A breakfast of champions: The Grand Crus of Domaine Louis Latour

This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.

Nine o’clock in the morning seems a bit early to start tasting wine, but when World of Pinot Noir offered a vertical tasting of two Grand Crus from Domaine Louis Latour, I was there bright and early.

For wine lovers, is there any better breakfast than vertical flights from of Burgundy? For our vertical flights, we enjoyed the 2014, 2012, 2010, 2005, 2002 and 1999 vintages from both Château Corton-Grancey Grand Cru Domaine Latour and from Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru Les Quatre Journaux.

Domaine Louis Latour was established in 1797 and for 226 years has been family owned. Today the winery is run by the seventh Louis Latour who is the 11th generation in the family. Domaine Louis Latour owns 120 acres, half of which are Grand Cru, making them the largest landholder of Grand Cru vineyards. The majority of the vineyards are in the Côte de Beaune, with two vineyards in the Côte de Nuits.

— Château Corton-Grancey Grand Cru Domaine Latour

Corton Grancey is a Grand Cru vineyard from the hills of Corton in the Côte de Beaune. What is unique about Château Corton Grancey is that it is a blend of four vineyards: Les Bressandes, Les Perrières, Les Grèves and Clos du Roi. For many years, Domaine Latour was the only house to blend different vineyards to make a wine, as that was not the tradition in Burgundy. But each vineyard adds a different characteristic to the wine, which is only made in years deemed good enough. The vineyards are south and southeast facing with soils of clay, shale and limestone and altitudes of 750-900 feet.

— Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru Les Quatre Journaux

Romanée-Saint-Vivant is a Grand Cru from the Côte de Nuits and has been owned by the Latour family since 1898. Les Quatre Journaux is a 1.9-acre plot of land with soils of silt, clay and limestone with iron-based clay. The vineyard sits at an altitude of more than 800 feet and is on a gently sloping, southeast facing hillside. The vineyard is a rather impressive area with neighbors such as Richebourg, Romanée Conti, La Tâche and more.

The Château Corton-Grancey Grand Cru Domaine Latour wines, while light in color, tend to have more earthy notes and be more approachable. The stand-out vintages were the 1999, 2002 and 2005. The 1999 with a gorgeous perfume nose of dark red fruit, dried cherry and cranberry, still shows firmness and is rather austere for its age. The 2002 is a bigger wine with aromas of clay and earth and actually tastes 10 years younger than it is. The 2005 is a plush wine that is luscious on the palate. On the other hand, the Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru Les Quatre Journaux wines are bigger in style but also tighter and more restrained. The stand-out vintage was the 2005 with a perfect balance of fruit and earth.

It is very rare to get to taste verticals of two major Grand Crus at the same time. Enjoying all of the Grand Cru Burgundy from Domaine Louis Latour was definitely not a bad way to have to start the day!

Read the original story in the Napa Valley Register.