2019 Domaine Louis Latour, Corton-Grancey Grand Cru “Chateau Corton Grancey” Côte de Beaune, Red Burgundy, France.
Today’s wine of the day is a special tribute to Fabrice Latour, who it is reported has just sadly passed away, who was the dynamic leader of of his family’s iconic Maison Louis Latour, one of Burgundy’s most famous and successful wineries. To celebrate his life, I picked one of his winery’s favorite reds, the beautiful Chateau Corton Grancey, which I was lucky enough to sample earlier this Spring, along with a fabulous selection of Domaine Louis Latour’s 2019 vintage collection, with this wine, even though young, showing a real delicacy, pretty aromatics and a complex array of flavors that promise to blossom in the bottle over the next decade or so. This Grand Cru Corton-Grancey is a delicious rarity, and it should be said, a savvy buy for such a pedigreed vineyard, it shows an elegant profile and the vintage’s lighter frame with supple layers of black cherry, mulberry, red currant and dusty plum fruits, along with polished wood notes, mineral, orange tea, brambly spices, a touch of earth and lingering rose petal. There is an underlying firmness and energy that will serve this wine well as it ages, and while not a blockbuster in style or flashiness it does show excellent purity and its medium bodied palate is more appreciated for its balance, and its quiet seduction, rather that its ultimate impact. The family run firm of Louis Latour always produces a signature Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, as well, it is one of the most famous white wines of Burgundy, and it is a wine not to be missed if given the chance. Even though the 2019 was a difficult year, most all of these Latour bottlings show a fine form and are very attractive wines that show transparency and distinct terroir nuances. The loss of Louis-Fabrice Latour, chairman at Maison Louis Latour since 1999, who was only in his 50s, will be hugely felt within the Burgundian community and I offer my condolences to his family and many friends.

As mentioned recently, after tasting through a preview of new releases, the Domaine Louis Latour has a long and prestigious history in the Burgundy region with eleven generations of the Latour family have been making wine here since 1797 and the winery is still based on the Cote de Beaune’s famous Corton hill, hence the reason I picked today’s tribute wine, and they have the largest selection of Grand Cru holdings and vineyard land in all of the Côte d’Or. For this Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru, the Domaine Louis Latour team used all hand picked grapes from this unique hillside site which is set on classic marl, clay and limestone soils, from 40 year old vines. In the cellar, this wine saw a traditional maceration and fermentation, 100% de-stemmed and gently crushed in open top vats, then this wine was lightly pressed and racked to barrels for aging. As with most of the Premier and Grand Cru reds at Domaine Louis Latour, this Corton Grancey saw mostly used barrels with just 35% new house made barriques being employed and it (was) matured in the oak for just about 10 months before bottling. Interestingly, The winery at Corton Grancey was originally built in back in 1834 and was the very first purpose-built winery in France. The five levels here, means that cuvage can be carried out all by gravity flow and the cellars are actually embedded into the rock hillside of Corton, providing ideal conditions for cool aging. While a big producer and maybe not as exciting as the small estates, there is a lot to admire in their latest releases throughout the range of 2018 and 2019 wines, especially good are the whites, like the brilliant Chassagne-Montrachet Caillerets and some of the lesser known Beaune reds, though I did really enjoy the perfumed Pommard and Volnay offerings, as well as this delicious dark ruby and garnet hued Corton Grancey. I am grateful to the Louis Latour USA team for the invite to taste the preview (samples) of these 2019 and I can happily recommend many of them for everyone that is looking for standard barer wines from the Burgundy region, as this one does with charm and grace.
($215 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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