Profile: Vincent Latour


Tasted in Meursault with Vincent Latour, 15 November 2017.

Domaine Vincent Latour
6 Rue du 8 Mai 1945
21190 Meursault
Tel: +33 3 80 21 22 49

This is an old family domaine, of multiple generations, sitting in the centre of Meursault – behind the Town Hall. If you go back far enough, there is probably some family connection with the Latours of Beaune, but more close to home, there are only a couple of generations separating this family with the Latour-Girauds, also of Meursault.

The domaine covers 8.2 hectares of vines, with just one hectare of reds. It is Vincent Latour who has put the domaine on a commercial footing by developing the market for the domaine’s wines in bottle – the main market is export, but France is mix of private clients and ‘name’ restaurants, such as Ducasse. Vincent began his career here in 1998, sharing the work with his wife Cécile, and he has a number of wine-making awards, not least through the blind tastings of the GPV.*
*Groupe des Jeunes Professionels de la Vigne.

In 2008, Vincent and Cécile created the entity Maison Vincent Latour as a négoce so that they could buy up the metayage portions of parcels that they already worked. The wines typically spend 12 months in barrel, followed by another 4 to 6 months in stainless-steel tanks with practically no batonnage. There’s not much new oak either as Vincent doesn’t like his wines to be marked by the wood. “I’m looking for some tension and energy but wrapped with a little sucrosity without making the wine heavy. As part of that I use 600 litre barrels and foudres for elevage – some people confuse tension with acidity, but I like ‘nervous.'”

Vincent on 2017:
2017 brings a smile to my face, both from the perspective of yields and from the quality. Of-course we had to fight against the frost in the Spring – but this time we won! For us it’s a really good vintage, which I’d compare to 2007. Logically the reds should go down in price on the bulk market, they are good, tasty wines, but not as concentrated as some other recent vintages – still I think them really good but not a vintage of the century, just a good vintage of tasty wines.

Vincent on 2016:
2016 – ahh – we suffered! I started here in 1998 and it’s the worst vintage for quantity that I’ve seen. We commercialise about 25,000 bottles per year, unfortunately we only made the equivalent of 8,000 in 2016 – that really puts the brakes on the business – so it’s frustrating on so many levels; the wines will be expensive but you can have almost none. So we lost between 40% and 70% of a normal volume – it just depended on the parcel. Some wines were either not made or were assembled into others. It’s a big catastrophe – but again that’s not a comment on the quality. I’m hoping that it will be possible to bring some 2017s forward a little as the malos will mainly be done before January.

The wines…

​The 16s are assembled into tank – since the end of August. Vincent will decide if fining or filtration is needed on a per-cuvée basis. Probably aiming for a January bottling for most wines…

A first visit and here are first-class wines. In the main a little more elevage is needed to add the final polish to the wines – my descriptions could end up being rather conservative by the time it comes to bottling. A great new address.

2016 Bourgogne Blanc
A blend of grapes from the south of Meursault with others towards the north.
An open freshness – an attractive nose. Nice width, a little richness but this has a good line and an attractive balance. Simply excellent.

2016 St.Romain Coeur de Roche
A blend of multiple lieu-dits
Higher tones, some fresh fruit – sweet lime. Supple, a little fat, but delicate and delicious flavour. Long too. Simply excellent again!

2016 St.Aubin
A mix of villages and premier cru wines in this vintage
Tighter top notes more depth of aroma. A little gas, but bright, pure width, delicious depth of flavour – I love the line and purity, with just o touch of barrel in the mid-palate. Gorgeous!

2016 Meursault St.Jean
An assembly of 3 parcels – there’s normally a couple of others too but not in this vintage
A little tightness of aroma, but the depth is pretty classic. Wide, silky, slowly moving over the palate – here is more concentration and a less overt energy – but the balance is fine, the flavour constantly evolving. A round but delicious wine…

2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot
Near the Abbaye, the second vintage here
A big, open, fresh nose, modestly oaked. Beautiful freshness and line, I love this delivery of flavour – today a little too much creamy oak so I think I’d wait a couple of years, but the shape and delivery of flavour are really top class. “There are no new barrels, but they have still marked it a little, so in 2017 I will go in demi-muids.

2016 Puligny-Montrachet
From Houlières
A nice width and roundness of aroma. Nice volume, pretty flavours, freshness, just an inch of flesh, delicious, very modest accent of oak – bravo.

2016 Meursault 1er Poruzots
A big nose, fresh, with a faint accent of reduction. Nice volume and a lovely line and tension of flavour. It needs to find a little more clarity, from the elevage, in the middle but this is a lovely wine.

2016 Meursault 1er Charmes
Mix of high and low parcels, harvested at the same time and pressed separately but then all the elevage was together.
A nice width and a subtle reduction to the nose. A big fresh Charmes, with lots of complexity, lots of mouth-watering interest too. This could be a great bottle, I’m just not sure about the depth of flavour in the mid-palate today, but regardless this is super-delicious.

2016 Meursault 1er Gouttes d’or
A deep, round nose – a little more elevage needed here. Round, silky, richness of flavour but really a gorgeous line of fresh flavour. All these fine parts are not yet fully together, but they are brilliant parts. This is potentially great!

2016 Meursault 1er Perrieres
Open, some aromatic density, a depth of ripe lemon. More direct volume in the mouth, fresh, beautifully textured, really more together than the rest of the 1ers, with layers of fine flavour. Not a super energetic Perrières – this has some richness – particularly as a modest oak comes into view towards the finish – just one new 600 litre demi-muid – but the balance is impeccable. Simply excellent – yet again!

Les rouges:

2016 Pommard
From Les Riottes. Destem all, vibrating table plus triage table followed by ‘a little’ cold soak, delestage not pigeage for 4-5 days – really separating the juice from the solids for 5-6 hours – a more standard approach after.
A nice width and freshness of aroma here and nice purity too. Volume in the mouth, freshness, indeed a clarity of fruit, dark red, wide, fine texture and showing very modest tannin for a villages Pommard. Delicious wine.

2016 Meursault 1er Les Cras
I’ve not seen this in red before – the vines are almost but not quite in Santenots – just 20-30 metres away. Vincent recounts that this was hardly sellable as a white in the 50s, so his grandfather changed the colour!
A very pretty and floral nose. Beautiful silky tannin, with both width and freshness in the mouth. This has very fine flavour. Simply a lovely wine…

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