Tasted in Vougeot with François Labet, 15 November, 2017.
Chateau de La Tour / Domaine Pierre Labet
Rue de la Montagne
Tel: +33 3 80 62 86 13
François on 2017:
“2017 was, I would say, a normal year. There were no special preessures, we harvested early, the vines suffered a little hydric stress, especially those soils that are well draining. But we didnt make too much wine, it was important not to ‘let the horses go.’ The grapes were clean and needed only a modest triage. Since 2014 we have used no sulfur during vinification just carbon dioxide gas to protect. There wasn’t much malic acid, some malos have started some have even finished so it’s an important point.”
François on 2016:
“2016 had a big pressure from mildew, everywhere, but we handled it with good viticulture. It was about precision. Therer were few grapes per vine, but a normal harvest time around 23 September – no over-ripeness. Unlike 2015 it was a later ripening vintage. Of course the wines are rich and concentrated, but I love 2016 – you can compare the 2009-2010 vintages with 2015-2016 – the first you say wow, the second you say even more wow! Of course we suffered, we had 50% less volume. The Côte de Beaune was tough – finance there is tough given the recent run of vintages, it would nave been very difficult without the domaine here in the Cote de Nuits.”
Francois now has half a hectare unplanted in the Clos de Vougeot – it will stay like that for three years. Probably he will plant at a little higher density – around 12,000 per hectare. More interestingly he plans to start only with the American rootstocks, let them take hold, putting all their energy into the roots and only after three years will he make the grafts above with his pinot noir.
I am a massive fan of the wines from this domaine and there is much to covet in these 2016s and 2015s – and don’t neglect the 2015 bourgognes – both colours – they are absolute stars!
2016 Pierre Labet, Bourgogne Rouge Vieilles Vignes
From Chorey, from 46-year-old vines. ‘For me Bourgogne is not about a specific expression of terroir but it should be juicy!’ As always whole-cluster.
A modestly perfumed nose. Round, sweet, fresh, growing in both size and intensity. Delicious.
The domaine has 2 plots; red and white, plus another block waiting to be planted. The vines are close to the autoroute.
More width and a little more perfumed – very nice! Bright, complex, joyous flavour, a serious aspect to the structure. But this is really great – delicious wine
Ooh, deeper, a suggestion of reduction but really gorgeous fruit. Bright, delicious, intense – a little more fresh depth of pure fruit here. A little more structure of-course but its framed with fine and delicious fruit.
2016 Pierre Labet, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
From Justice, Crais and Jousie – altogether 1 ha.
A little more calm nose but quite a width of fruit in the depth of this nose. Some gas, a sleeker, more linear wine, dark fruited and tasty. Layers of finishing flavour – to wait longer for than the Beaunes and at the same time with a little minerality.
2016 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot
A tighter nose but an impreasion of texture all the same. Structural, of-course, growing in intensity but there is purity and fine texture inter-twined with the structure. Proper vin de garde but with great purity/transparency in this vintage…
Since 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…
Here the nose is more open and there’s a really beautiful pure dark red fruit – almost vibrant. Ooh, where is all the structure gone? It’s there, but its so wrapped in fastidiously polished fruit that you lose sight of it. A complete wine!
Same as for the Vieilles-Vignes, not all from the single block of 1910 vines this year.
Deep, deep – a hint of whole cluster on the nose – otherwise it’s guarded. Bigger agian than the VV, more tannin working its way through, depth and density without overt weight or size. This is great – I’d say more different than better vs the VV in all but the finish, but in the finish here is more persistence. Great wine for the lucky few…
Pierre Labet’s in April, Château wines at the end of June for bottling. The first sulfur was added only after malo. Bottled with about 900 milligrams of co2 – “The only ‘addition’ to what is essentially just grapes”
A large scale of aroma – dark-red, alive and spiced. Supple good energy, playing easily over the palate – this is delicious!
2015 Pierre Labet, Beaune Clos de Dessous de Marconnets
Decent aromatic volume – but a more restricted palette of aromas. Round, a little tannic, slowly melting flavours – a deeper register than the 2016 – only in the finish does this turn fresher, a little floral and very tasty indeed.
Much more aromatic volume and freshness – floral aspects too – yes! Fresh, lots of flavour dimension/complexity. Bright and pretty flavours with plenty of ripe tannin- wait at least another couple of years but this is a really honey!
2015 Pierre Labet, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
Very much like the 2016 there is more depth and darker fruit – tighter above. Less overtly sweet, as before, but melting fresh flavour over the palate – this is a lovely wine, but again a little behind the Beaune 1er I think…
2015 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot
A relatively modest nose but of good volume. Directly fresh and saline, a swift, linear wine, pushing you towards the finish – classic austerity for this climat and exactly like the 2016.
A similar volume of aroma but here with a clearer, dark red fruit impression. Profound, again grippy tannin, with a touch of austere astringence. Then, a wide blast of finishing flavour, long, long – a great finish. These two require 20 years – I’d like to be around to taste them again.
Limited aromatic width but a special depth of aroma here – this is unlike the 2016 – there is a visible depth of tannin here that will age for a generation. Yet its micro-grained and ripe – even if it grabs at your gums. Great wine for a future generation!
All in barrel where they will wait for two winters before moving to tank.
2016 Pierre Labet, Bourgogne Blanc
Côte de Beaune and Chorey declassified
A brilliant nose of freshness that could be from a fine and fresh Meursault. Good volume, a hint of richness, but a bubbling fresh complexity too. This should be excellent.
More depth and transparency of aroma – width and deliciously complex flavour. This is a beauty. Mouth-watering, without straining the palate with too much intensity – bravo pure and delicious…
Ooh, now thats even more depth, more transparency even more ivitation to drink. A lot of gas here. Some reduction on the palate too, but melting flavour, mineral and still avoiding any notionof rigour as this is so drinkable. Bravo and the finish is gorgeous.
A masale planting, taken from vines from Thénard’s Montrachet.
A lovely width of aroma here – super inviting. Here is more rigour some mineral and delicious complexity – this a great wine, to wait a little for as it reaches equilibrium and loses a little gas. I love the finish, almost a little tannic.
And the 2015s:
The 2015 bourglgne in both colours are extraordinarily good!
All bottled same time as the reds.
Ooh, thats nice, fresh, pure gellied fruits of good freshness. Nice volume and really fine energy for the vintage – bright, melting delicious flavour this is gorgeous really quite something. Fresh fruit not ripe fruit…
2015 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Marconnets Blanc
A nice width of aroma and the impression of a little more (tight) density below. More composed, less energetic, more 2015, the finish is delicious but in the context of a more 2015 style wine.
2015 Meursault Les Tillets
A fine freshness – more in the direction of the bourgogne than the Beaune. Narrower, more direct, more juiciy, fruit of a style between 15 and 16.
2015 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Vergelesses
This is fresh, deep, almost a lime style fruit. Some gas here. Fresh of-course, more depth of flavour. It’s a 2015 style of fruit with a little blend of the saline and sucrosity – and its very tasty.