2003 Louis Latour Corton Clos de la Vigne au Saint Grand Cru
 
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Aloxe-Corton Grand Cru Burgundy 2003: When Rivers Dried Up

In the Burgundian summer of 2003, trains melted. Small rivers dried up. Kids fled second-floor bedrooms and bunked down in the cool, dank cellars beneath their houses. Growers on the Côte de Beaune moved up their vacation plans by almost three weeks, anticipating one of the earliest harvests in memory.

Today, producers along the Côte de Beaune acknowledge returning from the Alps on the 15th of August to prepare for harvest — only to find their neighbors already in the vines, all picking before the first legal harvest date. "It didn't matter," one well-respected producer told us last summer. "There was no government oversight. The authorities were still on holiday!"

Undercapitalized wineries were at a disadvantage, as they were unable to fend off premature fermentation. Those with sufficient resources, however, refrigerated their Pinot Noir immediately after picking, conducting a sort of pre-fermentation cold soak, which nursed color, concentration and fine tannic structure from the small-berry clusters.

On the deep-rooted Grand Cru parcels above Aloxe-Corton, that Pinot Noir combined intensely vibrant, red-fruit compactness with brilliant acid backbone. Eleven years after the historic harvest of September 2003, these Burgundies have proven to be some of the most remarkably age-worthy of the new millennium — few more locked in suspended animation than Louis Latour's Corton Clos de la Vigne au Saint.

Clos de la Vigne au Saint is a 6.25-acre parcel set three-quarters of the way up the Côte de Beaune, a stone's throw from Latour's massive Corton-Charlemagne holding. Unlike other Grand Crus on the Côte de Beaune, Clos de la Vigne au Saint is nestled in a more protected, south-facing recess. Always the latest maturing of Latour's Grand Crus, we've found Clos de la Vigne au Saint to be the lightest in the Latour stable, especially in cold vintages. But in 2003, few Grand Crus would so calmly shrug off the summer inferno. Clusters were brought to miraculous physiological maturity, absent any sign of shriveling or sunburn, making for the richest, most remarkably age-worthy Latour Grand Cru in decades.

The 2003 Louis Latour Corton Clos de la Vigne au Saint Grand Cru is deep, dark, ruby red to the rim. The aromas alone are worth the price of admission — a luscious mix of crushed raspberries, sweet cherry and classic underbrush, lively and still wonderfully primary. Rich, juicy and meaty on the attack, with excellent density and weight, this is a wildly opulent effort from Latour, showing off all the full-throttle hedonism of the extraordinary 2003 harvest.



Tasting Notes

2003 Louis Latour Corton Clos de la Vigne au Saint Grand Cru
"Deepest ruby in color. The aromas alone are worth the price of admission, a luscious mix of crushed raspberries, sweet cherry and classic underbrush, lively and still wonderfully primary. Rich, juicy and meaty on the attack, with excellent density and weight, this is a wildly opulent effort from Latour, showing off all the full-throttle hedonism of the extraordinary 2003 harvest. Drink now for its still-forward fruit plushness or lay down for another 3-5 years. Magnificent."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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