Hidden treasures: Maison Louis Latour’s old vintages

Louis Latour idealwine

Recap of an exceptional vertical tasting of old vintages from Maison Louis Latour, 2nd July 2018.

In early July 2018, our team had the opportunity to taste old vintages from Maison Louis Latour. The idea behind the tasting was to be able to select a series of fine wines in ready-to-drink vintages to offer on the iDealwine website.

We met at Aloxe-Corton, the heartland of Corton and epicenter of the house. After the renovation of Château Corton-Grancey, built in 1749 and owned by the Latour family since 1891, the house is surrounded by vines and perfectly adapted to the various events held there.

The renovation work was very tasteful and preserved the ‘family home’ spirit, with its wood paneling, fireplaces, Burgundy stones and family pictures. What’s more, large meeting rooms have been converted, as well as a modern tasting room and a bright, airy dining room with its French windows which open out onto the vineyard. The view of Corton hill from the top floor is sensational.

Louis Latour 3

Louis Latour 4

The cellars of the Corton Grancey winery – entirely restored in 2014 – are an absolute must-see. Its architectural prowess, with several superposed floors, has made vinification by gravity possible since 1832. The most impressive element is, however, the underground tunnels which have been carved into the stone quarry. A true labyrinth, whose winding alleys reveal recesses filled with venerable bottles, some of which date back more than a century! The extreme humidity on the stone and the molds which drape the bottles create an atmosphere that is at once magical and troubling…

Louis Latour 7

Louis Latour 8

We will first be tasting red wines, and then, after lunch, the whites.

RED WINES

  • Nuits Saint Georges Louis Latour 1973

A slightly orange shade. Aromas of candied fruits and raisins. Nice acidity and good length.

Partridge-eye pink. Nose has persistent freshness, is fruity and lightly oaky. Finesse on the palate, with a nice acidic attack, fruity, lightly toasty on the finish.

  • Beaune 1er cru Clos du Roi 1976

A south-east-facing parcel of Domaine Latour, the climat “Clos du Roi” is one of the finest of the Premiers cru of Beaune. Smoky notes. Bright red fruits on the palate. Lightly powdery finish.

  • Aloxe Corton 1er cru les Chaillots 1976

Vines bordering with the Château de Corton-Grancey. Bright ruby colour. Gamey, less clean the the Clos du Rois but a good table wine.

Mineral nose (pebbles). Important substance on the palate, rich, with an interesting length. Lightly animal notes.

  • Aloxe Corton 1er cru les Chaillots 2000

Bright colour, small fruit notes, very structured and full-bodied, in five years or so, the wine will have become even more refined.

This wine is still young, and has a slightly more pronounced bitterness. As a whole, there is a nice balance, this wine will drink beautifully after a few more years’ aging.

  • Corton Grand Cru Clos du Roi 1976

Strong brown shade. Good intensity, substance, the tannins haven’t completely softened but as a whole there is a nice minty freshness. Lovely wine!

  • Corton Grand Cru Clos de la Vigne au Saint 1976

Fully South-facing parcel at the bottom of a hillside, on an outcrop of the bedrock. The marl-rich, red soil produces wines with very distinctive aromas. There is a great difference in style of this wine also, at once dense but very silky and rich; it has wonderful elegance.

  • Corton Grand Cru Clos de la Vigne au Saint 1983

The vintage has given a more developed tannic structure to this cru. Spicy notes, with a nice finish lifted by redcurrant notes. A gastronomic wine.

  • Corton Grand Cru Clos de la Vigne au Saint 1985

Distinctive colour. Aromas of leather and tobacco on the nose, dense and silky substance, and a very long finish. A magnificent wine in an excellent vintage.

  • Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour 1985

The domain’s first Corton vintage. Leather and cherry notes on the nose, very dense with a lovely tension throughout tasting. A magnificent wine.

  • Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour 1988

Wine with a nice acidity, less dazzling than the 1985, more centered on its elegance and finesse (cold vintage).

  • Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour 1992

Musky nose, with notes of fruit and eau de vie. A light, quaffing wine which lacks a little in depth, as is usual for this vintage.

  • Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour 1993

Very present fruit with a nice length. For Louis-Fabrice Latour, this represented the shift towards a more modern style, more centered on the fruit, in comparison with the 1985.

  • Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour 1995

Dazzling colour. Still very young on the nose and the palate, nicely balanced but will benefit from a few years’ aging.

WHITE WINES

  • Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru Les Demoiselles 1974

This 0.5 hectare-parcel was bought by Domaine Louis Latour in 1913 from Léonce Bocquet’s widow (restaurant owner of Clos Vougeot). Its name “Demoiselles” is a homage to Adèle and Julie Voillot, the daughters of a general from Beaune in the early 19th century, who owned the parcel and passed away without ever having married.

A magnificent, vibrant golden yellow. Honey notes on the nose. On the palate, notes of bitter almonds. A delicate wine with incredible length.

  • Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru Les Demoiselles 1998

Notes of roasted hazelnuts, generous on the palate, with a good balance. This superb wine is ready to drink!

  • Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru Les Demoiselles 2000

Notes of flowers (hawthorns) and white-fleshed fruits (peach), nice finish with a powerful retro-olfaction. Very fine wine.

  • Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru Les Demoiselles 2002

Yet another style of wine thanks to this vintage: notes of beeswax and pear, great richness, liqueur, very rich substance with a generous finish. Excellent wine.

  • Bâtard Montrachet 1978

The Batard-Montrachet climat is East-facing on a gravelly soil lying on a bed of clay. This terroir produces very powerful, expressive wines. A distinctive, golden yellow colour. In the beginning, the are strong notes of walnut and vin jaune. The wine requires prolonged airing in order to open up. Pair this wine with poultry in sauce.

  • Bâtard Montrachet 1994

Generous on the palate with a glycerin element. Candied fruits on the nose. Slight oakiness still a little present, with a certain bitterness. Long finish.

  • Corton Charlemagne 1994

Citrus notes. Powerful and taut as an ensemble, with an oakiness which would be smoothed out with a few years’ aging.

  • Corton Charlemagne 1998

Straw yellow colour. Lemon notes, great vibrancy, very lightly roasted, velvety on the palate, chalky with lactic aromas. Nice finish.

  • Corton Charlemagne 1999

Pale yellow colour with hints of green. Great freshness on the palate, very mineral, with flinty notes. Nice substance and fine wine, although the style is a little austere.

  • Meursault 1er cru Château de Blgany 2005

This cru is exclusively produced by Maison Louis Latour. The vines which make up the domain Château de Blagny are situated on the top of a hill overlooking the villages of Meursault and Puligny.

An opulent wine, delicious and savoury. Drinking beautifully now!

 

To conclude, this incredible tasting has yet again confirmed the great aging capacity of fine Burgundy wines, including unexpected vintages such as 1974 whites. The traditional, low-intervention syle of vinifications in Maison Louis Latour, with its focus on balance and finesse, allow the character of each vintage and each terroir to shine. These ready-to-drink wines offer an exciting, complex aromatic range, with great freshness and vibrancy. An exciting insight into the soul of Burgundy!

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