2019 Louis Latour, Pommard AC, Red Burgundy, France.
The eleven generations of the Latour family have been making wine in Burgundy and the 7th Louis Latour is running the Maison Louis Latour today as his ancestors did since 1797 and based on the Cote de Beaune’s famous Corton hill and with the latest selection of Grand Cru holdings and vineyard land in Burgundy. So when Louis Latour did a vintage preview tasting of the 2019s in Carmel by the Sea with over 20 wines to sample, I didn’t hesitate to join in, and it was an incredible experience to explore the nuances of the white and red wines from many of the top sites in a year that was marred by frost and hail, where extremely careful selections were needed to produce to best wines. Of the reds, I was impressed with the purity and quality through the range, but I did have my favorites and one that really should out for its charm and aromatics was somewhat a surprise, being this 2019 Pommard AC Rouge with its lovely floral nature and silken mouth feel, very unlike this wine’s usual chewy, grippy and rustic personality. Even the Louis Latour guys were very quick to say this was not expected and have not seen this wine show such perfume and pretty elegance, especially in its youthful stage, I kept coming back to check in with it and even the second bottle tasted shined even without decanting, while not a wine to cellar long term, it will be rewarding wine for 5 to 10 years and one that can be drunk young without guilt or the feeling of missing out. The profile here is classic southern Beaune with brambly red fruits and a medium bodied palate with ripe and graceful crushed raspberry, black cherry, plum and strawberry core along with a light dusting of spices, a faint earthiness, black tea, vanilla and a polished wood framing, again with a weighted sense of rose petals and floral details with fine tannins and nice acidity. The smooth and seamless flow of flavors is compelling and this Pommard delights the senses, while interestingly the Premier Cru Les Epenots Pommard bottling was much meatier, muted, firm and austere by comparison.

Tasting Louis Latour’s select lineup of 2019 reds, which included a serious set of 5 Premier Crus and 4 Grand Crus, including Latour’s famous Cuvée Heritiers Chambertin and Clos Vougeot from the Cote de Nuits as well as their Corton Clos du Roi and the Domaine Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Corton, maybe the estate’s most prized and historic red wine. These are impeccable offerings from Louis Latour, again from a difficult and low yield year, which makes them even more noteworthy, if not a blockbuster or legendary vintage these are alluring Pinot Noirs, with this regular Pommard AC bottling earning my respect and admiration. Buying Burgundy these days is expensive and filled with disappointments, so it was great to taste such an array of wines to get a handle on the vintage, which looks to be one to enjoy in the shorter term. Interestingly too, I found almost no serious reduction in these youthful wines, with the wines being sampled without decanting, that was also impressive and surprising, with only two of the whites giving off that matchstick note, and none of the 13 reds having any barnyard or graphite notes. Another sleeper in the Latour Bourgogne Rouge lineup was the Premier Cru Beaune Les Perrieres, which will sell for around $125 a bottle upon release, it more density and complexity than this Pommard, and is family priced considering what good Premier Crus are going for these days, but again I just loved this Pommard. This Pommard was traditionally fermented in open vats, 100% de-stemmed and hand picked from 30 year old vines that are on the classic heavier clay and chalky limestone soils. To promote clarity and freshness, the Pommard, aged 10 months in cask, saw just 15% new oak, which subtly adds a hint of toasty sweetness, with the used barrels allowing the fruit and terroir to shine here in this dark ruby Pinot Noir. Louis Latour sources their oak from old forest trees and air dry their staves at for 36 months and own their barrel making facility, making for less overt oak shadings throughout the range, which paid off in this wine in particular, which is very balanced and refined.
($98 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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