2009 Louis Latour Beaune Premier Cru Les Perrieres
Expert Rating
WS 93 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Cote de Beaune Wine Spectator's 93pt Red Burgundy of 2009

While there were four stupendous harvests in the first 10 years of the new millennium, none matched the sheer red-fruit purity and sleek concentration of 2009. Following rave vintage reports from the Wine Spectator, International Wine Cellar, Burghound and Wine Advocate, importers and collectors went to town. So, for the most part, any bottles still resting in Burgundian cellars from the most voluptuous harvest in two decades have been set aside for the wedding days of daughters and granddaughters.

But, despite the market chaos on release, a few of the largest landholders resolved to do what they always do — squirreling away 10-15 percent of their production for release several years down the road. In the Côte de Nuits, Louis Jadot is said to be aging hundreds of cases of Premier and Grand Crus. Bouchard is likely in a similar boat. But on the steep calcareous slopes above Beaune where some of the most luscious, fruit-forward red Burgundies of 2009 were crafted, Louis Latour has socked away the most precious treasure chest of all.

"The 2009s were almost too delicious on release," Bernard Retornaz lamented. "It was the first vintage since 1990 where, on release, red Burgundy had the forward-fruit plumpness of Sonoma Coast or Russian River — all a function of the hot, dry summer. But many failed to recognize the underlying structure of the vintage. Our 1990s are still youthful, and 20 years from now, the same will be true of our top wines."

Retornaz, the Louis Latour executive whose mind is a prized cellar of wisdom about the Côte de Beaune, went on to give us a blow-by-blow of the 2009 growing season, helping to explain the deep ruby color and almost intoxicating red-fruit plushness of the bottles in front of us. We worked our way from the bottom up, swirling and sipping a half dozen village bottlings before moving up la côte. While the richest and densest of the lot were — as always chez Latour — the Grand Cru Cortons, the most ethereal 2009 Pinot Noir of the day came from a small holding set on the slopes above Beaune. The First Growth vineyard is called "Perrières," and Latour's 2009 rendering, according to Retornaz, takes a glorious page from the 1990 script.

The mature Pinot Noir vines of Beaune Perrières got off to an early start in the spring of 2009. Then, the first weeks of June turned cooler, slowing down the maturation cycle. That quick climatic see-saw set the stage for what the French call "millerandages" — clusters strewn with small, sweet, seedless berries that would account for the juicy, jammy core of the '09 Perrières.

"Our only concern was the absence of water," Bernard explained. "We'd had barely a drop of rain from April through mid-July. Even the old vines were beginning to go into hydric stress. But just after Bastille Day, the sky opened up, the timing of which couldn't have been more perfect. From then on, it was clear sailing: warm days and cool nights right up until harvest."

Red Burgundy, unlike its Sonoma Coast counterparts, is generally between 12 and 13 percent in alcohol. The 2009 Louis Latour Beaune Perrières Premier Cru measures a lusty 13.5 percent — but you'd never know when sipping it.

Deepest ruby in color with intoxicating aromas of raspberry jam, sweet herbs, and dark plum. Rich, sleek and voluptuous on the attack, packed with crushed red-fruit preserves. Utterly silken in texture, slowly peeling away fine layers of mineral concentration. Despite the once-in-a-decade opulence of the vintage, the finish remains wonderfully high-toned and vibrant. Drink now for its primary fruit hedonism, or far better, do as M. Retornaz suggests: Lay this one down for your granddaughter's wedding day. She's worth it.



Tasting Notes

2009 Louis Latour Beaune Premier Cru Les Perrieres
"Rich and juicy, this is already expressing complex cherry and berry flavors, with accents of spice and mineral. Supple and elegant, yet fresh and well-integrated, with a long, fruit- and spice-filled aftertaste. Best from 2014 through 2027. 577 cases made."
93 points -- Wine Spectator

"Deepest ruby in color with intoxicating aromas of raspberry jam, sweet herbs, and dark plum. Rich, sleek and voluptuous on the attack, packed with crushed red fruit preserves. Utterly silken in texture, slowly peeling away fine layers of mineral concentration. Despite the once-in-a-decade opulence of the vintage, the finish remains wonderfully high-toned and vibrant. Drink now for its primary fruit hedonism, or far better, lay this one down for your granddaughter's wedding day. She's worth it."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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