Maison Louis Latour
2006 Chassagne Montrachet Rouge
Pinot Noir •Chassagne-Montrachet AOC
What We Say
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The Wine Spies have secured the first United States allocation of this exceptional value Burgundy. But be sure to act fast, our supply is extremely limited.
Mission Codename: Red in the home of the white
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Explore the Burgundies from Maison Louis Latour
Mission Status: Ongoing…
Current Winery: Maison Louis Latour
Wine Subject: 2006 Chassagne Montrachet Rouge
The village of Chassagne Montrachet is located at the southern end of the Cote de Beaune region just a few miles north of Chagny. Chassagne Montrachet AOC is predominantly known for producing Chardonnay but a small percentage of the approximately 850 acres is also planted with Burgundy’s famous Pinot Noir. While the reds in the region are lesser known than those from the neighboring appellations, they are characteristically firm, dry and focused with a distinct ties to its clay and limestone Terroir.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Clear but deep ruby and garnet hued with light ruby fading to pink edges. Clusters of thin legs that are initially slow streak down the side of the glass when swirled.
Smell – Youthful and bold that softens as it opens with fruit aromas of black cherry backed by earthy notes that include wild fennel, floral violets, a touch of vanilla and smoke and the tiniest hint of horseradish.
Feel – This medium-bodied wine has an initially tangy attack with bright acidity, distinct minerality with focused firm tannins that softens considerably when given the opportunity to open.
Taste – Tart black fruit including sour cherries, cranberries and pomegranate with old world components of earth, fennel and dried autumn leaves. Initially tight and focused that given time will reveal its true Burgundian character.
Finish – Medium length and clean with lingering flavors of its tart fruit.
Conclusion – This youthful Burgundy is an excellent value wine that will certainly improve with some time in the cellar. This wine strikes a good balance between new-world fruit and old-world subtlety (give it time to breathe or decant this wine). With its bright acidity, balanced flavors and clean finish, this wine is well suited to pairing with a variety of foods. And given the value, at half or even on-third the cost of many of its neighboring villages, this can be your everyday ‘go-to’ Burgundy.
Agent Terroir had been unable to meet me back in Burgundy. He had departed immediately back to France after the all hands meeting and was supposed to scope out a potential new asset. The message he sent was a bit cryptic, but if I understood, he had made contact and all I needed to do was to close the deal. Our new asset, Agent Paris (pronounce the ‘S’) was a local expert in Burgundy and had vast connections with some of the best regarded negociants in the area.
The meet was set, I had arrived the night before and ate dinner at the cafe Le Chassagne in the heart of Chassagne Montrachet at the southern end of the Côte de Beaune. I never like leaving anything to chance and this was my opportunity to make sure nothing could go wrong. Sat and enjoyed a glass of wine and ordered dinner. Remembering that my purpose was to assess and not to enjoy I carefully watched the wait staff, the maitre d and the local patrons.
Don’t tell Agent Blush, but my eyes kept drifting to a lovely lady sitting in the corner with a couple bottles of wine. She was by herself, but was clearly getting ‘special’ treatment. This one was dangerous, I could just tell. Getting back to my analysis, again a flip of her hair caught my attention and then I was made. She caught my look and I quickly tried to cover for my poor spy craft. I not dare look that direction again.
My food arrived and as the garcon brought me my Soufflé au Fromage the maitre d brought a glass of wine and said ‘les compliments de la dame’ and left a note. The note was simple and disheartening. ‘La meilleure chance la prochaine fois. Apprécier ce 2006 Chassagne Montrachet Rouge. Paris’
So much for advance work… Oh, and I did enjoy the wine!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the village of Chassagne Montrachet can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Too often overlooked, the red wines of Chassagne-Montrachet represent very good value. Maison Latour only selects grapes with a high natural sugar content which constitutes the most reliable indicator of maturity. The wines are fragrant with elegant cherry aromas, light to medium bodied and have full fruit flavors that develop great complexity.
A typical wine for its terroir, this red reveals delicious aromas of wild black berries, distinctly black currant. On the bouquet one can also find more gamey foxy hints, as well coppery notes. Of an ample nature and with great length on the palate, this wine will evolve magnificently in the next two years.
About The Winery:
The family-run company of Maison Louis Latour is one of the most highly-respected négociant-éléveurs in Burgundy. Renowned throughout the world for the quality of its red and white wines, the company has built a reputation for tradition and innovation.
Regarded as one of the traditional négociant-éléveurs, Maison Louis Latour is the producer of some of the finest Burgundian wines but has also pioneered the production of fine wines from outside of the confines of Burgundy.
These wines from the Ardèche and the Côteaux de Verdon are slowly gaining esteem for their unmatchable quality outside of Burgundy.
The Latour family themselves have been viticulteurs since the 17th century, slowly building up a unique Domaine of 50 hectares (125 acres). This Domaine has the largest Grand Cru property in the Cote d’Or with a total of 28,63 hectares (71,58 acres) . The vineyards extend from Chambertin in the north to Chevalier-Montrachet in the south and are solely planted with the two noble grape varieties ; Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
All of the grapes from the vineyards we own are vinified and aged in the attractive cuverie of Château Corton Grancey in Aloxe-Corton. The winery was the first purpose-built cuverie in France and remains the oldest still-functioning. A unique rail-way system with elevators allows the entire wine-making process to be achieved by the use of gravity. This eliminates the threat of oxidation from unnecessary pumping of the must. Since 1985 Louis Latour has been selling the wines of its own vineyards under the name Domaine Louis Latour.
The Latour family founded the ‘Maison de négoce’, an important shipping company, in 1797 and is still based at 18 Rue des Tonneliers in Beaune. The company is unique in Burgundy in that it is still to this day family owned and family run, having passed down from father to son for over ten generations.
In 1997 to celebrate our Bicentenary, we published a commemorative book and were admitted into the exclusive club of the Hénokiens. This club only admits companies that are leaders in their respective fields, remain family owned, have a history of 200 years’ experience and still bares the name of the founder.
There are only approximately 30 of these companies in the world. To this day Maison Louis Latour ships its wines to over 60 different countries worldwide and will be found on some of the most famous dining tables around the globe.
Region: Côte de Beaune
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Process: Open vat fermentation
Barrels: 12 months ageing in oak barrels
Soil: Chalk and clay