120 bottles up for grabs, direct from cellars below Latour’s Château Corton Grancey.
We’ve enjoyed some memorable tastings over 30 years on the world’s wine trails. Sometimes, the wines that stand out surprise us and our hosts, as we’re caught off guard by how time has transformed a relatively unheralded vintage. And on still other occasions, the youngest wine outshines even the more celebrated back vintages.
Last July, we once again descended into the catacombs beneath Château Corton Grancey. Joining us were proprietor Louis-Fabrice Latour and regisseur Boris Champy. On the tasting table were a half-dozen vintages of Corton Charlemagne, Louis Latour’s flagship wine: 1990, 1995, 1999, 2008, 2009, and the just-bottled 2014.
“Some collectors prefer the warm vintages, like the 2003 and 2009,” Champy explained, as we swirled and sipped through the years. “The flavors are more forward, but the Chardonnay tends to age less well. For us, the great vintages are the cooler years when yields are less than 30 hectoliters per hectare. While the Chardonnay is loaded with sugar, acids are brisk, with pH not more than 3.15 or 3.2. These were vintages like 1995, 1999, and 2008. And now this 2014, in my mind, surpasses even the best of them!”
Louis-Fabrice chimed in. “The 2014 is a classic vintage, a superb vintage, riper than the 2010, healthier than the 2012 or 2013,” said the 11th-generation Latour. “The below-average yields explains the concentration of fruit.” With many years of experience stewarding his family’s domaine as his guide, Louis-Fabrice pronounced: “This Grand Cru has many years of life ahead.”
We’ve been collecting white Burgundy since the early 1980s, but in three decades we’ve never seen a vintage quite like 2014. Stephen Tanzer, whose knowledge of the producers, villages, and vineyards of Burgundy is unparalleled, declared: “For lovers of classic white Burgundies, 2014 is clearly a vintage to buy.”
Burgundy’s 2014 growing season was exceptional … but only if your grapes were planted in the right place. Location, location, location. Flowering was early, leading to an optimally warm and dry May and June. That idyllic warm period was broken on June 28th when a violent hail storm pummeled vines in Beaune, Pommard, Meursault, and Volnay for the third consecutive year, some incurring a 90 percent loss. But the hill of Corton was spared.
The hill of Corton, just one mile north of the medieval wine capital town of Beaune, is a majestic uplift that stands alone and aloof of other vineyards. On its top, looking something like a toupee, sits the forest of Corton. The Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne Chardonnay occupies the upper slopes where limestone is the backbone of the soil.
The 2014 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru is pale yellow with glistening gold hues. Lavish aromas of baked apple, lemon curd, and toasted almonds. Weighty on the attack, tightly wound and powerful, with supple, concentrated citrus and baked stone-fruit flavors. Richly textured and mineral-driven with exceptional piercing length on the back palate.
95 points for this “charming white” from Wine Spectator. A matching 95 from Decanter. A 94-point “Cellar Selection” from Wine Enthusiast. You don’t need to have been there with us in the Latour cellars in July, to see the delight light up Louis-Fabrice Latour’s face as he sipped the 2014, to know this is a MUST-BUY.
Regularly $160, but thanks to our longstanding relationship with Louis-Fabrice and Boris Champy, for WineAccess members, just $110 today. Shipping included on 2 bottles or more. 120 bottles up for grabs, direct from cellars below Latour’s Château Corton Grancey.
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