Our last blog post was on a recent tasting of the 2009 vintage of some reds of Burgundy. An extensive tasting of fine Louis Latour Burgundy wines from the 2009 vintage hosted by Calvert-Woodley gave Washington wine lovers a chance to judge for themselves whether this lauded vintage deserves its advance billing. I’ll spare you the suspense – it does.
As Louis-Fabrice Latour, the seventh Louis to manage the family wine estates, put it, “This is the best vintage since 2005. The 2009 red wines are showing nicely, although they have been bottled for only a few weeks, while the 2009 white wines also are concentrated, without too much power.”
Talking with Mr. Latour as the tasting proceeded, it was clear that he takes justifiable pride in producing a superior product. I wondered whether his special mention of avoiding “too much power” in the white wines was an allusion to past vintages, when the Latour style seemed quite concentrated, in contrast to the more restrained wines of other high quality producers, such as Bonneau du Martray. Be that as it may, these wines were individually distinct expressions of Chardonnay, with superior quality the norm. They also radiated quality from the village appellation level. Unusual for me, I liked each wine tasted, which also proves that for the 2009 vintage, clearly one does not have to buy a grand cru to have a superior bottle of wine.
Tasting notes follow, with sale prices offered.
The village appellation Puligny-Montrachet ($35), Chassagne-Montrachet ($31) and Meursault ($31) were all showing well. Of the three, the Puligny-Montrachet was stunning, with rich, steely flavors despite its oak aging. I would have taken it for a fine Chablis at a much higher price. The Chassagne-Montrachet was very good, in a different, fatter style. The Meursault also pleased, but it had started to close, and needs time before it could be fully appreciated. It is clear that Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault continue to close the ground between them and their more highly regarded Puligny-Montrachet neighbor.
The Meursault premier cru Château de Blagny ($35) was a step up from the village appellation tasted earlier, rich and developing well. Tasting it, I recalled that at VinExpo 2002 in New York, I had been surprised, at a tasting of premier cru white Burgundy wines, to have clearly preferred a Meursault premier cru. Clearly their attention to quality continues. The Meursault premier cru “Goutte d’Or” ($47) was in the leaner style that Mr. Latour had alluded to earlier. It didn’t have to shout to display its excellence – a clear winner.
The Puligny-Montrachet premier cru “Sous le Puits ($43),” in a more opulent style, comes from a small vineyard in the village of Puligny-Montrachet. A wonderful wine in a richer style, this could be your white wine discovery for the vintage! The Puligny-Montrachet premier cru “Les Truffières” ($47) was a very fine offering, from the mid-slope of the vineyards. It was disappointing that the two Chassagne-Montrachet first growths did not arrive in time for the tasting, but that probably improved my driving skills on the way home..
Wines Of The Month
Then came the two grand crus. The Latour Corton Charlemagne (an excellent buy at $75) was quite rich, with a longlasting flavor. One can well imagine dinner table conversation stopping as this wine is savored, with swordfish steaks or a fine Dover sole . And the Bâtard-Montrachet ($175) was very grand, even opulent. It would be a centerpiece wine for a grand occasion, accompanying a lush dinner, such as Lobster Newburg, well made with cream and cognac.
Bill Shepard, Wine Editor
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