The Wines of Louis Latour

by artfuldiner on October 10, 2019

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Opinion, Wine

Louis Latour - WineryMaison Louis Latour is an important négociant-éléveur (A French wine merchant who buys grapes and vinifies them, or buys wines and blends them, bottles the result under his own label and ships them.) of red and white wines in Burgundy, France. Currently operated by the seventh Louis Latour, Louis-Fabrice Latour, the company has remained family-run since its foundation in 1797 and has built a reputation for tradition and innovation. This Domaine has the largest Grand Cru property (literally “great growth,” or the top tier of vineyards and their wines) in the Cote d’Or with a total of 28.63 hectares (71.58 acres).

Members of the Latour family have grown grapes since the 17th century in Aloxe-Corton. Over the years, they gained a 125-acre Domaine and built the Corton Grancey winery in 1834. This was built over five levels in order to make wines via gravity flow, and was the first of is kind in France. While majority of Louis Latour’s vineyard holdings are in Aloxe-Corton, the company also makes wines in several other grand cru and premier cru vineyards, including Le Montrachet and Romanée-Saint-Vivant.

The large range of wines produced at Louis Latour is made based on the terroir of each region and vineyard plot. The red wines are fermented in French oak vats before spending up to 12 months in barrel; while the Chardonnay ferments in stainless steel before getting transferred to oak barriques. In 1979, Louis Latour acquired holdings in the Ardèche River region in south-central France to produce Viognier and Chardonnay at a more accessible price point. The same was done with Pinot Noir in the Var region in southeast France.

Louis Latour is distributed to numerous countries throughout the world, and is one of the most easily recognized producers of Burgundy.

Louis Latour - CortonCorton-Charlemagne, a Grand Cru from the hill of Corton in the Côte de Beaune, is one Louis Latour’s flagship wines. This vineyard is extremely close to the famous “Clos Charlemagne,” which was the property of the Emperor Charlemagne until 775. The word “Corton” is a contraction of “Curtis Othonis,” which means “domain of Othon,” an emperor descended from Charlemagne.

Interestingly enough, it was the gravest crisis ever faced by a Burgundian vineyard that caused the birth of this wine…. The limestone rich soil at the top of the hillside had been ignored before the 7th generation of Louis Latour decided to plant Chardonnay instead of the Aligoté that had been killed by the Phylloxera, a deadly pest. The Latour family currently owns 25 acres of Corton-Charlemagne, which has since become one of most famous white wines of Burgundy.

Louis Latour - Chav MontChevalier Montrachet “Les Demoiselles” is another entry in Latour’s stable of Grand Cru wines. The name “Montrachet” is a derivation of the names “Mont Rachaz” (1252, “Mont Rachat” (1380), “the Montrachat” (1473). In old French “la râche” means “bald”; etymologically speaking, therefore, “Montrachet” means “bald mountain” because of its lack of vegetation. In the middle ages, the Lord of Puligny passed down a vineyard to his eldest son, the “Chevalier” (Knight), who left France to fight in the crusades, hence the name of the appellation “Chevalier-Montrachet.”

The terroir of “Chevalier-Montrachet” is of notable exception to the “bald” designation because its rich brown soils – usually reserved for the planting of Pinot Noir – have transformed Chardonnay into one of the greatest dry white wines in the world. The vineyard carries the name “Les Demoiselles” in homage to the daughters of an early 19th-century Beaune General, Adèle and Julie Voillot, the owners of the vineyard who both died without marrying.

The aforementioned Grand Cru wines, as you would expect, carry some pretty hefty price tags. Fortunately, Maison Louis Latour also offers a number of entry level wines of excellent quality…

Louis Latour -Pouilly Fuisse2017 Louis Latour Pouilly-Fuissé – Latour’s 2017 Pouilly-Fuissé stands out as one of the Winery’s best efforts in the Mâconnais, a wine region located in the south of the Burgundy. The district is best known as a source of good value white wine made from the Chardonnay grape, with Pouilly-Fuissé being a particularly sought-after wine.

The 2017 is an excellent vintage. Wine critic Wilfred Wong of bestowed 91 points and noted the wine as “flavorful and lasting.” It’s quite fragrant with a core of fruit and spices on the palate. It’s light, lithe and easy to drink. Wonderful as an aperitif or with a variety of foods. The price isn’t bad either. Currently on sale at $24.99 in Pennsylvania State Stores; as low as $17.99 online.

Louis Latour - Pinot Noir2017 Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir – Latour’s 2017 Bourgogne Pinot Noir is an interesting wine. I wasn’t too thrilled with it at first… but it tends to grow on you. Light-bodied with fresh raspberries much in evidence on the palate, it goes down nice and easy and is even better with a touch of chill. Food friendly to a fault, this is a wine that is eminently quaffable during any season of the year.

But the best part is undoubtedly the price point. Currently on sale in Pennsylvania for $19.99, I’ve seen it going online for a mere $14.99… And that’s a bargain, indeed.



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