|
|Domaine Launay-Horiot (Pommard)*||0.17|
Click on the name of the producer, or the navigation, top right, to find out more about each producer’s exploitation in Latricières-Chambertin
*Domaines Leroy and Launay-Horiot weren’t available for the timing of this round of visits – I will try to update as allowed.
Assorted quotes from the producers:
The higher part of Latricières resembles Chambertin, but we see a little extra concentration at the bottom of the plot. We definitely have more character in the wine from Latricieres when compared to our Charmes – Latricières approaches Chambertin, qualitatively.
There’s a lot of red fruit in Chapelle, but Latricières has a superior structure and brings a little truffle with time.
If I had a podium for all the wines we produce, then Latricières would be one of my top three – it has a definition and precision that’s not always visible in Charmes or even Chambertin. It’s not a wine for non-connoisseurs, but I find almost the texture of a Chevalier-Montrachet but mixed with the depth of Gevrey-Chambertin.
Jerôme Flous, Faiveley
The wine from Latricières is like a walk in the forest after rain – for that its one of my favourite wines. It’s just perfect for mushroom dishes, rabbit – almost anything ‘wild’ goes great with Latricières…
This is a wine that gives me lots of pleasure, I find a certain wisdom to this wine. We don’t ask big things of this parcel, the volume is what it is, but it is a wine that always brings satisfaction. It’s a discreet wine, a little timid but with a profound energy – sagesse – with a very fine line.
A few words on negociant Latricières-Chambertin
Since Domaine Launay-Horiot took full control of their production in 2013, this probably leaves only Domaine Camus as a source of grapes for negociants today – though one can never be 100% sure as some domaines make small exchanges – a few barrels here and there so that they can get hold of other things! We can be reasonably sure that current wines with labels such as Albert Bichot, Jean-Marie Fourrier and Louis Latour are made from the grapes of Domaine Camus.
In 2010 it was also possible to buy Latricières with labels from Alex Gambal, Roche de Bellene and Louis Jadot – as those wines are no-longer produced, I thought it possible that they were supplied by the Launey-Horiot family – Xavier Horiot quashes that theory whilst remaining tight-lipped!
I feel it’s important to make a point about Domaine Camus as a supplier of grapes, because some buyers are disdainful of this producer given the very average quality of Camus own wines: Ask anybody you like, the plant material and vineyard work chez Camus are of a high quality – even if sometimes the grapes need a little extra triage – and I have triaged a lot of Camus-derived grand cru grapes! But the grapes come from high quality vines in great terroir so it’s unsurprising to me the number of successful and very expensive negociant grand crus that are sourced from this domaine. Some buyers of grapes have only one complaint when it comes to collecting their Chambertin, Latricières or Charmes-Chambertin grapes – ‘Sometimes we are kept waiting a few days longer than we would like, hence the grapes can riper and less fresh‘ – clearly that says something about the buyer too, as Camus are a far from the latest of pickers.
You will have to forgive me for not opening for this article any of my 2005 magnums of Latricières from Camille-Giroud – here I must remain patient – in this vintage these magnums will give many a Chambertin a run for its money! In 2004 Camus was the main, but not only supplier to Camille Giroud. In 2005, I don’t know if it was only Camus or again with the second supplier. But here’s one that I found in my cellar:
2008 Albert Bichot, Latricières-Chambertin
Hmm, this is rather good – deep, pure dark fruit that slowly shows a purity of wild strawberry, just starting to show a little age-related complexity too. Ooh – this is sleek and and very-much acid-driven – there’s a little mouth-puckering here when the wine is cool – a little less-so as it warms in the glass – a little! I’m an acid-lover and so this is okay for me – it avoids crossing the line – but many of you may disagree!
1983 Pierre Bouree
A width of mature leaves and sweetness – not much depth of aroma – but it’s clean. Deep, silky yet still rustic of flavour – certainly mineral. Interesting rather than tasty. Bitterness in the finish but such a long finish – very impressive here – a shame its not particularly enjoyable.
1988 Pierre Bouree
Less aromatic width, more depth and freshness, even some flashes of pure fruit too. Much more mouth-filling volume. A more direct line of fresh flavour – faint notes of maturity, good energy. Again not super-delicious but and all-round more alive wine. Less power in the finish, but still long. Better but still not great.