Tasted in Vougeot with François and Eduard Labet, 28 November, 2019.
Chateau de La Tour / Domaine Pierre Labet
Rue de la Montagne
Tel: +33 3 80 62 86 13
The force is strong with the Labet family – their empire growing with winemaking in the Santa Rita Hills in California, and also a Corsican pinot too!
François on 2019:
We’ve actually just tasted all our 2019s – we have the same volume of red as in 2018 but a decrease of 30-40% for the whites. We are very impressed by how they are tasting for the moment. The fermentations have been quite easy, apart from the Meursault Tillets which is still fermenting – we are pretty confident that this will be finished before bottling though!
“We are very pleased to see the results of the Guyot-Poussard pruning method that we started in 2015; the aim is to control the sap flow throughout the vine. This approach allows to control the yield by carefully selecting the buds we want to keep, but mostly to get rid of the wounds, which are responsible for the diseases of the wood. The quality and consistency of the yield over the last few years has been astonishing.
François on 2018:
“Started harvesting on 6th of September, so there was no time no split between Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits – the vines were picked as they become ready – the ripeness since 2010 has come very quickly – we were ping-ponging between Beaune and the Château. The winemaking was a long process, we had to deal with the environment – it was still 25°C in November when we did a BBQ here. The vinification with whole clusters requires that the triage is very important. This year we have vinified without sulfur – so far – but there will be an addition at bottling. The winemaking was soft – only with pumping over, the key for us was to try and retain the finesse and freshness. In 2018 we also racked the wines in barrel but into older (large format) barrels, we have also decided to lengthen the barrel elevage of the whites for this vintage.”
Next year, after 4 fallow years, the domaine will begin the replanting of their parcel in Savigny 1er Les Vergelesses. “After 4 years uncultivated, which allows the soil to breathe and regenerate, we will plant of our Savigny 1er Cru Vergelesses. High density, so 13,000 vines per hectares, in this case. By planting more vines per hectare while keeping the same yield, we seek for more consistency and quality into the grapes harvested. It will be a selection massale made from our existing chardonnay, but split with two types of rootstocks, allowing us in the future to understand the reaction towards the global warming we are facing.”
The team have done well with their reds in 2018 – the top cuvées of Clos de Vougeot will be brilliant. But the whites were great at this tasting – bravo!
2018 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. Has been declared as Bourgogne Côte d’Or at the harvest
Hmm – a compact nose, faintly spiced. Round, easy over the palate, the middle flavours are complex, faintly floral too. Long finishing – a modest but actually quite attractive finishing austerity.
2018 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.
Just a little more aromatic volume – the similar spiced, modestly fruited nose as the Bourgogne. Supple, more concentrated, layered, super texture, finishing with a little saline freshness. This is a lovely finish!
2018 Pierre Labet, Beaune 1er Coucherias
A little more lift to the spiced fruit here – like a Christmas spice, almost cinnamon. Supple, depth of texture, more concentration again. Holds a strong finish – to wait for but the balance is good.
2018 Pierre Labet, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
Crais, Justice and Jousie vinified together – about 1 ha of 60-year-old vines on average.
A different aromatic shape, the clove style accent to the spice here is quite forward and very intriguing, inviting. Extra freshness – this is lovely, layered, freshness – very modestly mouth-watering. Long. This has super complexity. Fine wine!
2018 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot
Hmm, the spice of the last wines with much more open aromatic intensity – floral. Wide, Mouth-filling, structured but with a certain softness to the shape. Some texture from the tannin in the middle and faint bitters in the finish – half approachable, half for waiting. This is a very well-judged wine.
Since 2015 the old vines cuvée is not made only from the one block of 1910 vines as in previous years. Plenty of colour. Hmm – round, a very fine impression of texture to this finely divided spiced nose, suggesting some floral development too. The most open, the most architectural – the most complex finishing, slowly mouth-watering. Bravo!
Same as for the Vieilles-Vignes, not all from the single block of 1910 vines this year.
More impact with this nose – a little more emphasis to the floral too, the complexity more blended than delineated today. Similar mouth-filling volume to the vieilles-vignes, here more filled with the structure, bitters in the finish but beautifully balanced and long. Really something to be patient with – drink it with your La Tâche in 20 years!
Côte de Beaune and Chorey declassified
A ripe core of vibrant fruit – almost pineapple – surrounded more open freshness – it’s an inviting nose. Plenty of volume, freshness, and a good structure too – if you are happy with the pineapple style, this is top Bourgogne – a great finish! Bravo.
A width of complexity – there’s a subtlety of spice that recalls the reds but on a much lower order – a more composed nose than the Bourgogne. More open and more clarity of flavour, mineral, the flavour becoming more dynamic in the middle and finishing flavours. Bravo!
A more open freshness – indeed attractiveness of aroma. Driving, super energy here – open and complex, understated Meursault spice – simply delicious, vibrant wine – vibrantly finishing with citrus tension too. Bravo!
And something from Corsica?
2018 Francois Labet, Pinot Noir Ile de Beauté IGP
From south-east Corsica, they have 25 hectares, first trial was in 2009 make 180k bottles now. Made in Corsica but the screw-capped bottling is actually done in Beaune.
Round, a little compact but faintly herbed and attractively fruited. Hmm, nicely fresh – width and concentration, lovely fine, present, tannin. Wide finishing and tasty too with just the right amount of structure. Yum!