Château de la Tour / Pierre Labet – 2015


dsc01686Tasted in Vougeot with François Labet, 09 November, 2016.

Chateau de La Tour / Domaine Pierre Labet
Rue de la Montagne
21640 Vougeot
Tel: +33 3 80 62 86 13

François on 2016:
2016 was both hectic and complicated – because of the frost. It was the western part of the Clos de Vougeot that was strongly hit, the east was almost okay and the lower part of the Clos saw a normal harvest quantity. For us it meant that we produced 49 barrels vs a potential of 100.

“In Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Justice and Les Crais on the gravels suffered and here the younger vines suffered more. Between Savigny and Pernand the young vines began losing leaves in September and there was some sunburn too. I really felt the sun biting me on one day and it was quite striking. Some fruit was burnt as a result. We expected to harvest more, but the grapes were more concentrated than expected ,but then there was no question about their ripeness – had there been more grapes we may have struggled to get the ripeness. We did double the number of sprays in 2016.

“I will take out half a hectare in Clos de Vougeot this year, and will leave it fallow for three years – I did same with Savigny-Vergelesses last year. It will be 10 years without producing wine.

“Lots of our vineyards in Côte de Beaune were close to 10 hl/ha this year, without the luxury of our Clos de Vougeot, Domaine Labet would have consecutively lost money.

And the prices?
I’m not sure yet on pricing. I’ve a slight idea that 2015 will be more expensive, but it should be noted that my prices 2012-2014 remained constant.

The wines…

The 2015s all still lie in barrel, unracked. “Purely the tasting will decide if racking is needed, followed by vatting for 2-3 months. It really has some impact on when people picked, 13.5-13.9 natural here in 2015, but people had the chance to make even better wine than 2005!

2015 Pierre Labet, Bourgogne Rouge Vieilles Vignes
From Chorey, from 45-year-old vines. ‘For me Bourgogne is not about a specific expression of terroir but it should be juicy!’
A soft nose, with rose petals and a good depth. Fine weight, excellent texture and a beautiful line of croquant flavour. Brilliant bourgogne of slowly lingering persistence – even with some floral additions.
2015 Pierre Labet, Beaune Clos de Dessous de Marconnets
The domaine has 2 plots; red and white, plus another block waiting to be planted. The vines are close to the autoroute.
Medium-plus colour. A nose of roundly expressed, sweet, ripe whole clusters and florals. Extra sweetness, bright and croquant again – a little more tannin but extra energy to match. Super depth of mid-palate flavour.
2015 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Coucherias
A similar nose to the Marconnets with fresh but sweet whole cluster notes. Here a little more relaxed muscle, finer but equally present tannin. More transparent – beautiful wine – almost zen then floral finishing. It is very easy to get carried away by these wines…
2015 Pierre Labet, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
From Justice, Crais and Jousie – altogether 1 ha.
A less overt whole cluster, dark and silky a width of aroma rather than depth. Brilliant freshness and texture with super energy. Wow! This is just super wine, delivering long waves of flavour.

2015 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot
A round nose, tighter than many here, yet with some cushioned aspects – very faint floral and perhaps a brown sugar suggestion. Direct, fresh, fabulous of line, faintly tannic – but only faintly from dryness not the quantity of tannin. Dense, chewy flavour, faint coffee. Then a nice wave of fresher flavour through bitter chocolate. Really persistent almost earthy finishing. Almost an insult to say super!

2015 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot Vieilles-Vignes
In 2015 the old vines cuvée is not made only from the one block of 1910 vines as in previous years. The vines in this block are producing less and less, so all the old vines from all the parcels were vinified together. The average age of the domaine’s vines in the Clos de Vougeot are over 60…
Quite deep colour. The nose is more open vs the ‘classic cuvée’; again a suggestion of torrefied notes, wide and with apparently a fine texture, and a growing silky fruit too. Instantly extra weight, width and a hint more texture. Faintly saline tannin and layers, indeed waves of mid-palate flavour. Broad, and fresh yet weighty persistence in the finish. Bravo! Beautiful wine.
2015 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot, Hommages a Jean Morin
Same as for the Vieilles-Vignes, not all from the single block of 1910 vines this year. Stephane Chassin made 4 special barrels specifically for this cuvée.
A big, open, complex and finely textured aroma – gorgeous. A little more lithe, a little more tannin, a superb tension. Bigger but also fresher. Plenty of tannin again. The best finish. This has a more structured, some might say ‘classic’ Clos de Vougeot flavour, but this actually smells a little like Musigny!


2014 Pierre Labet, Bourgogne Rouge Vieilles Vignes
A more transparent colour – of-course.
Round, comforting and inviting, with a slightly macerating red fruit nose. Fresh, indeed delicious fruit. Very nice finishing too.

2014 Pierre Labet, Beaune Clos de Dessous de Marconnets
A fresh and growing floral note here. Some structure and a little tannin, but some nice depth of flavour too. Not as overtly fresh as the 2015 but also very tasty wine. Super length…

2014 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Coucherias
A little more sweetness and floral freshness. Lovely freshness and weight of flavour. Layered and beautifully flavoured. Super weight here – showing the lie of the modest 2014 vintage…

2014 Pierre Labet, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
A little hint of toast here giving the impression of darker fruit – this is a little more oak character than a particular wine. A super core of flavour here, here with a suggestion only of whole cluster. This tastes gorgeous, and very different to the impression given by the nose. Licorice, bitter chocolate on the finish – this needs a little longer for the oak to fade, tasty as it is.

2013 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot
Wide aromatic, faint meat, some suggestion of flowers, cleaner nd cleaner in the glass. Big, plenty of tannin, flavour leaching from the gums and a lovely flavour but sliding its way through the tannin. Classic cv with structure aplenty but nothing drying and very tasty fruit.

2014 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot Vieilles-Vignes
From the ‘1910 block.’
A little tightness but some whole-cluster top notes. Really a super freshness and weight of fine flavour, this edged with, rather than encased in tannin. Excellent stuff – of course I’m anyway a great fan of cv…

If you remember from my report last year on the 2014s, there is no Hommage cuvée from the 2014 vintage.

Les blancs…

Whites harvested the 1st, 2nd and 3rd September, then waited to the 8th for the reds in 2015. ‘The whites definitely need picking early for the acidities. You can be the best cultivators in the world, but without sun…’

2015 Pierre Labet, Bourgogne Blanc
The alcoholic fermentation took months, this is still in barrel.
Ooh – nicely complex and fresh, some green some yellow citrus. Gas here so wait, and then there’s like an acidulated citrus fruit, very tasty. Almost a tannic finish. Really, really tasty…

2015 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Marconnets Blanc
A deeper nose, still with yellow citrus, almost buscuity saline too. More mineral, more energy, super depth of concentration, again tannin in the finish. Longer finishing, you can taste the solid material… yum!

2014 Meursault Les Tillets
Wide, warmly spiced, very fine Meursault. Fresh and direct, some layered impression, really very much concentration here, but with more than enough freshness. Long and absolutely delicious.

2015 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Vergelesses
A masale planting, taken from vines from Thénard’s Montrachet.
A deeper nose, a little buscuity, and a weight of slightly savoury notes. Much more gas. Lovely. Layers of flavour. It’s a big aromatic, less to my taste than the previous bottles, but I love very much this flavour.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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